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The Good Doctor, the Great Physician, the Death Sentence... and Me (Part 1)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

My husband is a very good doctor, the kind of small town Christian family doctor that people run up to and hug at the grocery store or at the county fair. His medical colleagues respect and even love him, looking to him for leadership and guidance within their professional world, and he has served on boards all over our community for more than 30 years.

When Steve was diagnosed with ALS on his 62nd birthday last September, it was like a death sentence. Unlike a brain tumor or some other kind of cancer, there is no cure, and very few treatments. We were challenged and overwhelmed, but as believers in Christ we know that there is NOTHING that enters our lives without the Lord knowing about it, that everything is Father-filtered for our good and His glory. Looking through our tears, we could be sure that the Great Physician knew we were hurting, and would accompany us on this hard journey.

Quick Facts:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. When these cells die, voluntary muscle control and movement dies with them. Patients in the later stages of the disease are totally paralyzed, yet in most cases, their minds remain sharp and alert.
- ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries, and the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from time of diagnosis.

From being a healthy active outdoorsman as recently as just 18 months ago (taught SCUBA in college, backpacked the Chisos Mountains, canoed the Boundary Waters Wilderness along the Canada border), the DH has had to close his practice, and has become wheelchair bound and totally dependent on others for the most common activities. His speech is dreadfully impaired so he uses a machine to help him communicate, and his medication can only sometimes relieve his constant struggle with muscle spasms. My best friend is hurting, and so I do, too.

All this and we are determined to take one day at a time. In short, I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.
(to be continued)
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