My name is Teresa Rauch. I am a wife of 26 years and mother of seven children, ages 24, 22, 21, 13, 11, 7 and 6. On December 2, 2015, I was diagnosed with Sporadic ALS. For those who do not know what ALS is...Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. The rate at which ALS progresses can be quite variable from one person to another. Although the mean survival time with ALS is three to five years, many people live five, 10 or more years. For more information, please visit www.alsa.org.
My progression has been quite rapid. In December 2014 my husband and I went to Gulfport, MS to visit our son who was stationed there in the Navy. I was able to walk along the coast for several miles. However, by April of 2015 I was not able to walk a half mile without difficulty. Then by September I was using a cane; by December I was having difficulty swallowing and speaking. Now, as of February 2016, I need a walker full time; I also still have a voice and am able to enjoy food. However, by the end of the day I speak very little and cut my foods up very small.
In 2001, I quit work to better provide for the needs of my husband and children. Up until my diagnoses I was very active in my children’s life. I volunteered in their classrooms, volunteered in church, sport, and school functions. I love being active with my children and husband doing all I can to make their lives more enjoyable. I loved surprising my children with little things like trips to the park on a school night, play dates with friends and treating them to ice cream before supper, and those mini dates with my husband.
God truly blessed me with an awesome family. There is not anything I would not do for them. It has been very difficult for me to go from being physically active in their lives and tending to the household, to having little or no ability to do the things I have come to enjoy for myself. Like volunteering, standing and preparing meals or fixing a special treat, taking care of and cleaning the household.
This disease makes me wonder if I will ever see my four younger school age children graduate from high school, see my older children get married, and have children of their own. The thought of not being there has become very hard on me. My youngest has already asked two hard questions of my husband; are you going to remarry, because she did not want to be without a mommy and if she was good would mommy not die.
My husband is a private man and has always had the attitude in tough times to keep moving forward, get through it and we will still be in holding each other’s and Gods hand in the end. I reminded him of this and he replied yeah but I will not be able to hold yours. I know my husband will not take the time to grieve if there is a bill to pay. I have children who will need him to be there, to help them with grieving.
I am raising funds to help offset the costs of my prescription medication, medical needs (now and to come), a wheelchair van, funeral expenses, take my family on a vacation, send my children to summer camp, school tuition and any extra gifts to pay down our mortgage. Our school age children attend Ada Christian School in Ada, Michigan. We had been blessed by God to receive partial scholarships for the past 3 years. However, I am afraid that we might not be able to hold up our portion of the tuition. The families of Ada Christian have already been wonderful with meals and gifts.
Your monetary gift will help me to continue to help me help my family. Your gift will also help my husband be able to take time off work to take care of my needs and my children’s needs.
I am hoping to have some of the funds by late July of this year to take my family on a vacation because I do not anticipate that I will be able to go by next summer. We have not had a family vacation sense 2006 and it would be nice for all of us to share in doing this again.
I will do my best to post updates.
Thank you so much for your willingness to help with your gift. I pray that God will be a blessing in your life as He has been in my family and mine.