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Martin’s Story

It was September 2019, things seemed pretty normal. I had just completed PT for a frozen right shoulder, was hitting the weights again, and clicking off 6-minute training miles in preparation for some running races. I was 60 and feeling pretty good. Except I couldn’t seem to get my strength back in my right shoulder. No matter what I tried, the muscle would not strengthen.

In February 2020, we were at a park on a cold Florida morning, preparing for our grandson’s birthday party. I realized the fingers on my right hand were weak and clumsy, and I couldn’t tie balloons. Couldn’t even hold a napkin to blow my nose. My wife thought I was having a stroke. After warming the hands, things improved for that day. Then Covid came crashing in. After a few telehealth sessions with my physical therapist to figure out why my right arm/hands were struggling, I decided to see my primary care physician. He sent me for an MRI and to a neck surgeon (thinking pinched nerve), then sent me for an EMG which led me to the ALS Clinic and the fateful diagnosis on July 24, that I had ALS.

I walked home from the hospital in the rain that day to try and get a grip. I’ll never forget the looks on our daughters’ faces when Leslie and I told them. My parents and sister took the news stoically and put on their positivity cloaks. Friends were in disbelief.
After a second opinion and second EMG from the Mayo Clinic, and a third opinion from the University of South Florida, my destiny had been determined, and my care team was being established.

It’s May 2023 now, and I am without most of the use of my arms, hands, and fingers. My core is weaker too, and every daily task is a big and tiring deal. But I’m still here and grateful to experience the many miracles each day brings: hiking with Leslie, walking in the woods enjoying nature, talking with friends and family… You just have to commit to look for and appreciate each miracle.