Healthy Living: Local News
Your Health: Watertown Man Copes With Lou Gehrig's Disease
Story Updated: May 10, 2012
It was just over a month ago that Watertown attorney Mike Forcier heard the words that will forever change his life, "You have ALS."
But rather than wallowing in self-pity, he is reaching out to others with the same fate.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
As an attorney, Mike depends on his ability to communicate.
It was slurring of speech that was the initial sign that something was wrong.
After many tests and an initial diagnosis locally, Mike was referred to the ALS clinic in Syracuse where it was confirmed.
Mike is closing his office the end of June and coming to grip with what it all means.
"There are times when I think about the disease when I know the disease will have me lying in bed with an inability to communicate, but yet having a brain that's never affected by this disease," he said.
Mike is sharing his story with us in the hopes of connecting with others who have ALS and forming a support group.
He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call him at (315) 836-8377.
"I think the doctor summed it up when he said, 'Michael, you have the ability to do things in your life now. Take advantage of that while you can because there will come a day when you can't do that any more," said Mike.
The life expectancy for an ALS patient varies from person to person, but it averages two to five years from diagnosis.
Mike vows he is going to make the best of the time he has and live life to the fullest while he can.