Debbie Petrovsky, a woman with ALS residing in Massachusetts, pens poetry to articulate her experience living with the disease. Her unique expression is unique to her experience yet offers insight for those looking to learn more about the challenges of ALS.
"This was my first fall I had due to ALS. I was at a beach park with my husband and son. They left for a walk. I stayed back to sit, look at the sparkling sea and to do yoga."
At the beach, this was my alone time.
My time to daydream, reflect, stretch, do anything I choose
It was also, my time to fall.
Falling out of Warrior One.
The bench was there.
My feet were planted, or weren't they?
Suddenly I was afloat in the air seeing blue sky,
until my head hit the ground
Shock, confusion, upheaval, pain took hold.
My body, mine, on the ground sobbing, drooling, mute.
Where’s my phone? I can’t reach it.
Where’s my pillow; not here, it’s at home
Where are YOU?
I was able to lift my head to see…. not a soul.
Scapula driving into the dirt like an Indian Spearhead.
Every sob shook my fragile body against the hard ground
until I finally stopped
I knew I was okay
For that I was grateful
The perpetual question asked of me at every doctor's appointment,
“Have you fallen in the past year?”
I breezily answered “No, of course not. Me?”
I don’t fall.
How dare you insinuate, a gymnast, a ballerina, a yogi?
From a “have not”, to a fallen
Grey clouds moved across the sky adding a modicum of more drama.
Would I now get soaked?
I used to run between the raindrops
I hear casual chatter coming near.
Relief sets in.
“Hi Mom, doing yoga on the ground?”
How does one pick up a scared crumpled heap of human?
Where does one start? How will this end?
- Debbie Petrovsky
Debbie Petrovsky is a resident of both Massachusetts and Maine where she is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, avid gardener, and dietitian. She received her diagnosis of ALS in August 2019.
Before her disease struck, Debbie led a busy, productive life; cooking healthful family meals, exercising, exploring nature, or instructing patients about healthful diets. She has to give up many of these former activities or adapt them. Writing has become a new source of pleasure.