“The years have flown by in the blink of an eye!” Cheryl wrote in a Facebook post. “On this special Thanksgiving Day, I’m thankful for every day I have spent with Ismail throughout the years, for all of the good times and all of the dreams we have shared and continue to enjoy.”
In the same post she shared the following special message to her husband: “Ismail, I’m grateful we found one another and continue to travel our incredible journey together. I’m thankful for your love and your beautiful, heartwarming smile. I love you as much as I did the day we were married–more and more every day.”
Ismail responded: “I loved you yesterday. I love you today. I will love you tomorrow. I will love you forever.”
One Another’s Rock
In their book One Blink at a Time, Cheryl describes how thankful she is that Ismail, despite his illness, the pain he suffers every day, and his physical limitations continues to enjoy life and be upbeat, good-natured, and loving.
“Ismail and I have as much respect and affection for one another as we did the day we were married,” she wrote. “I want and need him with me. I would do anything in the world to help him and keep him close to me. I love being with him, writing with him, watching good movies with him, and going out with him to our favorite summertime places. We enjoy one another’s company. If our marriage and mutual commitment hadn’t been as strong as it was before Ismail developed symptoms of ALS, if Ismail had become angry at his disease and had taken it out on me, if he had grown morose, surly, or felt sorry for himself, we may not have made it this long. But we are one another’s rock, and together we’ll keep going.”
Another Important Anniversary
In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving Day holiday and their wedding anniversary, Ismail and Cheryl had another important anniversary to celebrate on November 26. The date marks 25 years since Ismail started using the ventilator. He had his tracheotomy and went on a ventilator on the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary, November 26, 1990.
In 1998, Ismail wrote an article called “A Happy Anniversary,” which was published in the Winter, 1998 edition of “Ventilator Assisted Living,” a publication of International Ventilator Users Network (IVUN). In the article, Ismail talks about his two anniversaries and his life living at home with a ventilator. He explains that he and Cheryl have shared challenging but happy years enjoying many wonderful times, facing problems, and overcoming obstacles together. “To say it has not always been easy would be an understatement,” he says in the article. “Often, life has been downright hard.” He says they could not have made it without a lot of help from friends, family, his many nurses, his health care team, and his fantastic physicians.
“Would we do it all over again?” Ismail asks. “You bet we would.”
After all, the ventilator has enabled Ismail and Cheryl to be together all these years. They look forward to spending many more Thanksgivings and anniversaries together.
One Blink at a Time
In One Blink at a Time, Cheryl and Ismail recount in alternating chapters how they each deal with their daily challenges living with ALS, how they continue to find love, hope, and happiness in spite of their adversities, and how they continue to prosper and dream 30 years after Ismail’s symptoms began. The book, which is full of practical advice and includes an extensive glossary and helpful resources, is available for sale on Amazon and can be purchased by clicking on the button “Order now at Amazon.com”.