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Old 03-03-2013, 10:57 PM
hairwing530 hairwing530 is online now
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: northern Michigan
Posts: 1,139
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Default Re: One Last Question, and I Promise I'll Quit...

jsquires,

I'm sorry to hear about your brother and his brain cancer. You have my sympathies, my friend...

Cancer in any form is an insidious disease, one that's relentless in its destructive nature, and an illness that slams home with a "take no prisoners" life-altering approach. It knows no boundaries-- age, gender, status and the like. I've been blessed with having out-run my disease/cancer demons longer than most, and living far longer than the original prognosis.

The idea for the classes with "my kids" came about during my recovery from my first brain tumor. Because of the prolonged stay and rehab necessary-- kicking all of my motor skills back into high gear took some doing --my chief oncologist(also a fly-fisher) felt that doing repetitive tasks like those found in my tying would be good therapy. My wife brought my portable kit to the hospital, and it wasn't long before I had kids from the Children's Cancer Wing stopping by to watch-- a few at first, and then a steady stream. It was then and there that I decided to continue the process back at home, if the interest was there. It was, and still is...

Brain tumor #2 almost short-circuited things. The tumor rendered me blind from late 2004 throughout much of '09, and I thought my teaching AND tying days were over. Enter our two youngest daughters, some of my fly-wrangling cronies and a wealth of volunteers to assist with the classes. I was determined not to give it up, sight or no sight.

Then, in late '09, two very talented and gifted surgeons worked to restore my sight for over 12+ hours in a "Hail Mary" surgery, a procedure that most doctors said was pointless as restoration was impossible. Today, I write this with eyes that again see just fine, a gift I've enjoyed more than I can say.

I'll continue to host the classes throughout whatever time I have left. It was a promise that I made to our late daughter, Laramie, and it's one I intend to keep. She left us in 2010 after a long fight with leukemia, just coming up on 15 years old...

I hope we meet one day on the river, as well, most likely during an "on-river" fly swap. It's been known to happen on our stretch of the water. And, my last word of tattoos... Kids, wear 'em proud, as everybody should... especially those who've served... I'm still trying to design mine... (???)

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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