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Thread: It's tough making changes, but I've got a new challenge ahead of me...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940

    It's tough making changes, but I've got a new challenge ahead of me...

    Hi folks,
    Hope you're all well. I check in here now and then but haven't posted much lately. I've been in a serious funk lately and there's no end in sight. As many of you know, about ten months ago I was given some horrible news. I had a physical and some additional tests done and after those test results came in, my doctor told me that I had Lou Gherig's Disease. (ALS) This was TERRIFYING! After about three months thinking that I was dying, a specialist told me that it wasn't ALS which was great news. I do however have Late Onset Tay-Sachs disease. It is extremely rare and there is no cure and no treatment available. My doctor says that all I can do is physical therapy and hope that I can get some strength back in my legs. I've been having a very hard time going up and down stairs, even just getting up from a seated position is very difficult.

    I've completed six weeks of physical therapy and the good news is that I am seeing some improvement with the symptoms. However, even with the improvements I've been feeling very tired and have a hard time doing even minimal tasks anymore. I've been a licensed builder for about 20 years and been enjoying it. I am a one man operation and don't have a crew. I do small jobs that I can handle myself which have included general repairs, light remodeling, flooring, decks, etc.

    I'm thankful for the improvements that I've seen in only six weeks of PT, but I can also see the handwriting on the wall. I'm fairly sure at this point that I'm not going to be able to continue in the home improvement industry. My therapist is telling me that it's time that I start using a cane and we're hopeful that it doesn't progress to having to use a walker and the worst case, a wheelchair. Right now I'm thankful to still be breathing, but I've been through some MAJOR life changes the past few months and I'm in for more. Right now sleep is a rare treat and it makes the days even longer. I'm going to have to start to find something to replace my work in the trades and it's pretty scary. It's hard enough finding a job in this lousy economy let alone starting over at 48 years old!

    I'll pop in now and then and see what's up. Hopefully I'll get something and be OK financially, physically, and mentally. This has been very tough on me and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole situation. When I get the time and motivation to create some things, I'll post them here to show you what I've been up to.

    Take care.

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Posts
    3,798
    Good to hear improvements are coming along, hang tuff & we'll hope things keep improving for you. Now get out in the shop and make something, best mental therapy there is

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,251
    Hi John

    Good to have you back, keeping checking in here its good for moral and you got lots of buddies here to help you through the tough times. We never know when adversity can strike anyone of us, stick to the PT i guess its tough but keep the faith.

    Ken is absolutely correct getting into the shop and making or doing something is great therapy. Know this you got a very supportive group around you on this forum.

    Given your experience at building i am just thinking aloud but surely that sets you up for a Home Inspector role in the future. There is sure to be many ways a man with your experience and talents can be redeployed in a different less taxing role. You cant get off that easy. I can think of dozens of youngsters that could learn a ton from a guy with your experience and it can be rewarding to pass on the knowledge.

    As my English mother would say "Chin up lad" always look on the bright side it could have been worse.

    Take care and check in regularly in the years i have been on this forum i have watched how caring and helpful the guys here are and that to me is priceless therapy. You got many rooting for you.

    Ok now go make something even a pushstick.
    cheers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    The past week was very rough for me physically as well as mentally. The hardest in a long time. But doing some internet research, I was able to find NTSAD (National Tay Sachs and Allied Diseases) foundation. I've talked to them a couple times on the phone and became a member. They seem like great people who really care. They're going to give my name and number to some other of their members who will contact me. (kind of a mentor type thing) Talking to someone who knows what it's like to deal with this condition will really help.

    You guys are right though, this past weekend I was feeling really low. But I got a call from a client (and friend) who owns a skate shop in my town. He had a small project in mind. When he called, I was really not in the mood do deal with it but I told him I'd see what I could come up with. After hanging up with him, I decided to get busy with a design and try to get my mind off of my problems. I spent some time thinking and designing what I was going to do. I went over and picked up the item that needed a base made for it, brought it home and got to work. A few hours later it was finished. It came out pretty well IMO. I took it back and dropped it off at the shop but he wasn't there at the time so I just left it. About 8:30 last evening the phone rang. It was him and he said that he was amazed at what I'd come up with and that it came out better than he had ever imagined! This made me feel pretty good. The few hours working on it instead of sitting around worrying was nice too.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement! It does help. I spent a lot of time over the past week or so sitting here feeling like my world was collapsing around me. I've just got to shake it off and get on with dealing with this one day at a time.

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,251
    Good news that John. Just a thought if the work happens to be challenging from a physical point of view, consider looking for an apprentice or two. I know nothing about the condition you have so i dont have a clue to the limitations but just from a throw it out there idea point of view, if you can sell projects to clients or past clients, then you could supervise a couple of youngsters doing the physical and teach them a thing or two in the process. It will be a therapy of its own kind and give you a great deal of personal reward and feeling of value. There is nothing like having youngsters blossom in front of your eyes. It aint easy but then what is.
    cheers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Plainwell, Michigan
    Posts
    4,857
    You want some real, first hand feel good support??? are you able to travel??? Larry is having quite the get together not that far from you in September, could be just what the doctor ordered, lots of great conversation with a bunch of wood workers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    Hmm, I replied to this once Tom but I don't know where it went.

    Yeah I saw that a little while ago. To tell you the truth, I'm going to consider it. If possible I might try to make it. It would be nice to put some faces with the names.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,439
    John,

    Glad you stopped in, was wondering how things were going, good to hear that the therapy is working. Sounds like the support group will be a real good thing, but we're always here for you.

    I had the same thought as Rob as I read your last post, you've got a lot of expertise that is just as valuable as the physical aspect of doing a job, you could turn that in a direction that allows you to stay active in something you enjoy.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,008
    Quote Originally Posted by John Pollman View Post
    ...It would be nice to put some faces with the names.
    You apparently haven't seen Larry's face.

    Glad to see you check in here, John. We're here to help you in any way we can.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604
    I know it's incredibly difficult but keeping a positive mental attitude makes almost everything easier to bear. Sounds like you are on your way

    I recall that you were going to make yourself a massage table. Have you got around to it yet?
    Faith, Hope & Charity

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