What does it mean to life life to the fullest?
Ask Patricia Walsh, a woman diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease five years ago who continues to fight for her life. She has had 18 relatives die from the condition and based on her family history, her expected lifespan was about 10 months.
Walsh has deteriorating muscles and nerves that limit the use of her limbs and she is bound to a wheelchair. She calls herself a “guinea pig” as doctors have performed a multitude of tests on her, including spinal taps.
“I can tell you none of these tests are pleasant, but they are worth it if it helps the research and if it leads to a cure … and I’m not talking a cure for myself,” said Walsh. “I think the man upstairs has a plan, so I am going with it. I have daily pain, and I would describe it like having the constant feeling of pins and needles being stuck in you. It starts in the extremities first and moves up. I am basically watching my body die on me. If I fall and no one is around, I have to wait until my son, his girlfriend or my husband comes to help me.”
Walsh is a fighter. She refuses to give up and is actively pursing activities she’s always wanted to do like getting her first tattoo and attending heavy metal concerts. Her tattoo exemplifies her philosophy: “Live for the Moment.”
“If I don’t try to laugh and make the most of every moment, that means I’m losing,” Walsh said. “I used to enjoy dancing and making scrapbooks. I use to be able to open a door. I used to be able to cut my own food and open my own bottle of water,” she said. “I can’t do those things anymore and I hope people realize each moment is important. If I am to be an advocate, I’m going to roll with it. That’s one reason my new nickname is ‘Wheels.’”
Walsh is an inspiration for those with degenerative diseases. Her zest for life is something we could all learn from.
If you had a bucket list, what would you do?