"Let's start at the beginning. You were diagnosed with ALS in July of 2011. You rejected that diagnosis. Maybe that was just denial, but regardless, your health declined. You foolishly continued to work until December of 2012.
"Fortunately, you took a vacation with your family, a cruise. It was fortunate because you were healthy enough to enjoy the time with your family. I want to remind you that it was the last trip that you would take without assistance. I want to remind you of the pain you felt when you realized that independent travel was over.
"In December of 2012, a lot of things happened. You realized you could not drive anymore without having an accident. You also realized it was time to leave your job. Remember how hard it was to tell your boss that you were leaving? Remember what it felt like to tell your team goodbye? These are people that you lived with, mentored, and went to battle with. All these people were family and all of them were sad to see you go. You were saying goodbye to independence.
"Your company did a great thing for you. They took care of you and made sure your family was well looked after. Even Jack Hand, your CEO, personally gave you assurance that all would be well. Good news, they lived up to their word.
"Then the struggle began. for some reason your health declined rapidly. Your hands stopped working and your legs started getting weaker. Every time you spoke, you felt as though you had a frog in your throat. You couldn't say certain sounds anymore and it frustrated you. Only people close to you were able to understand you. You had a couple of caregivers that were taking care of you during the day, but as time wore on they got worn out. I remember you praying for someone to take care of you because now you needed care 24 hours a day!
"Russell lived in Ridgefield and was only a mile from your home. He had been unsuccessfully searching for a job for four years. He comes to your home, hoping to get a job and made the most outlandish statement during the interview, 'You are going to be healed, Akhil!' At that moment you did not know if this guy was a lunatic or a gift from God. Fortunately for you, he did not turn out to be an axe wielding murderer.
"His whole family turned out to be very strong believers in supernatural healing. I want to remind you that it was Russell's family that pulled you through your times of doubt. God knew you could not take this journey alone and He took care of you. There were many times when you wanted to quit. And by quit I mean suicide. Remember how lonely you felt even though you were surrounded by people. People tried to make you feel better by saying they were praying for you, yet nothing good was happening. At least, nothing was happening as far as you knew. God was doing things in the background and he was waiting for you to have a little faith.
"You panic. You can't explain it to anyone. No one will understand, so you just sit there, sweating. Nothing has changed yet you are covered with perspiration. The words of Paul came to your mind, 'our battle is not with flesh and blood, it is with the powers and principalities of this world.'
"You understood what that meant. You're not fighting with your body, you're fighting with the demons of your mind. This was especially bad at night. Fear gripped you and wouldn't let go, You were afraid of being alone, afraid you couldn't call out, afraid you would suffocate.
"Remember how you overcame this? You gave into your fear for one minute, and then you started focusing on your breathing. In out, in out, in out. You did that until you started focusing on what you were grateful for. At the top of the list, your family, Russell's family, your friends, and finally you were back to normal. You call this exercise 'mental gymnastics'.
"Your mind was your biggest enemy and your biggest ally. In order to survive you had to discipline your thoughts, and become ruthless with eliminating damaging ideas. Its not as easy as one would think, right? But you made it!
- You were going to teach/preach about the goodness of Jesus.
- You were going to setup a ministry for healing others.
- You were going to take your family on another cruise, without any assistance!
- You were going to continue with your blog.
"Akhil, I don't know where you are today. I do know that God loves you and has always had big plans for you. These plans scared you and you wanted to press the eject button but God was with you. Say, ' hi' to Russell and his family for me. Remind them how they were part of the miracle!"
No, I am not schizophrenic. I know that I am going to be healed. And I do not want to forget what it felt like to have ALS. I wanted to write a letter to myself to capture the experience. Maybe some of you can get an insight into what is going on in my mind right now. Maybe some of you can benefit from my positive thinking. Or, maybe not :-)
Tell me what you think, I am curious. And by the way, if you could give your future YOU advice, in two or three words, what would it be? For me it would be, be grateful!