Last updated: September 04. 2014 10:11AM - 329 Views
Thomas Hunkele Contributing columnist



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I knew something was wrong - her smile was gone, there were tears in her eyes, and a quiver in her voice. She reached out for my hand and gently pulled me into our bedroom and she whispered - “the results are in - I either have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Multiple Sclerosis (MS).”


We broke down in our embrace - embraced by fear and remorse, love pushed those emotions away from us until in our embrace we found love’s healing grace. Weeks later the final results were in - my dearest Chris, my wife and life had MS.


Those of us - the majority - will never experience the devastating effects of stroke, MS, Parkinson’s, or MD. It is beyond difficult when one loses the ability to physically function as they once did. No longer being able to do life’s simple things like walk, swim, run - just imagine the devastation one would experience if they could no lone say these simple words - “I love you.”


These four life-changing problems limit life enormously - they effect social activities, family life, and most damaging self-value and worth. There is one outstanding problem, no matter the disorder/disease - that is allowing those problems to own your life. I’ve always struggled to make sure this is a truth in our life - “Chris has MS, but we’ll never let MS have Chris.” Just how do we accomplish that - this is the path we’ve taken:


We must accept the limitations the disease/disorder brings into our life - treating what was once abnormal as now normal. This is accomplished by sharing the emotions and impact of new life limitations - in essence “sharing the pain”.


For those impacted by the trauma of diseases like Parkinson’s or stroke - be sure that you realize the effort, sacrifice and devastation that impacts those who care for you. There is no doubt these diseases impact and change the direction of all those touched by the embrace of misfortune be sure to let them know you love them.


Talk often about the problems, especially how it impacts those touched by one’s new limitation. Take steps together enabling support to be lived not just talked about. Don’t spend any time asking “why did ‘God’ do this to me” - human disease isn’t given by or taken away by “God” - human disease is simply (yet extremely complicated) a part of life.


It’s obvious that all disorders create limited physical stamina, strength, and sadly loss of movement - that is why I developed a special exercise program called “Opening Doors.” The program is targeted to positively impact the following:


. Stamina and endurance


. Strength and range-of-motion


. Enhance blood flow and heart rate


. Neural-muscular interaction enhancement (movement).


. And most importantly - laughter, hope, and a sense of accomplishment.


Perhaps the greatest benefit in participation in a therapeutic/exercise program like Opening Doors is the enhanced feelings of being active again, taking the disorder “by the neck” and letting it know that it’ll never own you. And perhaps the greatest effect - knowing you are not alone, others care, and you have great value despite the disorder.


Because of the numbers affected by these life-changing traumas those supporting this program (the Troup County Recreation Center and Max Family Fitness) agree with me one day a week is not enough - so, starting September 2nd the Opening Doors program will be conducted every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 AM. Please call the Recreation Center (706) 883-1670 or me (706) 594-6632 for details. The results are in - Love is found in serving and touching the lives of others.


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