You don’t always get what you want


You don’t always get what you want.
That lesson seems so simple and yet can be so complex over the course of a lifetime.
For Farm and Dairy readers who have followed my writings for a number of years, the wars my son has waged with Lyme disease since a tick bite in the summer of 1998 is something I have shared from time to time.
While I would rather be sharing such things as his latest accomplishment on the baseball field or in the classroom, this is what life has dealt.
Permission. Each time I have penned a column about Cort, I have always asked his permission to share this with the world before I submit it to Farm and Dairy.
His response has always been the same. “If it helps even one other person get diagnosed, it is worth it.” Delay in diagnosis is partly to blame for my son’s condition, and it is all too often the case.
Graduation. The latest chapter in Cort’s life is this: This is graduation time for him.
The school board decided he will not be allowed to walk with his peers, he will not be allowed to wear a cap and gown, and his name will not be read when the diplomas are handed out. They will, however, allow him to sit with his class.
He was too sick to attend school, and too neurologically impaired to have learned anything even if he had been physically able to attend classes during his sophomore and junior years of high school. Tutors were not available.
While he completed some difficult courses on the computer without a teacher, the school determined that he is short on English credits and electives.
This year. This year has been a fairly good year for him, relatively speaking. Though he has continued to struggle with pain and incredible fatigue, his brain fog and disorientation hasn’t been nearly as debilitating as it has been in recent years.
He has attended half-days, and has made straight “A” grades in physics, biology and yearbook. Physics, especially, has been challenging, because he did not receive the science classes that lead up to it.
Both his biology and physics teachers have told me he has been a joy to have in the classroom, as he finds every facet of the sciences interesting.
Support. In recent months, his classmates circulated petitions, asking permission for Cort’s involvement in their graduation ceremonies. The pages filled up rapidly with signatures. The peer support meant more than words can say.
But, you don’t always get what you want.
Cort has learned this over and over and over again in the past seven years.
He has learned that the promise of a new medication, or new IV treatments or new injections sometimes bring little relief. Sometimes they only bring more pain. Sometimes you have to get worse before you can even begin to get better.
This is particularly true in the Lyme fight.
Attitude. Cort’s attitude has been remarkable. During a meeting with school officials, he said, “I am asking for an education. I don’t want to ask for anything that I haven’t earned. But, I do want to get the very best education available to me, and we need to make plans for that.”
He has learned patience, resolve, steely determination. Sometimes life teaches more than teachers in a classroom ever could.
So, this summer and next school year Cort plans to attend the Career Center, study computer technology while catching up on core classes. We hope and pray for Cort’s continued recovery so that he can attend classes every day.
That doesn’t seem too much to ask, does it?
Here’s hoping that sometimes you do get what you want.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.