Mary Jo Peterson

First post: Dec 12, 2021 Latest post: Jul 22, 2022
Four years ago I noticed that my left foot would slap the ground when walking. I couldn't keep pace with my walking music either. Convinced by my daughter to see a doctor, I made an appointment. Seven months after the first noticeable symptoms, I received the dreadful diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  I was told the average life expectancy is 2-5 years. The first four years were filled with travel, doctor and therapy appointments, home modifications, and medical equipment training (including the eye gaze device I'm using to type this entry).  My disease has advanced to the point where I can no longer walk or use my arms, hands or fingers. I use a machine for breathing 24/7, speaking has become very difficult, and I need to be fed by family. My husband Rick, my children and my sisters have all taken on the role of at home caregiver. As difficult as this disease is for me, the most painful part is seeing how hard it is on my family, both physically and emotionally.  This journey has been gradual and I thank God for every day I get to spend with family and friends.