“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalms 23:4
It is very rare on the website that I use a bible verse on this website. Normally we are a fun loving group of people with an agenda of making you laugh through a tough time. However, sometimes a struggle becomes so difficult that the fight weighs a heavy burden on the soul. I am having one of those fights in my own life. A battle with depression at times that is over something that I am not able to help. We turn to those that we love in our time of need. We turn to those that comfort us when we are needed to be lifted back up for the pits of sadness. Instead of just sitting down with friends or some family, I decided to sit down and share my struggles with the people that have been there since day this site started. I am sharing #thejourney with all of you. In all of what you are about to read and hear over the next few weeks and months, one thing in my life has stayed the same. It has never been the faces, but the website that you are reading this from.
#TheJourney is a struggle that I am having internally. A decision has to be made that can change my life and anyone that has become close to me forever. Forever is not a word to take lightly. It will mean the difference between night and day or even if tomorrow. Let me begin with the back story.
Four years ago, my uncle passed away suddenly. I remember sitting on the couch at my Dad’s watching his reaction to the phone call. It even caught him off guard. A trip to Texas was in my future. I am not going to go into details as to what happened to the funeral. The family decided to have a get together to celebrate his life. During this time, I started to feel really weird. I remember it was the first time of what is many of these feelings to come. My body felt limp. I could hardly even walk from point A to Point B. I was trying to take photos of the family so everyone could have, all of a sudden a burst of blood came shooting from the back of my throat. I am not one to talk about things that would make the stomach queasy, but I had no idea what was going on. I walked inside the house and into the bathroom. I was holding myself up on the sink of the bathroom. My arms became very weak and the next thing I know, I was on the floor. One time of this happening is one thing, but that was not the case at all.
The next few months I was in a constant struggle as my body kept just shutting down, and my blackouts would become more frequent. The beginning of this was in the spring of 2010, I dealt with doctors telling me for the next few months that I had things ranging from all kinds of diseases. I was told by one doctor after just having blood pressure taken and seeing my symptoms that I had cancer. I am not sure about any of you, but when you are sick, the panic meter seems to rise to threat level red. I was freaking out. I remember coming home after that visit and just breaking down crying on the floor. The next time I went, the same doctor told me that he did not know what was going on. This would go on for the next couple of months. I had cancer, I didn’t have cancer. A person’s emotions can only take so much before they are driven to the point of the clinically insane.
I decided that it would be best for me to go see a new doctor and get a second opinion. This doctor, was great to a point. He ran test after test, trying to find out the cause of the blood and the blackouts. He sat me down one afternoon to tell me that I had an adult case of Cystic Fibrosis. I wish I would have done my research after that happened because I would have been more inclined to know that is very rare to flare up in adults. I also would have known that still would not have explained why the blood was coming up. It was not for another few months that I would know why the blood would be thrown up.
I learned about having an ulcer while I was in the hospital for a little over a week. A situation that I wish that I never had to go through again, but I could be setting up for something much bigger. However, they still could not figure out as to why my I was blacking out. It is the summer of 2011 and my blackouts are getting worse as the days go by. They were becoming more frequent. It went from one or two a day to 5 or 6 times a day. Some would be small, sometimes I would be out for an hour and not moving. Finally, the answer as to why I was having the blackouts would be answered by a neurologist in Memphis.
I have been to so many doctors to try to figure out has been going on with my health. Finally, this neurologist in Memphis was able to pin point the problems of my blackouts. I have a knot on my brain stem that puts a lot of pressure on my head that causes me to blackout at random times. I feel the best way to describe how my head feels on a daily basis is this… Take a soda can and put it in a can crusher. This is how my head feels from day to night. Two years ago a new symptom decided to throw a monkey wrench in the clock. I began to have seizures. Just like the blackouts, some would be large and others would be small. But again, my body would completely shut down.
This leads us to the last few months. I have tried experimental drugs, I have tried almost every idea they have had. I have taken seizure medicines, and still no real luck at easing the pain. Other than moving to Washington or Colorado, the only way that they are going to stop is to put myself through a very risky surgery. I only have a 20% chance of being able to walk out of the hospital when the surgery is done. I do not mean the risk of death, but I do mean the risk of being paralyzed. A thought that now has to weigh on my mind when making this decision.
#Thejourney that you will be sharing with me is going through the decision to go through with the surgery or not. I am looking at all the options and seeing which step could lead me where. I want to be able to live a normal life. Normal for me, but that could be hard if surgery is not a 100% success. There are only three surgeons in the country that are able to perform this surgery. Again, something to think about when making a decision this big.
My reasoning for even considering this, is because I want to be looked at as something other than a charity case. I want to be someone that people can look at and know I do not need help from anyone. If I am ever to have kids, I want to be the best possible father I can be. I want to be able to be there for them, and no one worries about their safety. But for all the reasons listed above, my biggest fear is going through this alone.
I thought at first that is what is going to be happening, but alas I was wrong. This is why I decided to include you in #thejourney. I need to be able to tell someone that is willing to listen to everything with your heart. This is not going to be an easy journey, but I am excited that all of you are getting to come along for the ride.
This is just beginning of #thejourney. The next step along the way to having surgery is what happened when I had my first Psych Evaluation and that process will come next week.
From the bottom of heart, Thank you for letting me share each step of the way with you.