Lorie’s Story, Part 3

Skiing The Swiss Alps?
Can't Possibly Be Gary Skiing The Alps

This is the third and final part to Lorie and Gary Sheffer’s amazing story of faith, hope, determination, indomitable will, and especially, Love.  Yes, it really sounds to me like a love story. Gary and Lorie passed the test we’d all like to pass, but wouldn’t want to take. Take it away Lorie:

One day a therapist asked the rehab group what their goals were. For one lady it was to be able to go shopping with her daughter, for another it was to make her own lunch, and for one of the men it was to be able to balance his checkbook. When Gary’s turn rolled around, he said his goal was to recover 100%. He wanted to ski, to in line skate, to run, and to return to his job as an engineer. It was around this time that I was taken aside and it was suggested to me that he might need some psychological counseling to help him come to terms with the reality of his situation. I said thank you, but I would rather work with him to reach those goals. Then they suggested counseling for me as well.

Three months after his stroke, I was running along side of Gary around a high school track. The fact that I ran for two miles still amazes us both most of all. We soon learned how insensitive and rude people can be when they see someone with a disability. I choose not to waste space discussing some of what we encountered.

After six months, Gary was able to return to his job. During his absence, they had gotten a new computer aided design system, so he had something new to learn in addition to trying to resume his old duties. Learn it he did. He got back up to speed and received a good performance review from his boss. When he was discharged from HealthSouth, he was still not satisfied with his recovery. Also, ski season was just around the corner. I made good on the promise I had made in the shock trauma unit on the day of his stroke; I got out my skies and we headed to the slopes. Less than a year after the brain hemorrhage, Gary took his first run down a beginner slope. One year to the day after, we took both of our kids out of school and spent the day skiing the slopes where the AVM had burst. Still, he was not satisfied. He went to another physical therapy facility and worked with them for another two years. They discharged him, but he was still not ready to quit. He found a neurological disorders therapy specialist at Johns Hopkins, Bayview Medical Center. She explained that neurological disorders can’t be treated the same as orthopedic injuries. Gary has been seeing her every three weeks for the last nine years, and he is still making progress. He spends time each day working on exercises, most of which are designed to encourage proper body mechanics and automatic use. His motivation is what has gotten him to this point. On our most recent visit to Hopkins, his therapist got a bit misty eyed at the leap he had taken from the previous visit. She said that his gait was perfect. We know that he is pushing her to use all of her skills, and his successes are her successes as well.

Dreams reached: Walking, biking, skiing, speaking, understanding, working, seeing both kids graduate, having a grandchild, seeing our son get married, family vacations, back yard parties, holiday celebrations. My favorites? He now shovels and uses the snow blower, mows the lawn and washes our cars. Truth be told, I love this Gary even more than the person he was before the stroke. He is more patient and worries less about little things. He knows that although we were proud of his achievements, when they were all taken from him we still loved him for who he is and not what he did.

A few years ago, I sent a note to Gary’s neurosurgeon. I wanted to tell him that Gary had skied the Swiss Alps with our son, who is now attending the same medical school as Dr. Krzeminski himself had attended years ago. I enclosed a picture and let him know that anything is possible. I know when he saw that picture, he smiled.

He Asked Me This

Dad's Flag, Son's Hat
Dad's Flag, Son's Hat

Got a Tweet the other day, plus an email.

Okay, not earth-shattering news.


But they were from the same person.


So he had a question he wanted to ask me.

(Again) So.

He wants to meet with me to ask it.

Not sure why a retweet or direct message, or even an email response wouldn’t satisfy his curiosity.

Anyway, we hope to meet later next week, so I can answer this, “What inspires you to write five daily blogs?”

This Is New

Returning Visitors, this post will remain the first thing you see, for a week or so. You can still trust that I’m posting here every single day. Just scroll down for today’s post. Thanks.

Top Right Link Will Always Lead You
Top Right Link Will Always Lead You

It is now amazingly easy to click through all five daily blogs, without having to think or remember which order or how many you’ve already visited.

Simply click the top link under Blogroll, on the upper right-hand column. It automatically advances you.

Ever heard these phrases?:

  • Never get bored with the basics
  • It’s common sense, but not common practice
  • The road to excellence has no finish line

On a friend’s suggestion, I’ve simplified navigation between the five daily blogs.

It’s basic, it’s common sense, and just one more simple improvement.

It reminds me of mid life.

PS.  Please scroll past this to read today’s post.  Thanks.

Major Mid Life April Fool?


Mid Life Celebration has now been writing five daily blogs for one year.

This is not an April Fool’s joke (although the timing is perfect).

I remember how it all started.  March 2009.  Our 2nd-grade son was questioning why he had to read aloud 20 minutes every day.

“If you want to be a good reader, you need to read a lot”, I said.

Then I continued, “You know I’m training for the World Championships, right?  If I want to be a good runner, I need to run a lot.”

Then, the flash of light!

“If you want to be a good writer, you should write a lot.”

What started as a simple 100-day challenge to write daily, in the five blogs, has turned into a heretical marketing and brand value proposition.

You Know What’s Crazy?


There’s a hidden, subtle message in this Mid Life blog post. Most likely, you will struggle to understand it.  It’s crazy that I even ask you to try, isn’t it?

Life is crazy.

Work is crazy.

The economy is crazy.

Health Care is crazy.

People are crazy.

And I’m one of them, and so are you.

Jimmy Buffett, who’s released over 40 CD’s in his lifetime and has a cult following of “Parrotheads“, once said:

“If we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.”

Writing five daily blogs is crazy.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary.

It began as a simple 100-day challenge.

The rest, as they say, is history.

PS. I have all 40 of Jimmy Buffett’s Cd’s and consider myself an original Parrothead. (I know, who cares?)