I write this story not only with a heavy heart, but also with hope. After much thought and taking the time for Keith and our family to absorb the heartbreaking, life altering diagnosis that has turned our life as we know it upside down. We would now like to share that diagnosis with you all.
On June 13, 2019, Keith Stewart; my husband, companion, best friend of 25 years, father of our children: Kendrick, Martecia, Jhavon, KeShawn, Big Papa of MaKiya, Prince, Jhaylen, a new bundle of joy expected in February, son of Major and Johnnie Stewart, was diagnosed with ALS.
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is sometimes more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a rapidly progressive and fatal neuromuscular disease that is characterized by degeneration of a select group of nerve cells and pathways (motor neurons) in the brain and spinal cord. This loss of motor neurons leads to progressive paralysis of the voluntary muscles. The heart is not a voluntary muscle, and therefore it remains unaffected by the disease as does the mind. However, since breathing is controlled voluntarily by the chest muscles, death usually occurs when the chest muscles are no longer able to help the lungs achieve adequate oxygenation. ALS is not contagious, but it is fatal. For the most part, the battle is short, with 80% of people losing their lives within two to five years of diagnosis.
We believe onset started a year ago with Keith feeling as though he pulled a muscle or torn his rator in his right shoulder while working. It continued to affect the whole right arm, he currently has very little movement in that arm. During this time he was also experiencing the feeling of pure exhaustion with all of his daily activities. His employer, Conner Industries, had also noticed that something was not right; assigning him jobs that were not so stressful for him. Keith is no longer able to work nor am I. Caring for him has became my new job. There is no place else I want to be than by his side comforting and assisting him with his needs. Since the initial diagnosis, weakening of the left upper torso is present and in the lower torso. After several different doctor visits and testing, Keiths Neurologist gave us the devastating news. The doctor has also gave us the option to seek a second opinion at a specialty facility in Houston. Keith and our family real need this second opinion.
One of the biggest challenges for me has been trying to navigate all of the many issues which immediately arise when you're diagnosed with ALS including medical, legal and financial issues. It is very overwhelming.
With an enormous amount of humility, we have come to the point that we must ask for help. I set the fundraising goal at $1 because most of our needs are unknown. Any contribution will be helpful and appreciated.
We believe in the power of prayer and positivity. Our family would like to thank you in advance for any financial support you can provide along with continued prayers.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.