John’s visit is always a happy occasion, now more than ever. This trip home even more so because the DBS operation signals a first step on the return to walking without a reeling gait and speaking clearly. I don’t expect the surgeon’s handiwork to restore the abilities of that young “pre-dystonia” lad. Now we know that the realization of hope is something we can enjoy with a greater amount of expectation. Something is going to happen—Something good.
When John was graduating from high school, the affects of his dystonia were apparent. This did not deter the US Marine Corp. recruiting sargeant from dogging his steps, or John from listening to him on the phone. I caught the phone call one time and asked if John had explained his health problems. With an explanation of dystonia, the Marine lost interest. John was put out though because he felt he could make a significant contribution to “The Corp.” He was only satisfied with my actions when I explained that he could not hold a rifle in the regulation way and that all Marines need to shoot. We will never return to those days.
Betty and I have known about John’s bravery since he was a ten-year-old and endured brutal practices called “air studies” and cerebral angiograms and countless needles. We followed his judgment when he let us know he no longer wanted the drugs that interfered with his life or the strange “operations” that had such little promise of success. Judging from the response to the news of the operation on the internet, everyone now agrees with his mother and I. I must admit these are characteristics necessary to make a good Marine.
We are off on a new track now. This involves new trials, new expectations and new hopes. We are thankful for the prayers that brought John safely this far and count on them to bring him through the rest of the way.
Lloyd Stoner (John’s dad)