Dear Friends and Family,
I hope this finds you well. It has been a very challenging time for us since we moved to St. Petersburg, FL. Wil was hired in October, 2006 to relocate here and work for Freedom Scientific, a company that makes a screen reader, JAWS, and other blind and low vision products. I left my job of twenty years with Richmond County DFCS at the end of March 2007 to move the house down here. It took almost a year and Congressman Young’s assistance to get my Social Security disability started; but it finally did. Wil was laid off from his job in May, and thank God, is receiving Unemployment. It is very hard for a blind man to find a job in today’s economy; but he looks every day. We went to Albany, NY to help friends, Kristen and Jeff, while she had and recuperated from reconstructive foot surgery. They have an eight year old and a seventeen month old. We were able to check out the area and were impressed. Going from Florida days of 90 degrees to New York days of 60 degrees was a nice change. Wil has been approved for 55b employment in New York State; but there are no open positions at this time. Wil thinks he will love the cold weather up there; but I don’t think I will like that at all.
Wil had some digestive problems in New York that got progressively worse. He refused to go to the ER up there as we have no medical insurance. The day after we arrived home, we went to our doctor; and he was sent straight to the hospital as he had lost 23 pounds in September. On October 3rd, his colon perforated and he had emergency surgery (6pm) to totally remove his colon and perform and ileostomy. He remained hospitalized until the 14th. He bled out on the 17th, had to go to the hospital by ambulance, and was released again on the 23rd. A repeat occurred again on October 30th and he was released on November 3rd (for good this time). By God’s grace and much support, love, and prayers from everyone, he survived the whole ordeal. It was a very scary time not knowing if I was going to loose him. He lost from 209 to 160 pounds; but now has gained 21 and will be able to weight train again after the New Year. We have not been able to have children, so I tease him about delivering a baby stoma. Therefore, he named it Jake.
There has been some good here. We like the St. Petersburg area as it has an excellent bus system. Despite the summer heat, between November and May, it is awesome to have the windows open and be outside. I enjoy swimming for 9 months out of the year. We have everything we need in walking or bus distance. It is tops for blindness independence. I would have to say that the best thing that has happened here is that we introduce Theresa to Wil’s previous co-worker, John; and they married on November 28th. It is nice having her living here.
Titan and Max (Golden Retriever Leader Dogs) are doing great!! They are happy as long as they are with us. Max missed Wil badly while he was in the hospital. Wil was so sick that Max only got to visit a couple of times. This is the only time I have ever known Max to act out by pooping on the carpet (always after he heard his daddy’s voice over the phone). Poor boy! He couldn’t find him. Both boys worked very little during the whole ordeal; but neither forgot how to work. Titan turned 8 this year and Max will turn 6 later this month. The time sure does fly!
We wish you all the best this Christmas and a great New Year to come.
Denise, Wil, Titan, & Max
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