Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tragedy in 3 acts makes for an inspirational person

I have been told that my life has been full of blessings and that I am a true inspiration.  I agree that I live a very blessed life, but it is because there are hundreds of people keeping me in their thoughts and prayers.  I have been approached recently to write a book about my story, and since you are my friends and family, I thought I would share with you what it is going to be about.  Now, keep in mind that this is just a taste of what the book is going to contain, so be patient and understanding that you are getting a condensed version and be honored you are getting the first peak.

The title of this entry says it all I have broken my life down into 3 acts or parts, it is from each of these tragedies and triumphs that have shaped and molded me and my outlook on things.  It is important I guess to start at the beginning and work my way through each portion of my life and key events that make up the story and the act. So without any more delay we shall begin.

I was born on December 1, 1968 I was a month earlier so I have been told, my mother never made it to the maternity ward before I decided enough was enough and came bursting forth.  The delivery started in the elevator on the way to the delivery room.  I had started to come fast so they rushed my mom into delivery choosing not to have me drop out on the elevator floor.  Unfortunately, the doctor used forceps to deliver me, even though earlier in the year they had been banned as delivery tools.  As I said I was in a hurry to go no where, the forceps were used and my skull was fractured.  I made no sound when I came into the world and I was blue from head to toe.  I am told that my mother never got to see me, I was taken directly to an incubator, and was deemed in critical condition.  I was never meant to leave that hospital, but God had other plans.  Plans that are still unfolding in my life today.

My parents were told that I was under weight and with the fractured skull I was going to be a vegetable and if by some miracle I wasn't I was going to have severe brain damage and would never be a normal kid.  Surprise surprise, God had other plans, because here I a 43 years later writing to you.  I shouldn't be able to walk or talk, let alone write and communicate like I do.  But God works in mysterious ways and I am here to tell you my story.  By the age of five it had become evident that there were no impairments and that I was highly intelligent if a little hyperactive.  End of act one!

The second tragedy came when I was 14 years old, I was experiencing severe headaches, blurred vision and having trouble focusing on objects.  The doctors told my parents that the muscles that surround the lenses of my eyes were weak and that was causing the vision issues I was having.  But that wasn't the end of it.  While I was at school playing with some friends I got poked in the eye with a tree branch.  Again the doctors were full of doom and gloom and by the age of 18 I was supposed to be totally blind.  They covered my right eye with a patch to protect it put me in bifocal glasses and told my parents to hope for the best.  Blood filled the injured eye and started showing around the socket of the left eye.  So for a period of 4 months I was patched on both eyes and wasn't able to see anything.  A neat thing about the body is that it compensates for stuff like that and my hearing became very sensitive and acute I can here a whisper all away across the house.  I also learned how to sit in a crowd and listen to everyone's conversations and never move and could identify just by sound who was talking and somehow my mind has developed the ability to process each conversation and follow along all in real time.  By the time I was 16 a miracle of miracles happened, my headaches started to subside and it was discovered that the cause of them was never my eye site which improved after the injury to the point I no longer had to wear bifocals just regular glasses.  Yet somehow my hearing never returned to normal. I still can hear the lightest sounds.  It turns out that the headaches were a direct result of the fractured skull and when the barometric pressure changes the headaches begin.  Unfortunately, I still suffer from that today.  But I got super hearing out of the deal.  End of act two!

I was diagnosed with leukemia and large cell lymphoma when I turned 24 ('92), they found a metastasized tumor in my colon 8" long x 5" wide. It had serrated edges and had ulcerated in the middle.  I underwent 2 years of chemotherapy and radiation and the tumor was eradicated.  However, during my last round of radiation, the bowel wall perforated and waste and radiation poured into my pelvic area.  I got really sick with toxaplasmosis and stayed in the hospital for almost 9 months trying to get better.  It wasn't until 13 years later ('05) that I would find out what that radiation was doing to my body.  Apparently large sections of my colon died from radiation disease and poisoning and there were several small sections of the small intestine affected as well.  In 2005, I was given a colostomy, a bag that helps me to take a dump, sorry for being so graphic.  I have had 9 major surgeries since then, found out that my kidney's were failing, that I had contracted HIV an HEP C, that my gallbladder, bladder, pancreas and stomach were all affected by the radiation and that they are slowly giving out.  Then on March 5th of this year my colon ruptured in 2 places and I almost died again.  When this happened I couldn't get anyone to listen to me, they kept telling me that the pain I was feeling was from the procedure I had done in the morning. Now in my life I have had a million colonoscopy's if I have had one.  So I knew that they were wrong in what they were saying.  Finally a nurse that no one seems to know who has never worked on that floor and has never been seen again, intervened with the doctor and got a cat scan of my abdomen and the ruptures were discovered.  I have tried to find this woman again, I wanted to nominate her for the angel service award they give at the hospital and no one knows who she was.

I believe that God has walked with me through all this, he has carried me when I was too weak to move, and He delivered me from the hands of death just when it looked like I was going to die.  After everything that I have been through and there is so much more that I haven't told you.  I hope you can begin to see why I don't let the small things get to me, and I always try to look at the bright side of things.  Because life is too short, we are not promised a new tomorrow and we need to be thankful for each day that we can draw another breathe.  I don't think I am all that inspirational, but I have been told that my strength and faith that keep me fighting are remarkable and inspire others to have hope and faith that they too can make it through the tough, hard and tragic times of their own lives.

I hope that maybe I have inspired just one person, have given hope to one person, and always can live my life as an example that you can overcome illness.  That there is life after, HIV and cancer and you can still be a productive and supportive person and help others.

Let me know what you think.  This is my real story, and I would love to know if you think that I should take up the offer to write a book about my experiences and if you think anyone will benefit from it.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B