Women's Voice: Main Page
Living with ALS: The Women's Voice
WHO AM I, REALLY?
Reflections by Paula Goldstein
Before ALS, I had control over my life. I attended all of my children’s activities, was able to run the household as I wanted to. I was able to walk Valley Forge Park every weekend and plant my gardens every year. I had a successful career. My husband and I had no worries.
As my ALS has progressed, the first thing I have learned is that I don’t have control over anything except my attitude. I cannot change my body nor can I do what I’ve done in the past. I have come to terms with this but at the same time I fight ALS as much as I can by compensating on how I do things. I have lost the use of my hands (fingers), so I use my knuckles, fists or elbows. It’s amazing how creative one can be.
My priorities have changed and I know that they are where they should be. ALS taught me this. God, my family and my friends are the most important part of my life. I spend as much time as I can with them. I have become a better listener and my Type A personality has gone away. I now know what it means to relax and I really enjoy it. I’ve reconnected with friends from my past and that feels good. I no longer obsess about the house, the yard or anything materialistic. I have continued to work. When people would ask me when I am going to quit, I answer “not today”. Well today has come. I left my job on June 3rd.
I’ve learned to ask for help. I was recently on a long flight by myself to meet my husband. I was sitting next to an elderly gentleman and when the food came I realized I couldn’t open the containers. I asked the gentleman if he could help me as I have ALS and little use of my hands. He took care of me the entire trip. I explained to him what ALS is as he didn’t know. I take every opportunity to do so, so that more people can be educated.
So “Who am I really? I am a person with ALS and that changed my life in some very positive ways.
||Paula Goldstein is now 57 years old; she and her husband have three children in their 20’s. She was diagnosed one and a half years ago, but believes she has had ALS for over three years.