James Ward

“I didn’t know if I would make it another year. Now I feel like I can live ’til I’m 90! I got my kidney taken out. The cancer’s gone. I feel terrific.”

When I came home, I remarried my ex-wife. I had a son, who was 11 at that time. I stayed clean for seven years after that, and was doing all the right things: going to work, going to church. Then we fell apart. The second time around it just didn’t work out.

When we split up, I got into a relationship that was poison. That’s what drug me down. I ran. I’m a failed teacher. I had two years I wanted to be a high school history teacher and I had two years of college. Then my son was born and I quit school, and one thing led to another and another. I never went back.

I was 60 years old last May. I had no job, I had no income, no place to live, no vehicle, and no money saved. Last birthday I didn’t know if I would make it another year. Now I feel like I can live ’til I’m 90. I got my kidney taken out. The cancer’s gone. I’m getting false teeth. I feel terrific.

I got rid of hepatitis C, which I didn’t even know I had. I have a skin disorder that might be related to Agent Orange, but they have medicine for it now. Now I won’t break out with blisters when I’m in the sun. I’m a Vietnam era veteran and I wasn’t in country, but I was in the Air Force and I did a lot of flying around on military transport planes. I don’t know what those planes had on them. They were cargo planes, and that’s one way you could get exposed to Agent Orange. Being a veteran paid off for me because through that I ended up here at the V.A.

 

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