In memory of David Bryan
someone we've lost to ALS
We pursued a second opinion by consulting with a neurologist from Duke University. This second confirmation was what it took to accept this awful verdict.
I lost David Bryan, the love of my life, on August 4th, 2023.
David was diagnosed with ALS in October 2020, and August 31st, 2023 would have been our 22nd wedding anniversary.
In the days after his diagnosis, we desperately researched all ALS mimicking diseases. For weeks we did this. There even existed a plausible explanation for his symptoms and that was lead poisoning. David had just spent all of 2019 restoring an old house, removing lead-based paint from woodwork. But alas, no lead poisoning. I pushed for so many additional tests in hopes of finding something else to explain his symptoms, but his neurologist felt certain of the diagnosis. We pursued a second opinion by consulting with a neurologist from Duke University. This second confirmation was what it took to accept this awful verdict.
The survival timeline of 2-5 years was devastating. We committed to surviving at least 10 years, seeing some people in the ALS community living this long. In the first year, it seemed possible because his symptoms were slow to impact anything more than his left arm. But in the second year, many things were lost; like driving, walking, use of both hands and forced vital capacity scores.
In the third year, daily life became more challenging. We were happy though. We had our daily routines which made for, I realize now, a very fulfilling life. We had morning caregivers 7 days a week and nighttime caregivers 7 nights a week. During the days I made lunch and became incredibly skilled at making him a USDA choice steak on the stove. From one of our many streaming services I found a new murder investigation for him to watch until I was off work from my remote job. After work we binged and looked forward every day to the next episode of whatever. But I can’t finish Billions (season 7) or Lincoln Lawyer (second half of season 2) or Only Murders in the Building (season 3) because these were all in process when he died.
The grief I feel without him is unbearable. Although his speech was almost undetectable at the end he still made me laugh like no one else ever will, was the best father to our cherished son, and provided me every day with a listening ear, advice, friendship and love. I will miss you forever, David Bryan.