Jacqueline Bennett has become a fixture at our Global Ataxia Support. As of yet, she doesn’t have a clear diagnosis. Read more of her story!
Hi, my name is Jackie Bennett, 62. I have two children, Emma 26, James 24. I was born in England, emigrated to Canada at 20. I started having very mild symptoms in my late forties or early fifties. The odd tippyness which I thought were inner ear problems dismissing the symptoms as minor and inconvenient, having never been sick, blessed with good health. My nurse practitioner seemed alarmed when I could not tandem walk so was sent to a specialist and started my journey. There is no family history, I am the youngest in my immediate family, my parents, both with many siblings, therefore older cousins. To this day I have not received a diagnosis, Just that I have cerebellar ataxia. On my MRIs, it shows that my cerebellum has only age-related shrinkage.
I was active in life more in the way of doing things. Being very artistic, my first job was in England with A.C. Nielsen preparing media charting by hand, soon to be computerized. After emigrating to Canada I returned to school for accounting, spent 15 years public, the last 20 as the financial controller of a local winery/vineyard. My hobbies included painting, refinishing furniture, sewing, and was an avid perennial gardener.
Two years ago I retired early and gave up driving, selling my house. My 20 your marriage had ended (unrelated to my illness). I now live in a one-bedroom large condominium in a senior residence.
Despite these losses and trials, which I have recognized and grieved over, I’m very blessed to have people in my life that I do. Being the youngest my children are the only immediate family I have close, I do have a brother living in Kelowna, BC which I would visit. As I no longer am able to pursue my hobbies I have taken up knitting, choosing patterns that are very complicated which challenges me mathematically, keeping me focused. Anything I don’t know how to do I look up on YouTube
I am very grateful for my life, where I live, my many friends, my kids, the wonderful country I live in, and the healthcare. Blessings too many to count. It could always be worse.
My illness has taught me to be more forgiving, compassionate, patient with myself and others, giving and grateful.
My advice would be to never rush through life making the most of your family. If you are blessed with children make them the focus. I seemed to rush through life trying to maintain everything as well as a career and it really wasn’t worth it. Happiness is not a destination and is much overrated I believe contentment is a better goal and easier to maintain. You always have a choice of how to react to your life circumstances.
Thanks, Jacqueline Bennett for sharing your story!
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