San Antonio woman living with ALS shines light on healthcare disparities with the disease

“I want to see this disease cured for myself and others.”

SAN ANTONIO – They dote on each other like any other happily married couple.

“Kind of a funny story there. Easy baby, it’s okay,” Jack Triplett said.

“We’ll be together 29 years on Tues... 29 years on Tuesday,” Laura Triplett added.

After almost three decades of laughter and love for the Tripletts, they tied the knot in Hawaii and always wanted to go back.

Life had other plans.

“Basically, everything’s on hold here. That’s why the Christmas tree is still standing behind you. That’s been there since 2019 when she was diagnosed,” Jack said.

Laura, a vibrant yoga teacher, was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that breaks down your nerve cells impacting the muscles and physical function.

It’s taken her ability to care for herself, even to speak.

“It’s been, been quite a long time since I’ve heard her voice. I miss it,” Jack said.

Forty-nine-year-old Laura can communicate yes or no answers through blinking. Longer sentences come through her eye gaze.

In her words, she shared what living with this disease is like.

“ALS patients become prisoners of their failing bodies. For as long as this disease has been known, there should be much more that can be done but our numbers are not as great as other diseases because progression is so fast,” Laura said.

There are several FDA-approved drugs to help slow the progression of ALS but they’re costly.

“I’ll take anything they’ve got. But realistically, the $125,000, it would take me about a year and a half of just straight salary to make that much money,” Jack said.

On top of that, Laura needs a caregiver 24/7.

Jack takes care of her when he’s not working and her mom cares for her the rest of the time.

But because of qualifying issues, Laura cannot obtain a full-time nurse.

“Realistically, that’s where we’re going to end up. There’s no provision for that in any insurance that I know of,” Jack said.

Her other option is hospice care.

“They’re going to be keeping her comfortable only. So that’s not really a, that’s not really any kind of life to offer,” Jack said.

He explained they’re using a company called Searchlight to help them find a list of resources in one spot.

Laura said her goal is to make it to her 50th birthday next year.


About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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