The ALS Association

My Mother Was My Best Friend

Sharon I. Denham Springs, Louisiana

My mom's symptoms started around 2006 when she started having pains in her left shoulder. It took three years for her to be diagnosed. Finally in November 2009, she began losing use of her left arm, and the neurologist in McComb, Mississippi did an EMG. She called me the day he gave her the results and told me that he thought she had ALS. My first response was "What is ALS, and what are they going to do to fix it?" She said, "No baby; it's Lou Gehrig's disease." My next response was "Ok, I've heard of that, but what is it??" I Googled it while I was on the phone with her and said "I'll call you back!!!"  I had a complete break down at work. By February 2010, she was almost completely paralyzed from the waist up. She insisted that she wanted to go into a local nursing home that was only about a mile from my house. Her progression was so fast and aggressive that we did not have time to think or know how to do anything else. She refused to be vented and at first did not want the feeding tube. She changed her mind about the feeding tube in June 2010 and agreed to have it done on June 15, 2010. On June 28, 2010, I got a call from the nursing home that she had fallen and was being taken to the hospital. We spent the week at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge because when they got her to the hospital to stitch up her forehead they ran tests and found her with aspirating pneumonia. My mother passed away Friday morning at approximately 5:10 a.m. on July, 2 2010 at the age of 69. My mother was my best friend and watching her suffer and pass away just eight months after diagnosis made something in me snap, and I vowed that I would be an advocate for ALS until the day I die or until a treatment or cure is found. I still grieve for my mother, but I can take comfort in the fact that I know she is no longer suffering!!! ~~~~ I H8 ALS ~~~~

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