William (Bill) VanderPloeg was born in Valentine, Nebraska and moved to Ballard, WA when he was 13 years old. He graduated from Ballard High School and enlisted in the National Guard where he was awarded the Guardsman Award, the highest honor awarded in the National Guard. In 1977 Bill met the love of his life, Leanne and they were married in 1981. Bill and Leanne had two daughters, Julie in 1984 and Laurie in 1987! Bill went on to worked as a DJ, Landry Coin Operator and finally a Metro Bus Driver. This was his dream job and he had to retire early in 2019 because he was diagnosed with ALS.
Our journey began in 2016 with minor chest pain. Then Bill was starting to have weakness in his thumbs. Right was worse than left and it was localized to thumbs being worse. Nothing would take the numbness away or make it better. We were told an old dislocation injury might be causing the issue.
In 2017 Bill was diagnosed with CIDP (Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy). This is a very rare neurological disorder causing inflammation of nerve roots and peripheral nerves and destruction of the fatty protective covering over the nerves. He was getting IV treatments consistently at home. But he was not getting better.
After getting another opinion, on February 14, 2019 Bill was officially diagnosed with ALS B.A.D (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Brachial Amyotrophic Diplpegia) otherwise known as man in the barrel syndrome. He is unable to use his arms at all. Needs assistance feeding himself, going to the bathroom, getting dressed and any other movements or actions needing to use his arms.
We created this blog to be able to update on his status and share information about this horrible illness.