This week’s Ataxia story comes to us from Troy Stewart. Troy is a chef who’s struggled to reclaim some of what he’s lost over the years.
Don’t get me wrong, having ataxia now over three years diagnosed has been nothing but an upward struggle. But instead of letting it take me and allow it to control my life, I chose to meet it head-on.
I used to be a private chef, cooking for justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ottawa lawyers bar, delegates from foreign nations, etc.
But ataxia took that from me.
I was told I would not be able to live on my own. When I was told that by my neurologist I got angry and gave in. But I distinctly remember saying watch me.
I had to retire as I went through many many tests. I was told I had Friedreich’s Ataxia, but I think that was just to give a name to what type I have.
I’ve got notes going back a few years that just say ataxia.
I am now in my own place after 1.5 yrs in a nursing home. But I applied for independent living even though the waitlist was 6-8 yrs. but I got it very quickly, three weeks.
Now I’m cooking again and with help. Slowly retraining myself. Although I live right now on my own I have a good support network! On top of this, I have PSWs who help me every day.
If I could say one thing that has helped me it has been that I won’t give in and don’t you dare. Push hard and stay on top, everyday we struggle is a lesson. Every time you drop something is a lesson.
My passion is to cook and ataxia took that from me, at first! But now I’m fighting to take it back. I’m teaching myself and others new skills on prep for future meals et. Make things easier down the road.
I see this as a challenge, not a disability! I take it as, “Troy you can’t!” And my response is always to watch me! Will I fail at it, yes, but at least I tried. And I’ll try again.
Thanks, Chef Troy Stewart for sharing your story of perseverance!