My name is Pat Nau. I moved to Green Valley in 2012 and learned about a new sport gaining popularity called Pickle Ball. I was so intrigued by the game that I immediately signed up to take lessons. I enjoyed this game and began playing at least four times per week. It provided exercise as well as a way to meet new friends. In 2021 I continued to play but began to notice that I had some difficulty. The first sign of something wrong was a weakness in my left arm. I was not able to hit the ball over the net.
Like so many other ALS individuals who were very active in multiple sports, it was hard for me to accept that my body was now in decline. I was an avid skier, equestrian rider, hiker, biker, and sailor. Why was my body failing when I worked all my life to stay fit? I spent a year visiting doctors looking for a diagnosis. The first doctor thought I had a torn rotator cuff, but further investigation and physical therapy did not alleviate the problem. Months later, my right arm began to show weakness, and this led me to an appointment with a neurologist. After tests, the doctor mentioned Lou Gehrig’s disease. I had heard of this disease but did not know anything about it. A quick google search on the drive home from the doctor’s office brought me to tears. On September 3, 2022, Dr. Scherer confirmed my diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Presently I have lost use of both arms and hands but can still walk with assistance. I use a power chair that allows me to navigate in my home. My speech is in decline, but I am still able to communicate with my voice. I have an amazing support group from my church, neighborhood, and community friends. My husband Rick is by my side every step of the way. Life is difficult but I continue to remain positive. I am hopeful that research will move forward, and we can find a cure for this disease.