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Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's all Quite Hilarious...Except When you're Crying.

Fighter....I am a Fighter, I FIGHT! Isn't that so? I should hang on, I should continue the fight...RIGHT!?

Quite frankly that is what this life is all about...fighting. Fighting for what you believe in, fighting to be one's best, fighting to divide and conquer, fighting one's way to the top, fighting for your rights....hell, some even fight for their right to die.

After my suicide attempt in 2006 and subsequent ongoing recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. And the daily battle in my head and my heart against the demonic nightmare of sexual assault as a young boy...that I realized that the word FIGHT had taken on an entirely new meaning for me.I learned that staying in the fight, as it were was no cliche, it wasn't a joke.

I figured out then and there that one must persevere, push on, hang together and fight whatever enemy we face at that moment: Be it illness, oppression or even those once forbidden memories that haunt us until the day we die..

Now I am fighting a completely different kind of fight...I am now fighting an unforgiving illness that to date has already cost me two years of my life, every dollar and asset I ever owned and right leg, below the knee.

It seems from my perspective that this nightmare shall never end. It was then I realized that I am no longer Thom, no longer the person I always thought I was...nope now I am simply a BKA (Below the Knee Amputation). I'll own that title from now on...with pride and determination.

And considering all I have been through and witnessed with the suicide attempt, subsequent coma and drug/alcohol is this latest fight, believe it or not that frightens me the most...It frightens me to my very core of my being.

I truly know the meaning of powerlessness...of having NO control over the things that are killing me from the inside out. It would be easy, I could see now for a person who suffers so to give surrender to quit. I would be less then honest if I said those thoughts had not entered my mind from time to time.

But I cannot, will not EVER give in. Why, you ask, why not just float downstream into a drug-laced oblivion and let the madness of disease eat me alive? Isn't that the natural way of things: We are BORN/Then we DIE.

Because their were two people in my life, both woman who set the bar so high when it came to fighting their illness (in both cases cancer) with such ferocity, dignity and fervor that I cold never soil my memories of them and our friendships but not fighting back against my own medical monsters.

Christy was just 24 when she died back in the mid 1990's, after several lengthy battles with Cancer. She was my friend and I will never forget those days...the who notion of her dying was so incredibly impossible at the time. Yet die she did. We just could not accept that she was gone from our world.

 The other woman is A*****. Odlly enough I have never seen nor met her in person and probably never will. She is still very much alive and fighting her war against this evil and unforgiving pestilence called Cancer. We met through a mutual FaceBook Friend. I was drawn by her passion, her dignity and absolute positive determination in the face of such terrible odds as her disease progresses. I witness this only through Facebook posts, her own and when she is physically unable,those of her friends. Even as a detached witness...her response to her long, difficult fight humbles me to the very depths of my soul.

It is her determination that has led me to this place where I reside today and continues to educate and inspire me to fight on with humor, dignity and good grace. Certainly if she can maintain her love of life...her joy and sense of humor, then I certainly can as well?

Photos:Kathy Tomson

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fighting the FIGHT...of My Lifetime.

Yea, Yea...sorry to disappoint all of you who were just beginning to think that you wouldn't have to read any more crap from me on Shell Shock Serenade, well I'm still alive....Not necessarily kicking but kind of hopping around a bit like a human Pogo-stick!

I'll be honest, these last 2 months since my amputation have been very rough. Infection has reared it's ugly head again and I have spent nearly 20 additional days in the hospital fighting to save what I have left of my right leg below the knee. The pic below shows the intital affect of the infection.

So far we have been successful but it has not been easy. It is hard for me to spend time on my computer so these posts will be brief. I'll try to fill in more detail in future entries. 

But I am home now after spending 8 days in the hospital this last time and we are hopeful that things are getting better. K works on taking care of me around the clock basically and our life is pretty hard at the moment since she was laid off. Finding money for medication co-pays is hard so healing is made more complex when you don't have your Anti-Biotic on time. The intense pain doesn't help the situation either.

Injuries/illness I have found, isolate a person in a way that they feel alienated from their friends, family and society as a whole. And I am not talking about people not calling or visiting. Remember the old saying: "alone in a crowd?" That is the kind of feeling I am talking about. It is the disability itself that isolates a person and one can get resentful of folks who are perceived to be "normal". 

It's easy to say you're praying for someone, I say or write it all the time and really mean it. But at times, when everyone is always repeating it, well it can lose some of its meaning. Then I realize it is really up to me to change all that. I alone have the ability to not feel sorry for myself and understand that those folks can't really do anything else. They are helpless to change what is happening to me no matter how much they would like to. Only then can a person appreciate that it is just their way of showing that they care. And I am extremely grateful for them and their thoughts/prayers!

This is a delicate emotional dance we do as people recovering from illness/injuries. Especially when we are constantly running into road-blocks to that recovery and it begins to look like we shall never get better. People often lose hope at times like these and kill themselves just because they cannot see beyond their own pain & suffering. That is why it is critical to stay connected to God and those people who love & care about you.....that is what often works for me.

Don't get me wrong....I still hurt, I am still lonely and confused at times but deep down I know that I MUST LIVE and keep pushing matter what. 

I would not survive this fight without K-Sue...she is my EVERYTHING. Words cannot express the depth of my feeling and gratitude honey for all you do and all that you are...I Love you Babe! has to force themselves to look at the positives: We are home, we have each other and our life together, no matter how difficult we shall move on...and the world, believe it or not....WILL TURN! 

I've got these 3 beautiful grandsons who pull me out of my funk every time I hear their voices or see their pics. They live in SC and I don't often get to see them...certainly not everyday like I would desire. But their existence in the world carries me through days when I cannot fathom living another second of such pain & heartache.

I will try and update Shell Shock when I can. Thanks to ALL of you who have contacted me, prayed and pulled for me...I cannot do this alone. I need my fellow soldiers in this battle and I am so grateful that you are all there for me....T