December 02, 2016
Tom Noland is a fighter. This Marine and Viet Nam War Veteran doesn’t know what it means to quit.
Tom, his wife of 40+ years Diane, and their family moved to Naperville from Brownsburg, Indiana in 1998. As many families do they were looking for a place to keep fit and enjoy family activities together. Since the Y was right around the corner, they stopped in and joined. Tom was a saleman who sold fittings to natural gas utilities. He traveled a lot and loved when he could come home and go to the Y to work out and swim. This went on for many years until he started having back problems in May of 2015.
As Tom would tell us, he didn’t sign up for what was going to come next. After having an MRI they discovered that he had a meningioma in his brain from exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam and needed surgery to remove it. Unfortunately during surgey he started to bleed and suffered a stroke resulting in total paralysis on his right side.
Tom spent the next six months being confined to Edward Hospital, Marionjoy Rehabilitation Hospital and Manor Care. He uses the acronym ACE to describe what gets him through every day.
A - Attitude determines your outcome
C - Character
E - Enthusiasm
Without these traits Tom could not push through the pain and emotional toll that comes with his situation. But he started coming back to the Y and getting in the pool to walk and swim. At first he had to use the lift to get in and out of the water. Now he can do it himself. He started taking strenuous water exercise classes, and our Aquatic Director Ellie Liebovitz said that the progression with his mobility is nothing short of amazing! Tom joined Adaptive Adventures and participates in many of their activities.
Many of us knew Tom for years, but we noticed that since he returned after his surgery he has the biggest smile on his face and is a different person. When asked why, Tom teared up and responded that he’s just happy to be alive.
Tom isn’t through with his challenges. He recently was diagnosed with Leukemia and is having his blood count monitored. He fell and damanged his Rotator Cuff. He’s getting Botox treatments in his legs to help with mobility. But we are confident that this ACE will power through and do whatever he needs to do to conquer these challenges too.
One final word of advice from Tom: “Be accepting of your situation, but be determined to get better. I always say no stinkin thinkin! That’s why I work out, I want to run again!”
Tom we’re looking forward to seeing you do just that.