Broadway star Aaron Lazar says 'I'm passionately fighting for my life' and not just the disease after his ALS diagnosis

Broadway star Aaron Lazar says 'I'm passionately fighting for my life' and not just the disease after his ALS diagnosis
Aaron Lazar was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January 2022 (Instagram/@aaronscottlazar)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Aaron Lazar decided that he was not going to fight for his life after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January 2022. "Don't get me wrong; I'm passionately fighting for my life, I'm just not fighting the disease," the Broadway star told People during a candid conversation about his health.

"I've learned to surrender to ALS in a way that lets me appreciate the moments between life's peaks and valleys. Because I don't want to miss them," he added.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

The disease has no cure 

The actor's gutsy decision comes as in the face of a brutal illness with no known cure. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to a loss of muscle control that often leaves patients prisoners in their own bodies, unable to move, speak, swallow and, eventually, even breathe.

The 47-year-old made the wise choice of focusing on healing himself emotionally, spiritually and yes, physically and "not to live life afraid."


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

Aaron Lazar says life is 'not black and white'

"Life's very nuanced, It's not black and white," Lazar said, adding "I used to think it was. I had a real cinematic idea of what life was, and I was going to be a hero. My whole life, I succeed at whatever I worked my ass off at doing. I had that really energy of Rocky, you know? 'Never give up, never quit.' But now I realize that to survive this, I can't try and beat it like it's an opponent; I have to heal."

"This is a disease of the nervous system," he added. "If I'm running disease through those wires that connect the brain to the body, then how can I really restore ease to my body?," Lazar continued.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

Aaron Lazar's daily life after ALS diagnosis

Lazar began a “very conscious, very disciplined" exploration of holistic health over the past couple of years, going through over 60 books before settling on a "disciplined" treatment routine that includes a gluten-light diet to reduce inflammation, smoothies that detox the body's heavy metals, modified workouts to maintain mobility, a regular meditation routine to center himself and a spiritual practice based in gratitude.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

His "teachers" along the process ranged from medical doctors and renowned scientists to yogis and spiritual teachers.

"ALS is different for everyone, so I’ve created a practice that helps me be resilient and courageous in the face of significant challenges,” Lazar said noting that those experiencing the illness consult with their own doctors before building their own treatment plans.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

Aaron Lazar's medications after being diagnosed with the disease

Initially, medication was a part of Lazar's plan.  Two are on the market, neither of which are cures. On the contrary, they slow the rate of decline in some patients, extending the time until a breathing tube is needed.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

Lazar took both, starting with Riluzole, even though he eventually had to go off that when his liver started reacting negatively to it. The actor went on Relyvrio, a drug newly approved by the FDA also said to slow progression, about a year and half after his diagnosis. 

However, news broke out earlier this year that phase three trials of that medication failed, so his doctor, Dr Richard A Lewis at Cedars-Sinai, told him,"You can stay on it if you want, but you can also just stop taking it."


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

Aaron Lazar has always tried to stay positive and filtered out negative thoughts 

"The disease itself is like a tractor beam to death. It just feels like a negative, collective consciousness around it is bleak and hopeless," Lazar told the outlet.

"So I had to rise above that. And it started with understanding how I have to think about it, and then how I feel about it and then what I believe about it. Basically, courage became hope, and hope became faith, and faith became belief, and belief became practice, and practice became experience and experience became knowing, That's how I got there," he added.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

Aaron Lazar lives in the moment and does not think too far ahead

"None of us know how much life we got left. We don't know how many of those moments we have left — and I don't want to miss those moments," said the actor, adding "I'm an actor. I'm supposed to be really good at being in the moment, but ALS taught me how to really do that."

"This disease has been a real opportunity to change things about myself," he said. "And while the physical progression of ALS is terrible, I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been. I've embraced self-love in a way I never have before. I can honestly say, I'm a better partner, father, actor, friend and overall person than I've ever been," Lazar continued.

Lazar called healing from ALS his "impossible dream," a nod to the song of the same name from Man of La Mancha. "In the nightmare of ALS, I've learned to dream again," he said.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Aaron Lazar (@aaronscottlazar)


 

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