Not so much an apology, but an explanation of my lack of blogging the last few years. For anyone interested.
As a good friend told me a couple of years ago, if you want to look after others, you have to look after yourself first. That can be hard for me, as I tend to put others first. Fact is, I was born allergic to almost everything, and that made my childhood interesting all by itself.
About three years ago, I was told I had cancer, based on a purely visual exam. Took an exploratory procedure to prove I didn’t, and, yes, I fired the first doc in question and will never go back to a second. Thankfully, found a very good doc in the process that I will cheerfully use again at need. This was why I stepped down from Mission: VALOR and turned it over to others to run.
Then, other issues required me to be tested for a variety of nasty auto-immune diseases. Again, thankfully, those were negative though I do have arthritis and some other inflammation issues. I feel weather changes more than I realize, as I have a tendency to ignore (and not recognize) pain and related. I’ve lived with some degree of pain for so long it simply doesn’t register as such. Some of the issues come from things I’ve done in the past, and as I’ve told some, if I had known how much I would pay for them later, I would have done more so I feel that I have truly earned it. That said, glad I did them despite the price.
Almost exactly a year ago today, I had what was supposed to be a routine colonoscopy. Unfortunately, there was bleeding after that sent me to the ER and required an emergency procedure to deal with, during which I had to be given Epi to keep my heart beating. I was conscious and watching when I started to crash again in recovery. Remember not being scared, and found it interesting that the 12-lead data did not show what I would have expected for what happened. Thankfully, my heart did not stop and I did recover. Sadly, I never have gotten honest answers about comments I overheard in the ER about the original doctor and what was/was not done, and as such will never use the IU network again.
On top of it all, some other things led me to get some help and a diagnosis of non-combat PTS. The root issue has been addressed, and I will add that my time in Iraq was beneficial for my PTS, which says a lot. I will say that EMDR works, is intense, and I don’t recommend pushing it and treatment as hard as I pushed mine. Now dealing with the secondary effects (all the things other than the original cause) and moving forward. I would remind everyone that Hollyweird and the media do not give an honest or accurate account of PTS, and that the majority of those who have it are not a danger to others (mostly to themselves).
I’m now part of an amazing survivors group. If you have PTS, depression, etc., please do reach out. Too many don’t, and feel cut off and alone. You are not. Please, take the time and reach out to someone. It is hard, but worth it and there is no shame in getting help.
So, putting myself and my life back together, and it is an interesting journey. Sometimes in terms of the Chinese curse, most of the time a good and blessed thing. My faith has been strengthened, as I see many blessings and examples of when and how things could have been much worse. My faith in humans and human institutions, well, still not high and as a convert to the Catholic faith not improving given leadership of same, from Pope Che (as a friend calls him) on down. There are a number of good priests, however, and they do so much for so many.
All any of us can do is try to do our best, to help others in need, and to try to do some good in the world. The latter takes many forms, and I am more committed than ever to our troops and veterans for they do a lot of good at a high cost to themselves.
There is more to come, though it may be a bit sporadic for a while.