A Journey Through Fire: ALS - Memoir of a Caregiver

Overview

Life changed forever when the doctor diagnosed my husband with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. Extreme tragedy, dread, and grief surrounded us as the disease stalked him unmercifully. It finally defeated him with death after long months of torture. There were many challenges during our journey. We struggled to accept the inevitable, understand the disease and its consequences, and to find appropriate medical care and treatment. The mental, emotional, and heart-wrenching consequences ...
See more details below
Paperback
$12.72
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$13.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $11.90   
  • New (5) from $11.90   
  • Used (3) from $15.94   
Sending request ...

Overview

Life changed forever when the doctor diagnosed my husband with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. Extreme tragedy, dread, and grief surrounded us as the disease stalked him unmercifully. It finally defeated him with death after long months of torture. There were many challenges during our journey. We struggled to accept the inevitable, understand the disease and its consequences, and to find appropriate medical care and treatment. The mental, emotional, and heart-wrenching consequences of grief, despair, fear, helplessness, and then hopelessness were the greatest challenges of all.

At the time of my husband's diagnosis, I had been a practicing R.N for forty-five years. I had cared for many people with serious or terminal illnesses, and suffering and death were not foreign to me. However, I knew little about ALS. I recalled from nursing school that it is a rather rare disease with no known cure.
As I began the search for information, it became clear very quickly that this was no ordinary disease, but an exceedingly ruthless and deadly affliction. The care for someone with an illness such as this would be complicated. There was a great deal to learn, and I realized that I was not at all prepared. During my daily caregiving efforts, especially as the illness progressed, I had my nursing education, experience, and skills to assist me. I wondered how someone with no skills or medical background would ever be able to cope with the enormity of it all. I came to believe that if God showed me the way, lessons learned could equip me to help others who may take a similar journey.

This is Bill's story, for the suffering belonged to him, as did the courage. The telling of it has not been easy. Many times since his death, I have sat down with the best intentions of putting it all together. However, feelings or images would take me back to some sorrowful time or event, and painful memories would not allow me to continue. The thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and conclusions found in the story are strictly my own; as witnessed from the vantage point of spouse, caregiver, and friend. The journal where I recorded those nineteen difficilt months provides the chronicle for the pages. Keeping a journal helped me to cope, stay focused on Bill's care, and retain some degree of sanity in the midst of the surrounding turmoil. I could pour out my anguish, my fears, and my frustrations onto its pages.

The story details the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges involved in coping with an illness such as ALS. It contains a mixture of useful information about a mysterious, complicated disease; life lessons learned, and the fight to sustain life through medical care, perseverence, hope, courage, and faith. It is my sincere hope that this story will assist to light the way for someone who is caring for a person in a battle against this particular horrendous disease. My prayer is that something written on the pages will provide a measure of comfort and hope to anyone who may be struggling in the midst of a similar terrible trial. The story has been written in Bill's memory. Even though the telling of it has reawakened sadness, heartache, and grief, it has been cleansing for my soul.

The reader will find that I sometimes faltered and stumbled along the way. I did not always make the best decisions. I put on my nurse's hat more often than I should have, and I wore it too long. The last months of my husband's life were especially trying, for I was dealing with my second bout of breast cancer when the ALS was having its worst effects on his mind and body. Even though the entire journey was difficult, the hardest were those last weeks and days when it was clear that he was going to die and leave me. I had to hold fast to my faith during those times, and when the darkest hours vanquished all assurance of hope...I held on mightily to God's enduring promises.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461145486
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/24/2011
  • Pages: 294
  • Sales rank: 1,013,124
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

I am retired from a forty-five year profession as a registered nurse. I was the primary caregiver for my husband who suffered and died from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). I spent many hours searching the literature, and I gained a wealth of knowledge which allowed me to attempt to provide for his care. In the process of caregiving, I came to know this particular horrendous disease up close and personal. I believe what I learned during this difficult journey has equiped me to help others who may be facing a similar challenge. I am a Christian who believes in God's promise that He will sustain us and go with us through the fiery trials of life.

I have had two unrelated nursing articles published in the American Journal of Nursing.

I have a BS in Nursing with forty-five years experience. I am able to read, interpret, and relay complex medical information in simple, understandable terms. During the early part of my career, I served as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corp, and I was stationed at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Soldiers with life altering injuries taught me about true courage. I am now an Army Veteran.
I have nursing experience in essentially every clinical area of a general care hospital setting, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). My primary interest was in cardiac care, and I spent most of my career working with cardiac patients. I was the nurse manager of a Coranary Observation Unit for twenty-five of my forty-five year nursing career. The last ten years, I was nurse maager of a cardiac rehabilatation program. I retired from nursing in 2004 in order to care for my husband.

I hope to share my experience and what I have learned about caring for a person diagnosed with such a devastating, life changing disease.
I had caregivers in mind when I wrote this story, but I believe Bill's story would appeal to patients, family members, care-givers, friends, co-workers, nurses, students, and numerous others connected to and affected by this horrendous disease. Maybe it is the tragedy as well as the mystery, which surrouinds this illness that makes it so powerful...so intriguing. It does indeed remind us of our human frailty. It does not fail to remind us of our human mortality.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)