Faces of ALS: Frank Granata – Staying active and enjoying life
As a finance executive, Frank Granata often traveled for business. In 2018, after having lived in India for two years for a work assignment, Frank began having neurological issues including intense nerve pain and numbness. When Frank sought treatment, one of the doctors recognized his symptoms and referred him to the Lois Insolia Clinic at Northwestern Medicine, where he was diagnosed with ALS.
Since Frank’s diagnosis, ALS has impacted his ability to do many of the things that he loves – like cooking meals for his family, golfing, and especially riding his custom chopper motorcycle. But Frank won’t let ALS stop him from doing everything – especially working out 5-6 times/week at a local health club.
“Currently, ALS is primarily affecting the fine motor skills in my upper body and breathing. Hannah at ShirleyRyan Ability Lab put together a workout regimen to accommodate my needs. I spend my time at the gym actively working out the muscles that still respond to help optimize the motor functions I have remaining, so that I can have some sense of independence for as long as possible.”
Being a part of a tightknit family, Frank knew that he could rely on them to help take on this battle with ALS.
“As empty nesters, we are blessed to have several close family members live within a mile of our house. At this time, my wife is my primary care giver and works from home. My son actively helps with my needs when she needs extra assistance. He has chosen to attend Loyola University Chicago for his medical education not only because it is a great medical school, but also because it is located here in the Chicagoland area so that he could be near me as this disease progresses.”
In addition to Frank’s family and his medical team, the Foundation’s Support Services team continues to provide him and his family with much-needed support and care.
“The Support Services team is truly amazing,” Frank says. “Everyone I have worked with is highly skilled, genuine, personable, and sincerely concerned about my well-being. I cannot emphasize this enough. The Support Services team has listened to every detail that I have given them and tried to find a way where they can be of service or refer me to someone that could further assist me. My team is really trying to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to helping me and my family through this difficult and daunting journey. The same can also be said about every physician and clinical care team that I regularly work with at the Foundation.”
As Frank continues his ALS journey, he not only plans on staying committed to his workout regimen while he can, but he will continue enjoying life and making the most of his time with his family.
Frank and his wife are currently making their second home in Sarasota, Florida more accessible so that they can spend more time there and continue making memories. He also recently purchased a car that is voice-controlled! Staying positive and keeping a good sense of humor also helps.
“When you have ALS, you have to keep your sense of humor. It’s easy for me to think about the things that I was able to do prior to my diagnosis, but it could easily lead me down a path of self-pity or anger. You have to remember that this disease is completely random, you don’t know what’s next so you might as well just roll with the punches and have a laugh or two along the way. The first thing that comes to mind for me is, Are you kidding me? and then I just laugh it off.”