Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – a ruthless and certain killer

Whenever anyone in my synagogue community dies I get an email from the rabbi. I read today's email at about five in the morning that Jill Cherneff Laverty died probably yesterday. I had heard last week that it wouldn't be long, but even so I definitely wasn't ready for the news. Jill had ALS and she lived over six years with it, much longer than most ALS victims, but still, it's hard to take. Persons with ALS have a loss of muscle strength and coordination that eventually gets worse and makes it impossible to do routine tasks such as going up steps, getting out of a chair, swallowing and then, finally, breathing. ALS does not affect the senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch), and only rarely affects bladder or bowel function, or a person's ability to think or reason. That's why I've heard that it must be like being in prison or a coffin. There is no known cure for it. It is a ruthless and certain killer. I understand that Jill's first symptom was difficulty in speaking. … [Read more...]