As I was telling a friend about Ben’s university graduation, he said to me, “You won!”.
At first, I didn’t know what he meant. But then it hit me.
To reach this pinnacle, in his view, meant we had won. That we had beaten the “system”.
A system that always seemed against us. Where we had to fight for even the most basic of needs.
Having to justify every outcome, every dollar, and still getting denied.
Then appealing. Then moving up the chain of command to plead our case.
In the end, always expecting less than what Ben needed.
It was exhausting.
Our win, today, was getting the support Ben needed to transition to work. Without a fight.
Actually getting what we asked for was new territory for us. It seemed too easy. There must be a gotcha coming.
You see, when you start your life with “he may never walk, talk or go to school”, the idea of winning anything is so foreign. All your conversations are about survival and the things...
Feelings of stress and overwhelm can be sickening. There’s no other way to describe it. But I probably don’t have to tell you that.
By definition, these feelings are overpowering. All consuming. All controlling of your thoughts and behaviours.
Often you just have to wait it out until the storms start to fade. There’s no other remedy. But sometimes the storms don’t fade or you’re never sure when that might happen.
In Ben’s early days, I wasn’t sure where I stood just about every day. There were so many heart-stopping events, so many panic incidents, so many interruptions, so many hospital visits, so many specialist appointments.
It wasn’t anywhere close to being a “normal” family life and my fear was that it would only get uglier.
About 4 months in, I began to write things down everything into a crude list of notes, thinking I could get some control over my life. It was the only way I could remember what had happened on any...
Surgery day. January 4, 2008.
It was surreal at the time. It’s still surreal 11 years later.
The stage 2 adenocarcinoma that had invaded my intestinal tract needed to be removed. It was a type of cancer that rarely shows symptoms. And indeed, it went unnoticed, but for a few days in the summer of 2007 when I didn’t feel “quite right”.
Jan believed something was up at the time, and insisted I get checked out. She was right.
A 15-minute examination confirmed our worst fears. “You have cancer!”
If I hadn’t followed her advice, I would not be writing this blog. A perfect reason to LIVE thankfully!
Even though it was stage 2, the surgeon said there was an 85% chance of a cure given my age, my otherwise healthy self, and the current standard-of-care. When I explained this to my daughter, Tori, she told me very matter-of-factly, “Well, go get cured!”
If I wanted a great motivator to keep living, that was it. A powerful reason to LIVE...