As with all children, it’s hard to believe that my grand-nephew, Lucas Iverson is 7 years old today. With Lucas, it might be a little harder to believe than most kids, in fact. Lucas was born with Down Syndrome, but that has been the least of his problems. Lucas has been plagued with a number of health problems that have required multiple surgeries. In fact, according to his mom, Cassie Iverson, Lucas has had more surgeries than he has had years. I’m sure there are those who have had more surgeries, but no matter how you look at it, that is a lot of surgeries for a little guy. Since Lucas’ last birthday, he has had to make trips to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, every two weeks, with intestinal and immune system issues, typical of Down Syndrome. Now that he has had multiple surgeries, he is better, and they can breathe a little easier where his health is concerned.
Lucas was in Kindergarten this last year, and in their Kindergarten Circus, Lucas got to be a wild cat. I’m not sure how wild is, but I prefer to think of him as a lion, because he is brave and strong…and a fighter. To me that is exactly what Lucas is…a fighter…strong, brave, and fierce. Lucas likes school, with his special needs, he has his own personal teacher. That is really a good thing, and maybe a little unusual in a small town like Powell, Wyoming. Lucas’ parents have considered moving to Colorado or Tennessee, because of so many good opportunities and closer healthcare for Lucas, but the thought of them moving has been a very difficult one for their families, so for now, they will stay in Powell. Of course, the hope is that Lucas will not need any more surgeries in the future. He has really been through enough, if you ask me.
Down Syndrome children often have poor muscle tone, and they have to work very hard to learn to do the things we all take for granted. Right now, in his physical therapy,Lucas is working on jumping. He also loves rolling on the big ball as he phases off with his feet. I think Lucas has one other ace in the hole…his little sister, Zoey, who dearly loves her big brother, and has been instrumental in many of his abilities. She is patient and encouraging, and doesn’t leave him behind, just because he is slower. Zoey is Lucas’ best friend. They love to go camping with their parents, Chris and Cassie. They gt out is the outdoors where they can get some brain boosting and immune system boosting dirt in their hands. Today is Lucas’ 7th birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
After her divorce, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Schulenberg Parmely met a man named Brian Cratty. Brian is a pilot and for many years his work was as a pilot for the Life Flight team. Brian and Jennifer are well suited to each other in many ways…such as their work in the medical field. They have spent their lives meeting the medical needs of others, but in very different ways. Jennifer as an Obstetrics nurse, and Brian as a Life Flight pilot. Brian has since retired from his job as a Life Flight pilot, and now is a private pilot, who still flies for others occasionally.
Brian and Jennifer are really good friends. They both enjoy the same things. They hike, ski, run, and they love to travel. They also spend quite a bit of time at their cabin on Casper Mountain. In fact, the mountain is such a big part of their lives that they had a house built a while back that is in the foothills of Casper Mountain. That way, they can go for a hike before the get going on their day, and they don’t have to go very far to do it. In fact it was the love of hiking that we all share, that placed so many of the right people with me when I fell on the Bridle Trail and broke my shoulder. Each one of those people played their part, and I will be forever grateful. Brian and I also have something else in common…physical therapy. He recently had to have Rotator Cuff surgery done, and was taking physical therapy too…something that neither of us wanted to have in common…ever, but there it is. I have since been released, and I’m sure he has too, and I hope his shoulder is doing as well as mine is, because the shoulder is more important than we realize sometimes.
Brian is rather a quiet man, and tries not to be intrusive on family matters, but I think I speak for everyone, when I say that we all consider him an important part of this family. I suppose that the longer he is in this family, the less an outsider he will feel…or maybe, like many people, he will always be a quiet man. I am often that way, so I can completely relate to it. I think some people are just listeners. Today is Brian’s birthday. Happy birthday Brian!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It isn’t very often that a person can decide one day to change their entire life…and then stick to it. Even if the change was made to save their life. Humans aren’t usually a strong willed bunch. Nevertheless, when someone makes up their mind that they want to live and that they want to live life to the fullest, it can be done. My sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg is an amazing example of such will power. When she first started this journey, she didn’t think she could do it, but now she won’t quit.
When Brenda was told that she had Cellulitis, Congestive Heart Failure, and Sleep Apnea, she didn’t sit down and cry about it, saying that her life was over, so she might just as well, give up. No, she decided that she was going to take back her life, and move forward. Her journey has been an amazing one, and it was all done is a very short time. From October 18, 2013 when she first went to the hospital to the current time, Brenda has lost over 300 pounds. She is within a pound or two of her goal weight, and then will begin weight maintenance.
Much has changed in Brenda’s life. I don’t think that she ever dreamed that she would spend so much time hiking…or that she would love to go hiking. There are several of us in the family who love to hike, and I have to wonder if Brenda used to think we were all crazy. Well, welcome to the nut house Brenda. Now, I’m sure there are people in your life who think you are just a little bit crazy too. In all reality though, hiking is so fun and relaxing. Once you get started on it, it is really hard to think about not going.
Of course, Brenda still works full time, but her job is a little bit easier to do these days. Trying to work when you spend your entire life exhausted is no fun, but now that Brenda has lots of energy, the only time she is very tired is at bedtime, and that is normal. That in itself is a huge change, since Brenda spent most of her weekends sleeping in an effort to feel rested. It still wasn’t enough sleep. No more!! Now, Brenda is an inspiration to those around her…either that…or they just find her exhausting. It doesn’t matter which it is, because Brenda isn’t going back. She loves her new life, and all the activity in it. She loves hiking, and being outdoors, and will go even in the rain. It’s a “have raincoat, will hike” situation. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Another year better!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my niece Lindsay was a little girl she told everyone in the family that she was going to be a fire fighter when she grew up. It was a dream that sounded much like a lot of other kids, but she would prove to be different.
After high school, she went to school to major in Fire Science. While it was a bit of a surprise, we were all very proud of her. She did very well, and was hired for two summers running to work for the Forest Service as a fire fighter in the Black Hills of South Dakota. After receiving her Associates Degree in Fire Science, Lindsay did change her mind about fire fighting.
In true Lindsay style, she would prove herself, by being accepted to a program that is very hard to get into. Her Bachelor’s Degree would be in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, which is the study of movement, with an emphasis on disease prevention through exercise, and how exercise affects diseases and how to live healthy lifestyles. With this degree, she has a variety of fields that she can go into, including physical therapy, which is the field that she would receive an internship in at Wyoming Medical Center. I know she will do very well. And yes Lindsay, I had a ulterior motive for all my questions, but I was also very interested. In the Fall, Lindsay will attend South Dakota State University to obtain her Masters Degree.
Lindsay has always been a girl with a magnetic personality. You are just drawn to her. She has never met a stranger, just a friend she doesn’t know yet. And she has the ability to succeed at whatever she sets her hand to. I know that no matter where your journey takes you, Lindsay, your life will be filled with much happiness and great success. As you start down the next road on your journey, I feel a little sad that the next years will keep you further from home, and while I am very happy for you, I am sad for…me.