Evans Sees Greater Purpose in Disability
Two years ago, I featured Nicholas Evans of Spring Hill, Florida, who reads this column in Hernando Today. His story was so complex and unique, I recently sensed a progress report on his status was in order.
If you remember, Nicholas in 1999 scored a high 1450 on his PSAT, was a dean's list student, and was about to attend Florida State studying meteorology. He had a bright future.
Then it fell apart. In short, he began having severe migraine headaches, a Florida surgeon completely botched brain surgery while taking out an arachnoid cyst, and Nicholas incurred a massive stroke. A lawsuit fight lasted ten years, and he had three additional brain surgeries.
Said 32-year-old Nicholas, haltingly, "The stroke was on December 7, 1999. They were doing a surgery to take out a brain tumor and it turned out not to be a brain tumor. (It was an arachnoid cyst.) Then to take it out they hit certain parts of my brain they weren't supposed to hit."
Today, Evans doesn't drive a car or handle finances, and has migraines and severe short-term memory issues. He sees a different doctor almost daily. Though he and his mother Tena could be angry-and many people believe they have every right-both aren't. They have come to terms with what happened.
Nicholas and Tena have been able to see a bright side. For one, before the 1999 surgery, Nicholas grew up emotionally scarred around an abusive, alcoholic father. Father and son were legally separated when Nick was 14. After the botched surgery, those deep emotional hurts amazingly left him never to return. Nicholas became a kinder, more trusting person.
Said Tena, "I could be mad about what happened with the (botched) operation and scream, but that would not make Nick's life any better. That would only put him back to where he was (with his father). We don't want to repeat history."
Also, Nick's experiences were instrumental in Nick's sister becoming a nurse and his cousin being a pre-med student studying neurology.
Said Tena, "I think the Lord worked his magic on Nick. It's not that I'm a holy roller, but I believe in a Higher Power. I believe in angels and know they follow my son. He's the most amazing man I've ever met in my life. Everybody I've met believes that, too. He touches people just the way he is."
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Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com