(Reviewed by Pat Luboff)
I have a confession to make. I finished reading this book a while ago. I was stunned into silence, unable to approach writing the review. The book has haunted me since.
My father went the usual route of people diagnosed with ALS. The doctor says, “You have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you will die in two years.” Patient dies in two years, or, in the case of my father, less. Joseph Wions traveled the road less taken. He decided that the usual medical model should be ignored because it offered no hope. Instead, he explored a wide, I would say dazzling, and sometimes to me, confusing variety of alternative approaches to healing his body from the disease.
In this book, he describes this journey in intimate details. He takes us from the first twinges that signaled something was wrong with his body to his ultimate spiritual triumph over the terror the disease inflicts on its victims. Sidebars give us insights from his family and friends. Excerpts from emails Wions broadcasted to family, friends and co-workers show his public persona, while his own journal writing takes us to the depths of his heart, mind and soul as he faces increasing physical limitations. What emerges is a portrait of a human being of great intelligence and wisdom and love.
I’m still a little baffled as to how to tackle this review. I think it’s best to just give you a few quotations. While he says these things in reference to his struggle with ALS, they ring true for me, and I bet they do for you:
”I learned that I had become addicted to a thought process that was not supportive of healing. The conscious choice that I made to change it has pitted me against all conventional wisdom, which insists that escaping death from ALS is not only unrealistic, but impossible.”
“It takes considerable diligence to stay on the productive side of that fine line between surrender and resignation. To effectively surrender, I must stay in the moment and abandon all judgments and projections that will invariably generate fear and doubt. The minute a connection is made between the current circumstances and past experience or future expectations, the moment opens up to a frightening array of negative emotions, which limits me physically and further fuels the fears I have created.”
“When my muscles atrophied to the point that a motorized vehicle was required, I had to find new ways to have fun.”
”I can tell myself over and over again that I am going to beat this disease, but my gut is quick to remind me that I have not yet overcome my addiction to the fear of failure.”
“It took me a while to realize that letting others help me do things that I could no longer do myself was a way of helping them.”
“I have emerged from the nightmare of belief that a horrible and untimely death was rapidly approaching. Several years after I was expected to be gone, I am still here and have enjoyed miraculous enhancements in my psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.”
This is a must-read book for anyone who has a family member or friend diagnosed with ALS. In addition to his incredible personal story, Wions offers an appendix of advice and resources on the services and equipment needed by a person who has ALS. I also highly recommend it for anyone who is facing any physical or emotional challenge. And who isn’t?
(Editor’s note: For more information on More Time to Love or to buy the book, go to www.moretimetolove.com