Switch to previous version of Magzter

Try GOLD

Carved With Love

The gift of canes

Desiree Cole

JEN COSTELLO SAT ON THE COLD  examination table. The doctor lifted her legs one at a time, testing their function. Jen’s leg braces were supposed to keep her from falling, but they just weren’t cutting it lately. The Jeannette, Pennsylvania, resident had battled chronic nerve damage for decades, and now she’d developed drop foot, a type of neuropathy.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said. “But it’s time to quit your job. It’s too strenuous  for your body.” Jen was stunned. She loved her work as an addiction counselor. She’d already had to give up a previous job as a paramedic due to her physical limitations. She had always felt called to help people. If she couldn’t do that anymore…

“I’d also recommend getting a cane,” the doctor said.

“Seriously?” Jen’s heart dropped. “

There’s no other option?” She was only 44 but suddenly felt twice her age. She’d struggled physically almost all her life, and she was tired of it.

At age four, a fall from a backyard slide landed her in the hospital. Doctors initially thought she’d ruptured her spleen. What they uncovered was far worse. Jen had Wilms’ tumor, a childhood kidney cancer. “It’s in her left kidney, and it’s very aggressive,” doctors told her mother with somber eyes. “We can try surgery.”

They removed Jen’s left kidney, but the cancer had already spread to her lungs. The only thing left to do was chemotherapy and radiation.

Treatments for Wilms’ were still new in the 1970s. Doctors didn’t know the correct dosages for children. They had no idea they were giving 26-pound Jen enough chemo and radiation for a 300-pound person. That eradicated the cancer, but it also destroyed most of the muscles in her left back and led to chronic conditions as she grew older.

Continue Reading with Magzter GOLD

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

January 2018

MORE STORIES FROM GUIDEPOSTSView All
The Help I Needed
Guideposts
6 mins read
Our Hanukkah Tree
Guideposts
3 mins read
Our Christmas Puppy
Guideposts
8 mins read
Never Forsaken
Guideposts
7 mins read
Love & Care
Guideposts
8 mins read
Healing After Hate
Guideposts
7 mins read
Forever Fred
Guideposts
5 mins read
A Message Of Hope
Guideposts
8 mins read
Something To Be Thankful For
Guideposts
3 mins read
I'll Be There
Guideposts
8 mins read
RELATED STORIES
Boozy Ben Headed For Trouble In Bahamas! - Friends Fear
National Enquirer
1 min read
J.Lo Talking Baby At 50!
National Enquirer
1 min read
Jen Flirts With Scientology!
Globe
1 min read
The Concept of Self
American Art Collector
2 mins read
Kathie Lee To The Rescue!
Globe
1 min read
On A Roll
Arthritis Today
2 mins read
Veterans Day Program Brings Stories To Life Through Song
Castine Patriot
1 min read
Happy Family, Happy Life
Volusia Parent
5 mins read
Happy Family, Happy Life
Flagler Parent
5 mins read
Jen's Sneak Attack Skewers Angie
Globe
2 mins read