Reflections on My 18th Birthday Since Being Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease

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By Dr Craig

I am writing this on the day of my 49th birthday, which is the 18th birthday I have had since the diagnosis of ALS. I have so much for which to be grateful. My beloved Michelle is spending time home with me today. My friend Amy who cared for me overnight last night, left Happy Birthday notes all over the place for me to find when I woke up. My friend Sandy, whose birthday is also today, spent several hours in the Plymouth area with Michelle and they both solicited businesses to donate to the auction for my November 17th benefit concert.

Those are precious gifts for me. I also received a phone call from my Mother who sang me the Happy Birthday song. I remember calling my Mom 10 months ago and she could barely speak because cancerous tumors were crushing her heart, spine and throat. My Mother’s survival is an amazing gift, and even though she has significant struggles to rehabilitate, my Mother has been working to help me promote my benefit concert. God willing, she will be attending.

Three years ago, I was in Hospice and felt terror about my existence being erased from the earth within possibly months. I fought to live at a depth that is indescribable. I feel so much closer to God now, and I believe that whenever my time to die happens that, if I have any forewarning, I will be much more peaceful about the prospect of my physical existence being annihilated from the earth. This gift is precious.

My days and nights are filled with challenges that I never imagined I would live with, and with frustrations that must be met with the courage of a warrior lest I find myself feeling like a victim. I require care 24/7 and my survival depends upon it. I will not spend much time talking about the frustrations, and will trust that your imagining requiring total care 24/7 for your survival will be enough to imagine my frustrations.

Surrender to reality as it is constitutes one of the most powerful strategies for coping with frustrations that I have ever discovered. This means that I pray to God and affirm that in this moment everything is perfectly as God would have it. I am not saying that God endorses what we may see as bad; however, he does allow such circumstances to exist. I believe that everything I endure and to which I surrender, brings me closer to living in my heart with God as long as I keep going to my heart and remembering the name of God. I will continue to surrender to giving everything that has been given to me to make a meaningful and constructive difference in the world.

I wish for you the very best and I pray that you are guided to handle your challenges in a way that is best for you. Enjoy the gift of your life.

With Love and Gratitude,

Dr Craig

Craig Oster, PhD

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