ALS: 1 year of new (part 1)

Joe Casper

My dad had been battling ALS since probably August or September 2018, but was diagnosed January 21st 2019. With this diagnosis, he ticked many things off his life bucket list. He became a kayaker, a skydiver, a snorkeler, a blogger, a life coach, an inspiration. And my dad stayed the things he loved being. A radio DJ, a fitness junkie, a traveler, a skier, a teacher, a father, a brother, and a friend. Everything my dad wanted to be, he was. Except healthy. My dad passed away exactly a week ago today (2.28.20.) I miss him so much it hurts everyday.

I decided to follow in my dads footsteps and start blogging again. Today, I want to start a series. I thought I could do it in one post, but I really want to be detailed with this. I want to go through this past year, well a little over a year. I want to really recap all the great things my dad did, the things we did together. The great things my mom and sister did for my dad. All the people my father impacted. The people he inspired. I’m having a really hard time grasping this past year, really accepting this loss (but who can when they lose a parent?) I feel like this will really help me to heal, and I hope someone will enjoy this little story of my dads year with ALS, and how it changed so many people.

Let’s start with his diagnosis. It was around December when we knew things weren’t right. Dad’s legs had been getting weak for a few months, but it hadn’t been extremely substantial until November or December when he started to walk like, and I quote, “Frankenstein.” His legs were stiff, and soon he would need a cane.

On January 3rd, my dad went to a doctors appointment where they told him it was a possibility it could be ALS, but he needed to see a neurologist first.

On January 22nd, my dad got his final answer. It was, indeed, ALS. We were all heartbroken. My dad was already using a cane, and soon would need crutches. This is one ugly disease, but the beauty that came out of it, the beauty and love from people was worth it.

We will start with our first adventure, Florida. My grandma rents a house everyday February on the coast and we decided to head out and have a early beach vacation.

My dad, mom, sister and I went snorkeling and swam with the manatees! It was so much fun. This was my sister and dad’s second or third time doing this, but it was my mom and my first. It was unforgettable!
My dad has family in Florida, so we put together a family barbecue while we were there. It was so much fun reconnecting with family. Lots of laughs were shared!
I love this photo because it’s all 3 of us, and we were super happy to be with family, in Florida, together.
This was such a great trip. We had great beach days, swam with manatees and snorkeled, ate delicious food (specifically chips and onion dip, a favorite of my dads), and we watched Bohemian Rhapsody which was amazing! This picture I specifically love, it shows my dads love and bond that we will always have. Even though he isn’t physically with me, I always feel him with me, keeping me safe. Just like he is in this picture ❤️ I won’t forget this Florida trip.