On day 22 of ALS Awareness Month, we talked to Lori Rock whose husband, Bob Rock lived with ALS. Lori shares Bob's #MakingItPossiblestory.
"I can recall the day, September 29, 2014 - almost to the minute - that Bob was diagnosed with ALS. In fact, he wasn’t even in the room when the doctor (neurologist) said to me, “this is bad, this is very, very bad”…this, after a quick handshake and checking Bob’s hands. After a brief check-up of Bob’s limbs, he came back to the room and said, “your husband has ALS”. The world stopped, and my heart shattered…and Bob didn’t even know yet.
In hindsight I would say we were perhaps one of the “lucky” ones, if there is such a thing when it comes to this disease. A very astute chiropractor recognized the symptoms when Bob went to see her because he was having trouble with his hands…she quickly eliminated any back issues and sent a letter to our family doctor who had a neurologist appointment booked for us immediately. Chiropractor, MRI, CT Scan to neurologist and diagnosis within just over a month. When I say we were lucky, it is because we knew so quickly the nature of the beast we were dealing with, without months or even years of visits to various doctors before the diagnosis could be made. When asked one time if he was angry about getting the disease, his quick response was “Nope - what good would that do? Anger takes energy, and I have no energy to waste”. There were lots of emotions, but anger wasn’t one that was allowed in. He was onto count his blessings, and look for the good, 1/2 full glass, rather than 1/2 empty!
Bob was a strong man, and although ALS eventually robbed him of the many things he loved to do - golf, horseback riding, even putzing in his shop, he faced each day with a smile and participated in these activities until he absolutely could not...even getting onto his scooter and heading to the shop when he was supposed to be resting! His strength kept us all strong - our two kids and their spouses, and our four beautiful grandchildren. As his breathing worsened, his speech worsened and his limbs deteriorated, they were the light on some very dark days. Never one to wallow, Bob took the news and faced the disease head on, with no false expectations or false hope. His life motto was you had to play the hand you’re dealt…and wow, what a hand. But our life went on, only now with a certainty looming ahead, not just a someday. Again, perhaps we were a little lucky because we were able to make plans for the future. And plan we did – he picked his final songs and readings and knew exactly who was going to do what at his final celebration.
But there was much to do before that day came, and all were made easier or in some cases, possible, due to the generosity of the ALS Society – a family trip to Hawaii, family reunions, two full winter seasons in Arizona and much time spent with our family and large extended family who tend to rally at any occasion, but most especially in a time of need. We had ramps built, toilets changed out, trees chopped, out-buildings sided, lawns mowed, flowerbeds tended, meals prepared, windows cleaned, horses and fences looked after, quiet moments of visiting and reminiscing, snuggling a baby…there was something for everyone.
The ALS Society…what can I say – they were one step ahead of us all the way, anticipating our needs and providing any type of equipment or gadget we might possibly need – bi-pap, lift chair, bath lift, stair lift…the list goes on. We will be forever indebted to them for their generosity and the quiet and gentle support they provided us. Even the ALS Society of Arizona was kind enough to help us out during the winter months. The disease knows no borders, and thus the societies seemingly have no borders!
As Bob's legacy lives on his memory will be kept alive and we will continue to help the society in anyway we can. In Bob's memory, we've held two memorial golf tournaments in Arizona, with number three in the works and all proceeds are donated to the ALS Society; a beautiful niece and her husband turned the traditional "bride and groom kiss" into an ALS fundraiser; and family members continue to participate in ALS walks in Barrhead, Edmonton and Kamloops , proudly sporting Bob's Boys, Beauties and Babes t-shirts.
Our prayer, at the onset, was that Bob's good days be many, and his bad days be few. In many ways this prayer was answered due so much to the support we received from the ALS Society, and the love and support of family and friends. Our prayer now is that a cure will be found for this beast - ALS.
Sadly, we have indeed learned, 'the last good-bye is the hardest one to say'."
Thank you Lori, for sharing this beautiful story.