I noticed early this morning just before sunrise, when I often have the deepest and darkest thoughts, that my priorities of day-to-day living have changed.
Eight years ago, just after ALS entered my life, I focused on doing as much as possible … work, play, family. I was in a fight against the slow but steady loss of my physical abilities. Staying physically active was a priority. That battle lasted less than two years.
When my legs and my arms no longer responded to the commands of my brain, I was forced to adjust my priorities. I retreated to my imagination. I still strove to be active, but my paralyzed body gave me just one outlet … my voice. This wonderful tool allowed me to stay active and productive.
Writing stories became my daily priority. For nearly six years, putting my thoughts onto the page overwhelmed everything. I was blissfully ambivalent of my body's frozen condition. I gladly allowed my voice, my imagination and the words take me.
Late last year, I lost that magical ability … I am forced to reprioritize. I now focus on daily comfort, fighting to stay clear of congestion, and keeping depression at bay. My priority is to breathe, to love my family and friends, to seek spiritual balance and to stay mentally active. Strange, the manifestation of my daily priorities look different, but maybe they are still the same.
What are your daily priorities?
About the Author
My name is Richard K. Raker, and I am 54 years old. I have lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, with my wife and son for 26 years. I have ALS, a terminal illness diagnosed in 2006. Prior to 2006, I worked as an English as a Second Language teacher, and then as a computer trainer for a major health care organization. Very soon after my diagnosis and a quick disease progression, I was totally bedridden, relying on a ventilator to breathe. I no longer could work, so I spent most of my time reading and watching TV and movies. And then one day, I discovered the joy of writing.
First, I struggled through a memoir about the first 25 years of my life, telling the story of the events leading up to my decision to move to Japan. It felt good to write. Writing takes me away from my everyday troubles and gives me a creative voice that I never knew I had. The memoir, A Remarkable Life, Lived by an Ordinary Person, has been self-published using Createspace.com and is available on Amazon.com. After that, I realized that I had a few more stories that I needed to write. I enjoy writing. The two or three hours a day that I spend working on my stories is very therapeutic. I write selfishly. It is fun and gives me a much-needed purpose in life, but I do hope that you will enjoy reading what I have written. Thank you all for your love and support. Be sure to visit my blog called A View from Rick's Window, Web page, DVD reviews and Facebook page.