About Echo Mountain
I am a thankful husband and also a father of three wonderful children ages 21 to 14, the oldest of which is living with similar symptoms. I have total and permanent disability according to my doctors, although I don't take total or permanent as completely unchangeable. I may yet reverse this disability, but I am not betting the farm on it. A lot of it is in the hands of God. Regardless, I am finding value in being who I am, rather than in doing, as in doing what I used to be able to do. Being simply is. I try to find myself in being, if I find myself at all.
My wife is my wonderful aide de camp and caretaker. She points me back at the heavens when I'm knocked down. My faith is critically important to me.
I grew up with my father using the Colorado Rocky Mountains to spend time with me. I skied, hiked, climbed, and biked as I grew up. Then, things changed. At 19, I married and my father went through a personal bankruptcy and could no longer explore with me.
At 20, I was in a car accident that injured my upper back. Therapy and chiropractic helped keep things relatively normal, but after taking a sedentary job and surviving a serious flu-like infection (with a high fever) and a few serious falls—at home, no less, arthritis and ME/CFS set in. Faith and family have kept me going.
I never had a defining moment where I realized, "Whoa! I have a disability!" Life just got increasingly harder to cope with to the point where I couldn't play much. Then I couldn't work as much. Then I couldn't work at all. Finding people who understand has been difficult, but not impossible. My church has supported me and mine for years, helping us make mortgage and utility payments when we’ve needed them.
Perhaps the hardest point was realizing my lower back pain would not permit me to walk more than a single house down my block and absolutely would not let me walk down to the field where my son played football. A power chair was required for my getting around. I realized that my days as a hiker were over. Doing so hurt my pride and my outlook, but getting the power chair was a true relief to my body.
Being a father who can listen and counsel is immensely rewarding for me now. It’s good to be needed, and even better to be loved.