Bryan Family Dealing With MD as Telethon Approaches

By: Shane McAuliffe
By: Shane McAuliffe

"I just wish they would find a cure for this," said Norilee Tomchesson.

Tomchesson is battling Primary Lateral Sclerosis or PLS, and this battle started later in life when no one saw it coming.

"About five years ago we started noticing some pretty pronounced symptoms. Speech was getting was getting really bad, really slow and really slurred. She would start to fall and then couldn't get up. We had no idea what was going on," said Norilee's husband Mike.

Not knowing what was affecting his wife, Mike Tomchesson had no idea what to do or who to see. Norilee's children, John and Courtney were also frustrated as the disease started taking over their mother.

"It was really one of those things, where me as a child said, 'just fix it,' " said John Tomchesson.

"We would go and do whatever we wanted to do. If we wanted to go and get a pedicure, we went. If we wanted to go get ice cream, we went. And now it's not like that," said Courtney Slenk.

"Dealing with it, day to day, is not fun," said Norilee.

After contacting the MDA, Norilee was diagnosed with PLS and is now doing what she can to keep the disease at bay.

"I just can't even put into words the difference MDA has made in their diagnoses and treatment and the way they work with St. Joe's rehab here," said Mike.

Three days a week Norilee goes to the St Joseph Rehab Center in Bryan. She spends most of the her time in the gym but really enjoys her weekly visit to the pool.

"I really enjoy the pool because I can walk unassisted. I feel like I could run in the pool but they won't let me," said Norilee. "Darn those therapists," I replied. "yeah" said Norliee with a big smile.

With Courtney by her side, Norilee works hard at the rehab center thanks to her biggest motivation, her grandchildren.

"I would like to be able to be more a part of my grandchildren's lives but it's so hard," said Norilee.

"We're just going to have faith that everything is going to work its way out. God isn't going to give us more that we can handle and we're going to move on. Keep going," said Mike.

"We know we're getting the best help and the best care because of MDA," said John.

"We will beat this. It may be a year, it may be two years but she will walk," said Courtney.

"To the people sitting, watching this, simply by picking up the telephone and placing a pledge, you are a part of the team that's helping not just us but also families all over the Brazos Valley," said Mike.

In the meantime, Norilee will be cheering on her team, Texas A&M.

"I'm looking forward to going to some Aggie football games this year." When asked how she thought they would do this year, Norilee said, "They're going to be National Champs," with another big smile.

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