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Second Chance

How often do you get a second chance in life? Many times when we are desperate we find ourselves praying to God saying “if you do ‘this’ or help me with ‘this’, I will do ‘this’ from now on.” How many people do you think have said the words “I hope they tell me I have cancer?” Because cancer seems to be so prevalent in our human existence, cancer is the one word we fear the most. But I can tell you three years ago I was praying to be told “Jim you have cancer.” It seems crazy but at the time it was a better option than “Jim you have ALS.” ALS is, unfortunately, a death sentence as there is no cure. Even the worst types of cancer have a percentage of survivability attached to it. I would give anything for a second chance… anything!!
To say that ALS has changed me would be an understatement. In my opinion, most of the changes have been for the better, but one thing it has done for sure is made me less tolerant of people who take things for granted or don’t appreciate the opportunity they have been given. Maybe I am just getting old but knowingly abusing your body is just plain stupid. I say that knowing that I am guilty of doing the same thing to my body over the years. I have never been a smoker, thank god, but you have to be a fool to start or continue smoking or chewing tobacco these days. I am not talking about the right to do this, but the common sense not to do it. Even my mother who is 84 quit smoking 9 yrs. ago after finding out she had lung cancer. She chose not to smoke again and has made the most out of her second chance as a cancer survivor. I have other friends and family who despite having had heart attacks, alcoholism, etc. never change their ways. This not only shows you the addictive nature of many things, but the inability of some people to not embrace the second chance opportunities life has afforded them.
I know this topic may offend some people but when I agreed to write this blog, it was to share my feelings, struggles, fears, and joys of my journey with Lou Gehrig’s disease. If I was pre-diabetic and was told if I were to change my diet and exercise more I could avoid becoming diabetic and all of the issues that come with it, I would do it. If I was predisposed to have a bigger chance of getting a disease and there was a screening or test I could take during my lifetime, I would do it. If I had a family history of cardiac disease/death and was told if you smoke or abuse alcohol you are more likely to die earlier, I would not do it.
I am not on a pedestal to tell you what to do or what not to do, but rather to ask you to make the best of the opportunity that life gives you. Have fun and enjoy your life but don’t waste a second chance if you are lucky enough to get one. There are many of us on the sidelines who would give anything for that same opportunity.


4 responses to “Second Chance

  1. Carole Ann Coombes ⋅

    Jim–As always, I lingered over your words.  There is SO MUCH to learn and so much from which to grow!!  I do not have ALS–but my husband, Jack did.  He, like you, taught us all “how to live, and how to die”.  For even though many of us do not have a “terminal” disease, life itself is terminal!!!   We are all in the process of dying.  Most of us do not know how long we have to live.  I have come to believe that the best way is to cherish every single day–as if it were our last.  And to “be there” for others–especially our family!  I live alone now.  As a result, I do not cook and prepare meals the way I used to.  I have decided it might be a kind thing to do to cook for my adult children once in a while.  They all work and would appreciate a good home- cooked meal to come home to once in a while.   Thank you for the opportunity to express some of my thoughts, Jim!!  I believe that it is God’s way of speaking to us!!   I hope to get into the ALS office–.  I will definitely inquire about how you are doing.  I pray for special blessings for you and your family.    Love, prayers and gentle hugs to you all,   Carole Coombes

    • Jim ⋅

      Carol I always appreciate the words you have regarding my blogs when you comment. Your words always touch my heart and continue to make me think. Hope you’re having a good summer.

  2. Alice Wolfe ⋅

    OMG… Great words of wisdom! I remember well Gary’s first words when he was trying to find out what was wrong with him … Almost the same exact thoughts! Who says “age brings wisdom”? You’re certainly not old and you get it! Hugs and keep pressing on this!

  3. Patrick ⋅

    Dear Jim,

    I’ve said this to you before. You will never know how many lives you have impacted by sharing your thoughts, suggestions, experience and wisdom regarding your personal journey with ALS. I’d conjecture that most individuals don’t take the time to respond and yet may be profoundly affected by your words. You are a great role model and eloquent ambassador for the fight to eliminate this horrid desease.

    May God continue to bless you and your family,


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