ALS patient finds help at UT health clinic

Fincher: I was in complete denial this was happening to me

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a condition that that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and robs patients of their mobility, speech and the ability to breath; making life for those diagnosed a challenge.

However, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, there's a clinic where ALS patients can get seen by multiple doctors in one visit.

Bob Fincher, an ALS patient diagnosed in November 2012, has been making the trip to the clinic for the past year and a half and he said he has been healthy all his life and had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he had this disease.

"Well, it's scary because you know you're going downhill," said Fincher. "The thing was, I was in complete denial that this was happening because I had been so healthy. So I went around to other neurologists to try and find my way out of it."

The University of Texas Health Science Center's clinic gives Fincher the ability to see a neurologist and a list of other therapists, who are all tracking his progress.

Fincher still has the ability to speak and move around but he said he has definitely felt a difference in day-to-day activities, like driving.

"I get awful tired," Fincher said. "You'd be surprise how going from gas to break, how much energy that takes."

Fincher is learning to live with ALS, which means learning to conserve his energy. So, he's cut back on doing activities that he used to 

enjoy, like painting family and pet portraits.

"I just don't feel like doing anything physical right now because I feel if I overdo it, I'm taking away from now and I don't want to do 

that," Fincher said. "I want to stick around."

Fincher has lost 20 pounds and has noticed the loss of power in his voice toward the end of the day.

However, he and his wife said they are working through it and taking the disease one day at a time.

For information on San Antonio's Walk to Defeat ALS, click here.

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