28-Aug-97

One of the most common questions I am asked is "Doug, you've got a terminal disease...how do you stay 'up' all of the time?". And the answer is simple, I don't. There are days when the few muscles I have left won't do what I want them to do. And that gets discouraging...real discouraging. Because when my muscles crap out, I know they're gone for good. My discouragement can run from mild annoyance to bouts of heavy sobbing. But they generally pass fairly quickly because I'm busy trying to figure out a new way to use different muscles (that still work) to get the job done. I haven't failed yet, and it's amazing the sense of accomplishment that can be derived from figuring out a new way to pull up your pants. But after I get over gloating , I have a choice to make: Do I let ALS dictate how I am perceived by others, or do I find joy in the simple fact that I am still alive and kicking?


On my guestbook page, I say that "It is the people we touch, and how they remember us, that define our lives on earth." I have to decide if I am going to allow the inevitable, relentless progression of ALS to impact my legacy. I think not. So I choose to smile; I choose to laugh; I choose to totally disrespect ALS.

Everyone is bound by a set of circumstances over which they have no control. Their height; their color; their ancestry; their predilection for disease. I have found that I stay happiest when I only worry about those things over which I have control. Why be miserable about having a terminal disease? We're all terminal. But today I am not dead. I didn't die yesterday, and, God willing, I won't die tomorrow. So today, I will choose how I will be perceived and remembered: as a miserable, spiteful man with ALS?; or as a guy who lived, and loved, and laughed, who also had ALS?

I choose the latter...