CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - A Clear Lake man was recently diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
KIMT News 3 sat down and spoke to him about his diagnosis and prognosis for the future.
For more than two years, Chuck Myers looked for answers and a name for his illness.
Eventually, he'd be diagnosed with ALS late this year.
The family told KIMT they are "hoping for the best, but planning for the worst" as they face the unknown on this medical journey.
Myers is just 49 years old and is married with two teenage daughters.
"Family is everything. Material things don't matter anymore the only thing that matters is these three girls sitting right here. That's all I can think about," explained Myers.
Two years ago Myers noticed he had lost strength in his hands.
"Muscles are twigs now. These hands are not mine. They are some old man, bony skinny hands," said Myers.
He has been forced to give up many of his hobbies, including racquetball and guitar, among other things.
"Brushing your teeth now takes two hands, it's heavy. I can't do fingernail clippers. She (his wife) shaves my head for me - anything with my hands is now difficult. I don't even drive anymore - because holding the wheel," said Myers.
To better understand the disease, KIMT spoke to the Director of Mayo's ALS Clinic, Dr. Nathan Staff.
"ALS is a progressive neurologic disorder where the motor neurons degenerate causing progressive paralysis. It's a fatal disorder and typically has an average life span of 3-years after diagnosis, although there is quite a bit of variability with that," said Dr. Staff.
He went on to say there is a lot of variability within the disease.
"It is not an immediate death sentence. So, there is definitely life to be lived and to experience that to the fullest, but at the same time you know this does progress over time and it's important to make planning for that," explained Staff.
Despite his diagnosis, Myers refuses to give up. Instead, he continues to focus on his mantra "Still I rise, Stronger than yesterday. I am not yet done".
As to what causes the disease, that is the million-dollar question.
Dr. Staff said that 10-percent of people who develop ALS inherit the genetic disorder, as for the other 90-percent it could be a mix of genetics or environmental factors.
To learn more about ALS.
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