A spe­cial home­com­ing

Sheena King re­turns to Forteau for first time in four years

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - EDITORIAL - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

FORTEAU, LABRADOR — When Sheena King drove down over Forteau hill ear­lier this month with her fam­ily she was over­whelmed with emo­tion.

She hadn’t been home in four years and there was a time when she thought she would never see her home­town again.

Now it was all laid out in front of her eyes: the beau­ti­ful vil­lage on the Labrador coast that she had al­ways known, not ex­actly as she re­mem­bered it but pretty close.

“Elated” is how she says she felt in that mo­ment.

Sheena, whose par­ents are Johnny and Au­drey Du­maresque of Forteau, lives in St. John’s with her hus­band Jeff and their loyal ser­vice dog Ru­fus. She has a job with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment.

In July, 2014, Sheena started dial­y­sis treat­ment at the Water­ford Dial­y­sis Unit in St. John’s af­ter suf­fer­ing kid­ney fail­ure.

This treat­ment, four times a week, detox­i­fies her blood. Since there’s no dial­y­sis unit in the Labrador Straits area, she had started to think she would be never be able to re­turn home again.

How­ever, in Jan­uary, 2016, Sheena started train­ing with a nurse to use the NxS­tage home hemodial­y­sis ma­chine. She was able to start us­ing it at her home in St. John’s in March.

In the last six months, through the Health Care Foun­da­tion’s fundrais­ing ef­forts, she was able to re­ceive a “warmer”. This, she ex­plains, keeps the so­lu­tion warm that cleans her blood. She says this makes her ma­chine portable.

Now that she could take the ma­chine with her and go any­where she wanted, it wasn’t hard to de­cide where she would go for her first big trip – Sheena was head­ing back home.

Ear­lier this month, they shipped 660 pounds of equip­ment and sup­plies to Forteau, for the eight treat­ments she’ll be re­ceiv­ing dur­ing her time there.

On Fri­day, Aug. 4, her par­ents trav­elled to St. John’s to col­lect Sheena, her hus­band Jeff and her ser­vice dog, Ru­fus.

To­gether they drove back to the Labrador Straits.

They boarded the Strait of Belle Isle ferry on Sun­day evening, Aug. 6., for the quick cross­ing to Forteau, and Sheena was home again.

“It was a pretty awe­some feel­ing com­ing down over Forteau hill Sun­day night,” she said.

She hadn’t been there since her cousin’s wed­ding in 2013.

Spend­ing time home

This re­turn home has been a big oc­ca­sion for the fam­ily.

Sheena, Jeff, and Ru­fus are stay­ing at her par­ents’ home in Forteau. Mean­while, her brother, Deon Du­maresque, is also vis­it­ing from On­tario with his spouse Dee Jay and Dee Jay’s daugh­ter.

Sheena has been able to visit her grand­mother, who she was wor­ried she might not get to see again. And she says while she gets to see her par­ents in St. John’s some­times, it’s not the same as be­ing home with them.

With her brother and his girl­friend, who has never been to Labrador, they’ve been driv­ing around sight­see­ing as well. And for Sheena, her­self, there are new sights.

“There’s a lot of new things here now since I left, a lot of new roads where they’re do­ing all the work for Nal­cor,” she said. “So, there’s lots of stuff . . . that we haven’t seen be­fore.”

Sheena’s also just en­joy­ing be­ing able to do the lit­tle things back at home. On Tues­day morn­ing, she got to feed the rab­bits some ap­ple.

“It’s the sim­ple things you don’t ap­pre­ci­ate un­til you don’t get to do them as much,” she said.

And there is still plenty to look for­ward to dur­ing her stay. She’s hop­ing to be able to get out in boat and says the fam­ily will also likely have a party at some point.

Over the week­end, she was look­ing for­ward to tak­ing in the Bakeap­ple Fes­ti­val in Forteau.

“It’s all pretty ex­cit­ing,” said Sheena.

They’ll be head­ing back to St. John’s on Aug. 19.

Sup­port and ad­vo­cacy Sheena says she couldn’t do the treat­ment with­out the sup­port of her hus­band Jeff.

“We’re a team, like ev­ery­thing else in a mar­riage, but in this too,” she said. “You’re not sup­posed to treat with­out a part­ner.”

Both Sheena and Jeff are vis­ually im­paired but they work to­gether to make life eas­ier for each other.

“To­gether, we make the per­fect match, they tell us,” she added.

She is also ap­pre­cia­tive of the work of the dial­y­sis team at Water­ford Hos­pi­tal in St. John’s.

“I got a good team be­hind me,” Sheena said. “They’re fan­tas­tic. They re­ally sup­port me and help me get stuff done that I need to do.”

NxS­tage Med­i­cal Inc. has re­cruited Sheena as an ad­vo­cate for their com­pany as part of the Home Dial­y­sis Team. Sheena will be trav­el­ling across the coun­try, do­ing speak­ing en­gage­ments on their be­half.

Cur­rently, she has an ap­pear­ance sched­uled for Hal­i­fax in Oc­to­ber and one for On­tario in Novem­ber. And she’ll have more ap­pear­ances later.

She’s look­ing for­ward to ad­vo­cat­ing for a sys­tem that has im­proved her life.

“The sys­tem has worked so well for me and I’m such a big fan of it be­cause of what it has done for my life.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Sheena King’s re­turn home has al­lowed for a fam­ily re­union for the Du­maresques of Forteau. Back row (left to right) are: Au­drey Du­maresque (Sheena’s mother), Johnny Du­maresque (Sheena’s fa­ther), Deon Du­maresque (Sheena’s brother), and Dee Jay Mar­a­cle (Deon’s spouse), and front row: Jeff King and Sheena King, with their dog Ru­fus.

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