Job reminds writer she’s lucky – just before short hiatus
My job as a newspaper reporter gives me a perspective I just wouldn’t have otherwise.Just in the past couple of months, through my job, I’ve had the opportunity to interview lots of people who make me rethink my life, and the world I live in.Capt. Jeff Cheney is one of them. A Garfield County deputy district attorney, Jeff recently returned to Glenwood Springs after serving in Iraq for 10 months. What stuck most in my mind after talking with Jeff and his wife, Kerri, was Jeff’s comments about feeling safe. He said after months of being on alert in Iraq, it’s hard to adjust to simply driving his car down the street or walking down the sidewalk without being on guard. Even falling asleep at night is a challenge, he said. I thought about that after I left the interview, walking down Eighth Avenue in Glenwood to my car. I thought what it must feel like to always be wondering if a car bomb is going to go off next to me, or if a sniper is going to pick me off. And, as I got in my car and headed down Grand Avenue, I could only begin to imagine what it feels like to live with that kind of fear and apprehension every minute of every day. Now, I keep reminding myself how lucky I am every day to be able to walk down the street without fearing for my life. Marla Williams Gettman is another person who has helped me broaden my perspective lately. I’ve been following Marla’s progress since this elementary school teacher and swimmer was in a horrific car accident in December 2002, which left her with a severe head injury, crushed arm and multiple broken bones. On Monday, I met Marla, who grew up in Glenwood, for the first time. Since the accident, she’s been through more than 13 surgeries to pull her body back together. She showed me her right arm and the most recent set of stitches, in which doctors inserted a titanium elbow, allowing her to bend her arm for the first time since the accident.She told me with a little smile she doesn’t like the little weight that’s been inserted into her left eyelid which allows her lid to close (she suffered a stroke on her left side at the time of the accident), and she pulled my hand to her right hand to show me that unless she’s looking at her arm, she can’t tell if I’m touching it or not. Marla, an elementary school teacher with a master’s degree in education, has learned to speak and understand language again – truly, a Herculean effort since the accident affected the part of Marla’s brain that recognizes language. What an absolutely courageous young woman. We gave each other a hug when I left the interview. Another courageous woman I’ve recently interviewed is Sean Patrick of Carbondale. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven years ago, Sean told me she kept questioning and researching her medical options. She even started her own foundation to, among other things, “empower women to take control of their health.” Meeting Sean had a personal effect on me. This past summer, after noticing a very specific, new kind of pain in my body, doctors performed laproscopic surgery on me to try to figure out the origin of the pain. After that, I wasn’t taking control of the problem until I talked to Sean and realized I needed to see a specialist. With her recommendation, as well as the recommendation of my doctor, I went to Denver last week to see one of the best. The verdict? I have a benign cystic mesothelioma (huh?) that needs to be removed. Since that diagnosis, I have become well-versed in what ails me and what I need to do to get beyond it. And I’m thankful to have interviewed Sean, who pushed me to take charge of my health. This is a long-winded way to say I won’t be writing here or in the paper for a little while (recovery time for the type of surgery I’m getting is four to six weeks).It’s also a way to say meeting people like Jeff, Marla and Sean helps me as I tackle this little challenging detour in my life – and makes me stronger. I hope they do the same for you. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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