Cool Stuff

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stones of Remembrance

'Tis a cliche I know but life, and this most certainly applies to my life...can be an any life that is well lived should be, me thinks. Lately I have been reflecting back on said life....the ups...the downs and all that is in-between. In doing so it occurs to me that there are certain transition points or phases to it. These most often happen on their own accord and in my case it was usually is serious change and often trauma and/or a crisis that instigates and defines these phases.

The best example is when I found sobriety in June of 2006 and then followed that up several years later by becoming a Christian in the winter of 2011. What I have noticed now, much to my joy is that when I experience one of these "Remembrance or Sign-Points" in my life today it seems to be marked by a particular passage of scripture instead of just a major crisis. 

The first and most obvious example to me is how Luke 9:23-25 played such a significant role in my journey toward accepting Christ into my life.

(And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?) Luke 9:23-25
More recently...Joshua 1:9 has played an equally significant part in my transition toward accepting my eventual leg amputation and subsequent life as an amputee. It has made a huge difference in connecting the events happening to me today to the overall Will of God and how I can not only have the courage and perseverance to live through this current adversity but to grow and actually thrive as a Follower of Christ as well.

       "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”      Joshua 1:9      

Scripture.....These "Holy Stepping Stones" have guided me through the torrents of pain/uncertainty and the insidious searing red hot coals of emotional and spiritual chaos. They are now beacons on a dark night, ports of safety in the storm which has become my life of late. Spiritual food I not only now crave but demand for continuous life as a Follower of Christ. Their memory often will mark forever a moment of clarity leading to profound change in me or my life. At times they "only" represent but a brief moment of enlightenment, a twinkle in the Eye of LIFE ITSELF. 

Living all is the good and as hard as I possibly can. And the reason for such a desire to live "hard", to fulfill the cup to it's most FULL? To Honor and GLORIFY the one who brought me here of course. This direction is as clear in my life today as any has ever been. There is NO grey ambiguity or false pretense. 

I no longer accept mediocrity or half measures....and why should I. It is a fact of my life that I got sick and it turns out that this is no ordinary little fact I will lose a portion of my right leg below the knee, at the very least. So what have I got to lose by living to the utmost of my ability, full out with no hesitation to show with certainty why I am here, today, tomorrow and always....and that is to live for HIM.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Intensity of a Hopeful HEART

I have lived life pretty much to the fullest these last 52 years. I've had a vast and broad variety of experiences. From the routine & mundane to the outrageous, exciting and bizarre. I've gone from being shot at in a bar on the Short North End of my home-town, Columbus, Ohio to having the distinct privilege of being named the Godfather of my niece Katie, truly a special honor plus every other type of experience in between. 

But I'd have to say these past 19 months or so take the cake for their sheer madness and emotional upheaval. And honestly that isn't a totally negative me.

Speaking of TRUST, that is an area of my life where the trials and tribulations of recent months have created an amazing change in me in a rather short period of time. Until 5 weeks or so ago I would have to say that I was trapped deeply beneath an avalanche of DEPRESSION related emotion and my attitude and outlook were bordering on suicidal. I was losing HOPE that anything good would result from the catastrophic experience of breaking my leg, having it infected with the infection spreading to bone then blood, getting the ankle fused then having the bone refuse to grow together resulting in the failure of a total non-union surgical result. In addition to the physical pain and difficulty, the endless & crushing medical expenses basically destroyed Kim and I financially. It was and is the single worst series of experiences in my entire life...I never dared to think that we could ever even begin to recover physically, emotionally,  psychologically or spiritually.

Then something deep inside me changed. I don't recall the exact moment and there was no flash of lightening or explosion but the change was sudden and PROFOUND: I suddenly and without hesitation trusted that GOD had a plan for me and that my sole responsibility in this was to soldier on as positively as I possibly could. Hope became a reality again and I started to believe with all my heart that anything was truly possible and that I needed to FIGHT On with all my might...for God was leading the way. Yes, it sounds cliche but frankly my friends...that is exactly how it felt inside.

I have not had a suicidal thought or inclination since that moment. And though nothing about this life, this experience and the very serious life-altering decisions that I must still make within the next 4 weeks is simple or is now obviously POSSIBLE. And I will then move on with my life to live to it's very fullest, first and foremost to honor and glorify GOD, The CREATOR of it all.

Many people continue to ask if I have made the decision to have the right leg removed 6" below the knee or to try another, more intensive and robust Infection Treatment/Fusion Surgery. The honest truth is that if I had to decide today...I would opt for the amputation and get on with my life. Recovery time is a fraction of what the Hardware Removal Surgery, Infection Treatment and finally the second Fusion Surgery would be...about 6 to 12 months (with a working Prosthetic Rt Leg after 2 months) as compared to 18 to 36 MONTHS!

I am not getting any younger and time is beginning to pass me by...I want to LIVE...not just TREAD WATER anymore while I wait for some thing good to happen (which NEVER did!).

Before I sign off here I want to thank EVERYONE involved in my life in any way, shape or form. I would not be here today, moving toward the future without all of the various kinds of support that I have received. I am profoundly GRATEFUL...God Bless all of YOU!

Photo by Kathy Tomson 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This UPDATE is for YOU!!

I  just realized that I should have been recording the days since my original injury because it would have been so much more interesting and dramatic to open these blog entries by writing: "Ankle Fusion/Potential Amputation Update, Day 423..."

Leave it to me of course to assume that simply having the potential to lose my right leg due to injury somehow is not INTERESTING ENOUGH, HaHa.

For those of you who have asked how it's going and want to know if I have made a decision...This Update is for YOU!

All things considered....I am doing pretty darn well. I accept what is happening to me and for the most part I do not sit around feeling sorry for myself. I have found the Amputation Coalition Organization and they have been extremely helpful in providing information and resources to help me make my decision. They even are setting up some meetings with amputees who will share their experience, strength and hope about their amputation. I am in a very good place this early in the game.

I have not made a final decision but honestly, all things considered I am definitely leaning toward removing the leg....6" below the knee.

So that is really all there is to the story at the moment. I have put on a great deal of weight in the last 20 months but I am fearful of changing my diet because I am having so much trouble eating and I am so sick most of the time.

I just really want to get this new stage in my life and start to live again. At the moment, with the knowledge and information available to me right now, amputation seems like by far the best way to make that dream come true...