Diagnosis Letter – January 5, 2011

Well.
Let’s get to it.
Yesterday I met with one of the best Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) physicians in the world and he diagnosed me with ALS.
I have spoken with everyone on this email chain in the last few weeks so I think most know the ‘deal’. Below is a YouTube link. If it doesn’t work search ABC of ALS. It is 3 parts and a total of 60 minutes. I don’t expect you to watch but the ‘deal’ is that nearly all diagnosis are terminal (our doctor mentioned 3 cases of conditions stabilizing) the average lifespan is 2-5 years post diagnosis. Which puts a slight detour in my plan to live to 109.

As most of you know I have also met with Boston University’s CTE research center. They have a theory that head trauma in sports can be a causative factor in ALS. If you don’t know about CTE and football read the sports illustrated from a couple months ago. CTEM is really the same thing as ALS with the same outcome so I won’t waste anymore keystrokes on discussing it.

I intended to write some inspiring piece about staying optimistic and beating this diagnosis with the same determination and persistence that kept me in the NFL. People like hearing that. Deep down inside myself, I believe that is true.
But…
I want to be honest with you… I am very scared and frustrated. I don’t feel like beating anything. I don’t feel like doing anything or keeping my chin up or calling more doctors or taking prescription drugs or joining a support group or figuring out health insurance or revising my will or or going to church or being blessed by the pope (or the pipe) or wearing magnets or eating bird food or ‘clearing’ chakra’s.
I feel like being depressed. And I feel like crying. And I feel like kicking someones teeth in or having my own teeth kicked in. I feel like pinching myself and waking up. I feel like screaming. I feel like flipping God the finger. I feel like feeling sorry for myself. I feel like running away to the moon.
You see, in reality, our bodies are saucy meat sacks that breakdown and die. Fighting and persevering, and persisting and determining and optimistic-ing, and chin up-ing doesn’t work for everyone

But… At least 3 times it has worked. So, feeling better about being honest with the few of you who are on this email, I promise to fight and believe and expect the extraordinary and smile and laugh and cry and love our lives for every breath that remains in my body. Please, please help me do that… until I’m 109.

Gratefully,
Steve Gleason

Hey. Don’t forward this. I am fine that you tell other people about this but I don’t feel like being ‘honest’ with the social network yet.

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