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One of the reasons I love public speaking especially to students is that they always have great questions after I tell my story. Recently I shared my story with about 200 middle school children. After hearing about what Lou Gehrig’s disease is and visually seeing some of my physical struggles a young girl asked the following question “is ALS like a road to paralysis.” I had never been asked this question before so my instant answer was “yes that is a good way of thinking about it.” But as I sat at home later that day and thought more about that question, I realized why I gave that answer but more importantly how I could have answered that question better.
Paralysis by definition is the complete loss of strength in an affected limb or muscle group. While this is true about people who suffer from ALS in a physical sense, I believe there are many other types of paralysis which can be just as bad if not worse.
What about paralysis of the mind? If you have ever been touched by Alzheimer’s in your life you know how devastating that disease can be. In a way, an Alzheimer’s mind becomes paralyzed. Physically they are fine yet their cognition, function, and behavior can all be compromised. It is the complete opposite of someone who suffers from ALS. Or how about something as simple as fear? There are many people who become so paralyzed by fear that they are unable to function. Some examples of this would be a fear of flying, claustrophobia, public speaking, or social anxiety just to name a few. I believe in many ways people who suffer from paralysis of the mind are in a worse condition than I am.
Then there is paralysis of the heart. Some people may be so bruised emotionally in life that they are never able to open their heart and love again. Even worse than that is the fact that some people may go through life and never feel as though they are loved. How sad would that be? Unfortunately it can happen often in our society. It is almost as if there is a hole in that person’s heart. We must get people who suffer from this to remember there is one person who will love them forever no matter what and that is God. He is always knocking on your door and if you open the door and let him in, he can fill any hole in your heart.
So a better answer might have been “from a physical standpoint you are correct but ALS will not affect who I am on the inside.” Even though physical paralysis will continue for me, I will never let my mind or heart become paralyzed. Outwardly I may be wasting away but inwardly I am being renewed day by day through my heart, my soul, and my love.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.      2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

3 responses to “Paralysis

  1. Jennifer Christie ⋅

    Please… Get to a Lyme disease specialist and have vector-borne illnesses ruled out. Many ALS patients have been misdiagnosed with ALS when it turns out to be Lyme and co-infections. At this point you have nothing to loose… Antibiotics got me out of a wheelchair….

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