By Guillermo Garcia
My name is Guillermo Garcia. I am from San Antonio, Texas, and I was diagnosed with ALS in November 2015. It was ironic, because in August of 2014 we saw the Ice Bucket Challenge explode. Prior to that, we didn’t really have any knowledge of ALS and didn’t personally know anyone who had it. A group of us got involved in the challenge with my daughter’s softball team, and we started challenging everyone to do it. But we still didn’t really have a good idea of what it was.
In October of that year, my wife asked if I’d noticed that I had some twitching going on. I hadn’t until she pointed it out. We waited about a month to see if it would go away, but it didn’t. It just so happened that at the time, I was also having some issues with what we thought was carpal tunnel. I told my doctor about the twitching and was referred to a neurologist for some tests. I was diagnosed with ALS in November 2015, a year after initially noticing symptoms.
Getting the diagnosis was a punch in the stomach. My wife and three kids took it pretty hard. After we absorbed the reality of what was to come, I decided that I wasn’t going to let ALS drive my life completely. I started looking into the ALS Association of Texas and really dove into researching and trying to get as much information about ALS and what was out there.
Steve and Linda, the ALS Association care services team in San Antonio, are really cool people to be around. I stop by the office every so often to say hello, and I always see them at clinic. They remember everyone and check in with me every time I’m there. Aside from letting us know about any services available to us, just having someone to talk to and who checks in on how we’re doing is so helpful. They’re always open and will to talk about anything if we need it.
I attended a multidisciplinary clinic for the first time not long after my diagnosis. Dr. Jackson and her team at UT Medicine in San Antonio truly care about the patient and have a real desire to help. Everyone there, from the physicians to the ALS Association staff, make you feel important. We’ve been really impressed with the way everything is run. Plus, the ability to see so many disciplines in one visit makes everything so convenient, because the team works together to address concerns right then and there.
The last couple of years, my family and I have participated in the Walk to Defeat ALS and raised money for this cause. It was a really cool experience to get out and see such a large group of people coming together for the same cause. It helps people with ALS to not feel like they are different – it almost makes you feel normal again. The Walk has been a really neat experience for me and my family.
Because ALS tends to be a lesser-known disease, when it comes to learning how to move on with life, there’s really no one who does what the Association does. They really reach out to patients and have so many options and resources out there to turn to. It’s been really invaluable being able to have such a good organization that has staff who really go out of their way to make sure that you’re doing well and are aware of any help that’s out there.
None of these services would be available without your financial support. This is just a glimpse of the incredible impact your generosity can make, not only in my life, but on my family and so many other Texans like me. Thank you.
Support Texans facing ALS and their families by giving a charitable donation during this holiday season.