It is amazing the things that you can hear when you just sit there and listen. Last evening a friend of mine from the Snellville days contacted me via Facebook. She talked and I listened to what she was willing to share with me. As she was talking she said that a true friend never gives up on another friend. As I lay in the bed I began to think on this and ponder it some more. If you are my friend on Facebook you know that I was unable to sleep last night because my brain seemed to be working in over time. That simple statement tugged at me and pulled at me, so I began to think about my life long friends. The ones that I have had for 30 + years. I analyzed the characters of these friends and their caliber. I wanted to know what made them tick and how we remained friends for so long.
I can honestly say that two of my friends have been through it all with me, the thick, the thin, the boyfriends, the relationships, the moves from Atlanta, to Pennsylvania, to Arlington, back to East Point and so forth. These two people are rare in the fact that if they had not been in my life I would have died a long time ago. One of them gave me inspiration and hope while the other one held my hand and cried with me. Sa'corey knows what I am talking about because he was the one that sat on my bed with me and cried with me when I found out I was HIV + and again when I found out that they were going to have to remove my large intestines. He wiped my tears, held my hand and let me cry on his big shoulders. My friend John pulled my head out of depression and set me straight on the path that I am on now. He looked at me one day shortly after they had removed all the staples from my abdomen and told me that he wanted to know where I was, where was the real Bryan, because the Bryan he was seeing wasn't the person he grew up with. He told me that he admired me and that I had been the type of person that would set their mind to a task and just go out an get it. A person who was confident and sure of what he was doing and wasn't afraid to learn new things.
That night I thought about what he had said and I wondered if he was correct if I had lost a part of me. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that they were both right. Sa'corey told me that I was a strong person and I could face what was happening too me and I would win and beat it. John had pointed out that I was a leader and not a follower, that I had given a part of myself away and that I needed to reclaim it, for if I did I would be able to conquer anything that was thrown at me.. Now you can imagine what my life was like at that time. I had serious doubts about everything, I had seen the specialist in New York and I knew that nothing could be done about my condition. The damage was done when they operated the first time. Dreading and fretting that my life as a gay man was over terrified me and weakened me. But, because of my best friends surrounding me and encouraging me to stay vigilant and strong, because they knew I was going to own this dragon or demon that had attached itself too me.
Upon reflection John was absolutely right I had lost my focus, my drive and my will to survive, and those were the very things I was going to need to rise up and fight this battle. Sa'corey and John saw something in me and knew that God was with me. Sa'corey sat with me the night before my surgery and he told me that there were angels all around me and that the light coming from me was brighter than ever. I knew in that moment just how Love, Blessed and Anointed I was, and I was to learn that I was also favored. I knew in my heart that I was going to make it through the surgery and live, because I knew that God had work for me to do. This is how awesome God is, that surgery that I had in September of 2007 was more extensive and invasive than the first surgery that I had back in 2005, yet I felt no pain. My original surgery the pain was so great that I had to walk around the house for hours to lessen it's grip on me. But I swear to you that I had no pain with this surgery at all. I did however lose a lot of weight and started running a high temperature it got as high as 103.7 and when the fever hit me I was unable to walk.
My mother and her friend literally picked me up and put in the car and drove me to the hospital. Under my staples and abscess had formed and my body was getting weaker and weaker. The doctors were relying on antibiotics, but that wasn't what was needed at all. On the third day of the IV antibiotics the surgeon came in and told me that if something didn't change soon that my body was going to shut down and I would drift to sleep and never wake up. I don't know why I thought that was funny but at that very moment I started to laugh and it was a good laugh it filled my lungs, and bolstered my courage. So I asked the doctor for some hydrogen peroxide and some que-tips because I couldn't stand how crusty and nasty my staples had become. He told the nurse to bring it too me that I couldn't hurt myself that I had already gone septic. She brought me those long wooden que-tips and a small cup full of hydrogen peroxide. She left the room and I set about to start cleaning my wounds and staples. Maybe it was the hands of an angel that guided my hand as I made the first mistake, which turned out to be the proper course of action.
I had started cleaning the middle staples because these were the worst crusted of all of them. Because that was where the initial infection had started and where the puss came from. I dipped the cotton end into the solution and I set out to get all the gunk off of me. If I was going to die then no one was ever going see this. That is when it happened my hand slipped and the cotton end glided across the staple surface and went directly into the wound and when I pulled it out the puss and infections started erupting from my abdomen. I called the nurse who brought me sterile gauze and peroxide. For almost and hour and half that wound drained. The very next morning I woke up feeling great I looked down at my stomach and the infection seemed to have vanished. The doctor came in a bit later and told me that I did what modern medicine couldn't do. I saved my self by accidentally slipping and puncturing the main pocket of infection and as we were cleaning it out my body went on over drive and defeated what was remaining.
Why am I telling you all of this? It is because if I can come through all this adversity and survive so can you. I was born with a fractured skull, my parents were told that I would have brain damage and that I probably would never walk or talk. Well I started talking a little after my first birthday and they haven't been able to shut me up yet. My mother and father will tell you I have never met a stranger, that I look and bring out the good in people. I am very social and love helping others and. of course I love to write and talk. But why the title Do not Surrender? What am I trying to tell you?
My friends whenever someone is told that they have cancer they automatically believe that their life is going to end and they are going to wither away and die. Some of them might, but most will find that the new treatments are not as harsh as the ones I had to take and there is a much higher success rate with the newer drugs. So there is hope . Look I am going lay it out for you straight and to the point. Last year in 2014 I was told that I had 6 terminal illnesses and I had an aneurysm which caused me to need 28 blood transfusions. I also suffered from a severe case of osteomilitis and was almost paralyzed my spinal cord was seriously compromised. Yet, when Grace from physical therapy came in that first day and told me that I was going to be stuck in that chair for the rest of my life. I literally laughed at her like I did the doctor in 2007. Difference this time was some permanent damage, my spinal column has collapsed due to hundreds of microfractures in my thoracic spine. The damage has been confirmed to be between the T5 and the T10 vertebrea. With that being said my rib cage is compressed and I cannot fully expand my lungs because it hurts too bad. Oh and by the way within 2 weeks of her telling me that I would never walk again I carried myself to the gym after training hours and I worked out on the balance bars, I drug my feet along and forced them to work and I was rewarded by being able to walk. Once i left the wheel chair I went to the 2 wheeled walker and had that for about a month or so and then I had the 4 wheeled walker and though I still have the 4 wheeled walker I no longer need it. I walked out of the nursing home using my cane and today I don't have to have any type of device to help me walk at all.
Now I have gone through all of these things to show you that no matter what you are going through or what you have to face that God has got you. You do not need to worry, lay your problems at His feet and walk away leaving them there because He will take care of them. Just keep in mind that our time is not His time. We might begin to panic but remember that God is always on time.
Do not surrender to your illness, do not surrender to depression, do not surrender to peer pressure, and do not surrender to temptation. Remember that God has got you, He has a host of angels that surround you. But, most importantly keep in mind that this too shall pass. No problem is as permanent as the solution.
As always my hopes and dreams are with you,