It wasn’t his realization that “ALS sucks,” that defines Gib. It’s the bluntness and timing of his only complaint that personifies the man, Gib Pajauskas.
Gib’s battle started when his family noticed Gib was not his regular, talkative & engaging self. He was no longer making us all laugh with his matter of fact sense of humor nor joining in on all of the family antics. Gib was withdrawn. Our assumption was depression or anxiety, yet meds and counseling wasn’t the solution.
The examination room went silent after the neurologist diagnosed a combination of ALS and Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD). It was too much to ask that Gib’s new short attention span distract him from those words. He heard. The following week of day long tests was devastating; the sleepless nights, the crying, the praying. Gib was the bravest of us all. Maybe it was denial or maybe it was optimism, but he never complained nor showed any fear in front of us, his dear family.
Gib’s progression with ALS was a quick one. It’s the small, intimate enjoyments in life that ALS slowly takes from its victims that make this disease so terrible. For Gib it was cookies and going to the gym. Eating the delicious cookies friends and family brought over slowly became an impossible task once a feeding tube was the only way Gib could get nourishment. Trips to the gym became more infrequent and eventually stopped as Gib’s legs weakened. Mobility became walking with a cane and then regressed to a walker. It was a late night fall when Gib finally admitted to the paramedic helping him up that “ALS sucks.”
It was 4 years ago May 13th that Gib lost his battle with ALS.
Gib’s story is like so many ALS victims. All of them are different but they all have the same ending. The ending can change only with your help. The best thing in the lives of victims and their families is the ALS Association. Our family needed their support and guidance to not only help Gib in his last few months but also help the family from the initial diagnosis to support that continues to this day. The ALS Association cannot continue their work without your support. Gib and our family have been blessed with caring friends and family; we were lucky always to have someone with whom we could laugh, talk or cry. We will be eternally grateful for everyone who touched our lives in so many ways while Gib was ill. They would say it’s nothing. To us it was everything. Please, continue your support to ALS. To them it is everything!