We talked with our Colorado and Tennessee families the summer of 2005. It was a tearful time in our life. I was a manager at FedEx developing computer applications. It was extremely stressful job which was not healthy. My boss and I agreed after six months to step down. It was extremely difficult to tell my FedEx team and our people that we supported. More tears.
I first used a cane and then about six months later a walker. Eventually I received a motorized wheelchair from the ALS Association. The ALS Association support group meetings were incredibly meaningful and gave us hope! Oh I can't begin to tell you how much the ALS Association means to me. The ice bucket challenge raised so much money for research, it's incredible! More reason for hope!
In late 2005 we started building an extension to our house off of the first floor. It was finished in the spring of 2006 just in time because I could no longer climb our stairs. One of greatest things in our backyard we built a nice fire pit! I stopped camping with our Boy Scout troop so the fire pit reminded me of the camp fires of the past! My son Chris loved camping as well as me! I have fond memories of us being in the great outdoors!
Here's a picture of my FedEx team, the VP of our division and my boss on the day of my retirement.
I was living in the extension and the nights were lonesome with my wife and children sleeping upstairs. When 2007 rolled around I was loosing the use of my arms but I could drive my wheelchair. Fortunately a good friend gave me a cool joystick device so I could still use my laptop. I love technology!
Here's an example:
In June of 2007 I received my eye gaze computer, Erica.
My spell board:
One frustrating thing about my disease is not being able to speak when I feel pain especially without my computer. Sometimes I want to scream in pain but cannot! So I make a horrible face but if my caregiver isn't looking at me it can be a few minutes to get relief. Fortunately I can feel everything. People who are paralyzed can't feel and if they bump their foot on something they didn't know about it. Another problem is I have spent many years in my wheelchair sitting, I developed sores on my poor bottom. My caregivers know how to tend to it daily.
In June of 2008 my Colorado family made arrangements for me to fly out to Colorado for a summer vacation.
My dear mom lived in a handicap accessible house so it was perfect for me!
Kate and her husband Ken found a townhouse in September 2009 because my mom was diagnosed with stage colon cancer. It was a total shock to her and our family! It was the first time in our family that a family member got cancer. Mom and I have always been close. People ask me what is my secret to be happy and smiling all the time? Part of my answer is my parents taught me to be positive despite what the world hands out. The other part is that I have enjoyed living and experiencing things in my life for example being able to travel all over the world. Also my love of adventure! My dear mom passed away in March 2010. I think of her every day! I have comfort knowing that she is with me in spirit! My sweet mom was always there for me!
This picture was taken in Aug 2014 up at Kate and Ken's mountain home called Sunhaven.
Here's my hospital picture after the surgery.
Here's my favorite video of Nicole's:Titled "Make It Interesting"