This is a rare disease that does not get the attention it deserves. There is no cure! There is one FDA approved drug that is supposed to extend your life by 3 months! This disease will strike another 5,000 families this year. I say families because it maybe one person that has the disease but it affects the whole family. Will it be your family this year or next year? Mine started with a twitch in my left tricep in November 2015 and I thought I had just over worked my muscle. Well it started happening more and more that by March that I went to see my doctor. She referred me over to neurology and I went through all the test to rule everything else out, because there is no test for ALS. It was rough for the six weeks of being told that you could have ALS but we have to rule out everything else before the doctors will say it is ALS. My doctors are at Walter Reed Medical center. They would not tell me I had ALS without getting a second opinion. So I was sent to John Hopkins for that second opinion. I had to go through the blood, EMG and nerve conduction test again. They were the first ones to tell me that I had ALS on May 23, 2016. My life changed that day. I have been doing all kinds of research trying to find out as much as I could about ALS and other motor neuron diseases. My wife Pam and I now had to decide how we were going to tell our kids, family, and friends. A few friends and Marines knew that I was being tested for but we had not told everyone because we wanted to make sure before we said anything. We started with our kids and immediate family and then told family and co-workers.
I have been a Marine for the last 27 years and just re enlisted for my last 3 years in October 2015 a month before I started having issues. This would give me 30 years in my beloved Corps! Now I was being told that this disease I have takes most people within 3-5 years from diagnosis. I now had a new fight. I wasn't going to be fighting for God, Country, Corps anymore I am fighting for my life. How do you motivate a Marine! Tell him that he can't do something and he will prove you wrong. We have been doing this for almost 241 years! I accept the challenge!
I am a Marine reservist that came on Active duty to support the Marines of Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command. July 2016 I was sent TAD to Wounded Warrior Battalion East Walter Reed to start my care and medical board. I never thought I would be part of WWBN. Here I am with all these hero's. I may have more time in the Marine Corps than most of these Marines have alive, but they have given more for this country than I have. I am a Marine among hero's. I have fought in the three different decades. I have been a very lucky Marine to have survived Desert Storm, Iraq in 2003, 2005, and Afghanistan in 2009-10 with out a scratch. But did I make it out without a scratch? Or do I have ALS because of one of those tours? They are doing research trying to find out why veterans are twice as likely to get ALS as those that never serve. If you serve in the military for 90 days or more you are in that category.
I have served with the Marine Corps finest at Bravo Battery 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, Alpha Company 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion, Delta Company 2nd Platoon UNITAS 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion, H&S Co 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 5th Civil Affairs Group, HQMC C4-IMA Det, H&S Co 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Marine Forces Pacific IMA Det, MARFORCYBER, and WWBN East. I am currently going through the medical board process and will be retired from the Marine Corps in the next 6 months. I
I have started attending an ALS support group and it has been very enlightening. No one is immune to this disease. I see this in the support group. There are men and women of all nationalities. We are all going through this and we are all at different stages. Some of the support group have lost their loved ones to the disease and they keep coming back to support those that are still fighting. I say fighting because you are fighting your own body shutting down on you.
Please help me get the word out to those veterans that don't know they are twice as likely to get ALS. Share my story! Walk to Defeat ALS! Donate to the ALS Association!