A parent before a poker player
I haven't been playing too much this spring. I did make a quick trip to the Borgata for a tournament not long ago, and I also traveled to EPT Sanremo where I managed to min-cash in the Main Event. I've played online some as well. But aside from that I have essentially been taking a break, going about eight weeks or so without playing to deal with some issues pertaining to my son and his illness.
After I returned from the PCA in January I briefly played a few tournaments, but I realized it wasn't a good idea to try to play when I couldn't give 100%. The reason I could not was because I was thinking about my son and his continued battle with cluster headaches, which is a neurological disorder that is very painful to have to endure.
On a given day, he'll get up anywhere from 3 to 5 a.m. with screaming headaches. The pain usually lasts three or four hours, after which his body is exhausted and it takes him hours to recover. It's a very serious and debilitating disorder. We've seen multiple doctors, but unfortunately it's very difficult to treat. He's actually on his 10th different combination of medications, but none has really worked for him yet.
I was finding myself on one side having a nice life traveling the world playing poker, then on the other watching one of the closest people in my life suffering. So I decided to stop playing for a while and spend time with my son when he needed me.
He's in the last year of high school right now, during which he's had to miss approximately two years out of the four because of the cluster headaches. Thankfully because he had such an excellent start in school, he's still in position to graduate. So I've been sticking around to support him as he reaches the finish line. The pain is such that he's only been able to be in class for about an hour or two a day, and so during this time I've been taking him there and back.
I've talked to a lot of friends and others to get opinions about this disease, getting a lot of great response from Facebook and Twitter, from other PokerStars players, and others both about the disease and how to deal with it.
Like I say, though, we just got the good news that he's going to be able to accumulate the necessary credits to graduate from high school. He's been accepted to a few colleges, too, and we're hopeful he'll be able to go and do well.
Meanwhile I will be playing in the Grand Final at Monaco and then will be back in the U.S. for the World Series. It's hard, though, to stay focused when you know someone you love is suffering. But we're hopeful now that we know my son will be able to graduate, and are hopeful also things will turn around for him soon.
Victor Ramdin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro