Living with ALS, the physical challenges and changes can quickly become the focus of one's life and many of the enjoyable little things that previously were taken for granted can be left behind and forgotten. At times like this, finding a silver lining to the situation is more important than ever.
Before ALS, I used to give myself a pedicure about once a month and, during warmer weather, I might repaint my toes every week or two. I used to enjoy cooking and liked to try making a new dish at least once a month. I used to wear high heeled shoes, even my flip flops were wedges. I used to wear make-up every day. I used to give really good foot massages to my boys almost every night. I used to enjoy driving and shopping just for the fun I got out of it. I used to secretly dream that, one day, Dan and I would run The Amazing Race together. Today, not one of these things is still true.
Now, I have to have someone else give me a pedicure and change my polish. I can no longer stir a mixture or hold a knife without my hand cramping so I don't cook anymore (except the occasional scrambled eggs or chocolate croissants with pre-made dough). Today, I go barefoot or wear regular flip flops because they go with everything. I have no need for make-up these days, and the last few times I tried to put on mascara, I nearly poked my eye out. I barely have the hand strength to hold a trenta iced tea so giving a massage is completely out. Driving and shopping are now more like chores than enjoyment. Finally, I know that there is no possibility of my ever being able to keep up the pace of The Amazing Race in my condition.
Some of these things I miss (high heels and treating my boys to a nightly foot massage) and others I don't care so much about (shopping and mascara). There is one thing, though, that I am still able to do on my own, solely for my own pure enjoyment ... I can still hold a book, or iPad mini, and read. As a life-long lover of books and avid reader, that is my silver lining!