Monday, 4 August 2014

His Brains, My Biceps

The following is the start of a blog post I never finished from a few months ago…it’s a little dark. I’m okay now…things have a way of turning around:

I’ve been procrastinating for a while. I don’t want to write this blog post because everyone will know that I’m not as strong as I look; I’m not as strong as everyone thinks I am. I’m weak and thankfully God is strong and that’s the only reason I am where I am. I have definitely imagined myself in other places, but by God’s grace, I’m in this place…I’m in the palm of His hand.

I just thought I was dealing with a little bit of mental fatigue but it’s more than that. I call myself crazy sometimes, but my mind is just a little mixed up. I stare at the three toothbrushes and can’t decide which one is mine. I know its purple but sometimes it takes me a while to determine which one is purple…I think I’m losing it. It’s a bunch of stuff: fatigue, burn out, maybe depression. It’s the first time in my life I have ever thought, “What’s the point?”

There was more, but you get the drift. Those feelings didn’t last that long - about two months. But on a regular basis, I am mentally drained…I forget stuff all the time and I get a little mixed up. I often tell Mike that between the two of us, we make one great person…with his brains and my biceps (and the rest of my body) we really function well. Anyway, I didn’t tell anyone I definitely wasn’t functioning well during those couple of months, but my sister kept asking if I was okay and Erin was encouraging me to get away. 

I kept saying I was fine and I told Erin I’d go away for a day or two when Aunt Pat came…that was around April or the beginning of May. Pat was coming sometime in June. When she confirmed she was coming the last weekend in June, I asked Nathan to stay over night on the Saturday of that weekend. I knew between our two sisters and the kids and Mike’s regular home care support people, he would be well taken care of…even still, it’s really hard to leave him.

When I heard the workshop I was interested in attending was happening that weekend, I signed up. It was called “Inspire A Book” - a two day intensive for potential authors wanting to gain knowledge about writing and publishing a book. I was really excited about the workshop, but not about leaving Mike.

Leaving Mike for a whole day or more is agony, but not having a day away every once in a while is painful too. It’s the greatest internal tug of war I’m sure I’ll ever know. 

I’m going away again tomorrow for a couple of days. Erin is having hip replacement surgery tomorrow, so of course I will be with her for the day and I will spend the night with her at the UBC Hospital. Pat, Aileen and Sheila (Mike’s sisters and mum) are coming to help and with the help of my family as well, Mike and Erin will both be well cared for!

The Inspire A Book workshop was great…and exhausting. At the end of the first day, Julie, author and publisher of Influence Publishing (CEO), who led the workshop took me aside and told me she wanted to publish my book and handed me some paper work - a contract. She told me to read it over with Mike and she said she was really excited about my book.

After deciding to write a book and after researching everything I could about publishing, I was a little overwhelmed and then a friend told me about ‘Influence’, a company based here in Vancouver. I looked into it and thought it was perfect for me. I sent Julie a book proposal about a month before the workshop. I kept thinking, “This is really dumb…or maybe its pretty good”…I had no idea. Anyway, she liked it and I have embarked on something really exciting…telling Mike’s story in a book…our story.

What else is exciting is Erin’s new hip. The end of a long journey and the beginning of something great. And that’s a whole other story…

“The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went…If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “. . . why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:31). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him…You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him.” Oswald Chambers

Me and Mike and Erin and my mom at an ultimate frisbee game last weekend cheering for Nathan and Madison and all the players

We are all hoping and praying for the best possible out-come for Erin's surgery tomorrow and a for quick and complete recovery! Amen!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Free Parking

Last week on Wednesday when I took Mike to his bath appointment at the hospital, there was no parking in the free, ten minute drop-off zone in front of the building where we usually park, so I drove around to the back. We have parked in the back a few times before, but not only is it all pay parking, there is only one wheelchair spot. Thankfully, the one wheelchair parking spot was available and for the sake of the five or ten minutes it takes me to drop Mike off, I wasn’t going to worry about paying for parking.

As I was getting Mike out of the van, I could see a couple that looked a little lost walking toward us. It was a beautiful older Indo-Canadian couple in bright coloured clothing, each walking with a cane. The man came right up to the van and asked if I knew where he could pay for parking. His accent was lovely, but his english a little rough, so there was some confusion when he also showed me the map of where in the hospital they had to go.

I pointed him in the direction of the entrance where the parking machine is and I told him we were going that way and I would help him. He and his wife started walking toward the entrance while I got Mike out of the van. We caught up to them and went in together and I showed him the parking machine. He told me his parking stall number and I punch it in along with the amount of time he wanted. I told him it was $6 and he pulled out a bunch of change from his pocket. He had a toonie and two loonies and a bunch of dimes, so I took the four bigger coins out of his hand and grabbed two loonies of my own and put the money in and gave him his ticket. He wasn’t about to accept my money and insisted I take all of his dimes. He showed me his map again of where he and his wife had to go, so we walked them to the elevator and I explained to them that they needed to go up one floor and then when they got out of the elevator, they needed to turn right and follow the hall to reception. They thanked us very much and we parted ways.

Yesterday when I picked Mike up from his bath appointment, we passed a man in the hall talking to medical personnel. I told Mike it looked like the man from last week and continued to our vehicle parked in the free, drop off zone in the front of the building. As I was wheeling Mike backwards up the ramp into the van, the tall, well dressed man with a bright blue turban appeared. He tapped his hand on the outside of one thigh a few times and with a big smile said his wife had her surgery and it went well. I said that was great and told him we were happy to hear it. He said, “Do you remember me?” I said we did; Mike nodded. He pointed to Mike and said, “What about him?” I told the man Mike was ill and that he probably wasn’t going to get better. The man came closer and with his finger pointing up, he said, “God is supreme!” Mike and I nodded in agreement. He said it again and then told us if we pray every morning and every night, everything would be alright. We nodded in agreement and the man said good bye and walked away.

As we drove off, I got a little choked up and glanced at Mike in the rear view mirror. He was already smiling at me - I smiled back and thought how God is very mysterious but He keeps it so simple at the same time.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

On Track

Mike’s sister, Moira and her husband Mike were here for a visit a few weeks ago. They came a day before Pat got here and left a few days before she did.

Moira isn’t a fan of flying and of course, I can relate…I think her aversion to flying is even stronger than mine. When I heard they were taking the train back home to Toronto, I thought, “What a great idea!”

I would love to take a train across the country. Mike and I had often spoke of doing that together someday. Not only would it be a great way to see the spectacular scenery of each province, but trains travel on the ground (so there's no fear of falling out of the sky like there is in a plane).

This is Mike’s message to Moira about a week after they left:

“So I guess you are home by now. Most people taking the train will say the rocky mountain portion is enjoyable and that the prairies are boring because they contain only vast amounts of tall wheat fields that are bland to the eye. I read a book years ago called ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’ by WO Mitchell. In the book the last chapter gives a description of the old grandma who is wheelchair bound and sits all day staring out the window at the wheat blowing in the wind. To all around her people see what appears to be a demented old lady staring into space but Mitchell's description gives the reader a different outlook at what she sees.”

Moira’s reply back:

“We just got in this afternoon as our train was 5 hours behind schedule due to a freight train that had problems ahead. Many times we stopped to allow for freight to pass, as they get priority. No problem for us, as we just sat up in the glass top area watching the scenery and talking with some of the train passengers who were very friendly. 
Although the prairies were not as spectacular as the rocky mountains, they had their own beauty, and we enjoyed watching all of it, including the forest and lake areas after that. We were allowed to get off the train occasionally in small towns along the way for some fresh air and a stretch while the train was serviced, and if you have ever seen the show 'Corner Gas', well it reminded me of that, with the size of the towns... 
The train was only really rocky one night, the rest of it was normal old fashioned train rocking, just like the olden days. You felt as though you had been on a train from the 50's, especially with some of the original bunks and refurbished end of the train lounge car with a cigar/beer table, original redone lounge chairs and decor. It was like that same place on the train in the movie ‘Double Indemnity’ with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, where he steps out the back door for a smoke.”  

The following is a poem written by Michaela for a school writing assignment:

My uncle is a train. Always staying on track. Determined, motivated and knows where it’s going. The outside is made of hard, strong metal yet inside is cozy and inviting. The inside has chairs lined in perfect rows which look hard but once you sit and stay a while you realize they have the softest cushions in the world. In the front the engineer shovels coal into the fire. He doesn’t stop to take a break or get tired. Instead he pushes to the limit in order to keep things running smoothly. Sometimes the train needs some helpers and sometimes it can go on its own. But one thing is certain, nothing can stop it.

Michaela, Elanna, Peter and Luke before the ALS walk in PoCo last month

Elanna, Michaela and my mom with all of us at the ALS Walk in PoCo last month

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Keep Looking Up

Madison pointed it out to me when the three of us were out for a walk one day. She said she thought it was weird that I have a fear of flying, but I’m fascinated with air planes…every time one flies over, I look up. I’m actually not fascinated with the plane itself - I don’t care about it on the ground, its more about the machine in the sky. Madison was right, it is kind of weird. But to me, it’s just natural…I have looked up for as long as I can remember and have wondered why most people don’t.

We live about 50K away from the Vancouver International Airport, so we aren’t that close. It’s not like the planes are loud, but still you can hear them, so I look up. Sometimes I comment. I might say something about it’s colour or size or if it’s flying really high or low etc.  Sometimes I’ll pop a wheelie with Mike’s wheelchair so he can see too. And on a nice day or evening, I often say something like, “How wonderful it is to be flying into Vancouver on a day like today.” Because of course, Vancouver is beautiful…from the sky and the ground!

My dad looks up too. I’ve really noticed it lately at Nathan’s ultimate frisbee games…he and I are looking up while everyone else has their eyes on the game. My dad knows planes…he flew planes. He had a licence to fly at one time and has always had an interest in planes. While everyone else is watching the frisbee game, he and I discuss where that one might be coming from and the airline and he always knows what kind of plane it is.

I don’t really know why I have to look up when one flies over, but its like I can’t not look up.  Regardless, looking up when a plane flies by has caused me to look up thousands of times and looking up is a good thing.

I think the sky is a great reminder of how small we are and how big God is. It’s huge and it’s uncluttered, unlike some of our spaces, so it helps clear the mind and make troubles disappear for a while. The sky is also in the direction of heaven and they say its good to look where you are going, not where you have been.

Because of Mike’s neck weakness, the physiotherapist from GF Strong recently came and fitted Mike for a neck brace. Mike wasn’t crazy about the idea, but I insisted. I told him that transfers would be easier and when he stands he wouldn’t have to work so hard to lift his head up and keep his head up. I also told him van rides would be more enjoyable. Poor Mike is like a bobble head in the van when we go anywhere and I drive super slow and avoid as many bumps as possible…train tracks are the worst. 

Anyway, Mike isn’t crazy about his new neck brace. He feels a little suffocated, so he hasn’t worn it very much. He did wear it when he and I drove out to Mill Lake in  Abbotsford a couple of weeks ago to surprise Neil and Donna at the ALS Walk there (the week before, our “I Like Mike” team participated in the ALS Walk in Port Coquitlam). 

We laughed a lot on the way to Mill Lake because I was asking Mike questions about getting there and with his sun glasses on and his neck brace on, it was almost impossible for him to communicate with me. I couldn’t see his eyes and he couldn’t nod his head yes or no. I’d say, “Smile if I exit here…smile if I turn left here.” Trying not to smile, made Mike smile more, so needless to say we got a little lost but we had fun.

I have never been more in awe of Mike’s determination as I am now when I watch him lift his head. When we get him standing up and leaning against his chair, it takes all his might to lift his head. Once it’s there, he smiles. Usually it falls back a little and then he’s looking up…and smiling. Sometimes I help him lift his head and sometimes I hold his head for him, but I also like to hold his feet and support his ankles when he stands, so this can be a bit of a challenge. Last week when Pat was here, she held Mike’s head and I held his feet. Elanna and Madison and whoever else might be around also help sometimes with this juggling act…its team work at its best!

All I can say is, “Mike, you blow me away! I am so proud of you and so inspired by you! Keep looking up!”

                                                             Neil's Team

                                       Neil and Mike at the ALS walk in Abbotsford

                                  The "I Like Mike" Team at the ALS walk in Poco


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Go West Young Man

Mike moved from Ontario to BC in 1985. He and a friend hopped on a bus and made the journey as far west as it went. It was for the adventure mostly, but Mike always said he had to come to BC to meet the girl of his dreams…he said he followed his heart half way across the country to find me.

Mike’s friend stayed for about two weeks and when his money ran out, he returned home. But Mike doesn’t give up that easily - Mike stayed and signed up for the army. While he waited for the summer session to start, he found a cozy spot in a lovely bush on Royal Avenue in New Westminster. We would drive by when our children were little and Mike would say, “Look kids, that’s where I lived when I first moved to BC.” And they would point and say, “In that big building right there?” and he would point and say, “No, in that bush over there.”

Mike had been in the reserves in Ontario and decided to sign up when he got to BC. He joined the Royal Westminster Regiment and that’s where he met fellow ‘Westie’: Bob. Funny thing, our son Nathan become a Westie too and funnier thing, Nathan had the same commanding officer Mike had twenty-five years earlier.

Anyway, Bob became Mike’s first BC buddy and when their time in the reserves came to an end, Bob invited Mike to move to his home town; Maple Ridge. This is where Mike eventually met his true love - ME! 

Mike and Bob first lived in an old run down house in town on Macintosh St. with a few other guys. They each kicked in $80 a month to cover the rent. From there they moved to the “Shack” — five guys and a cat named ‘Mow’ (rhymes with 'how'). Poor Mow could have done better on his own. We were always surprised that cat kept coming back. Those guys never fed Mow, so he was a great little hunter and always appreciated when one of the female visitors would bring treats or a can of cat food. Rent at the Shack was eighty bucks (each) as well. The Shack is where Mike and I first met. After the Shack was torn down, Mike and Bob moved to a small apartment over a corner store in Port Coquitlam. It was just the two of them…no cat and I’m sure rent was more than eighty dollars. 

Mike and Bob were good friends for a long time but eventually lost contact. To Mike’s surprise, he received a Facebook message from Bob the other day. Bob said he was so sad to hear through a mutual friend that Mike wasn’t well. And said he would love to get together some time.

Mike’s reply:

Hey Bob, 
Its good to hear from you. I hope you have been enjoying a good life. I knew you had gotten married and worked with boats but it's been a long time, so perhaps things have changed. You will have to fill me in with the details. As you have heard I am not doing so well. I have ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)…I've had it for the past four years. They give you three to five years to live, so you can do the math. I am okay with my situation - I have had so many good memories including the ones I have with you. Everyone has to go sometime...the trick is to make sure you pack as many good memories in as possible and I think I have done that. Also, I have a strong faith in God and look forward to going to Heaven. Anyway, let me know how you have been doing. Mike

John 14:2-4 - My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Mike and Bob leaving Nanaimo, BC after completing summer session in the army, 1985

With Mike on your team, you could stand around and watch.                                                                Mike in the reserves in Barrie, Ontario, 1982

Mike: a lean, mean fighting machine! 1985

Nathan as a Westie, front and centre and a little tired after a weekend assignment below

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Girl from Agassiz

I actually have some friends I have never met…modern technology makes it possible. I heard from one of those friends this week; she had bad news. It’s funny because she was really on my mind. We hadn’t communicated in a long time, but there she was all of a sudden, on my mind. I meant to email her, but she beat me to it.

I first heard from Sharon in an email a couple of years ago. She introduced herself as the chiropractor patient of a friend of ours: Darren and his wife Tracey. She told me that her husband had recently been diagnosed with ALS and that she had been reading my blog. We communicated back and forth for a while. We shared our stories and because Mike was further along in the illness, I was able to answer some questions and give her a little advice. 

I remember telling her to get a jump on the home care situation as we had some major issues getting home care and then getting consistent care givers.

Anyway, after over a year I heard from Sharon the other day. She reminded me who she was, “The girl from Agassiz…Darren is my Chiropractor.” I appreciate reminders, but this time it wasn’t necessary. I remembered those things and that her husband’s name was Peter (same as my brother in law) and that they have three children. She was heavy on my heart just a couple of weeks ago…I definitely remembered her.

Sharon went on to say that, “Peter went to be with his Saviour on September 13, 2013 after a brief stay in hospice.” What?! I couldn’t believe it. He was only diagnosed in May, of 2012. She said that when she feels brave, she reads my blog and finds encouragement from it. She said she feels part of me and Mike somehow as “I see the progression and hear the hurt in your writings.” She continued, “The battle belongs to the Lord. I asked God this morning why, why and I am waiting patiently for His response. But each day through my sorrow, I know that He loves me and my beautiful children.” And she closed by saying she is praying for us.

I got back to her right away with our condolences and a bunch of questions and she graciously answered them all. She told me the whole story and I cried like a baby. She explained that they couldn’t get the home care support they needed. She said that one person would come when two were needed. She said that she fought hard to get the second person and it finally was okayed, but because of a staff shortage, they often were left with one care giver or no care giver and she couldn’t do it on her own. When the social worker suggested that Peter go into Hospice because they would have constant care, they reluctantly agreed. It sounded like they didn’t really have a choice.

Sharon says, “I called the kids and they came and we gathered around Peter as he said to us it's a good house, it's been a good time here kids.  Of course it was a very, very sad time as Peter and I rolled away in the ambulance and had to say goodbye to his house of 22 years.  It was probably one of the most emotional times in the journey.” 

She said that Peter’s health was good before they went. He was still breathing well and talking, but as soon as they left their home, his health drastically declined over the course of 4 days. And regarding that fourth day in hospice, Sharon said, “The day went quick with family in and out saying their good byes ect.  At around 5:00 it was me and the kids and I gently woke Peter and asked if he was ready to go home to meet Jesus...he opened his eyes, looked at me and said yes.  I said it is okay to go my sweet Peter, the kids and I release need to fight.  We love you. Shortly there after he took his last breath.  It is a heart wrenching experience.  I can't begin to explain the agony of it all.” 

I cant begin to comprehend the agony of it all, but I can relate to the difficulties of getting proper home care support. Mike and I waited too long to request home care (because that’s the way we are) and then when we did request it, it took a long time to even get our case manager over -- a nurse from Fraser Health. I remember it was August and we couldn't get an appointment until October and then it took another few months to get systems in place and actually get the home care support started. Our extremely over-worked case manager had to take time off and then lost our paper work. The occupational therapists had to evaluate the environment to make sure it was safe for the home care people for WCB (insurance) purposes. We had to get lifts in place and there was a concern about the limited space in the bathroom and the quarter inch lip to get into the shower. 

I’m a very calm person which can be a bit of a detriment. I was having a breakdown on the inside and all was calm and peaceful on the outside, so it looked like I was perfectly fine. When I think back, Its like, “How could I be fine?!” But there came a day when I just wasn’t okay and I couldn’t cope any longer. Still pretty calm on the outside, but close to the edge on the inside, I called Nathan and I called the Occupational Therapist who I had gotten to know well and knew she would help. They both came over and realized I wasn’t okay and the home care delay came to an abrupt end. 

My exhaustion didn’t end there though. It took months of training people…countless people. I kept calling and saying we have to have consistency…its imperative! I would remind them that Mike couldn’t talk, he was unable to tell the care giver what he wanted and what to do next. It got to the point where I told them if they were sending a new person, not to bother. It was more work than if I took care of Mike myself. Slowly but surely things started to come together. I called all the time…I was relentless!

Without proper home care support, managing this illness is impossible. Even with the excellent care we have worked so hard to establish and the support of family, this job is still too big for me. It’s an extremely important assignment that brings me so much joy, but often overwhelms me. All I can do is take one day at a time and rely on God who is bigger than it all!

When Sharon shared her story with me, I was crushed. I am so sad and at first I was angry at the system that failed her and her husband. But ultimately God is in control. He decides when we come and when we go and it was Peter’s time to go. I grieve for Sharon and her kids but rejoice for Peter who is now free from ALS and in the presence of the Lord.

The system will fail us, people will fail us, our bodies will fail us, but God will never fail us!
If you suffer according to God’s will, you should commit yourself to Him and keep on doing what is right and trust God who created you, for He will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19

With the news of Peter’s passing that blend of sorrow and joy I have spoken of before has hit an all time high, or should I say low?

There is strength within our sorrow, there is beauty in our tears. You meet us in our mourning with the love that casts out fear. You are working in our waiting, You sanctify us…and beyond our understanding, you are teaching us to trust. Your plans are still to prosper, you have not forgotten us you are with us in the fire and the flood. Your are faithful forever, perfect in love, you are sovereign over us. - Aaron Keyes

Sharon and Peter and family at the ALS walk last year in Agassiz.
Sharon said it was great that Peter was still with us to meet his first grandchild, a boy born in May 2013. She also said that Peter never lost his voice and continued to talk about God all the was such a blessing!

Please pray for Sharon, the girl from Agassiz and her family and please pray for our good buddy Neil and his wife Donna and family from Chilliwack (Neil with his granddaughters  pictured below) and please continue to pray for Mike and all those affected by ALS. Thank you!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Still Standing

Although, neither of Mike’s home teams, the Vancouver Canucks or the Toronto Maple Leafs made it to the NHL playoffs this year, Mike is faithfully watching. The Montreal Canadiens (the only Canadian team to make it to the playoffs) are his favourite of course, but he was also cheering for the Columbus Blue Jackets because the Jacket’s young and talented Ryan Johansen from Port Moody, BC played on the same team as the young and talented Nathan Sands. They played Major Midget hockey together on the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs. Nathan still plays a little hockey recreationally. 

Mike was also cheering for the Colorado Avalanche of course. Even though one of our all time favourite players, Joe Sakic retired in 2009, I suppose we will always root for his team. The only other team Mike was cheering for and of the above is still in the playoffs along with the Canadiens, is the New York Rangers. We particularly like the Rangers this year because of the coach…the Canucks’ former coach, Alain Vigneault. 

Here we are already in the third round of the playoffs and its Montreal versus New York…they are three games in. The first two games were disappointing to say the least. New York won both games; 7-2 and 3-1. The third game was a bit of a nail biter, but Montreal scored early in overtime to win. 

I never sit through a whole game. I do other things and just watch bits and pieces. If I can hear the crowd going wild, including Mike, I come and watch the replay. Highlights during intermission or at the end of the game get me all caught up and I pretty much know exactly what happened. Anyway, what I could tell from what I saw of that third game, New York was all over Montreal, but Montreal, two games down and fighting for their lives, did not give up! You gotta love that kind of determination! 

It reminds me of Mike. I know I might sound like a broken record, but through every stage of this illness, he just doesn’t give up! Unable to sit up straight with trunk muscles and neck muscles so much weaker now, he is still determined to stand every day…even for just a few minutes. 

Sometimes it takes a while to get his feet right where he wants them. Once I get him up to a partial stand and prop him against his chair, I quickly get down and adjust his left foot (the weaker of the two). I put my shoulder against the outside of his left knee to stabilize his leg and then I adjust his foot with both my hands. With every little adjustment, I look up at his face to see if I’ve hit the sweet spot. He’ll give me the eye brows up signal (like thumbs up) to tell me “good”. From there I prop pillows under his arms and quickly get the suction machine and suction his mouth. When first in that semi-stand position, before he is able to stretch himself to full standing, his head falls forward and all the saliva pools in the front of his mouth and slowly seeps through his lips. I sometimes feel a drop or two fall on my head, but first things first. When his foot is in the right spot, he is able to slowly stand up out of a slouched position…I suction and all is well.

Sometimes he lasts a few minutes, other times he can stand for 10 or 15. He looks awkward and uncomfortable but he assures me he is fine. When Mike told me many months ago that when he can’t stand anymore, he will probably decline quickly because that’s what naturally happens when people stop standing, I became as determined as he is. If he hasn’t stood in a while, I’ll say, “Mike, do you want to stand?” He gives me a smile and a little nod and away we go. But I know my Mike, and I think when he is unable to stand, he’ll happily sit and keep fighting. He’s a fighter, like those Montreal Canadians and there is no giving up.

Montreal and New York play again later today. Mike will be watching and cheering for his team the Canadiens. He is hopeful…he did predict that whichever team got Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline would win the cup. Mike is usually right about these things, but we will soon find out. If they don’t make it to the next round, he’ll still watch and wish Alain Vigneault and his Rangers all the best!

“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill

Here, Mike takes a look at the cloak. He likes to time himself to see if he can stand as long or longer than he did the day before.

Stand firm in your faith. Be courageous. Be strong! 1 Corinthians 16:13