Amy Adams Gowan's Blog

"I might have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for." Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939

About Amy Adams Gowan

My Guardian Angel, Catherine "Cathy" Simpson Aslin

My name is Amy Adams Gowan, 43 year old mother and wife, from Nashville, TN.  I am married to my best friend Robert Gowan.  I have two awesome children, Catherine, 5, and Will, 2.  I am an attorney in the Green Hills area of Nashville.

From May 2009 – August 2009, I began having some unexplained falls .  It felt like my knees were buckling and my quad muscles were weak.  As I’ve generally been an athletic sort all my life, I started working out with an awesome personal trainer, Brian Sandlin, at the Maryland Farms YMCA to strengthen my quads and “lose the last 8 lbs of baby weight in my gut”.  I continued to have muscle weakness and developed muscle twitches.  After my PCP, Dr. Jim Lancaster, checked my blood and it came back normal, I went to a neurologist.

My fear was MS.  On October 15, I did a “field-sobriety” test with the neurologist of touching my nose, standing on one foot, walking on tippy toes, etc.  He immediately said I had early ALS, this would be “our secret” and I shouldn’t tell anyone including my husband until he could do an EMG in 11 days, and left me sitting there in shock.  I really am mostly intelligent but did not know much about ALS other than it was Lou Gehrig’s disease and eventually you couldn’t breathe.  Like an idiot I checked the internet upon my return to the office and had the breath sucked out of me when I saw the life expectancy was 3 – 5 years! I was speechless, hysterical, and immediately began doing the math of the age of my children.

I called my friend and doctor, Dr. Terry Adkins, unable to speak.  He was shocked too.  He advised me to absolutely tell Robert and anyone else to help me get through the next 11 days.  Within an hour, he called and emailed me back with a plan.  I should get a 2nd and perhaps 3rd opinion, probably at Mayo Clinic and an academic facility that had an MDA-ALS clinic as they do most of the ALS research and receive the most funding.  Vanderbilt University Medical Center is one of 20 MDS-ALS facilities in the US.  A blessing for treatment, but not where I wanted to go for a 2nd opinion.  Being a litigation attorney, I’m skeptical of most everyone and felt it would be better to get out of town.

Of course I told Robert that day and he was great.  On his way to Chattanooga, he turned around and came home.  We were both devastated but didn’t really believe it.  Scared to tell Geneva, my mother, as I knew I would “lose it”, I finally did.  In true strong woman/Geneva R. Adams fashion, she remarked “I don’t believe that”.  On October 26, I went back to see the neurologist.  He completed the EMG and said “as I thought, you have ALS.  You probably want to get a 2nd opinion.  You could go to Vanderbilt or I knew a guy at Mayo in Jacksonville but he’s left, not sure where he went, that you might want to see.”  Through tears, I was somewhat in cross-examination mode when I asked him “Do you mean I’m going to die in 5 years? I have a 2 yr old and 5 yr old.” He was “nice enough” to share with me that his mother died when he was 15 yrs old and that my kids would be ok.  Needless to say that was very “comforting” to me.  When I asked for an MRI as most ALS diagnosis’ are made after the results of an MRI, he said he would but he didn’t think it would show anything.

Five days later, he called to advise me that as he suspected my MRI was normal, there was no treatment and what were my plans.  He gave me little or no direction other than I could try and get in clinical trials and to get a 2nd opinion but no information on how and where.  He may be a great neurologist, but his explanation, demeanor and bed-side manner were horrible.

As soon as “my angel”/cousin/sister, Cathy Simpson Aslin found out, she also went to work.  She is a BSN and the school nurse at Woodland Presbyterian School in Memphis, TN.  One of her parents, a neurologist at St. Jude, trained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  After registering on their website, I received a call within 24 hours.  An appointment was booked for December 8, within three weeks, with Dr. Michelle Mauermann.  On December 7, 2009, Robert, Cathy and I flew to Rochester, MN.  It so happened there was a blizzard and temps got down to -12 degrees!! Luckily for the Southerners, Rochester’s downtown is completely underground.  We prided ourselves in never going “topside”!

Mayo Clinic was incredible!! It is the way health-care should be – on time, professional, efficient, and compassionate.  Dr. Mauermann was a young doctor who also has a 2 yr old.  After a two hour examination, she also felt like I had ALS.  At this point, we all began to accept my diagnosis.  I don’t think I’ve cried so much in my entire life.  Grief is an understatement to describe how I felt.  All the same, Dr. Mauermann had another EMG run, blood work taken, oximeter readings to verify her diagnosis.  All came back with results indicating ALS.  The next day I met with a physiatrist (doctor specializing in physical therapy), physical therapist, ALS nurse, and social worker.  Although a devastating diagnosis, they were all so kind and upbeat.  They advised I could return in March or get a referral to the ALS clinic at VUMC.  Naturally, I chose VUMC as it was more convenient.

In an effort to get home a day early to see our kids (as my days may be limited), we tried to move up our flight on American Airlines.  Initially I had called American Airlines to see if there were open-ended tickets for Mayo patients.  They advised there was a 5% discount and it was cheaper to book online.  Therefore, I booked as they advised.  I later learned that if you make reservations directly through Mayo Travel, you can get a somewhat “open-ended” ticket with a $70 change fee.  Much cheaper than the $400/ticket change fee they wanted to charge us.  Eventually we ended up buying one-way tickets for $350/ticket as they were cheaper.  DON’T FLY AMERICAN AIRLINES!!! They also lost our luggage during the blizzard for 24 hours after we paid $60 to check them.  The flight was 2 hours late too.

VUMC  has been top-notch.  Dr. Peter D’Onofrio is professional yet has a dry wit.  He advised I had very early onset ALS, other than my legs and ankles was very strong, and with my attitude (smart-aleck no doubt), had a chance of exceeding the life expectancy for up to 7-10 years.  That may sound depressing to some, but this was the first positive news I have heard throughout this process.  I told him I was terrified of losing my voice to which he replied after 20 minutes with me “I can see that in you”.  He told me for the time being my mouth was fine!

I began physical therapy with Lisa Haack at the Pi Beta Phi Rehab Center in late January.  Although very different from strength training, it’s so good to be doing something physical.  My legs are weak and I have difficulty on stairs, but overall I’m in good shape.  As muscles eventually atrophy, I’m not allowed to burn/strengthen muscle.  I have to keep my heart rate within 20 bpm of my resting heart rate.  This is probably one of the most challenging things for me to deal with as I have always been in decent shape.  More than once she had to tell me to “slow down” on the stationary bike.  Even so, it felt good to stretch out and do some cardio, physically and mentally.

My plan is to keep doing physical therapy to maintain the strength I have.  I’m not in denial that my muscles will probably atrophy but I plan on fighting as long as I can.  Also, I’m on a waiting list to get into some clinical trials.  We have several fun trips planned including a Disney Cruise for Spring Break and a family trip to Montana in June.  I have reconnected with so many friends which has been  awesome.  Not exactly the way I wanted to get back together, but I’ll take it! I just don’t feel terminally ill and I plan on living while I’m here vs. dying.  It is sometimes hard to keep a positive outlook, but I have so much family/friend support.  The most difficult obstacles for me as an active, busy-body, control-freak is to slow down, let go and live in the present.  I will work until I can’t, it helps me from obsessing all the time.

As of January 30, 2010, this is where I am in life.  I feel like I’m running a marathon, mostly in a good way.  This is my first blog so please forgive my ignorance.  I will try to update it and add more information in the future.

134 Comments»

  Kim Fennell wrote @

Thank you for sharing brave girl!

  Stacey wrote @

Glad to see you have a blog to pass on updates and stay in touch. I love you and I’m praying for you from way up here in Pittsburgh! Talk to you soon!

  Doug Pitts wrote @

From one control freak to another………You have made a good choice in your attitude……Let it go, and live in the present…….every day is a gift, and it is all in God’s hands. It is amazing the new perspective that will put into your life, and believe me that perspective will allow you to slow down and look at each day with a new appreciation. Life is good and attitude is everything!!!!!

Let me know if there is anything we can do.

We love you!!!

  Amber McDowell wrote @

Love you, Amy! Think of you guys every day :)

  Amber McDowell wrote @

Love you, Amy! Thanks for keeping us updated. Thinking of you guys every day.

  Tricia Schelzig wrote @

hang in there amy…..keep up the positive attitude–and keep cross examining the hell out of the doctors!!! let us know if we can help in any way!!!!

  Margie wrote @

This blog is an excellent idea. Proud of you! Love you very much. Team Newman is sending prayers and positive thoughts your way daily. Miss you, lady!

  Mary Nell Bryan wrote @

Amy, I’m just sitting here holding you & your family in my spirit & my heart. Thank you for sharing with us. I will very consciously create space & time every day to hold you in thought & prayer. And I will do anything that would be of practical physical assistance at any time.

Love,

Mary Nell

  JoCathy wrote @

Amy Jo, I can barely catch my breath enough to type this, and that is not what you want to hear. I cannot quit crying enough to even see what I am typing. I guess that I’m just being honest. You have always been such a big part of my life, John’s life and Fletcher and Griffin’s life. We love you so much, and I’m not going to ever write anything this emotional again. Thanks for letting me express my feelings. Okay, now to the good stuff. I just know that God is going to get you through this. I promise that I will pray for you every single day! Love you so much! JoCathy

  Amber McDowell wrote @

Love you, Amy! Thanks for keeping us updated. Thinking of you guys every day :)

  Mary Ann Smokler wrote @

Amy – You are so amazing! Thank you for sharing this with all of us. XOXO

  John Hamilton wrote @

Amy, we are thinking about you. I have a friend who was born with cystic fibrosis, with life expectancy of early twenties. He just celebrated his 42nd birthday. I roomed with him in college. Never heard him complain. No doubt he has some tough periods but his attitude is remarkable. One thing he has always said is that he watches out for himself (in the hospital, etc.). No one knows better than he about his needs. Your disposition and attitude remind me of my friend, Ben. You are a positive person as is that dude you live with. We love you and will see you this summer @ Will’s!

  Amy and Will wrote @

We love you!!

  Kim Adkins wrote @

Amy,
You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so proud of you for sharing this with us all. I can only imagine the courage it took to do so. Your friends and family will send you strength. We all know you are already strong, but will send you even more positive energy and love. Greg and I are here for you and Robert and the kids. Kim and Greg Adkins

  Melissa wrote @

I am in shock. Thank you for trusting your friends & sharing with a blog. We will run the marathon with you. Much love-

  elisa wrote @

Amy, thanks for sharing. You have certainly been in my thoughts and prayers. I am amazed (but not surprised!)by your strength and grace. If anybody can give this disease a run for its money I am positive that it is you. You will all continue to be in my prayers. Love, Elisa

  Sam McPherson wrote @

Amy, if anybody can beat this thing, it’s you with your determination and wonderful family. Angel and I will put you in our prayer circle and ask for that breakthrough that can reverse the illness.

Robert has been such a great friend over the years, and I know he is a solid as they come and will fight beside you every step of the way, as will Catherine and Will.

Thank you for the blog. God bless you and yours!

  Rachel wrote @

Amy, I am inspired by your strength and faith, and am praying and will keep on praying for you, Robert, Catherine and Will for many years of continued strength and happiness.

  Kim Adkins wrote @

Amy:
I am so proud of you for sharing your story. I can only imagine the courage it took for you to do so. Your friends and family will send you even more strength. Greg and I are here for you, Robert, and the kids. You all are in our thoughts and prayers. With much love, Kim & Greg Adkins

  Mark Brown wrote @

Lise and I are praying for all of you, and you have all of our love. Let us know if there is anything we can do.

  Pam Sheridan wrote @

So glad you’re keeping this blog to help you process things & to keep us in the loop. Prayers coming your way daily. Much love to you, Robert & the kids.

Let’s find the beach at the top of this page!

  aagowan wrote @

If anyone can do it, I know you can find it! Eleuthra maybe?

  Mike Nichols wrote @

Amy, I had heard about this in the last couple of days and was stunned. I didn’t know how or what to say! I will do anything and everything I can to help you and your family out. You and Catherine have been such a part of Hannah and my life. I will stop by and see you this week! My prayers are with you and your family and I know you..you have such a great attitude.! See you very soon!!

  Meredith wrote @

Amy, Jim and I are cheering you on from California. I look forward to being kept up to date through the blog. You, Robert, and the kids are all in our thoughts and prayers! Let us know if we can do anything!

  Jason McDowell wrote @

I will never fly AMERICAN AIRLINES again!!!

  Hope Jackson wrote @

Amy ,

I know this can’t have been easy to share. You are one of the most fun and energetic and loving people that I know. Your strength, grace and bravery are such a lesson to everyone. If there is anything that Bradley and I can do to help out please let us know. Really anything-bringing dinner (I love to cook!), shopping or errands, watching the kids during a doctor appointment or a fun night out- Just let us know. We love you and are praying for you. You show this thing who’s boss! -Hope

  Melissa Wilson wrote @

I am so sorry I had no idea what you and Robert were going through. Please know that you are all in our prayers, and I am here for you when you need me (errands, hand-holding, whatever you need). Love you!

  Will Griffin wrote @

Amy

Reading your words…its like we are face to face. Can’t help but shed a tear but God has a plan. I love you…I know you’ll fight everyday. We’ve put in a prayer request a few times at church and will continue to do so. Can’t wair til our little NSL reunion. Love Will

  kevin wrote @

You are loved!

  Gayle Fennell wrote @

Amy,

You are truly an inspiration to me, and to all that know you. You have been so kind and supportive to me and my family, while Kim was having her transplant, and I praise God for that support…Now…we must support you. You are in our thoughts , our prayers, and always in our hearts. Thank you for sharing your brave and courageous story. We will continue to pray for you and your sweet family. We love you….Gayle Fennell

  Betty Lassiter wrote @

Amy,

Thank you for sharing your experinces with us. You are in my prayers. You attitude and will to fight will go along way for you. Be assured you are loved by many. Please take one day at a time and live it as if it were the last. You are our champion.

  Jessica Farr wrote @

Amy,
I am shocked and saddened to read your posting–and equally impressed with your wonderful attitude and openess. Thank you for sharing your story. Maintaing your positive attitude and outlook will sustain you. If we can do anything, please let us know. We’ll be thinking of you, Robert and your family. All our best to you-Jessica and Reagan

  Ginger Hall wrote @

Amy,
I am sitting here reading your blog dealing with so many emotions. I am shocked, saddened, amazed, impressed, hopeful- the list could go on and on. First, I can’t believe what all you have been through in such a short period of time. It breaks my heart to think about what all you and your family have had to go through over the last several months. Second, your attitude is unbelievable! You are such a strong woman with an enormous amount of determination which I’m sure your doctors have picked up on by now:) That determination, will take you a long way!! When my mother was diagosed with breast cancer several years ago, I remember her saying she was determined not to let it get her down, that she was going to fight it with everything she had, and that she was going to live every day to the fullest (God would determine the rest). She did as she said and still today continues to live everyday to the fullest. Please know you, Robert, Catherine, and Will are and will continue to be in our family’s daily thoughts and prayers!! We love you!
Ginger

  Shawn Verner wrote @

Amy- You, Robert, Catherine and Will will be in our prayers. Shawn and Dana

  Bill Gregoricus wrote @

Amy … Good morning,

Betty and I read your blog last night and we, like others that have written to you, are shocked and saddened to hear this news. Your decision to initiate this blog is a courageous step and a sign of your strength and determination.

And while we know that you have have many friends of longstanding that you can reach out to for support, we hope that you will include us, as well.

You, Robert and your children are in our thoughts and prayers.

God Bless,

Bill

  Beth Boone wrote @

Your bravery and strength are inspiring to me.

I am so proud of you and would not have expected you handling this battle in any other way- straightforward, honest, direct, strong, informed and ready.

You are a smart, beautifu,l strong woman. ALS did not define that, just clarified.

I love you girl. Anything I can do, don’t hesitate to ask. Beth

  Cathy Carpenter Speers wrote @

Amy,

I am praying…hard! Although I wish you weren’t the author, this story inspired all who read it. You are brave, strong and real. Those are the ingredients you need. Your story was an excellent reminder of what is important in this life. Defy the odds, triple or quadruple them. Funny, I drove by your house the other day and was thinking about how we said we would get together after the New Year. I would love to. Come over and bring the kids and we can talk about how you are going to beat the odds, or if you are tired of talking about that, we can talk about my colorful life. =) Love, Cathy Speers

  Betty Anderson wrote @

Amy, I’m recalling our conversation last November when I was so impressed with your energy for life and passion for your family. You are a special woman who will be shown how to deal with this. We’re all here as helpers for you. ba

  Denise Lewis wrote @

Amy,

Keep the positive attitude and never give up. My father was diagnosed with leukemia (?) about 2 yrs ago and was give a two to three months to live if he did nothing. He went to MD Anderson and after a lot of running back and forth from nash to texas and through a lot of treatment and a stem cell transplant he is still with us. His attitude and not giving up is a tremendous attestimate to his faith, hope and love. Blessings to you, Denise, Chris and Sam Lewis

  Beth Lee wrote @

Amy,

We love you!!

Beth

  Laura Braam wrote @

Amy – Thank you for this beautifully written description of what must, at times, feel like a dream to you. I can hear your wit, determination and intellect – thank God for all three. You have always been someone I’ve loved running into at events – knowing I’d have a good laugh and a deep meaningful conversation. I can tell you have many, many friends who feel the same way about you. Your honest, brave witness to this experience will change lives. If I were you, I’d probably think, “Great, but I’d rather not.” Yet, through your honesty and willingness to share, you will influence your world in so many ways. For that, I am so thankful that you have such a strong voice. I will pray for you to be able to find peace in each moment and for your muscles to stay strong from day to day. I hope to see you soon!

Much love, Laura Braam

  Marie & Jim Murphy wrote @

Amy,
You and your family have been in our thoughts and prayers ever since we heard about your diagnosis. We haven’t wanted to call because we wanted to allow you privacy and the space and time you need before being overwhelmed with all of our shock and concern. However, we want to help you in any way that you and Robert will allow. Thank you so much for sharing these details and your thoughts and feelings. We love you and your family.

  Marsh NIchols wrote @

Dear Amy: I am in awe of your courage and determination. You are so positive, which will help you and Robert stay strong.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. I look forward to your updates.
You inspire me.
My best to you and your terrific family.
Marsh

  Chastity Mitchell wrote @

Amy, you and the family remain in our prayers. You have such as strong network of pople who will love and support you all during this time. Let us know the best way to help.

  Betsy Miller wrote @

Amy, you and Robert and Katherine and Will continue to be in my constant thoughts and prayers. We are so blessed to have you in our family and love you so much. You know we are all here for you at all times. Your faith, strength and courage is inspiring and will guide you in the future. Please do not hesitiate to call me for anything! My love goes to you all!

  Betsy Miller wrote @

“Catherine” Sorry for the typo!

  Tom Corts wrote @

Amy, I’m so sorry to hear the news. I know how tough you are and know you’ll fight like hell.I know you’ll be here to witness the Vols’ next national championship so we know we have several years, We’re all thinking of you and please let us know if we can do anything to help. Tom

  Pat Phipps wrote @

Thanks for telling your story.I am so sorry I had no idea what you and Robert were going through. You all will be in my thoughts and prayers. If I can do anything for you or Robert please know that I am there for you all. I will be thinking good thoughts for you.

  Marcy Mittendorf wrote @

Dear Amy and Robert , our prayers are with you and your kids. I will pray that your fight and determination will buy you enough time for cure or breakthrough to be discovered. Reading your story, told with such humor and wit in the face of what is happening, only confirms why I took an instant liking to you when we met in Arizona at the SSG meeting. If there is anything we can do other than pray, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

  Jim Simpson wrote @

You’re a very brave girl. We love you, and God loves you too. Uncle Jim

  Bob Corney wrote @

We love you Amy. Keep being positive. We’re thinking about you all deep in the heart of Texas. Give a big hug to the kids.

Bob, Shannon, Eddie and Clare Corney.

  Stephen Nestor wrote @

You have been remarkably brave and upbeat. I continue to pray for you every day!

  Tina Reynolds wrote @

Amy,

Stay stong and don’t lose hope.

Sending you love and prayers!

Tina

  Betty Anderson wrote @

Amy, I sent a message earlier this morning, but got a notice that I needed to comment again to reactivate my subscription to your blog. So, I’ll restate what I said earlier, but in briefer form in case you got my first message.

Last Nov. I had my first conversation with you; it was a pleasure to have you and Robert in my home. Bill and I commented afterward on your special nature. Your energy for life and passion for your family are so obvious…along with a determined spirit that will see you through the most difficult climb you’ve ever made. My bets on you to top that hill.

  Julie and Tim Schwarz wrote @

Amy, Thank you for sharing, I know it is difficult, but there are so many that want to know and want to help you—there is power in prayer and positive vibes. Our son, Caz, is a living example of that. I’m so glad you’re doing this because writing is such a great way to express your feelings, I found it totally helped me doing Caz’s blog. Get it all out—the good the bad and the ugly! This gives us specific things to focus our energy on. The lack of bedside manner from the doctor is inexcusable, we had our share of that junk as well and I am so sorry you had to go through that. There really is no excuse. All of the Schwarzes will keep you in our prayers and we will send positive energy your way. It works.

  Kelly wrote @

We all love you so much and are thinking about you daily. Thank you for sharing your story…your strength is amazing. Hope to see you soon!

  Jo Anna Jacobs wrote @

Amy –

I am so sad to hear this news. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Love
Jo Anna

  Lady/Billy Bird wrote @

Amy –

You’re awesome and a model of bravery for all of us. We’re praying for you, Robert ,and the children every day. We’re also praying for medical research because you can never give up. Miracles occur all the time and we don’t know anyone who deserves one more than you. You continue to hang tough and be sure to let us know if we can do anything for you guys. With love and prayers, Lady and Billy

  Becky Boone wrote @

Dear Amy,

Thanks to you and Robert for including me in this email message. I am shocked and saddened to hear this news, but I am not surprised by your positive spirit! I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, and I’ll look forward to reading your updates. Next time you come to Memphis, please give me a call. Love, Becky

  Byron wrote @

Amy,

You are an amazing woman. You respond to this terrible news by thinking of others — in this instance by giving all of us a great gift with this blog. May it bring to you some measure of the benefit it surely will to us.

  Cathy Aslin wrote @

Aim–
You know how much I love you. I am so proud of you for putting this into words so friends and family can keep up with you. As a fellow “Egleston girl”, it’s not easy for us to open up. As I have said many times, I am with you every step of the way. Love you all more than you will ever know–Cat

  Mike Gibson wrote @

Amy,you and your family are in our prayers

  Kim G. wrote @

You, Robert, and the kids are always in our prayers. You are and will be an inspiration to many as you take this most difficult journey. We are here if you need us.

Lots of love and prayers

  Katherine Beasley wrote @

Sweet Amy,
Thank you for sharing this. You are one spunky girl and a real fighter….keep it up, girl. All my best to you and your family.

  Heather Marabeti wrote @

Dear Amy,

You are AMAZING…and if anyone can beat this thing, it’s you. I’m so impressed that you started this blog and that you’re sharing your story with us. Scrolling through the comments from your dear friends is completely heartening…people love and support you. Will and I are thinking of you and want to help in any way. Much love…
Heather

  Mary Clement wrote @

Amy,

When I heard through the grapevine that
you are facing this challenge, it truly took
the life out of me as one writer described. I have loved reading your amazing comments and I can feel the positive attitude that you have chosen to have as you face this difficult
time. I have been praying for you each day and would love to keep updated on your journey.

  Shawn Henry wrote @

Amy, Mary Beth Boone passed along your website. Needless to say I am shocked to hear of your ailment. I know you are a fighter, and trust that faith and hope will guide you through this challenge. You and Robert, please call on me if I can help in anyway. Godspeed! – Shawn.

  Stephen Young wrote @

Amy,

Mandy and I read your blog together. It is heart wrenching. We are so hopeful for you. Please know that we are thinking of you, Robert and the kids. We know how tough you are. We are with you!

  Emily Floyd wrote @

Amy,
This is very sad news and I wept reading your blog. You demonstrate incredible strength . Continue to have faith and be strong. I will continue to follow your progress. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am an old high school friend of Robert’s. I have had the chance to see the pictures of you and your beautiful babies. I feel like I know you. Never stop fighting Amy. I send all my love, Emily

  Richard wrote @

Amy, We know how strong you and your family are and all of us at OKH&C are pulling for you and will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  Betsy Johnson wrote @

Amy
I ,like everyone else, is shocked with your news but so thankful you are sharing with your family and many friends.. Amy, you are such a strong, capable, and loving lady. And as I remember, one tough fighter too. You do and will continue to inspire us all. I will pray for you, Robert, and the children. God has a plan for you and it will be great. Have Faith and know He is with you. Betsy J

  Stephanie Spain wrote @

Amy,

It’s been a little more than 3 years now since we both were at OKHC, but I remember very well your great attitude and stength. I am definately thinking of you and your family and you will all be in my prayers. Just continue to lead a fearless life and enjoy every day. Oh, and I know what you mean about Vanderbilt. The ones who answer the phones sometimes leave you scratching your head, but once you get in, it’s great. Over the years, all the doctors and reasearch personell I have dealt with there have been very knowledgeable, firendly and compassionate. They do great work there. Keep us updated.
Stephanie Spain

  Melany Tenore wrote @

Dear Amy,

I was also shocked and upset to read this news. One thing that is obvious through this blog and all the comments of those who know you – is that you are an amazing woman with a true spark that is going to set new standards for people battling this disease. Please know that you are in my every thought and prayer and that you’ve got us (just a few streets away now!) to help out whenever/however. I will be checking your blog often and watching for ways to support you and your beautiful family.

  Jill Murphy wrote @

I was stunned to hear this, but your positive attitude is an inspiration. You will be in my prayers.

  Linda wrote @

Amy,

Bill and I will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks for starting this blog to keep everyone updated. As you know, your positive attitude will take you a long way. We never know what tomorrow might bring…some medication that will keep the symptons at bay for longer or even a cure. Love you guys.

  martha ponder wrote @

You may not remember meeting me at the Brice Springstein concert. I am Brooke Ponder’s mother and work with Susie Bateman. I juar have to tell you how much I admire your strength and spirit. I have always heard that healing is mostly “between our ears”. The way you have latched on to positive moments will go along way. Many people are praying for you and I know your attitude will help with coping during the good and bad moments.
Martha Ponder

  Debbie Whitworth wrote @

Amy,
I hope you enjoy keeping a blog ’cause I see it happening for MORE than 10 years! :) This summer you and Robert will have to bring Catherine and Will to the river. They will love it! I’m praying for you and you’re family and so is our church. I love you and look forward to your updates!
Your cuz…Debbie

  Peggy B wrote @

We’re friends of Billy and Fay in Pulaski and having been praying for you, Robert, Catherine, and Will daily.
We know God as the Great Physician and will keep lifting you up to Him.

  Julie Light wrote @

Amy,

You are a strong, amazing woman. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Keep having faith and God will get you through this. We love you.

Tony, Julie, Jordan and Jacob

  Paula wrote @

Amy and Robert:
I hope this blog response provides you with some comfort to know that so many people love you both and are here to support you and your family during this trial. My heart hurts for you both. But I went to prayer and to my Bible to find this reminder for you: . . .Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13: 7-8. You have so many friends who will be here to help out in any way – just ask and we’ll come running. Love you both!

  Alta Simpson wrote @

Aim————

We are with you every step of the way. Just keep your eye on the horizon and we will whip it yet. Love you.

Aunt Alta

  Horace and Margaret wrote @

Amy,
Margaret and I have agonized over your condition since we learned about your diagnosis. In 1939 when i was just a little boy i listened over the radio to Lou Gerhig telling the New York Yankee crowd and indeed the intire world, “Tody, I feel like I am the luckest man in the world.” He was a man of great courage and I know fromyour attitude tht you are very much in the same category hndling your problem in a brave and Christian way. We have been praying for you at church and in our family meetings, also. If there is anything
we can do let us know We love you all.

  Claire Sercombe wrote @

Amy,
I was shocked and saddened to hear your news, but if anyone can fight this thing I know it is you! Karina and I are keeping you and your family in our prayers. I will be watching your blog and we will be thinking of you. God bless–

Claire and Karina Sercombe

  Gayle Ray wrote @

Amy, I just heard about your diagnosis today. It’s impossible to imagine how you must feel and how devastating this is. I think it’s a great idea for you to blog about it and share whatever you want. And I’m glad to hear that you are fighting and thinking about the precious days ahead. I’m pulling for you and praying for you.

  Liz Denning wrote @

With all of these comments, it’s obvious how many people love you. Count Team Denning as just a few more. Call the bookclub posse as you need us.

  Russell Palk wrote @

Amy:

Michelle and I read your blog and, of course, will keep you and the family in our prayers. I know you are a fighter and we are all pulling for you. Keep up the spirit. In him……
The Palk’s

  frank clement wrote @

Amy,
You are an inspiration to me. I am so impressed and gratified to witness the strength and courage you are showing but, of course, it is okay to cry as well. I like the fact you stand up for yourself when dealing with others, including medical providers, as you should in your personal life, and as you did in the practice of law. Your time with Robert, Catherine and WIll will be even more special over the next several years, both to you and them. Make the most of it as I know you will.
Your admirer and friend,
Frank C.

  clem(unclebrother)egleston wrote @

Amy you have the finest bloodlines in the world, awonderful family,lots of wonderful music with Robert, a wonderful sister CAT,a special brother MIke , and the most PHOTOGENIC children on the PLANET. I have known for a few days now , and have been praying for u. God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, we just have to work with him to get the right results.

  Jamie Gaskins wrote @

Amy, I can’t tell you how saddened I am by this news. As many have already said you are a stong, determined woman with a wonderful attitude and zeal for life. All of these qualities will serve you well in this fight. My prayers are with you and your family and if there is anything I can do please let me know.

Love,
Jamie

  Daron Hall wrote @

Amy,
I want you to know that you are an inspiration to anyone who knows you and what you are dealing with. Your “grit” has always been a remarkable quality and now it is going to help you fight this. The class and dignity that you have chosen to deal with this is in part, the person you are. You have a tremendous amount of family, friends and people who love you and will be with you along the way.
Your friend,
Daron

  Amy McLemore wrote @

I will continue to send up prayers for you and Robert and the kids .. also for your PT sessions, the doctors and nurses and your beloved mass of friends and family on this journey with you. Amy I know you are strong -but it’s okay to throw a pity party – a big fat loud one – then get right back to your fire and spunk and fight like hell against this! You WILL be the exception and will blaze a trail that will blow all the stats and previous research away!!! I just know it!!! Much Love to you!
Amy McLemore

  Betsy Wood wrote @

Amy,
It has been a while since we have seen each other, but I still remember the first time we met at a fundraiser when Catherine and my Campbell were just babies. I recall your quick wit and smile! I was so so glad to have gotten the news of your blog. My family is praying for you, Robert, your children and your entire family. Your spirit and attitude are amazing! Keep your strength and know there are so many of us out here in the wings ready and willing to help out in ANY way! ~ Betsy

  Jack Lowery wrote @

Amy,

Prior to reading your message I had a lot of really big things I was having to worry about; my perspective has been properly adjusted. Please know that you, Robert and the kids are in my prayers. I know you over anyone can make the most of this situation.

Jack

  Susie wrote @

o.k. after reading all the comments–I can’t think of anything else to say. I am inspired by you, your family, and all your friendsl. You are so fortunate to have so many wonderful/supportive people in your life. (Its all because of the way you are!!)
Holler next door if we can do anything. The hardest thing for me to do is: Let Go Let God. Hope you can do it. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

  Amy Gray wrote @

Amy,
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, OFTEN. Thank you for the blog and your willingness to share your marathon with us.
Much Love,
Amy (Cat’s other Amy)

  Patti Bates wrote @

Amy,
Thank you for your willingness to share your story and emotions with us. I have always admired your strength, spunk, and determination and will no doubt admire those qualities as you handle this condition. Please know you can reach out to all of your many friends and relatives for support. If anyone has the spirit to tackle this diagnosis, it’s you!

With love and admiration to a dear friend,
Patti

  Casey Bateman wrote @

Amy,

Thank you for sharing. You are an amazing mother, wife, and friend. I may be living on the West side now, but my support for you, Robert, Catherine, and Will will always be present!

Much love,
Casey Bateman

  Kathryn Tucker wrote @

Amy,
I am praying for you and your family..I am so glad to have the blog(although I am new to all of this..finally got on facebook). You are one tough cookie and you have so many friends and family that are holding you in their hearts and prayers!

  karen wrote @

Amy,

I want you to know I am praying for you, Robert, and your precious children. Keep writing and doing what you need to do to fight, all the while being assured there are many who are storming heaven on your behalf.
Grace & Peace + Karen

  Peggy Cardwell wrote @

Amy and Robert:

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Catherine and Will.

  Dwight Van de Vate wrote @

Amy- I have not had the opportunity to meet you, but I have the privilege of knowing your husband. May God bless you both and keep you close.

  Kathy Prince wrote @

Amy, I just read your blog. Of course I have been keeping up with everything through Fay. Just want you to know I have asked many of my friends and relatives to keep you and your family in their prayers as well as myself. Paul and I pray, talk and think of you often.
Kathy

  Ashley Agrelius wrote @

Amy Lou, I’ve been thinking about you ever since Suzanne shared the news and this blog. I woke up praying for you and your young family. Thank you for sharing. You are the ultimate class act and an inspiration.

  Amy Jo Drescher wrote @

Amy,
How I wish I had something deeply moving or profound to offer, but any attempt would fall short.

The best thing here is that which is said by YOU.

Your “diary” here is an intimate gift to your family, a prized collaboration with your dearest friends and above all….. it is a priceless keepsake for Robert, Katherine & Will.

We so admire and adore you, Amy & Jay

  Jerry Wigger wrote @

Amy and Robert,
If there is a stronger, funnier couple out there, I do not know them. Donna, the kids and I will keep you both in our prayers (with a special emphasis on your children). If you all need a night out, even for a brief time, please call us. We would love to help and are close at hand. WIGGER

  Carolyn Bullion wrote @

Dearest Amy,
What can I say that hasn’t been said already…. care, hope, support, love and prayers from all your friends, including Bob and me. You’re a fighter and a go-getter and both of those qualities you’ve already demonstrated. We will keep you and your wonderful family in our thoughts and prayers everyday. Love to all…

Carolyn

  Gigi kinzounza wrote @

Dear Amy,
thank you for being such an inspiration! You are in my thoughts and prayers . Be encouraged and be blessed knowing that you are lifted up in prayer to a mighty God.
love,
The Kinzounzas

  Cathy Thomas wrote @

Have thought of you so very often…..your attitude is amazing. If you need to laugh, cry or scream please call 972-6693..

  Gardner wrote @

LOVE YOU AND THINK OF YOU CONSTANTLY….. You’re a great writer….. Are you sure you weren’t in my 8th grade English class?)

  Rebecca Blair wrote @

Amy,
I just learned of your diagnosis and my heart is breaking for you. You are such an amazing person. I am thinking of you every day and keeping you in my prayers.

Rebecca

  Joy Day wrote @

Amy:

You courage and attitude is inspiring. You are in our prayers.

Joy

  Alta Simpson wrote @

Amy,

Don’t let all this go to your head! I can still remember your little red pony (trike) and the cowboy boots which you slept in. Also remember what Uncle Brother says, about those excellent bloodlines, and the strength of the Egleston girls. We love you and pray for you daily, and I know you are going to pull through.

  Lisa Keith wrote @

Amy, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know you are a strong woman and with that great attitude….I think you’ll keep going strong. Miracles happen everyday!!

  Steve Davis wrote @

Amy – I saw your name on the St. George’s prayer list yesterday and started inquiring this morning. Robert was kind enough to share your blog link with me. All of you are in my prayers. I will stay up to date. I am honored to have known you and Robert since you were really smart law students. I have always admired both of you and I continue to admire your inspiring courage.

  Megan Livingstone wrote @

Amy:

Thank you for the blog information. You have me in tears….You are so strong and my prayers are with you! You are an incredible person.

Meg

  Shelli Yoder wrote @

Amy,
You are loved. I am sending you prayers and love from Bloomington.
Shelli

  Martin Harris wrote @

Amy,

You’re an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for sharing on this blog. Thank you for educating me about this disease. You will endure. You will grow stronger. You will be a beacon to Robert, Catherine, and Will. Please let me know what I can do to help. I pray that God continues to give you strength, courage, and wisdom. With loving affection, Martin

  Dorothy Hobbs wrote @

Amy, I too was in shock hearing about this. I knew I had not heard from you in a while then someone gave me the link. You are such an inspiration to me, and to everyone you touch in this blog. Which, by the way appears to be a large # of people. Your support system is huge, and will continue to grow each day. You are my rock. You are one of the strongest and most beautiful person (inside & out) that I know, and I get to call you my friend. I am one lucky person. I love you & Robert & those 2 precious children. In the beach pic of you & Catherine – Wow, she looks so much like you. I love you all. You are in my prayers morn. & nite. Dot

  Kim Strickland wrote @

Amy – I am in total shock. I see you almost every day picking up your beautiful kids and I had no inkling. I am praying for you and please know you have the Stricklands full support as you go through this. You are ONE BRAVE WOMAN.

  Nancy Queen wrote @

Amy, I talked to Cathy at church yesterday and she sent me your blog. You and your family are in my prayers everyday. Stay strong, like I know you will. When Big Will told me when he found out, I too, was in shock.and have been praying ever since. Enjoy everyday. Reading your blog I can hear your voice, you write just like you talk. I am so glad you are writing a blog so we can keep up with you. I love you, Nancy

  Deron Brown wrote @

Amy,

My wife just happened upon your blog earlier this week, and so I just learned about your diagnosis. Your story is heart-breaking but inspiring. With my own 9-month-old at home, I’ve really been thinking about you, Robert and especially your children a lot this week. Thanks for being so strong and sharing your story with all who know you and care for you. Your blog has allowed us all to become part of your story and to take an active part in it by praying for you and your family.

Hang in there, Amy!
Deron

  aagowan wrote @

De-ron! So great to hear from you and your great news with your baby! Send pictures.

  Dorothy Hobbs wrote @

I love you girl. I’m praying for you & your amazing family.

If this blog helps just one person…..you have made a difference!

  karen pinsonneault wrote @

Hi Amy,
You’ve probably guessed that I’m Morgan’s mom.There aren’t many Pinsonneault’s around. When Morgan said she was going to nanny for your family, I new God placed her there for a reason. Within a week’s time I can hear in her voice how much she has already come to adore you and your children.
You couldn’t ask for a more compassionate, kind and responsible person to be around Katherine and Will.
Morgan has been a dream to raise. And I know she will be there for your family every way possible.
As you know she just got off of a pretty bad tour. Being around you this week has been enlightening for her. You quickly put everything in perspective. From one mom to another …Thank You!
God certainly placed her with a good role model. She told me about the fundraiser you want to put on at the Ryman. I’ve had years of event planning and fundraising experience. If I can help out in any way, just let me know. I’m
in Nashville every month.
We will keep you and your family in our prayers!!!!!!
Karen

  aagowan wrote @

Karen, thanks so much for your kind comments. It is hard to put into words how Morgan has been a blessing in all of our lives. Also hard to believe that we’ve only known her less than two weeks! The first day I met her and we rode to Catherine’s carpool, we talked about many things. I was impressed at how mature and focused Morgan was at the young age of 23. You and your husband did an excellent job in raising her. She certainly has the right values and priorities in this crazy world. I love the way she knows what to do without me asking and the kindness she has shown all of us. The kids think she is a star, not a nanny and so do we. I would love to talk to you about the fundraiser. I want you and everyone to know it will NOT be for me, but for ALS research and scholarships for children of parents with ALS. I’m looking forward to meeting ya’ll when ya’ll come down in the next month or so. Thanks for the prayers, I’m hoping this clinical trial may be the miracle for those of us with ALS.

  chuckcochran wrote @

Amy,

Great to see you Friday. You look great and are an inspiration. I connected with Bryant who game me your blog site. Thank you for being so open and sharing. I’m thrilled to hear you’re busy active and working. I wish I had some closings for you to do! I’ll keep an eye on your site often. Know that you and your family are in our prayers, always!

  Melody Spurlin wrote @

I am truly thankful that you have Google to share your story and get things off your chest. When I took care of Craig’s mom, I thought about writing a book about it, but never did. This lets you be alone with your thoughts, but then the comments of all your friends and family are just so great for your spirit. I didn’t know you were blogging until I asked Kerry if she had heard from you and she told me how to blog!!!
I have been wondering how you were progressing and if you or GG ever need me to come and help, you know I don’t work. And I’d love getting to know my niece and nephew better, if GG or Robert ever need a break. I just want you to know that I always love seeing you and your pictures of family & what they are doing. I am so glad of Cathy being so close geographically and emotionally to you that she was able to go support you at Mayo. I think in devastating illness especially it is always so good to have an informed family member who is in the medical profession to intercede and argue for patient/family interests or interpret for the rest of the family
such as Cathy. Of course you are so smart you probably didn’t need a lot of the interpreting, but you may need intercession with the doctors at some point if Cathy is able to do that to keep them fighting toward your latest goals.
I love my sisters and Cathy and worry that this is probably harder on them than it is you in certain ways. I want them to know that I love them, that I will help if needed (not working) and will always be here for them in TX just a phone call away. And you don’t worry, everything will work out as it should.
Aunt Mellie

  Leigh Hendry wrote @

Amy~~~Obviously, I am way late in adding any comment here, so please accept my apologies for not having written anything sooner. Just wanted you to know that Bo and I are thinking of all of the Gowans and sending positive energy your way! I just finished reading your latest post and you could’t be more correct. Regards, Leigh

  Annie B. Williams wrote @

Call me. I think we may have a few fears, hopes, ups and downs in common! Thinking of you.

  Marty wrote @

Nashville is such a small town, and right now I am in shock that I have not known this news until today. I just read your story and you ARE an inspiration! As many have said on the blog and on Facebook, please let Roy and me know if there is anything we can do. We will pray for you and Robert and your precious children and participate in any fundraising efforts we can.
Marty Slayton Jordan

  Cathy Speers wrote @

Looking forward to Walking to Defeat ALS tomorrow in honor of one of the coolest women I know! XO

  Gloria wrote @

Your blog is great and so inspiring. We are now dealing with ALS, and it is helpful to read about your experience. Thanks.

  Ralph Hillman wrote @

Just learned of your condition. We will be in prayer for you.
May God continue to Bless You.
Voicedoc

  Ramona Kemp wrote @

Thinking of you often Amy!!


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