David McClain has struggled with ALS for over 13 years.
His hope in God and family have inspired me.
Watch his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and read his letter below!
Greetings to each of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. My name is David Kurt McClain, I was born and raised in north Texas. I came to visit the State of Connecticut back in 1984 and am still visiting. I am the husband of one and the father of three. To those who know me, I thank you for your prayers and encouraging emails. To those who don’t know me, I ask that you take a moment to read this email and consider my thoughts. I want to give each of you a quick update on my physical condition, then, I want to share something from my heart. I want to share this with you know because I don’t know how much longer I have. I may have days, I may have weeks, or, God may grant me with yet another year.I am still hanging on by a nail that God has not yet trimmed. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease back in 2001, then ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2003. The average life expectancy with ALS is 1 to 3 years. I have been blessed and have beaten the average. ALS affects the brain neurons in a way so that the brain no longer communicates with the spinal cord ultimately causing paralysis. As a result, the muscles literally “waste” away. Strangely though, ALS does not affect the mind, heart, bladder or bowels. The 2 main causes of death with ALS are suffocation due to lung failure and pneumonia. Currently, I am paralyzed from my shoulders down. I lay motionless for 23 of the 24 hours in each day. I am a prisoner in my own body, an alive mind in a dead shell. Imagine having your arms and legs tied up and you have an itch on your back and can’t scratch it. I cannot stand, walk, sit up or move my arms and legs. My hands are swollen from lack of circulation and several times a day I have to have someone lift my arms so they won’t fall asleep. Several of my toes on each foot have “curled” under. I cannot speak, eat or drink and swallowing is extremely difficult for me. I am fed by a feeding tube implanted in my stomach. I cannot breathe on my own. I have a hole in my neck and a plastic tube in my windpipe from a Tracheotomy that I had to have 5 years ago. I am on a ventilator 24 hours a day because my diaphragm muscles are too weak to fill my lungs with air. I cannot cough up the secretions in my lungs so I have a special machine that “vacuums” out my lungs. I drool uncontrollable and have a wash rag in my mouth 24 hours a day to absorb my saliva. When I get cold or stressed out, I grind my teeth and have ground much of the enamel right off of my molars. Several times a week when I either cough or sneeze, my jaw will lock up causing me to bite my tongue. I have to wait several minutes until my jaw loosens up or else I have to buzz for someone to come and pry my jaw open, releasing my tongue from the grip of my teeth. My life is lived in my mind. I lay in bed with just my thoughts and my memories. The highlight of my day is actually when I am sleeping at night. When I dream at night, I am whole, I am not paralyzed. Amazing how the mind works. It’s a strange sensation that I have, in my mind, I can see my muscles moving, in my mind, I can feel my muscles moving, but in reality, nothing moves. I have a special computer that enables me to type, speak and go on the internet all with just the movement of my eyes. I am totally dependant on machines and other people just to survive each day. Little things that we take for granted like an itch on the eyebrow or a mosquito landing on an arm becomes a real “nightmare” for me. Ultimately, I will either die from suffocation, or, I will die from pneumonia. I tell you the graphic details to help you understand the disease of ALS and to help you realize just how “feeble” these bodies of our really are. I DO NOT tell you this for you to feel sorry for me…PLEASE DON’T!!!! ALS can take away many things but it CANNOT take away my attitude, my spirit and most important …my soul!!!!!Now comes the good part! As I travel this journey through the “shadow of death”, fear is NOT an option! My Savior and King, Jesus Christ, has carried me thus far and will continue to carry me until that day that He calls me home to Glory. The weaker that I become physically, the stronger I become spiritually because this “raggedy” old corruptible body will one day be incorruptible, this mortal will put on immortality, then, “death will be swallowed up by victory!” (1 Cor. 15:54) How awesome is that?! In this world full of hatred, sadness and despair, there is a blessed HOPE through Jesus Christ that heaven is a reality. Imagine a place where there will be no more tears, no more sorrows, no more crying, no more pain and no more mosquitoes!!! A place where our earthly bodies will be transformed into glorified bodies just like Jesus was when He arose from the grave. A place where we will know as we are known. A place where we will forever fellowship with family and friends who have gone before us. Heaven is a place where evil CANNOT exist, no more deception and sin. The lion will lay down with the lamb, the armadillo with the earthworm. But, above all and most important, Heaven is THE place where Jesus Christ, the very one who took upon Himself our sins and died in our place so that we can forever live for and worship Him, REIGNS AS KING!!! We will live in His radiant Glory for ever and ever. The lyrics of a song written by Keith Green go something like this, “In 6 days God created the whole world, but He’s been working on Heaven for 2000 years.” In the book of Revelation chapter 21, we get glimpse of the Holy city, New Jerusalem, made from the purest gold and finest of precious stones. There are 12 gates to the city and each one is made from a single pearl (That’s proof that the pearls came from Texas). Then, after a few more prophecy events take place on earth, we will live on a “new” earth that has been restored to perfection, just as it was before Satan messed everything up. Point being, for those of us who have trusted Christ as Savior, the best is yet to come. By the way, things get a little heated for Satan for the rest of eternity, reed about it in Revelation 20:10.Though the end of my earthly journey will bring victory and a new life with Christ, my path still has its share of “bumps”. The toughest part has been preparing my wife and kids. Please pray for them, Josh(26yrs.), Ben(24yrs.), Kathleen(21yrs.) and my wife Donna(never mind). Donna is my full time Caregiver and has been by my side every step of the way. There are no words that can describe the love, gratitude and appreciation that I have for her. It brings me much comfort in knowing that each one of them has trusted their hearts to the Lord and that someday, we will be reunited again. In Christ, there are no “Good-Byes!”. Looking back, I think of the things that I would do or try to achieve that would bring happiness to my life. Happiness is based on circumstances. I remember listening to an interview with Tom Brady (QB of the New England Patriots) after winning his 3rd Superbowl ring, that he still felt “empty”, like, something is missing, there must be more! True happiness, joy and fulfillment doesn’t come from “things” on the outside, but rather, from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ on the inside. The joy of the Lord is my strength and it is that strength that gets me through each and every day. Now, my friend, I beg of you for a favor. Please look into the depths of your own heart and know that you know that you know that you are born again (John 3:1-7). Many people know “OF” Christ and think that that is good enough to get them in Heaven…Not So!! According to the Bible which is God’s “love letter” written to you and to me, you must accept God’s son (Jesus Christ) as your Lord and Savior…For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever will believe in HiM, will not perish, but will have everlasting life (John 3:16). If you do know Him, live for Him, love Him and let your life be a reflection of His love. If you don’t know Him, realize that you are a sinner and that your sin has condemned you to eternal separation from God. Realize that Jesus Christ loves you so much that He died on the cross to free you from a literal and an eternal hell. Repent of your sins to the Lord and ask Him to forgive you. Trust your heart and your life to Him to be the Lord of your life. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). When that day comes for your journey to end, I will be waiting and I will rejoice with you when our Lord and Savior opens His arms and says to you “Well done, my good and faithful servant …ENTER IN!!!I will close leaving you with this challenge, regardless of how high the mountains seem to before you or how deep the valleys may appear, whatever the heavy weights are that pull you down or whatever the worries are that cloud your mind, know that God loves you and He knows exactly what you are going through. Give it over to Him!!!! As for me, be not upset but rejoice with me, death just brings life for eternity!! See you on the other side!TexDavid Kurt McClain
David’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:
A song I’ve written for David: