By Kristina Woody
In 2022, we shined a spotlight on the Woody family, providing a glimpse into their everyday life with ALS from many different perspectives. This year, we’ve invited Kristina to continue sharing with us personally as their journey continues, and we hope you will follow along.
Hello ALS community and Happy New Year!
We have successfully ripped the December pages off our calendars and symbolically turned a new page in our lives. Well, at least from a linear perspective of time, it all feels a little new. Personally, new years have never felt as if I have truly moved into a new season or moment in life. We all know from experience, especially those in our community, that new milestones and seasons of life can come regardless of what month it is. This is why reflection has become so important to me and why I believe reflecting on our experiences is really the only way to comprehend time.
Looking back on the beginning of 2022, I would have never anticipated telling my family’s story to so many with the help of The ALS Association. I was working two jobs as a nurse, transitioning to another clinical position, all while trying to support my husband Lamar (diagnosed with ALS in 2018) with his goals toward completing his college degree, and maintaining the busyness of motherhood, raising our 8-year-old daughter.
Reflection on the last year and the years since Lamar was diagnosed with ALS, reveals that we have survived some of the hardest years in our life together. However, I have also gained new knowledge, skills and sense of community. Most importantly, I have gained a lot of patience and gratitude, both with myself and with others.
What I’ve tried to emphasize in sharing our story is that the uniqueness of our journeys is what strengthens our community. The power of diversity! Every Caregiver is not a nurse like me. Every ALS patient was not diagnosed at the same point in life as Lamar, he was only 30 when we found out. Our families may not have the same goals for quality of life. But sharing our stories and reflecting on what we’ve learned along the way, brings potentially new information to our feet and certainly fills us with compassion and hope for each other as we journey.
Many readers may already know me and my family through the Association’s media content distributed in 2022. But for those who may not know me yet, I am Kristina Woody, and my family includes my husband Lamar and our daughter Natalie who is now nine. Lamar and I have been married for 13 years. I have been a registered nurse for 11 years, with a passion for holistic care and nutrition therapy.
I’ve graciously been granted the opportunity to share what I’ve learned (and am learning) from these life and professional experiences on this monthly blog. I hope to bring a voice to the patient & caregiver community by discussing relevant topics, themed each month. And I would love to hear more about your journeys, answer questions or include topics that may be important to you. Please feel free to reach out by sharing in the comment section below.
As we finish out this month, be encouraged that whatever season you find yourself in ─ new or mundane ─ you are doing a good job. Blessings!