Your Health Seth Stratton | one year ago

Living Life to the Fullest with ALS

Not many people would greet a diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with relief and optimism. Retired dentist Marshall Lindner did.

Since his diagnosis of what is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease in May 2014,  Dr. Lindner, 78, has decided to live life to the fullest, indulging in a piece (or two) of coconut pie. He realizes that as the disease progresses – causing muscle weakness – he will have difficulty eating. “Knowing that I will have a feeding tube sometime this year, I have been eating anything and everything under the sun,” he says. “It’s the first time in 30 years I can order a cheeseburger and fries in front of my wife and not get any grief.” He says he was relieved to finally know what was wrong after having difficulty speaking during a board presentation. His neurologist referred him to Carolinas HealthCare System’s Carolinas Neuromuscular/ALS-MDA Center in Charlotte. “Little did I know that Charlotte was home to one of the best ALS centers in the world, and that the move here was the best thing that could have happened to me,” he says. Dr. Lindner and his wife, Faylinda, are originally from Dallas, Texas, but moved to Charlotte to be closer to their son. They have been married for 57 years and have three grown children and several grandchildren. “I lived a wonderful and very lucky life,” says Dr. Lindner. “I look at my diagnosis as a wake-up call. God has said to me, ‘Your time is limited; get out there and do all those things on your bucket list.’ So that’s exactly what I intend to do.” His bucket list mostly involves traveling since over time he will lose his ability to walk. So for now, traveling is a priority. “We are about to take our fifth trip to Hawaii in March and we are taking an Alaskan cruise with our grandchildren in June,” he says. “The traveling has been keeping me up and going.” Also keeping him up and going has been the team at the ALS Center. “I love that I only need to come in once every three months, and when I do I can see all of my doctors and therapists on the same day,” says Dr. Lindner. He always looks forward to his check-ins with the director of the ALS Center, Benjamin Brooks, MD. “I enjoy the intellectual give and take that I get at the clinic,” he says. “Dr. Brooks is brilliant. He engenders loyalty and gratitude from people like me.” His positive outlook and sunny personality mean the center team looks forward to his visits as well. “Dr. Lindner certainly has a reputation for being a jokester,” says Nicole Lucas, RN. “He is one of those people that you love to care for because he makes it so easy.” The team he sees at the clinic will carefully monitor the progression of his ALS and is helping him with his mobility, speech and nutritional needs. He is enrolled in a clinical trial testing the benefits of exercise. Dr. Lindner may serve as a source of hope and inspiration to others with ALS. He knows the road ahead will be a difficult one for him and his family, yet he chooses to face each day with a positive attitude and optimism. “My philosophy is, most people don’t know when they are going to die or how much time they have left, but since I do, I’m going to have the best time,” he says. To learn more about the team at the ALS clinic in Charlotte, visit here. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueFSUdiy6zY&w=560&h=315]