Last month, I finally did something my sister Susan had suggested over a year ago — I looked up the local wheel chair tennis group and ask if I could join them. The group, Wheel Serve NC, was very welcoming, and borrowed a large sport wheelchair for me to try. I’ve joined them three times now, and though learning to move around quickly in the chair is really hard — and hard work — the feel of hitting a tennis ball again has been awesome. The group of wheel chair players and volunteers have been great. A few of the players are exceptionally good, tournament level, and I’ve been watching and learning a lot. Not sure if I’ll ever get very good at wheeling around accurately and quickly like they can, but I’m enjoying getting some swings in, and enjoying being around a group of people who have been dealt a tough hand via accident or illness but who are making the most of it and living life to the fullest.
My overall health has stayed steady — I’m still able to walk a couple of miles a day using a foot ankle brace, still able to play golf. I was able to return to teaching this fall and loved being back in the classroom, though I can’t say I loved teaching with a mask on. My only struggle has been with fatigue — I just can’t work at the same pace as before the ALS diagnosis without getting very tired. So I’m cutting back wherever I can, listen to my body, and work and play at a sustainable pace. Occasional naps are part of the new normal, and that’s ok.
Our big news this fall is that Karin and I are moving forward with plans to build an accessible home on property we own next door to our current home. We have no idea when I will need to use a wheel chair, but better to prepare now. We’re learning a lot about accessibility design, and are excited to finalize the floor plans and start building mid-2022.