The Road to Gratitude

So it’s almost 10:00 on a Tuesday evening, and I’m not tired yet.  I don’t want to watch TV.  I don’t really have anything to do, hmmm…  Oh!  I haven’t written in my blog in a while.

I haven’t really been doing much of anything lately to be honest with you.  When some stuff happened in my life, I crawled into a shell, and ultimately wound up extremely depressed.

Now first, I want to warn you, because I’m about to talk about God.  Not the traditional God that many people think of.  I’m not a Christian, and even though I’m Jewish I still don’t believe that Jewish parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally.  I’m not even talking about an all powerful, omnicient being, that guides our every day lives.  In fact, I’m not talking about anything predefined.  The word God is what we use to describe something that means different things to different people.  I’m going to use that word for brevity sake, but really what I mean is, higher power, and by that I mean anything that is more powerful than me.  Myself and a friend.  Together we are more powerful than me alone.  Myself and a group of friends.  Even better.  Myself and a group of friends and loving family members.  Or maybe it’s not people for you.  Maybe it is the God of the Bible.  The point is it doesn’t matter.  What I’m talking about is anything that you feel can help you when you need help, better than you can help yourself, or, anything that can help you help someone else better than you can help them yourself.  For the rest of this reading, God = hire power.

God has helped me a lot lately.  When I found myself in my depression, just wanting to stay in my hole and not deal with the situation I was going through, some very loving, caring people in my life gave me some help that I needed.  First, it was my family, and I didn’t really need to ask too hard for that help.  All I needed to do was pick up the phone and say, this is what is happening, and the help was offered.  My father and step-mother love me so unconditionally.  Sometimes I can be the biggest baby about things, and sometimes there are things I’m going through which they can’t possibly understand from my perspective, but they don’t care.  They just love, and they show it by doing as much as they possibly can, whenever they are able.

The problem is, they aren’t as able right now.  My step-mother just had knee replacement surgery, and my father is going to have a heart valve transplant sometime very soon.  But they were still there for me when I needed them, as much as they could be.  However, this time, during a crisis I was going through and I’m still going through they couldn’t offer as much as they’d like to be able to, and that meant I needed to grow up just a little bit.

That was very difficult for me at first.  I wanted more care than they were able to give, and I finally had to face that fact after a week of hell, and a trip to the emergency room because I thought something was horribly wrong with my stomach or abdomen, or I had some other major medical issue going on, only to be diagnosed with constipation.  That’s ok.  You can laugh. That shit really hurt man!

Then, quite frankly, I started to pray to my higher power.  Now, again, if I’m sitting in my living room saying, “God, please, I need your strength here!”, is anyone listening, or am I just affirming in my head, that I need help from something more than myself, and trying to work through how to get that help in my head.  The weirdness is not in the asking.  The weirdness is in the answers you get, and recognizing them.

At this point it was another family member who came through for me.  My aunt, who just lost her husband and my Uncle from cancer sent me an email one morning, asking me if I could help her with some computer problems.  I told her about my situation, and how debilitating it was for me, and that all I could offer was to keep in touch because I thought it would be good for the both of us.  I then asked her a question.  How is she coping?  Because she’s pretty depressed right now too.  She told me about how our grandmother used to make her make up her bed as soon as she got out of it, so she would at least have that to say she accomplished that day.  So for some reason, I got out of bed, I not only made my bed, but I finally changed the sheets, putting clean ones on, and then I put the dirty ones in the washing machine along with some other laundry I needed to do.  Then we chatted back and forth in email, and eventually she asked me a specific computer question, and it gave my mind something to do.

At first I just explained what it could be, and pushed it back on her.  But we kept chatting.  Then I decided to do some searching online, and I was able to at least partially find the answer to her problem and help her get it more under control.  I was still in a bad place, but my mindset had changed a bit.  Frankly, having something to do made me feel less depressed.  So we continued to chat, and I continued to pray.  I also had to make some very tough decisions about some things in my life which I will talk about in another post some time.

I started doing a few more, manageable tasks around the house.  More laundry, wash the dishes,  vacuum a little bit.  And then I allowed myself to take a break because I had accomplished some things that I needed to accomplish.

Another pretty much sleepless night went by, but I got up and took care of some things I needed do.  I went to a doctor’s appointment.  I had to take a cab there because of some other real (more than constipation) issues I’m dealing with right now, but I went.  I asked the doctor for help with some things and she went over and above to help me.  Certainly a higher power there.

Another sleepless night, still chatting with my aunt, still getting small, manageable tasks done, still praying.  By the way, my prayers were pretty simple.  “God, please help me to know what to do next.”

This time the answer came to make some phone calls, and I did.  I called very good friends.  That was today.  I had several phone conversations.  Then I got a ride to another doctor’s appointment from one of those friends.  Then I met my parents for lunch, and took care of some business that needed to be taken care of to make it easier for them to help me in ways that they could help me.  Then I met another person and took care of some more business that needed to get taken care of.  Then another friend picked me up, and we went to meet with some other friends.  I got home at about 8:30 after a very full day.  I made a few more phone calls.  And now I’m writing this.

Will I sleep tonight.  Who knows?  If my body needs sleep, I will sleep.  It will eventually come, but it sure will come a lot faster if I’m up and moving, and doing things and staying active.  By the way, I meantioned more phone calls.  Tomorrow is a very full day.  Thursday will have some activity in the evening, and I can always think about how to do more between now and then, and then make some more phone calls.  Oh, and I need to go grocery shopping.  Luckily the grocery store is in the same shopping center where my condo is.  I think I can manage a 3 block drive.  I was told so by one of my advocating friends..

So now it’s midnight.  I’m not really sleepy, but I’m tired, and that’s a good thing.  I have to deal with chronic pain, and managing that is tough because it adds to the depression causing the sleep issues which adds to the depression and yes I did mean to say depression three times.  But today was a good day.  I was up, and active, and tomorrow and the next day will be the same.

I’m certainly not out of the woods here.  I’ve got a lot more to do to get back into life.  Find a job for one, but I need to take care of myself first, and this one was a bit of a nose dive so I’ve still got some climbing to do, but I’m grateful, because I have help, from my higher power.  As long as I ask for it, and am able to recognize it when it is presented, it will always be there.  People, activity, things to think about.  They are keeping me sane, at least for now.

The Lake By My Home

It’s not like I forgot about the Lake.  I knew it was there.  I just hadn’t thought to visit it in a while.  I used to walk the dog by it several times a week.  I remember feeling better then.  Emotionally, physically, better.  It’s not a long walk.  In fact, if I walk to the path that is adjacent to the lake on two sides, and then walk this path, past the “Logan’s Road House”, past the Hampton Inn, it’s about a mile.  Not a really long walk by any stretch, unless you don’t have any legs, or they don’t function for you the way they used to.  Mine do.  I can walk.  There are a few people in my life who can’t say this.  Some of these people are rather close to me.  But I can walk, and so I did this morning.  Something to be grateful for today.

The dog was grateful too.  Although she was huffing and panting along the way, she turned to me, squinting in the sun, with her tongue hanging out and I could see that all too familiar smile on her face.  “Thanks Daddy!”, that smile was saying.  I smiled back and said, “You’re welcome!”  She’s an old dog, my Jamaica.  She’s in fairly good health for her age.  Sometimes she falls when we are walking, but she gets right back up and continues to walk like nothing happened.  I can learn a lesson from that.

When we get back to the house and walk inside, it’s nice to feel the cool, dry air hit my face.  It’s warm outside, and humid.  This is as it should be in late May in the Washington, DC area.  Not quite hot yet, but warm enough and moist enough to bring about a mild sweat, even with a mild  walk.  When we do these walks during the mid-summer months, I am dripping by the time we get back.  The dog walks over to the water fountain (Yes, I said fountain.  Just a little gift I gave to her and to the cats a while ago to keep the water fresh and clean for them).  She laps up 5 or 6 tongue fulls of water, as I reach into the refrigerator and pull out a can of sparkling, lemon-flavored water for myself.  Nice, and cold, with a little bit of a bite.  This would be a perfect start to a weekend day, except that it’s not the weekend.  It’s the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and at the moment I don’t have a job to go to. 

I should be grateful, and I am for the fact that for the time being I’m still receiving a pay check, and my company is searching for another position for me.  I am grateful, both for this, and for the ability just for now to appreciate the time I had this morning to take the dog for a walk near the lake.  We need to do this more often whether or not I’m working.  I need to make the time to do this with her, for both ours sakes.

We really only have today.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  I need to make the most of each moment that I have, and not waste the moments feeling sorry for myself, or wallowing in self-pity or fear.  But the only way to push the fear away is to fill my life with other things.  Good things, like a walk by the lake, and the gratitude that I’m able to take this walk with my old dog, and add some joy and contentment to her life if only for 1 mile at a time.  Maybe we’ll walk a little further tomorrow.  Or maybe tomorrow I will have a job to go to.  No matter what, I still need to make the time to take these walks with her, for both our sakes.

Clairvoyant Or Lazy? You Decide.

Preparing your home for sale is hard.  Especially when you are alone.  Still, I had done this once before, and my home this time was much smaller, with no land to worry about since I live in a condo.

So I decided to take the plunge, and I started looking for homes online.  Then I took it a step further and contacted a few realtors, finally settling on one of them to sell my home and help me find a new one.

There were things that needed to get done.  Stuff needed to get fixed, like the stains in the ceiling and along the wall in my bedroom and one of my bathrooms from some water that leaked in during a major storm.  Then there were the windows.  Almost all of them needed to be replaced because of leaking.  There’s still more of this “contract” work to be done, and I call it that because it was certainly not stuff that I was going to do on my own.

Then there was the decluttering.  Wow, what a huge job for a single guy who has a lot of junk sitting around.  I had no idea how much work this would be.  I had a few friends help, and I had a few others offer, but it seemed like the job was never going to end.  I kept noticing new things that needed to get done, and I was becoming more and more frustrated and depressed about it.

Then last weekend, with one of my neighbors in my garage ready to lend a hand, I just stopped.  I became incredibly depressed for no obvious reason, and I told my neighbor that I didn’t want to do any more.  During the week I still managed to pack up a couple of things and move them down into the garage, but for the most part I just came to a screeching halt.  I called the realtor and told him I was getting overwhelmed and I needed some help to first, figure out what needed to be done, and then do it for me, because I didn’t want to do any more work.

An over reaction?  Maybe.  If the next thing that happened in my life hadn’t happened I would have said I was just being lazy, and/or letting my emotions get the better of me.  But something significant did happen, and I’m wondering now if somehow I sensed that things were going on behind the scenes in my life that would change the  course of my life for the immediate future.

The following Thursday evening after work I got a disturbing email from my manager.  It said to not go in to the site where I worked for the government contract I was on, and to call him at home.  When I called him, he told me that the government lost funding for my position.  In other words, I am out of a job unless my company can find me another position on another contract. 

I’ve never been laid off or fired or anything of the sort, so to put it bluntly, I’m scared.  I have money in a retirement account,  but I don’t want to have to deplete that if I don’t have to, not to mention having to take a 10% penalty on whatever I withdraw.  I don’t know what I’m going to do if my company doesn’t find me something.   Well, I guess I do know.  I’m going to  look for another job.  I have plenty of contacts and some good skills and experience, so I suppose I shouldn’t be so scared, but I am.  Fear of the unknown is really what it is.

Back to clairvoyance.  Did I know there were discussions going on about the lack of funding for my position that I wasn’t privy to?  Or am I just really sensitive,  and felt an indescribable insecurity that was causing my depression and lack of motivation to continue to work on my home?  Was this a self-fulfilling prophecy,  whereas I caused this to happen because I felt so insecure?  I thing Carl Jung described this as synchronicity.  Two seemingly unrelated events are connected not by cause and effect, but by meaning.  This is a fancy way to describe a coincidence that is just too coincidental.

So here I am, terrified about what the future will bring.  I’ve canceled the move for now until I’m sure that I have a steady, reliable job to go to, and this is actually somewhat of a relief.  I’m feeling almost paralyzed though, and I’ve been waking up in the morning in tears from horrible nightmares.  If anyone else has been here that can offer some advice as to how to deal with the emotions, especially the fear, I’d really appreciate it.


Mornings are difficult.  It’s not easy to wake up alone.  I suppose it’s better than waking up next to the wrong person, but sometimes I wonder.  Which is worse, lonliness being with the wrong person?  I suppose you could be lonely and be with the wrong person at the same time.  Right now for me, I don’t have to worry about that.  I just have to worry about getting out of bed, and that’s difficult lately.

I’m not sure when it started.  The depression that is.  I mean, I’m always depressed to some extent, but these days I’m on the verge of tears much of the time.  Plus I just feel sick, run down, stomach ache, nauseous, almost all of the time.  Having a bad back and having to take chronic meds for that probably doesn’t help.  But where has all of my energy gone?  I just want to sleep.  Having a job is a good thing, but I don’t want to go to work.  I don’t like being there.  I feel even sicker when I’m there.  I’m almost never hungry, but I force food down because I know I have to.  Yeah, full blown depression I guess.

The mornings are the worst.  I know I’ll feel better in the evening.  I know I’ll feel better after work, when I can relax a little bit.  But right now my stomach is in a knot, and I feel like throwing up.  I suppose I could pray.  In fact I think I will as soon as I’m done writing this.  Writing is a form of meditation for me, so maybe that’s what I needed to do this morning.  I needed to write this down and share it, and the answer has come that I need to pray.  I’m not a religious person by any means, but I don’t have to be to have a relationship with God.  If God is perfect, why would he care what religion I practice if any?  Yeah, I think I’ll pray.  Just for a minute before I go to work.  Maybe that will help get me through the day, maybe not.  It certainly can’t hurt.

I used to read this book of motivational thoughts every morning.  I stopped reading it a while back, but a few days ago I picked it back up again.  The thought for today is one day at a time.  It’s about setting a small goal, and accomplishing that goal, and feeling good at the end of the day that I’ve accomplished it.  Today I’ve already accomplished a small goal.  I’ve written this down, and shared it, and believe it or not between the time I typed “Mornings” and now, I’ve somehow typed myself into a whole different attitude.  I feel better.  So maybe the prayer I’ll say is “Thanks!”  Obviously something gave me the motivation to write this, and to accomplish this small goal before I left for work this morning.  And I feel better.  So thanks!  Whether it was God or something else.  Thanks!

Do I Look Like I Have Boobs In This Shirt?

Just writing this blog posting and sharing it with the world proves how brave I am.  It proves that I’m not a woosy boy, or a girly man, or feminine in any sort of way.  Just remember that when you are reading this.  Just remember what kind of person would put themselves out there and admit to this before you make judgements, or poke fun, or reply with the inevitable, “This explains a lot Larry!”  Just remember that only a true man would put this story out there for the world to see.  Only a true manly, man.

A while ago as I was complaining about my back pain recommended that I go to see a holistic doctor that he took an old girlfriend to see.  He spoke very highly of the practice, and said that even though they may not be able to help me with my back pain directly, they may be able to help me with my overall health.  I figured, what the heck.  It couldn’t hurt.

So I’m speaking to this doctor, and she’s asking me all kinds of questions about this and that, and sends me away with a bunch of supplements, and an order for some blood work to check some things that a normal doctor doesn’t generally check for.  One of these things was my testosterone level.  Now, before I go any further, I want you to know that my actual testosterone level has nothing at all to do with the outcome of this story, and why I decided to publish it for all the world to see.  My testosterone level is normal, or as normal as it’s going to be given the pain I fight on a daily basis, and some other things going on in my body.  All in all though, it’s perfectly fine.

I got the test results back, and I’m going through them, and I get to testosterone.  What was odd was that I didn’t see it being in a normal range.  I saw it being several times the highest level that is considered normal.  A few of the other numbers were slightly off, but my testosterone was off the charts on the positive end.  “Oh my God!”, I thought.  “I’m really, really sick!  What the heck is wrong with me?”  I was going back and forth between thinking that my parents forgot to tell me that I’m actually from the planet Krypton, to feeling very proud to be a man, and feeling sorry for all of the women out there that were missing out on my obviously ultra human abilities.  But in all honesty, I was extremely worried.  It would be one thing if it was slightly high.  But it wasn’t.  It was about 7 times the highest level in the normal range.

Thankfully I read the rest of the chart very carefully, and discovered the clerical error.  Apparenly, (and this is just a guess as to how it happened), someone saw my first name, which is really Laurence, and only saw the Lauren part.  That’s right.  According to this chart I am a woman, and all of the ranges on the chart were for that of a woman.

Ok, so now that I’m back to reality feeling a mix between disappointment and relief (I figured it would be something to brag about to both men and women), I needed to figure out what to do about it.  So what I did was to go to my coworker who referred me to this doctor and squeeze my “breasts” and ask him if I looked like I had boobs in this shirt.  I told him that apparently this wonderful doctor that he referred me to was somehow so confused that she read the results of my test, made comments on it, mailed it to me, and never once made any mention of the fact that my testosterone levels were way outside of the normal range, or that the results indicated that I was a woman which was why the testosterone levels were so outside of the normal range.  So when I saw her today, I had to play it up.  I asked each of the nurses and clerical people in the reception area (who all knew already what had happened), if they thought I looked like I had boobs in the shirt I was wearing, and had them all in tears as I explained to them that it was a relief to finally know what my problem was.  Walking around all of these years thinking I’m a man when I’m actually a woman can have severe psychological effects on a guy, ummm…  I mean….  ummm…  whatever I am. 

I also told the doctor that if I was going to accept the fact that I was a woman, I should probably start taking estrogen because I didn’t think my boobs were big enough, and I wanted to not have to shave anymore.  Then I had her in tears as I spurted out lines (no perverts I wasn’t spurting anything else because I can’t now that I’m a woman) from the old Saturday Night Live skit “Pat, the androgenous heterosexual”.  Remember that skit.  “Hey everyone, I have a date tonight!  Really Pat, what’s your date’s name?  Terry!  Hey everyone, it’s that time of the month again.  Really Pat, what time is that?  Bills!”

Yes today was fun.  Maybe a little bit too fun.  I do love to poke fun at myself and this was just too easy.  Luckily the lab that took my blood was able to correct the results, and I now have lab results with the correct ranges on them.  I’ve asked everyone with a copy of the bad lab results to please destroy them, but I think I’m going to keep my copy just because of the comical effect it will have when I show it to friends and relatives in the future.

So there you have it friends, family and complete strangers.  Go ahead, laugh at me, make your comments, and poke fun if you must.  Just please, don’t poke my breasts.  They are very tender right now and I’ll have to punch you if you try to touch them anyway.  Hands off!

Day by Day, Hour by Hour, Minute by Minute

Over the past 3 weeks or so I’ve been trying to write another blog entry about my struggle with pain.  I was going to write about how a second surgeon, this time from the premier spine center in the country told me that surgery would not be the best option for me right now because of my age, and the risk, and the likelyhood of little improvement.  Such a complicated back I have.  I just couldn’t find the motivation to write out the whole, drawn out story though, so that’s about all I’ll write about that.  Instead, I found some motivation to write today from an entirely different source.

I have a new job, and I’ve been struggling to overcome a hurdle where I feel comfortable with what I’m doing.  I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing for a number of years now, and this job, although somewhat related to the direction my career has been going, is really a whole new direction.  Finally, over the past couple of days I’ve been finding a comfort zone.  I’ve been starting to understand the process flow, where the work is coming from, and what to do with the work when I find it.  And then fate decided that it had different plans for me today.

A few days ago my team was told that we were absorbing some new responsibility from a different team, due to the downsizing of that team.  We were getting a new person on our team, and he was to crosstrain with us, as well as members of my team crosstraining with him.  Yesterday our new team member said he had something he wanted to show us, and asked us if we wanted to come over and take a look at what he was doing.  There were only two of us in the room at the time, and I was the only one who went over to take a look.  While over there I remarked about how nice the guy’s view was.  His cube was against the window, and outside the window was a lake where there were Geese and some other birds.  We discussed logistics, about how we were going to crosstrain when there really wasn’t any more room in our office, and there was only one open cube next to this guy, which was vacated by the person who was fired, which was why his team (or him because he was now on his own) was merging our team.  We couldn’t come up with a solution as to how the crosstraining would easily take place amongst all team members.

Well, today it became clear that what our manager really meant was that I was going to be crosstraining with this new team member and his responsibilities and this didn’t really include the rest of my team.  Not only that, but I was going to be moving into the cube next to this guy.  Now here’s something else I haven’t mentioned yet.  The office I’m in is closing shortly.  The other office is in downtown DC, which I am not excited about traveling to and from every day.  But our manager assured us that when this move happens, our team would be work exclusively from home.  So no worrying about having to travel downtown.  Well, now with these changes taking place, was that still going to be the case?

So how did I feel about all of this?  Well, I was at first a bit frustrated.  I had just started to get comfortable and suddenly the rug was pulled out from under me and I was now taking on completely different responsibilities.  I then started to worry that this happened because I wasn’t cutting it in my current position, and they saw that, and decided to move me to something else, maybe even to just give me busy work to do until I became the next downsizing victim.  The I started worrying about the working from home thing.  I’ve recently been looking for a new home, maybe a little further away from the city because I’ll have more space and it will be cheaper.  Would this sudden change mean that I’d have to be slogging it downtown every morning and I’d have to put my plans to move on hold?

I took everything off of my desk and stuffed it into a bag, and moved over to the cube next to my new teammate.  I looked at the cube, and noticed that I now had some privacy.  The walls of the cube were really high.  I then turned around, and remembered the window, which I was also right next to.  There were the geese, swimming in the lake.  Suddenly my fear just lifted.  Sometimes I try so hard to focus on the negative of a situation when that negative is completely imaginary because I had not bothered to substantiate one bit of my fear.  Maybe I’ll have the same deal with being able to work from home.  Maybe I’ll love this new job, and I’ll love the new responsibilities.  The thing is, I was living in the wreckage of the future, which many wise people in my life have cautioned me against, and I have in turned cautioned others against. 

Who knows what will happen tomorrow.  Today I have a nice cube with a view of a lake and geese.  So for this day, and this hour, and this minute, things are pretty good, and I’m going with that.

How to Survive with a Sensitive Soul

For those of you out there who are like me, this one is for you.

Midwest Sweet Tea

An ode to the sensitive souls:

Those of us just tryin’ to get by,

with a nod of the head,

no look in the eye,

to those so quiet,

passive and chill,

the overwhelmed ones

can’t help what they feel


Avoiding the critics

Prone to anxiety

When facing specifics

This post is for you

Introverted or not

Sensitive souls

Need not be forgot

Pinpoint Triggers


As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), you may notice a tendency to feel more deeply, paying more attention to details than most. Although Thought Catalog recently posted a list of 18 Struggles Only Over-Thinkers will Understand, the list could have been coined “18 Struggles Highly Sensitive Persons will Understand”, which still would have made perfect sense.

A Huffington Post article keenly observes how HSP buckle under criticisms, so be wary of inadvertent tendencies to people-please. It’s okay to skip out on a loud…

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I don’t want to operate on your back – Pain Part 2

There’s a good possibility that when someone hears these words spoken by an orthopedic surgeon, this would bring a smile to their face.  After all, perhaps the surgeon is about to suggest another solution to pain they have been experiencing.  Don’t get me wrong.  He did.  But his suggestion was to go back to my pain specialist and try some different techniques.  “They have all sorts of procedures they can perform to help you with the pain!”, he exclaimed loudly as he told me a story of another patient of his who went to the same pain specialist that I’m seeing and had great success.

What I told the surgeon though was that I had already tried everything the pain specialist had to offer, which I thought he already knew given that I was being referred by a pain specialist who saw the MRI of my back and determined their wasn’t much else he could do for me.  He then went on to show me my messed up spine on both the MRI, and the X-Ray he took while I was in his office.  I’ve seen these pictures hundreds of times in my lifetime, and every time I look I feel deformed, and ugly, and things just look worse that they did before, and that’s because they are worse. 

“I can see why you are in pain.”, he said.  He pointed out the “inflamation”, the “degeneration”, the pinched nerves, the arthritis, and how the scoliosis was only complicating matters.  He pointed out that the top of my back was bent forward and that he was afraid if he operated on the bottom of my back I would be hunched over even more than I am now.  He lectured about how correcting the problems I had in my lower back would not fix the pain I’m experiencing because the pain I’m experiencing is in my lower back.  This caught me off guard, but he explained that fixing the lower back helps leg pain, not lower back pain.  I still don’t completely understand, but I’m not an orthopedic surgeon, so I guess I have to trust him.

I then said to him, “So you are confirming that I’m feeling pain.  I already know that.  Is their nothing you can do for me?”  He told me the odds of surgery fixing my problem were too small to risk causing more problems and just distributing the pain to another location.  I understood this.  I was just frustrated.  I told him about the pain medication I was on and explained that I didn’t want to have to take it for the rest of my life.  I had already asked the pain specialist about other things I could do, and I’ve already tried those other things.  Exercises, Chiropractic, physical therapy, massage.  About the only thing I haven’t tried is Accupuncture.  The pain specialist said none of this would help me.  Not with everything that is broken in my back.

The thing is though, this surgeon was just one man.  He gave me the phone number for another surgeon who works in my area, and also at John’s Hopkins hospital.  I’ve already contacted John’s Hopkins on my own and I’m waiting to hear back from them.  I’m not giving up on this until I’ve exhausted all possibilities. 

Today, disappointing news is not devastating news because today I am a much more balanced person emotionally than I used to be.  I am deformed, but I’m not a freak, and in fact I’m a pretty darn good looking guy.  My deformity is hardly noticable until you’ve been staring at me for a long time, and some people have told me they don’t notice it at all.  I’m just a person in pain.  Long term treatment with pain medication is not an option for me, and I’m not going to accept that as the solution.  I hate having to take it!  I hate the stigma associated with it!  I hate the side effects of it, and if you are wondering what I’m talking about, I hate having to take a ton of extra fiber supplements so that I can poop!  I hope that didn’t gross anyone out, but really I don’t care.

The ending to this chapter of the story goes like this.  This is not over until I say it’s over.  I don’t see any fat women around, just one slighly chubby man, so I’m going to keep trudging forward.

What’s he thinking?

This is Bene.


Sometimes I wonder what he’s thinking.

Is he thinking, “Daddy don’t stopping rubbing my belly please!”


Is he thinking, “Daddy’s leg is soft.”


Is he pointing at a fly on the ceiling thinking, “Daddy Can I eat that for dinner?


Is he thinking,  “Daddy, why are you such a big, funny looking cat?”


Is he thinking, “This is the life!  My sister Seri, and my big retarded sister Jamaica who drools and pants a lot, and my Daddy and me.  Things couldn’t get much better!”

Then I stop wondering what he is thinking, and I stop thinking, and just enjoy the moment, because I realize that is what he is doing.  He’s just living in the moment, and for all of us, right in this moment, things are pretty good. 

So I thought I’d share this special moment with whomever is reading this.  I wish you many special moments in your life, today and every day.  When you notice one, stop what you are doing, stop thinking, and do what Bene does.  Just be!

My thoughts, stories, opinions, photos, and adventures, all in one place where the whole world can see them!

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