Thursday, August 25, 2016
Well here I go again. I am going to try one more time to break through the writers block that has prevented me from writing regularly here on SSS.
Needless to say I have changed a great deal since I created this Blog back in 2009 to document the daily life of a person (me) who was living a life of daily recovery from addiction/alcoholism. My life has changed and I am now a BTK Amputee of my right leg.
I will still try and document the daily joys and yea...trials and tribulations of recovery from a life threatening injury plus illness that is now well into it's 4th year.
So welcome to my nightmare folks...hold on, it can be a hell of a ride!
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
|Painting by CORNO|
A Naked & Leg-Less F-ing Blogger, that's what I am....I'm not sure why I just admitted that to the world except one: it's the truth and two: the reason I am sitting here legless and naked is I am frustrated. Why am I frustrated...well a full year and 9 months after my right leg amputation we just cannot get my prosthetic squared away. I had to rip the leg off before I could get to the shower because it was tearing into the skin on my stump.
Trust me having a leg too short or long, causing major discomfort or nearly falling off (happened again just this afternoon while I was doing yard work) can make one miserable no matter how much you try and stay positive...
This whole 3.5 year leg ordeal has nearly killed me a couple of times, frustrated the hell out of me, caused me a lot of pain and devastated us financially...that is the simple truth. Yet one must find a way to press on. Long ago I decided that I was going to find a way to release the negative crap about this and move forward. Yea I admit, my nature is to question, to figure out the reason why. This one stumps me. I'll never know why my life took this fork to the underworld but screw it...I refuse to let it destroy me.
Painting by Corno http://cornostudio.com/
Friday, May 13, 2016
Some days life just moves along and it is what it is...interesting or exciting, fun maybe intense, sometimes stressful... etc. And after nearly 54 of life and living, often on the very edge of flaming out, I have learned that things rarely stay the same. Suffer through a bad stretch...no worries...the sun will rise and tomorrow is another day. So I have always acted accordingly....and mostly don't stress the small stuff. When one of life's major crisis's comes along I always seem to go auto pilot and do what I have to do. If there is a suddenly a tragedy or major crisis...I seem to just be at my best.
I am not bragging...trust me it is probably that I have a great deal of experience dealing with such events: Losing my 3 closest friends and my very first "real"love (and girlfriend Debbie) in the very same auto accident. Compounding the shock and heartbreak was the fact that I had committed to going with them and backed out at the last minute with a lie....a made up excuse because I felt like I shouldn't go. Did that feeling save my life...perhaps, except I was abstaining from drugs and alcohol at the time and I was not the type to let a drunk person drive when I was sober. So I've always felt like my decision to back out and accompanying lie killed them and the innocent WWII veteran that also died when they crossed the center line of two lane Hard Rd (in Columbus, Ohio) and all four died. I carried that guilt around for decades....until I sought therapy for being sexually assaulted at the age of 12 and the story came out one day while talking to my therapist, who was treating me for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So I have been through a lot and usually manage to stay positive, creative, thoughtful, active and a lover of life....except that now I am struggling to do so. The last three years of surgeries (31 full blown operations), hospital stays (over 70 days), life threatening Infections that seemingly were immune to treatment, my normal terminal pain (a result of a severe auto accident at age 17) and finally the amputation in December 2014 of my right leg below the knee have taken away everything but the last shred of....HOPE.
Those medical issues led directly to financial ruin and ultimately all of this has moved me from a realistic yet positive leaning, a believer in God (or call it a Higher Power in the earlier days) to a realist who sees and thinks and feels intensely about the never ending darkness his life has now entered.
As a teenager and young man I never trusted anyone, having been terribly hurt by certain experiences. But as I endured and learned and persevered....I continued to live... because I would not give in to the Darkness. I then slowly began to trust, to forgive and ultimately to truly love people for the very first time in my life. It was an epiphany and it changed me forever...I was so grateful for that change too because I had seen so many people struggle and give up...to addictions, to suicide, Insanity or they just went away in their minds...lost in fear, hate, mistrust or anger. I knew I didn't want to experience that again and felt free from those feelings for the first time in my life.
But now....I find myself drifting back...I talk it out, I'll share my feelings,I am honest and try to work through difficult times but I only find myself NUMB. But these last four years have been one long, un-ending NIGHTMARE. The physical pain is unbearable and treatments now are no longer effective. Even when I have done the right thing...tragedy prevails.
I am feeling my soul slip away...at first in tiny increments but now I go numb and realize later that I am shutting down emotionally, psychologically, spiritually as my physical body is beaten down by illness, injury and the subsequent treatment for those injuries/illnesses. I am beginning to stop caring.
Then a couple weeks ago a friend I have know since first grade or so takes his own life and that stark truth devastates me.I am one of those strange souls who can accept and understand his own suicide but never will "get" the suicide of others. I was very ill at the time and did not learn of it until several days later. My first thought was what if he tried to reach me, to talk, to vent...anything and I was unavailable because of my health. I would never been able to forgive myself. Turns out he did not try to reach ANYONE but his passing added another brick to my emotional tomb.
When I feel down...hard, unforgivable and lost I tend to find music that expresses these things. I lose myself in it and have often come out the other side feeling better for it. Here are two songs the I am lost in right now.
I Know people don't like to hear hard truths sometimes...it is easier to navigate life putting on a happy face. Sorry....not my style and quite frankly, finding a method to express this chaos inside is often the very thing that saves me. I am hoping for that result once again because the nightmares have returned and now I actually seem to be living them. Life has a hard, brutal side to it...and right now within me....it is winning.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Today I noticed as I was going through Facebook that there was a post, critical of President Obama' funeral attending practices circulating around. Of course these days, that in itself is nothing unusual. One of the reasons it criticized Obama was because he had attended the funeral of Senator Daniel Inouye and that this was bad because the Senator was a Democrat and worse...A Liberal. Plus the President had the gall to actually shed tears over the death of this Liberal Monster, truly a super bad person!
This kind of stuff makes me sick because it is blatantly ignoring the truth about this great American and others but it distorts history as well. In our country today we must stop judging people solely because of their political leanings. In doing so, more often then not we let our emotional hysteria distort and even obscure the TRUTH. Certainly this is true in this particular instance.
Senator Inouye served his country honorably as a US Senator from Hawaii for nearly 50 years. Yes he was a Democrat but did you know that as a young man he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star and other decorations for Valor in WWII as a Captain in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd RCT is one of the most highly decorated units in US Army HISTORY! One of this man's closest life-long friends was fellow Combat Veteran and US Senator Bob Dole...a Republican who served honorably and even ran for President.
The Unit itself is truly remarkable as were many of the brave young men who filled it's ranks. Like Sen. Inouye, members were 2nd generation Americans of Japanese decent...a group that was extremely unpopular following in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Many had family members who were detained in relocation camps, often for the duration of the war. Given the opportunity to enlist, the future Senator volunteered into the 442nd and saw service in the European Theater until he was seriously wounded late in the war. The Unit was not initially trusted to fight the Japanese for fear they might find it difficult to kill members of their own race. In truth more loyal and dedicated men would be hard to find ANYWHERE. These were some real BAD-ASS Soldiers, as good as we had in combat in any Theater...European or Pacific.
Young Inyouye and his unit first saw action in Italy and then later was transferred to The Vosges Mountain region of Southern France where in April of 1945 he was terribly wounded in action and was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in that fight. His wounds resulted in the amputation of his right arm. So he served the rest of his life as a disabled Veteran as well.
My point in stating all this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Inouye) is to remind us all that we cannot define a person because of the political party they belong to. It certainly does not define the type of human being they are and certainly does NOT in this man's case. He happens to be someone that I have always admired for his character and determination....RIP Captain Inouye.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
|Blonde sur Fond Doré by CORNO|
I never remember a point in my life when I did not have a passionate love affair with art...particularly painting...on canvas, paper wood or really anything. Oils, acrylic, watercolor even forms of mixed media. I tend to lean toward Impressionist works, modern painting along the lines of Matisse, Picasso and my new favorite Canadian artist Corno (Joanne Corneau). I also enjoy the work of an artist I went to High School with Cathy Frick whose paintings of Poppies particularly enchant me.
Honestly I don't know how I would have survived these past three years of hospitals, surgery, rehab and extended periods of time in bed without my love of art and reading. I spent hour after hour enjoying both for days on end. I'll cop to watching much more television then before but I also enjoyed these other pursuits.
|Blonde on Black by CORNO|
It is one way I can justify what initially felt like a terrible loss of time....Planet living time....the search for TRUTH Time. To me, there is little more criminal then wasting time on the planet. I truly believe we exist for a reason...not just to take up space or suck air.
Anyway...I want to take time now that I have launched a bit back into posting here on SSS again to share my Vision, the angle in which I perceive things and persevere. Here is to seeing in the Dark and feeling without Touching...
Website of artist CORNO: http://cornostudio.com/
Sunday, February 14, 2016
I knew back in the late Autumn of 2014, before my right leg amputation that there were going to be many adjustments that I would have to make and things I would have to adapt to once I became an amputee. But even I'll admit that I still was not even close to being prepared for the reality of it all. That's OK, life is like that...rarely can we anticipate all potential situations when dealing with the potential of adversity.
Here is southern Michigan this week it has been terribly cold with below zero wind chills. I never even considered what extreme cold weather would feel like in the stump of an amputated leg with it's battered and severed nerve endings. Needless to say for the first time in my life I am truly considering the implications of moving permanently to a warm weather climate, at least until Kimmi retires. Then perhaps we could split time. She has always embrassed the idea of living in warm weather...I was the reluctant one. But now I am given to re-considering that stance.
I cannot even begin to describe the extreme, electrical shock type pain one feels in frigid air, even with the limb bundled up warmly. I never expected this...I knew of Phantom pain, which in my case has gotten much more severe lately and leading to my latest surgical procedure. Unfortunately it remains almost debilitating at this stage. Honestly there are few things as odd as feeling terrible pain or tingling in a foot that no longer exists. But it truly feels like it is there and it really, really hurts.
This week we should start the process of getting fit for a new prosthesis, more permanent and sophisticated and hopefully it feels more natural and trustworthy. We shall most certainly have more on that later, until then....
Thursday, February 11, 2016
I realize that it does sound like a bit of a stretch to say that Golf somehow "SAVED" a person from anything...yet in my particular case it is more true then not.
Technically I am a RBK Amputee....as in I had a Right leg, Below the Knee amputation. I lost my leg a year and a half ago as a result of a badly broken ankle in an accident at home that subsequently became badly infected and eventually the only real choice was to amputate the leg 6 inches below my right knee.
This medical nightmare has now gone on for more then 3 years and in certain ways continues today. I had my 31st related surgery 2 weeks ago to clean up some scar tissue and remove several Neuromas (tumors that form at the end of the severed nerves in the stump) and spent a couple more nights in the hospital.
Simply stated this has been by far the most traumatic and difficult experience in my 53 years of living and I would be less then honest if I didn't admit that it pushed me to the very brink of my endurance: physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
I went months without being able to walk without crutches, walkers or wheel-chairs. I was not what I would consider a super active, always moving kind of guy but I was definately active. I really started to miss my freedom of movement.
Not only were there physical limitations related to the surgeries but the infections nearly killed me. I was a very sick man for nearly two years and I often wondered if I may not have been better off dead. Seriously....when you have nothing but time on your hands and the pain is nearly un-endurable plus you are so sick with fever and weakness it's natural to wonder why am I fighting this.
Naturally I searched for reasons to keep moving on and one of those became my desire, my determination to golf again.
I had started golfing again at the age of 50 after not playing for 25 years or so. I live on an island on an inland lake in Southern Michigan that has a nice little 9 hole course right in the middle.
I had hurt my back and had several surgeries in the early 1990's and thought that I would never play again but I met a local golf teacher and he helped me scratch together a game that I could live with.
Just when it started to be fun and a daily ritual to go out at dawn every morning in our own cart and play 9 holes...I got hurt. It truly looked like I would never again play the game I learned to love a second time around.
But then I started to wonder why I couldn't play. Lots of folks play sports with prosthetics. And so the motivation, the obsession began to take over. There were many sleepless nights, tormented with pain and a rather bleak looking outlook o life when I rescued myself from the abyss with thoughts of the smell of freshly mowed greens, dew on my golf shoes and the luxury of having the entire course to myself while I golfed through sunrise after sunrise.
Though I didn't get my prosthesis until late June of 2015, I managed to get into the groove of playing fairly quickly though I couldn't play more then a few holes at a time. I am a member at this course and help out sometimes so I have the flexibility to play when I can.
The only limitations right now are financial because let's face it...golf is expensive and when you play often (as in every day) it runs equipment down rather quickly. Plus I still need to re-build my game...basically from scratch and lessons this time around are just not in the cards...I cannot afford them.
Though I am finally getting on top of the infections and am able to walk/function pretty well on my artificial leg, all swing movement/stance has been completely thrown into disorder and I need help to learn to swing properly and most importantly, safely. After three years of hospitals, surgeries and countless treatments of every imaginable kind, my wife and I are flat busted due to huge medical expenses...especially early in my illness. We are slowly surviving but there isn't really money in the budget for golf equipment, lessons or a membership.
But my wife Kim is my biggest fan and pushes me to play golf every day even when I don't feel up to it which is often. She more then anyone, myself included was first to see the value of playing as often as I was able.
I am so grateful to the game that gave me the motivation to get up in the morning and get back on my feet and go outside...it has worked magic on my attitude and greatly improved my physical condition. Now as I recover from another surgery I still find myself chomping at the bit to get back out there and play. A I did this past Christmas and New Years Days.
So let's get this snow out of the way and maybe I'll be fortunate to get to play again soon...