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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Illegitimum Non Carborundum

Keeping one's chin up is probably the toughest yet most critical aspect of facing a really difficult having a leg amputated. 

For a guy who wears his emotions basically on his freaking FOREHEAD and is disposed toward DEPRESSION (My BLACK DOG)in the first place it is extremely important for me to focus on the positive and not let things overwhelm me or get me down.

My strategy for dealing with it is basically part spiritual and part hanging on for dear life...literally CLINGING to life at times.

I have learned that there is no problem too large that GOD can't deal with it. So my job for the most part has been to just get out of the way and LET HIM.

I also rely on an old saying that dates back to an old WWII soldier: General "Vinegar" Joe Stilwell, whois often credited with first saying "Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down (Illegitimum Non Carborundum).

I cannot focus on the negative or those people who are not part of the solution....I won't let them or their opinions affect me or get in the way of my relationship with my CREATOR.

He ultimately keeps the Hell-Hounds away from my backside and gives me the courage, The fearlessness and the ferocity to endure....even the UNENDURABLE.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Getting On My Own Nerves

I'm feeling really restless this evening. Not necessarily jumpy nor dissatisfied....just kind of lost in time with an extra dose of energy I'd say. It is probably not an unusual way of behaving considering life has been so full of distractions, issues and huge life-changing decisions for me to make. I would guess that it is a reasonable reaction considering the circumstances I am facing as of late.

I have found that my body as well as my mind and spirit adjust to my way of life and living and when that way has been rather chaotic for the most gets difficult to shut it all down when things get calmer or slow their roll a bit. I have noticed that I do tend to be on the alert for the difficult and the unexpected...basically because being blind-sided by life has become the norm around here lately. Bad news and adversity are expected not the other way around.

It is a life style that wears a guy out because I never try and let my guard down....EVER. It's sad because there is no joy in living such a life yet I do look at all of this as a temporary condition based on the circumstances of my health and upcoming medical procedures.

I also find that I do not do as well as I used to with idle time because I have found that I begin to over-think and obsess about having my leg amputated and it scares me. I wonder if I can handle it...I begin to doubt my decision and second-guess myself. This is where my FAITH becomes critical and I rely on GOD exclusively because I have yet to find anything that even comes close to bringing me the serenity, comfort and peace that HE does.

But I am human and I will have doubts. I become fearful and stop trusting HIM...when I do is when the anxiety and FEAR begins to dominate and if left to itself...take over.

I suppose what I am trying to do in this post is to put into words that chaotic, internal restlessness that is kicking my ass daily & preventing me from relaxing or having any kind of normalcy in my day to day life. My hope is that by understanding what is happening to me I may be better able to counter it somehow and become a nicer and more reasonable person to be around. Because right now my INTENSITY dominates everything and I am not easy to live with, I assure you that K-Sue and the rest of my family & friends will verify that. Hell I am getting on my own nerves...those few that are actually left and functioning, hardy-har-har!

So we shall see if sitting down to write about all of this makes a difference. Anyway...have a wonderful night, Y'all!

Photo: Kathy Tomson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Earlier today I was talking to K-Sue about how stressed I was getting at times. I described myself managing all of our daily chaos (challenges) as feeling like I was constantly keeping a half-dozen or more balls in the air at any one time...much like a juggler. So in addition to being a recovering addict/alcoholic, a frantic husband and a I'm a freaking Chaos Juggler....Hey, It can be pretty cool if you can continually do it well but it really creates it's own kind of tension and pressure as well.

There are times that I have to just stop and howl at myself because this life that I am leading today is so much crazier and out of control then at any other time in my long and very eventful lifetime. And now I'm not even HIGH or DRUNK, HoHoHo! It really is a matter of just surviving each and every day at this point. My quality of life is truly irrelevant at this point because quite frankly there is no QUALITY in this life right now. is just about survival until a better time and a more reasonable place come around.

It truly does feel just like juggling...only there is more, so much more at stake if I drop the proverbial ball(s).

We will continue to toss those suckers up in the air and do our darnedest to keep the flying high above the ground until the time comes when we might trade in all the CHAOS for even a wee bit 'O serenity. Until then....

I just wanted to add in a little prayer moment for one of my Brother C's only son. He had a very traumatic experience today, basically witnessing the was a true human tragedy and it is a very difficult thing to process and live with. We are thinking about and praying for he and his folks tonight....God Bless you all!

Friday, October 3, 2014


It will be a Wednesday in November at HIGH NOON, that if all goes as planned...I will become a completely different kind of HUMAN BEING. At least physically....

Most readers here at Shell Shock Serenade know how difficult the last couple years have been because of the injury, infection and subsequent deterioration of the ankle and several other bones in my lower right leg. After 5 surgeries, countless multi-MONTH series of oral & IV anti-biotic and several expert opinions/diagnosis that there really was no chance of another operation healing these issues the way it should....I've decided that amputation was the only true chance at getting my life back.

Last week I met Dr Christian Ertl, an Amputee Specialist with Western Michigan University Medical School, I knew I had the doctor that I felt comfortable proceeding with the amputation of my lower right leg, 6" below the knee. His Grandfather, Dr Janos Ertl (1880-1951) created the procedure:The Ertl Reconstruction working with veterans of WWI. I won't even try to explain it or the difference between this procedure and a standard amputation but I feel most comfortable going in this direction.

This brings me back to that Wednesday in November because Wednesday November 19,2014 at 12 noon is when my amputation is scheduled at Bronson Methodist hospital. I will save for another post the details and how I am feeling/coping with momentous decision I've just made. This is how I wanted to announce my plans. More later...