Friday, December 31, 2010

In Transition

I'm currently in the middle of our transition.  Lots of boxes and clutter, but we're quickly getting through it all.  I'm going to edit our eviction footage tomorrow, and attempt to have it on YouTube by tomorrow evening.  Thanks to everyone for wanting to be kept updated.
  Since I haven't had access to the Internet I've been utilizing a journal for my poetry, but now that things are back to normal I'll be getting more of my creative works up and online very soon.
Thanks for all your patience,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Medical Appointments, Breakfast Reservations, and God's Angels

  Just six hours till Christmas.  I honestly didn't think we'd have one this year, but several groups donated so much that we've been able to have a nice meal and Santa will show up for Lincoln.  This year God's angels were hard at work in our lives, and I hope that next year I will be able to be one of those angels.
  This morning we spent time with some of my old friends from school.  We had a nice, simple breakfast at Around The Clock restaurant, and I'm paying the price for my good time.  It was worth every minute of pain though.  It seems so odd to see people I used to share classes with sitting with their own children, and it makes my heart skip a beat when I realize how amazing those people will be as parents.  We may have been one of the last generations that lived without the bombardment of the digital world, and I know that we'll succeed in creating a pocket of individuals who appreciate hard work and earning.
  Yesterday I made an appointment to see a PTSD doctor about my night terrors.  As I had commented on one of my previous threads, last night's was the worst.  I kept 'waking up', but not really waking up.  It happened seven times before I finally found myself in the real world, and I've spent most of the day half expecting to wake up after having something terrible happen to my right leg.  Maybe tonight I'll not have them, more likely I will.
  My son and wife are both ill.  Nothing serious, just head colds, but enough to keep us from being able to spend time with my mother and step-father because of his recent surgery.  It's best that we not get him ill because we love him and want him to stick around for quite a while longer.  So, it's just been us for the day, and it's been wonderful.  Lincoln is playing a game on the PS3, and trying to goad Amy into playing too.  They fight so much when they play together, and all I can do is chuckle.  Someday they'll learn to work together...  Someday...

  God blessed me this year with some of the most amazing people.  Jhon Baker, an amazing poet and philosopher has given me so much.  Noah Kaplowitz who has helped me further my causes and spent much time on corroborative works.  I think the three of us have leaned on each other so equally that it's kept us on our feet.  Scott Little, who's been giving me art lessons and spending time with me despite the fact he really hasn't had much of it.  Lars Jensen who's always been there for me, despite the ocean between us (you're going to get some English readers here, so you better start posting in English for us).
  My wife, Amy, who's put up with, and taken on, so much that I don't think I'd have survived RSD without her.  My mother; who brought me into this world and taught me to love and laugh, rage and cry.  Without her my son wouldn't be who he is today, and I wouldn't have been strong enough to make it through all my pain.  My father, Mike Shear, who spent so many hours driving from Iowa to here just to spend a few days at a time helping me when I had no one else.  I learned how to speak and succeed from my father, and how to laugh when things aren't at their best.  My stepfather Jeff, from whom I've learned to 'tell it like it is' and accept the fact that there's a lot of dumb asses out there.  My grandfather who I miss dearly.  He taught me how to be at peace in the world when we would go fishing or hunting together.  Firing a weapon still centers and empowers me to this day.  My grandmother, who taught me dedication to family and kept us from going under throughout the year.  My nephew Alex, who's gamed with me even when I've been blinded by pain and been useless.  I'll be on line again soon my friend.  And Corey Leese and the Divine Knights, Corey's stuck by me through thick and thin, and helped me find a group of fantastic new teammates to game with.
  Illinois Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association who's meetings have helped me feel like I'm still part of the world, and not alone in my struggles.  Congressman Manzullo's office, and Vera Moore of the VFW have been extremely helpful in my claims.  We may not have succeeded, but they still deserve recognition for all of their hard work and diligence.  McHenry County Marine Corps League, my brothers and sisters who have offered so much support, and given my son a Christmas, both on their own and through others who donated.
  I know it's asking a lot to have you all check out all these links, but these people deserve it.  They've given so much of themselves for me and my family, so please take the time to check them all out.  And to those of you who I haven't personally mentioned, leave a comment so I can include you in this 'thank you' post.
  Despite all the pain, and our eviction in seven days, I feel nothing but peace; happiness.  Blessed.

With all the gratitude I can muster,  Happy Holidays,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

From Nightmare to Nightmare

  I sleep on my couch most of the time.  It isolates me from moving about too much and aggravating my leg.  My dreams have been getting worse over the last few weeks, and I'm finding myself awake more and more.

I'm sleeping on the couch and it begins to shake; tremor.  I get up and open the door to our small apartment; find the weather outside to be balmy and warm.  I'm walking in a normal fashion, with no aid, but the stones on the paved area are causing pain to the bottom of my right foot.  It's like walking on glass.  I'm at an airport and a few hundred yards from a single runway.  A large jet is coming in for  landing, and I can hear the tower radio telling them to abort.  The jet comes in anyway and crashes; explodes in front of me.  I turn to run.  My right foot hits the ground and a piece of shrapnel tears through it.  Falling; hitting the pavement.  More shards of metal and glass rain down into my right leg, and I scream with agony.
  Awake, and in just as much pain as in the dream.  I'm still trying to catch my breath, and my eyes are still watering.  It's getting to the point that I'm jumping at every sound, expecting my leg to be damaged.  I'm spending most nights awake trying not to scream and wake my family...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to the ER

  I spent several hours at the ER last night.  I was at a Marnie Corps League meeting when my outbreak started, and by the end of the meeting I had to be carried out.  I even blacked out while trying to get into the van.  They gave me my injections of pain killers directly into the muscle and didn't run an IV.  Having them administered this way worked far better than through an IV.  They took a bit longer to kick in, but lasted far longer.  In the future I'm going to request this form of administration..
  Tonight I'm hurting.  We had to drive to the Milwaukee V.A. to pick up my medical records.  There must have been over 100 pages of information.  Hopefully I'll be able to comb through it and present supporting facts for my case.  I only wish that the V.F.W. would have been doing this.
  I started working on a new song, and hope to have it up on my poetry site by tomorrow evening.  I've been developing the songs to fit into a CD titled 'Just One Breath', and the song I'm working on will have that title.  It's, perhaps, the lightest song I've written, and it feels good to do something more uplifting.
  I was featured at Web of Life.  So please take a few minutes and read the post, and check out their site.  These gentleman have a genuine love of life and belief in positives.  I think you'll all find it an uplifting experience.

I wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate all the support you all have given my family.  I'm quite anxious about our upcoming eviction, but I'm trying to focus on how it can be a useful tool in ensuring future veterans with RSD don't have to experience this.  Regardless, I am feeling something I haven't felt in quite a while.  Love.
It feels good to tell my friends and family that I love them, and too few people do it.  I'm not sure if there's a reason for not saying it, but I'm going to say it anyway.

With love and respect,
Kevin Shear

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family Aid

  My father drove in from Des Moines to help me with my son.  He showed up Sunday evening, he's leaving in a few hours, and it hasn't been a long enough visit.  My stepfather is in the hospital.  Last Thursday he had heart surgery, and now they're not letting him go home.  They want him to be under constant care for a while.
  I feel so helpless.  I can't go and support my mother while she waits for her husband.  In the past, I'd always be right there by her side to help.  When my stepfather had his first heart attack I spent countless days in the hospital, and when my grandfather had medical issues I flew to Florida to spend a week at his bedside.  Now...  now I can't get out.  Last nights venture has caused a great deal of increased pain today.
  Cold weather is hell.
  I feel like I'm falling behind on my writing.  Maybe I'll feel caught up tomorrow...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Looking toward the future.

  I've informed the V.A. of my address countless times.  They still send my mail to my mother's house.  A letter came in this week, that they're going to be having a hearing in regards to my case.  I'm sending out an APB because I can have as many people testify as I want.  I figure, if we have enough people there, it will take a long time and I'll have a major pain attack on-site.  They'll have to rush me to the ER, and will have a very difficult time saying I shouldn't get benefits.  I'll post the exact dates, and perhaps send save the date cards...

  My pain is being managed better.  Still hurts, but I can get around a bit now without bursting into tears or passing out.  I'm becoming more tolerant of the narcotics.  I'm taking two pills most days now, and I've been talking with my doctor about moving to three on days I need a third.  I wish there was a non-narcotic medication we could switch to.  Switching between the two would decrease tolerance.  Unfortunately, I'm told, there isn't anything else they have at the V.A.

  The Marine Corps League came buy a couple days ago; dropped off two large bags of toys for Lincoln and Ashlynn.  I spent a good part of that day in tears.  Santa really did come for them this year...

I can't wait till I have my benefits and can do the same for another veteran...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good News, Bad News

  Monday afternoon, and the reporter and photographer came through my front door.  Questions where asked over the camera's clicks; answered, at times, through clenched teeth.  In all the story was told, and I spent the night in pain.  When they left they wanted to get some video, so they scheduled to come back on Tuesday.
  Tuesday morning, bad pain, and the photographer walked through the door.  She set up, filmed, asked questions.  Pain consumed, and it was time to go to the ER.  That poor photographer, she looked so worried, but she was getting the real story.  She was capturing, on film, what real pain looks like.  RSD is the worst pain in the world, worse than cancer or natural child birth, and she was right in the middle of it.
  One of the few things I remember is the look of terror on her face.
  I called my mother, begged her to hurry, to take me to the hospital.
  Time passed.  The reporter took photographs, filmed.  I gasped for breath and struggled to keep my body from tightening against the pain; fought to stay conscious and present while my mind was trying to shut down from overload.  Then I was in the car and rushing for the ER.
  Vomited in my mouth, swallowed, and blacked out twice on the way.  Prayers to God to give me strength; get me through one more time.  Arrival, and a wait for someone to come with a gurney or wheelchair to get me inside.
  They're rough getting me out of the car.  Big burly police man.  He embraces me, keeps me from falling to the ground, and it hurts more than he knows; could understand.  Vitals where checked, and then I was rushed into a large scary room.  'Oh God, why this room,' I thought.  Crash cart, machines that ping, all things medical surrounded me.  My vitals must have been extreme to have put me in that room.  I.V. run, drugs promised, and then I laid in wait, in pain, in prayer.  Minutes ticked by like hours.
  The doctor arrives, asks what is usually done for me.  The nurse arrives and pumps the drugs into my system; first a needle for nausea, then a needle for pain, and lastly a needle to calm.  Minutes pass, and the pain is still pretty severe, so she hits me again with another dose of pain killers.
  In all they dosed me with enough dalauted and Valium to knock over a rhino, and I got off the gurney and into the wheelchair on my own.  Then I wheeled myself to the exit.
  The reporters where there for a lot of the time.  They asked questions, and took photos.  In all, the two women working on my story had been some of the most compassionate and endearing individuals I've met.  Today I will send them a letter or email with all of the gratitude I can muster.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today is the first day

  I was up all night last night.  The pain was excruciating, and it took all my strength to not cry out and wake up my wife and child.  This morning it's a little better, but not by much.  Today is the day that I'm to be interviewed by a reporter.  Maybe God wants me to do this in the hospital?  If things keep going the way they are, that's where we'll be.
  This interview is like a first day of triumph; a small dent in ignorance and gross mistreatment.  If I can reach just one person with this article, and help them understand what people with RSD go through, I will have succeeded.  Because it only takes one person to change the future of our veterans.  One phone call, one letter.  One.  Because if one person does it, I know there will be others, others that will add to the one voice.
  I'm going to take my meds and work on some poetry.  Writing has been a fantastic coping mechanism.  I've lost a bit of my urge to game, and have found that it isn't helping as much in regards to my pain management.  I just haven't been able to get myself immersed enough.  Immersed, and away from this daily nightmare.
  I'm really having a bad time.  It's hard to admit it, but I'm worn thin.  This isn't a plea for help, I'm not going to kill myself (I have no urge to do so), but I feel like simply sleeping my days away.  Except, I can't sleep...
  It's good that I can't sleep.  Today is the first day...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Updates and Free Time

When you have chronic pain there is no such thing as 'free time'.  Yesterday was spent shredding paper targets at the local pistol range with my best friend, and published poet, Jhon Baker.  I learned two fundamental truths over the last 24 hours.  First, once you fire a weapon, pistol or rifle, you'll crave it more than anything else.  Yesterday was such a freeing, and empowering, experience.  I can't even begin to thank Jhon enough.  So I made him a deal.  As soon as my benefits arrive I will buy some weapons of my own and pay for a trip to the range for the two of us.  I honestly don't want to wait long to do this.
  There's a link to Jhon's blog under my links section.  I would highly encourage anyone who enjoys poetry to check it out.  You won't be disappointed.
  The second truth I learned is that there is no such thing as free time when you have chronic pain.  You pay for every experience.  Today I'm paying the price, and it was worth every penny.
  Some updates and information is next on the agenda...
  The Chicago Tribune rescheduled for next Monday.  So next Monday we'll be getting photographed and interviewed.  The date change is bitter sweet, I want nothing more than to have the story run now, but, with the delay, I'll be able to do a little more phone work to get other individuals involved.  I really want to give the congressman's office a chance to have some free publicity for all the hard work they've done.
  There are several pages that the V.A. have set up on Facebook.  They explicitly pointed out that these pages where to keep in touch with veterans more efficiently.  I've posted on these pages several times; asking for them to discuss RSD, it's lack of rating schedule, my current situation, etc.  All of my comments have gone ignored, and one of them even had the VA suicide hotline people post up that I should call for help.  A little later I read the same post from them to another veteran.  Turns out that it's an auto response.  They must hit it when they don't want to deal with an issue.  I'll keep looking for a posting about RSD and I'll link it here should they ever follow through.
  I've become a member of a Facebook community for veterans with RSD.  If anyone would like to join us, please send me a message on Facebook, and I'll get you added.
  My contact with GM about their commercial stating they 'understood that everyone falls down and needs help up' was unproductive.  It seems that GM is more than willing to get bailed out, but as soon as an opportunity presented itself for them to help out a disabled veteran, they turned their backs.  I tried everyone from corporate to local dealerships, and they all where unwilling to help.  I would encourage anyone getting ready to shop for a new car to not go with GM.  Let them burn through their bail out and dwindle away.  Companies who publicly state that they're empathetic to plight and then privately scorn it should not be kept around.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Step Closer

  I feel like I'm one small step closer in my quest to change the bureaucracies that govern veterans lives.  Sometime this week I'm expecting to be interviewed by a large, Chicago based, newspaper.  With the simple possibility of my story being told, politicians are scrambling to do what they can.  They know I'm not afraid to drop bombs.
  I finally got the 'OK' to bring in pamphlets to North Chicago.  The fliers detail the workings of an RSD support group that could be a positive influence in veterans' lives when they're suffering through this pain.  I had called a couple weeks ago, waited for a phone call back that never came.  I called again and was given the run around.  The third time I called I simply stated, "It has come to my attention that you do not want to offer the best of services to the veterans seeking medical attention at your facility."  Within seconds a stammering woman informed me that they would be happy to have the fliers on hand to give to patients with RSD.
  Today I'm going to call some of the auto makers who received bail out money.  I'm going to ask if they'd bail me out of my auto loan.  Who knows, maybe they'll pass along some of the charity.
  I really hate doing things like this.  Calling and asking for help, getting food and the such from charities.  I don't want to be a 'charity case'.  I'm at my imaginations end though, and I'm not sure what else I can do.
  Until next time, thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

  Today is one of the few days I can give thanks for my loss of appetite.  I know I won't overeat today.  I'm thankful for all of the friends and family that have provided my family and I with so much support.  Without you I don't think we'd have been able to maintain our relationship, or our sanity.
  I'm thankful that I'm alive.  Without my life I'd not be able to share my thoughts.  I may not be able to run around with my son, but I can teach him how to be a decent human being; about things intellectual and philosophical.  And I love every minute that we spend playing video games together.
  I'm giving thanks for all the events that lead me to be here today, and for all of you who take time out of your lives to read my words.  I hope my readers get a portion of the satisfaction that I get in writing this blog and my creative works.  I may not have many followers listed on my page, but I'm being read.  I see it in my stats every day.  Even though my readers aren't 'following' me, I appreciate them taking the time to read.
  Again, thank you all for reading.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Disabled veteran challenges VA rating system -

Disabled veteran challenges VA rating system -

This was the article I read last night, and it enraged me because I had been struggling for so long to get some notice and had been unsuccessful. What a fool I am.
I just spent the better part of a half hour speaking with Douglas Strand, and I think that together we may be able to start to make a difference. I've spent all morning dropping his name and article link to local and national news media; trying to get them to publish our story so no other veteran has to go homeless with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I remain optimistic that I will eventually get this to the ears of the nation, and until I draw my last breath, or the system changes, I will be fighting for those who served.
Please take the time to read the article linked above; post it in your myspace, your facebook, your blog. Spread this message to everyone. Scream with us so the world will hear. Tell others about the Marine who's lost his dependence and soon will lose his home. Tell them about Col. Strand and his painful journey going before the veterans commission. Tell our story!
I appreciate all your efforts, your compassion, your willingness to help make a change.
Thank you for reading!


Monday, November 22, 2010

The List Grows

  The list of those willing to help me out in my daily activities is growing.  To those of you who have helped, my thanks.  If I have not mentioned you by name let me know.  I can post links for you in a minor form of repayment.
  I wanted to personally thank my nephew Alex for posting my YouTube video of "In Everything" on his Facebook page.  Alex has always been there for me and continues to help support my endeavors.  We often game together, but not often enough.  I've been asking for help spreading the word about my music in the hopes that it may get picked up by recording artists and Alex is providing some much needed coverage.
  I found out, this past Thursday, that the Marine Corps League's chaplain has people praying for me from the tip of Maine to the southern reaches of California.  I was floored.  Here was a group of people whom I didn't even know willing to dedicate a daily bit of their time to praying for me.
  So to those of you who are helping, my thanks.  And to those of you wanting to help - link it, read it, play it, paste it, spread it round the world.  Email Me for more information or pages you can link.  Help get my story and sound out to others in the hopes that it will make a difference, or bring some measure of solace to those suffering souls out there who need it.
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Making Choices

The worst thing about RSD is having to choose what you're willing to suffer for.  I remember when I didn't have to evaluate everything based on the suffering that would ensue after the event.  It really opens your eyes to what's important.
Last night I went to a local pub with my brother and his girlfriend.  What a fantastic time.  He won some decent cash based on my pics for the UFC fights, and it was great to spend time with the two of them.  But today...
Today may be a hospital day.  I've already dosed myself with narcotic, muscle relaxer, and supplements.  My stomach is flip flopping from all the pain, and I'm afraid to stop moving because I don't want to pass out.  Just stopping for the short time to type this up is causing me distress.
I was planning on spending a majority of the day working on my writing and music.  Music is out for today because I won't be able to hold a guitar unless things calm down, or I want to finalize the trip to the hospital.  So I'll spend some time writing and perhaps game a bit.
Things aren't moving as fast as I'd like on my other blog, Shear's Shorts, but they're progressing.  The link to that page is at the bottom of my blog.  Hopefully I've been able to get a few people interested who will follow me, and brought some new readers to my good friends...
Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So Much To Say

Because I'm home all day, with nothing much to do, I've been investing my time in music, art, and writing.  I started a new blog for my work.  If anyone is interested there is a link at the bottom of the page, or you can click here.

Today is the wake for a young lance corporal who was killed overseas.  He was only 20 years old and left behind a wife, 19 years old, and a daughter of only a few months.  Tomorrow they will lay him to rest in a local cemetery.  I wish I knew him;  could thank him for having made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and safety.
In the near future I will be posting a link to a foundation, set up by the mother of another dead marine, that utilizes Build-A-Bear to give hope to the children who's parent is overseas.  They're setting it up so that the parent can record a message before they ship out, and then the organization gives the recording to the child to be placed in a bear.  I'll have an embedded video and links for those of you who are willing to make donations.

I've been teetering on the edge of needing to go to the hospital.  The pain gets to the point where I'm ready to pass out and then resides.  Coastal tides of nightmare pain.  I imagine it could be equated to that feeling of nausea that comes and goes when you're sick.  You simply want to be sick and done with it.  I simply want to black out and be shot up with liquid pain relief.
Thanks for taking the time to read my words, and I hope you'll take a few moments to enjoy my creative side.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

6 Million Dollar Me

  One of the methods of controlling RSD pain is with a spinal chord stimulator.  It's a device that's a little bigger than a tic-tac box that pumps an electric current through the sympathetic nervous system.  The theory behind it is that it will disrupt, and distract, the brains ability to focus on the pain.
  At my RSD support group last Sunday I met a woman who had one and it had given her the ability to go back to work as a teacher.  Her RSD was in her arm and hand, but the device was working exactly as it was supposed to.
  My implant doesn't work.  I have all the tingly fun of an implant with all the pain mixed in.  On Monday I met with one of the representatives from Medtronics, the company that made my implant, in the hope that there would be some adjustment that could be made to increase its efficiency.  So now my implant turns on and off, all on it's own, and still doesn't work.  There's nothing worse than having something jolt you while you're busy holding your breath trying to fight through massive amounts of pain.
  This morning I woke up in such a bad state that I couldn't remember the specifics of events that went down over the last week or so.  General concepts were still there, I remember having made a phone call or going to the hospital, but names, faces, and specific topics discussed are all gone.
  There was a funny process that happened then.  First I was scared, then angry, then just depressed.  Now it's still a bit scary, I still don't have any of those memories back, but it's kind of funny.  I always wondered what it would be like to wake up and forget everything that had been happening.  I have a morbid understanding of what that would be like now.  I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the next occurrence though...
  Tonight I'm going to try and work with my bionic implants, and perhaps tomorrow I'll wake up as the next Lee Majors...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Providing Support

This week I spent several hours trying to get the word to other veterans with RSD that there is a support group available for them here in Northern Illinois.  I was able to get a couple people that are going to try to make our meeting this Sunday, but not nearly as many as I wanted.  I felt like Schindler thinking that he could have done more.  But my work isn't over in the least.
This Sunday I'll be picking up literature about the group to give to the Milwaukee and North Chicago VA medical centers.
It's funny.  Milwaukee told me, upon my time of calling, to bring the literature and they'd get it out to everyone who was diagnosed with RSD.  North Chicago told me to not bother until they got back in touch with me.  How sad is that?  Someone comes knocking on their door with a free support group for RSD Veterans and they don't readily accept it.  I fully plan on calling them every hour, on the hour, until they 'decide' to offer the group to other veterans.  What gives them the right to close off an avenue of support?
I was also able to get several new members through facebook.  I'm very excited to see some new faces, and proud that I may have provided a means for people to connect and not feel so alone.
Two, very good, friends of mine are going through a very difficult time.  It breaks my heart because I know that they love each other very much.  None of you may know them by name, but I'm sure if you ask God for his help and care, He'll know who you're talking about.
On the gaming front I've been able to game with some outstanding guys in a clan called Divine Knights.  These guys have been supportive, constructive, and welcoming.  Which brings me to one more thing...
I'd like to take the time to personally thank Corey Lease (A.K.A. Dk_Xavier, Da_Xavier).  Corey stuck with me when I was being severely mistreated by a PS3 clan known as Hell Hounds.  I was essentially kicked out of the clan for being disabled.  He left with me, and is the one who helped me get in with the Divine Knights.  I couldn't ask for a better gaming friend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Today has been a fantastic day, despite the ever present pain and being sick.  I received recognition from my mother, wife, and neighbors.  Chris, my neighbor, spent a few hours playing the new game 'Call of Duty:Black Ops'.  Amy made scallops for dinner.  I've never had better scallops anywhere.
I called the NorthWest Herald, beseeching them, again, to run my story.  I felt like I had a little added ammunition with November being national RSD awareness month, and today being Veteran's Day.  I wrote a Facebook note asking for people to write letters and help in that fashion.  We'll see what comes of the endeavors.
A couple days ago I received a letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services.  My case for vocational rehabilitation has been closed due to inability to complete any form of work.  My attorney was extremely excited.
The last week or so has been terrible for pain.  I've been unable to do much, and I'm finding it difficult to even get up the drive to get in the shower.  There's an RSD support group meeting this Sunday.  That will be good, as I'm feeling a need for some support.  Some days are easier than others to find drive and desire to do things.  The last week has not been easier.
I'm happy to have given what I did for everyone.  If I could do it all over again, I would without a second thought.  Please take the time, if you can, to write your governing officials and request that the VA add RSD as a diagnosis in their ratings handbook, demand that veterans receive better medical treatment, and spread the word about RSD.
My sincerest gratitude to all of you who take the time to read my words,

Monday, November 8, 2010

1 million hits...

  They claim she only has three weeks left to live.  She's undiagnosable.  They don't show any medical evidence that she's going to die.  Many people think she's just suffering from an iodine deficiency.  She suffers from constant pain like me; is trapped in her home like me.  She has a 20/20 spot on her suffering.  The video gets 1 million hits.
  I thought that I might be able to sponge off of all the attention.  I linked a new video montage I put together with my song "Through the Pain" playing in the background.  I posted on her blogspot page explaining my situation.  I offered her my condolences and asked that she may use some of the popularity to help make a change in veterans lives.  I offered myself for this girl to talk to.
  Today, all comments have been deleted from YouTube, video responses included.  My comment went completely ignored on her blogspot page.  Seems people would rather spend all their time focused on a disease that supposedly only affects 1/million people, and ignore the many veterans returning home injured.
  I don't understand.  If she truly only has 3 weeks to live, and is undiagnosable, isn't she going to die?  Wouldn't it be more appropriate to ask for prayer?  I honestly don't think she's going to die.  She may feel like she's dying, but I know that feeling, and I'm still here.
  My video has had 30 hits.  A situation that is fixable and people won't take the time.  Maybe it's because it is fixable and would require a lot of work.  People offer their help when they don't think they'll be taken up on it?
I realize this isn't the end all of methods to have my story heard, but I thought that perhaps a person already demonstrating compassion would lend a bit of it to the cause.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Rock in the Pond

When injustices struck at my family and I, rage was all I could muster.  I yelled, fumed, and worked myself into more pain than I needed.  Now I'm no longer raging, but directing my energies to bringing positive change.
A few months ago I tossed a small rock into a big pond.  Yesterday, and today, I finally saw the ripples the rock caused.  I was privileged to speak, personally, with State Senator Althoff.  I was able to share my proposed changes with her.  As of now it looks as if she'll be working on putting together Illinois representatives in an attempt to fix the problems that have plagued my life.  Together, with Congressman Manzullo, Senator Durbin, and others, I believe we'll actually be able to put something together to be presented and possibly passed into law!  It may be wishful thinking, but dreams are what built this nation, and dreams will change it.

On a side note...  It's already the second day of the month and I haven't written a single word for my proposed novel.  I should really find a method to discipline myself.

Today, while out on a brief trip with my family, a woman looked me in the eyes and said "Thank you."  I was wearing my U.S.M.C. sweatshirt, and I was speechless.  All I could do was nod to her.  I hope she understood...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Lost

  I made plans to go trick-or-treating with my son this year.  We had borrowed a wheel chair from my wife's work, and I had taken pain killers.  The pain just refused to be controlled and this Halloween was lost.
  It may have been the cold, or the hour long kids party we went to first.  One way or another I ended up home, alone, and rather pissed off.  It's easy to tell people to not let a disability get in the way of what they want.  I hear it at least once a week; "you just have to do it."  The truth of the matter is that this is the same thing as asking someone to impale their foot with a 6 inch nail, or smash their knee with a hammer.
  I'm going to 'toot my own horn' here.  People who live with severe chronic pain tolerate far more than anyone else in this world.  If you have severe chronic pain, or know someone who lives with it, then you have the blessing of witnessing one of the hardest struggles and greatest triumphs the world over.  That people like me can manage to accomplish anything is incredible.  Today was just one of those days that I couldn't overcome the urge to not be impaled by the nail or smash my foot.
  To those of you who are out with your kids, savor every minute.  If you're all dolled up and out to celebrate have fun for me, and the others out there that can't do it anymore.  Take a minute to raise your beers and give your cheers for those who served and want to be their with you.  Don't take it for granted, because it's emotionally crippling when you can't do it.
  Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


  I hate throwing-up.  Vomit is not fun.  I have a nasty symptom of chronic pain to share with you.  Real pain makes you nauseous.
  I've spent all day today fighting back the urge to empty my stomach, and as the pain gets worse the nausea gets worse.  Last night a spent an hour praying to the porcelain god; praying to just vomit and get it over with.
  Anyone have a good cure for pain induced nausea?  Mind you that smoking a joint is out of the question because I can't afford to lose my veteran's medical benefits...

  Last Thursday I joined the Marine Corps League.  What a long, painful ordeal.  It was worth every bit of pain though.  It's nice to be surrounded with people who live their lives like I do; like we never left the corps.  It was overwhelming to hear everyone offering to help their brother out.  Why didn't I do this a long time ago?  I'm not sure, but I do know that I've gotten into a huge network and have some major players helping me out now.  I'm starting to believe that it's just a matter of time before I finally have the support I need to keep my family moving forward.
  I started to work on a new song, but I'm having trouble lately just holding a guitar.  Yesterday I played for about an hour or so, and today I tear up if I try to put anything on my thigh.  Perhaps tomorrow will grace me with a reprieve so I can get some more work done on my recording.
  I posted my song up on YouTube.  I thought that if people shared it that it may take off and get into the ears of someone who could help me earn my keep through song writing.  It's only had 6 views.  You can take a listen HERE.  Please leave a comment to let me know you where there.  And if you appreciate the work please take the time to share the link with others.
  Tonight I'm going to start writing.  I'm not sure what, but I'm starting tonight.  I've been failing as a musician, failing as an artist, so now I'll see how well I bomb at being a writer.
  Thanks for reading, and I'll be back tomorrow with more!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Those who truly understand

  There are some people that claim they understand what I'm going through, and then there are those who truly understand.  I had the pleasure of spending most of my day today with an individual who, to whatever extent it is possible, truly understands the road that I walk.
  Jhon, thank you...

  Hands on the Hips

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Night's Good Sleep

  Often people don't realize that chronic pain leads to sleep deprivation.  I'll go weeks praying for just one nights good sleep.  My prayers where finally answered last night.  I've not felt this alive in months!  I think one of the reasons I slept so well is because my dreams where so incredibly vivid and surreal...
  I was thinking about posting the dream here, but it covered a period of about 3 weeks and would be far too long, so I'm going to try to write it up and post it as an attachment later this week...
  Sorry for the short post, but I'm entertaining having my weekends be light posting sessions with heavier, and lengthened, posts during the week.
  Thanks for reading, and I'll have a healthy post for you all next week!

Friday, October 22, 2010


My mother goes through these periods where she's pissed off about one thing or another and, for some reason, takes it out on me.  This last time she was yelling at me and giving me the treatment and made the statement 'You posted up on your blog about your neighbors and how they helped you, but didn't say anything about how much I have helped you'.
My mother watches my son Monday through Friday.  Lincoln is dropped off at her house on the way to Amy's work and then picked up on the way home.  For that I'm eternally grateful.
I love my mother...

My mother makes me cry.  I try to share with her how I'm hurting and she turns around and states she's hurting too.  I make every attempt to tell her how something she did hurt me and she turns around and explains that I hurt her too.  She has a tool shed sized memory when it comes to all the things I've done to hurt her, or all the things she's done for me, and when ever I'm having problems she walks into that shed and comes out with some reason or another to demonstrate as little support as possible.  It makes me sad, and tearful, and feel un-valued by the one who gave me life.
I love my mother...

My mother makes me insane.  No matter how many times I'll say something she refuses to get it.  I could say it in 9 different ways, in 10 different languages, or broken down potato head style and she still refuses to get it...
I love my mother...

Originally my mother was supposed to be coming to my house to help me with my activities of daily living.  Helping me get my meals, making quick runs to the store for things I didn't have accessible, calling 911 when I black out, etc.  But because, in my opinion, it made her so uncomfortable to see what my life is she came up with excuses and became more harmful to me than helpful. 
I don't eat through the day except for some snacks that are readily accessible.  I can't cook in the oven because when I open it the hot air hits my leg and causes some excessive burning.  I wasn't going to tell my wife, but the other reason I don't cook in the oven is because I almost fell into it while she was on a trip.  Yes, I was trying to make a pizza and the heat from the oven caught me in such a way that I almost fell in.
I can't drive anywhere as it's extremely dangerous.  I've only driven 4 times since this started in September of 09, and of those 4 times I almost got in accidents 3 times.  Terrible record there...  Ever wanted to have a taco from Taco Bell and can't get there to eat it?  That's the story of my daily life.  I don't watch much TV because the food commercials are unbearable throughout the day.  That statement seems silly and sad, but true.

My son loves his grandmother.  He asks about her when he's at places she normally takes him; looks for her after his naps when he wakes up and she's not around.  I'm glad that they can spend the time together that they do.  She raised me.  I'm proud of who I am.
I love my Mother...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unavoidable Nostalgia

I game to help alleviate my pain.  It gets me focused and helps me put my present situation into a fog.  I just traded a bunch of my old games for a new one that came out.  Every time I try to play it I have flash backs to when everything started, and I'm having a hard time playing it.  It's frustrating because it really is a great game, but the unavoidable nostalgia makes my eyes water and my soul swim in a not so nice pool of pity.
I've got a terrible headache.  That makes gaming not so fun either.  The current theory behind my headaches is that my body is trying so hard to fight against my pain that it's causing an undue level of stress that creeps up my back, over the top of my head, and nestles in behind my eyes.
At least I have a good excuse to get my wife to rub my shoulders.  ;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A quick note

Just a quick note.  My wife started her own blog.
If you're looking for someone to read to learn about living with a disabled spouse, or if you're living with CRPS/RSDS, this may be a useful blog to read and post up to.

The Times I Disappear

Some times I just need to disappear for a while.  The pain overwhelms my desire to perform and I can no longer ignore it.  I tend to withdraw from everything and try to find a center; build a new point from which I can be strong again.  It's hard to smile when you hurt, type a few sentences, or simply have a conversation.
When I get this way everything comes out angry.  My best intentions dissolve and I feel like lashing out at everyone.
Over the past few days I've been trying to rebuild and work through one of those times I disappear.
On Monday I had appointments at the Milwaukee VA medical center.  If you're a disabled veteran reading this, and it's not too far of a haul to get there, do yourself a favor and make that your new home.  There's a feeling I get when I go there; every veteran and civilian is there to help each other.  You don't get that warm fuzzy at the North Chicago center.  Hell, you don't get much out of North Chicago.
The appointments went well and I'm excited to announce that in the very near future I will have a seating apparatus that will give me the ability to shower daily!  The lady we met from occupational therapy was very energetic about being able to help me get back to being able to do a few things again.  My primary care put me on an antihistamine which was supposed to amplify the effects of my narcotic.  I'm going to say that it's working.  Every time I've taken them together I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  Lastly, my pain psychologist is getting us hooked up to try bio-feedback.  Maybe that will be the cure.  I'd rather doubt it though.
I met yesterday with the veterans' representative from unemployment.  He's going to 'try' to find me a job I can fill from home on the couch, but he didn't seem overly confident.  I'm not sure what a job on my couch would look like.  On top of that he offered to help get me a better cane, and to make a few phone calls to try to get my music out.  If I could song write for a living I'd be very excited.
During the appointment I received a phone call from Senator Durbin's office.  They actually asked for specifics concerning the legislation I've asked to be put in place.  I'm not sure if it will get past that point, but at least they called.  One phone call back out of some 30 or so emails and calls...  At least they called...
Sorry for the long post everyone, and I'll do my best to post daily.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Trip to the Hospital

Sorry for the delay in today's post.  Started out a little rough and rapidly went down hill.
I had to make another trip to the hospital.  Had a bout of vomit as the pain increased, and then eventually started to black out.
They shot me up with Valium and dalauted (spelling?).  Didn't help the nausea much, but brought my pain down to a livable level.
The worst part of having to go to the ER is trying to get the bills sorted out.  You'd think that the VA would simply pay the bill, but it's a process in and of itself that tends to take several months.  Eh, several months of phone calls and work to not be in tears works for me.
I've been 'inspired' to start working on writing again, and sometime over the next couple days I'm going to start a second blog page with my work.  I've also been very motivated to work on my music, though my leg isn't as motivated.  I'm hoping to get some good work done this weekend.
I've been told that November is the 'Novel' month.  Even if it isn't, I think I'll still use that as a motivational tool to push through getting my words on page.
I'll keep you all posted on how things progress and post links to my music and the new Blog as I progress!
Hope everyone has a great evening, and I'll post to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Avenues

Yesterday we held a blog chat that Kap was so gracious enough to host here.  We had a great discussion that focused mainly on benefits, and as people posted I quickly learned that there where a couple places that I hadn't turned to for help yet.  I spent the rest of the day exploring these new avenues.
Unfortunately all but one of them turned out to be dead ends.  The only offered agency that I was able to get anywhere with was the Illinois Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.  It took 4 phone calls to finally get in touch with the right people there, and in the end I was offered a counselor who should be calling me over the next few weeks.  The woman who took my information didn't think I would be able to participate in the program because of my limitations, but set things up anyway.
It was very empowering to have so many people turn out and discuss the issues that plague the systems that govern veterans with disabilities.  And I was even forced to take a long hard look at myself to figure out my own priorities.
Prior to the discussion I had come to the decision that I had approached every person that could possibly make a change in both my situation, and the inevitable situation our future generations of veterans will be in.  I had actually, without consciously thinking about it, decided to give up and make it public knowledge how far my suffering would go.  I had decided to martyr myself in the hopes that it would have some form of profound change on a system I felt was untouchable.  I hadn't thought about it; was just doing it on auto-pilot.
Jhon Baker was the one to point this out.  The simple statement he made forced me to really think about what I was doing.  I have a wife, and a two year old son, and a daughter, and I'm going to let them slide down with me.  For what?  It would have been a pointless suffering for them, and for me.  After things wound down I found that I had a new vigor; desire to find the help my family needs, and resolve to fix some issues.
As for a daily pain update, I honestly thought I was going to end up in the hospital since last Thursday.  The pain keeps getting worse through out each day but then recedes just before I reach the point of passing out.  I know that the excitement from yesterday had a big part in keeping me going through out the day, and one of my old friends from the Marines calmed me down and helped me work through things last Friday.  Today seems to be a relaxed day, and I'm able to get around a bit.
On a side note, I still haven't heard anything from the local senators who sit on the Illinois senate.  I realize there was a holiday in there over the last few days, but at this time I completely believe that they've shrugged off the invitation to talk about what changes need to be made.  I also didn't receive a sing reply from any of the senate candidates to whom I had sent an email.  I really thought that engaging people who where trying to represent me by winning votes would have taken the time to write a simple email.  Perhaps I'm just to anxious for a response and I need to give them a little while.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blog Chat Take 2

So, today is the big blog chat.  I'm hoping we have a good turn out.  I've invited congressmen, senators, friends; posted on several different pages...
I'm going to medicate myself in about 10 minutes.  Pain is really bad this morning and I want to be semi-functional for the event.
I didn't sleep much last night, mostly because I had that 'first day of school' experience.  Just too wound up about today.  I'm hoping this is the beginning of making changes for the better for those who are serving us now.  The deserve so much more...
The dialogue will be here -

A huge thanks to Kap.  Despite all that is going on in his life at the moment, he's still taking time out of his day to try and help.  It's more than most have ever done, and I count him as one of the angles in my life.
See you all there!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Memory Loss

So I'm sitting here trying to figure out what went wrong for the blog chat, and now I'm realizing that it isn't happening until tomorrow...
The worse thing about pain is how it destroys your memory capacity.  Some times it's so overwhelming you get dates, days, times, names, everything mixed up.  The event invitation is for today, but on Kaps Blog it states it will be tomorrow, Tuesday...
For everyone that showed up today, I apologize for the mix up.  Had I been more focused, and in better working capacity, I may have caught this sooner and got it rectified.  Seems most of my days are 'hind site' kinds of days lately.
I hope those of you reading will take the time out of your schedules to participate tomorrow.  And in the mean time feel free to post up any questions or remarks here.  It's always nice to have a dialogue about my experiences.

Blog Chat

Today's the day.  I'm sitting here anciously waiting for the post on Kaps Blog here
which will spur on our dialogue for the day.  I'm so excited that we have so many participants, and I hope that we'll have some unexpected representatives from the state of Illinois...
See you all there in about 10 minutes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Pain does strange things to people.  Some people wither and die from it; others find the drive to accomplish and overcome.  The only definite thing is that pain will change you.
Chronic pain is a bit of a different animal.  It's forever, and hence the person is forever changing from an uncontrolled stimuli.
For me I tend to go back and forth between longing for an end, and wanting nothing more than to show the animal who's boss.  It's hard, having been a Marine, having so much pride, and then having to ask my wife to get me a bowl because I can't; having to tell a guitar student that his lesson is cancelled while I gulp for air and pray for relief.
Yesterday I found drive.  One of my old friends from high school published his poetry.  I was NOT going to miss his event, and I wasn't going to let my pain ruin his moment of celebration.  I had such a good time, but eventually the pain stopped the drive and I had to leave.  I would do it all over again today and every day to experience what I did yesterday.
You can read some of his work here:
I would highly recommend his book.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Mechanical Me

One of the means of managing RSD pain is through implants.  There are two types.  The first is a nifty pump that dumps morphine steadily into your body with a concoction of other goodies to chemically treat the pain.  The second is a device that's about the size of a pager which feeds an electrical current through leads that go into your spine.
I have the latter.
My implant sits just above the left hip in my lower back.  I have two long scars; one runs horizontally where they stuffed the implant in, the other runs vertically over my spine where they fed the leads.  The device runs out of power ever couple of days and I have a special nylon belt with a giant magnet attached to it that I have to position just so to recharge.  Think of those new power mats that let you charge devices by just laying the device on the mat.  Only my mat is on the belt.
It takes me about 15 minutes to get it situated so it transfers the maximum amount of charge, and it has to stay in that spot for about 2 hours to get a full charge.
My daughter thought it was kind of neat, like a robot me.  My son calls them 'my owies'.  Some people just nod and pretend like it's a normal thing, others want to go so far as to touch the power source.
Anyway, it worked great for the first couple months.  I was out and about doing all kinds of walking and travel.  I tried to make up for the several months of life I had lost.
Now it doesn't work much.  I've been told that it's working, but my pain is so severe that it's overwhelming the capabilities of the device.  We'll never know unless I have the remove it, but if they do they'll never put it back in.  I'm not a lucky person so I'll just keep it...

Friday, October 8, 2010


I wanted to take a minute to publicly thank two very good friends.  Our neighbors Chris and Jessie. 
Jessie is giving me a ride to Jhon Baker's open house this Saturday in celebration of his new book, and has spent several hours helping Amy and I watch our son Lincoln.  Without her there would have been several instances that could have ended badly because I wouldn't have been able to care for my two year old.
Chris has literally carried me to our van when I was going into shock.  He's always there for me when I need someone to talk to, and has spent countless hours playing online video games with me while I work through my pain.
Of all the horrid things that have gone down over the last year, these two have been invaluable blessings.
I only hope that one day I'll be able to return the favors.

From Mayors to Kings

I've spent the last 2 hours on the phone talking to representatives out of 5 different government offices.  Either they gave me a new number to call, or they simply turned me away.
The Crystal Lake Mayor's office didn't want to discuss anything they could do, and before I had finished telling them the extent of the situation they fed me two phone numbers for 'local' senators.  Both numbers went straight to voicemail and I haven't received a return call yet.
I tried to get through to the VA representative at the office of employment.  The number has been busy for the last two hours.
Next I tried to reach the mayor.  The individual there claimed that he would 'take down my support/complaint' to forward to the mayor.  He didn't take my name of phone number, so I'm assuming this will be lumped in with all of the other legitimate complaints that will be discarded and ignored.  After trying to make me feel like he was actually taking my situation seriously he pawned me off on to their VA liaison who wasn't in his office.  His voicemail didn't work and I have no means of calling him direct, though I'm not sure why I would.  If he's a member of the VA he's not going to side with me over his employer.
I tried to contact the two local senators again.  Still straight to voicemail.  Employment office is still busy.
Next I contacted Senator Dick Durbin where I was asked to leave a message.  Still no call back from there, although I expect to hear back simply based on the level of concern I heard in the voice of the person I was talking to.  That individual also told me he would be sending an email to the contact.  I have some high hopes about this one, but I'm sure they're going to be dashed somehow.
Next I contacted my attorney who just called me back.  They weren't able to discuss my VA case without having the documentation in hand.  I agree that's for the best.  So now I'm on the hunt for some form of transportation to get this paperwork faxed.
Things are tough when you can't drive...
In all, from mayors to kings, no entity that I've contacted has any power over the agencies involved...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Pill Days

RSD is like having a parasite.  It's in me, part of me, and I have no control over it.  I have pain every day to varying degrees.  Some days I'm able to play my guitar in a modified postion or play video games to escape, and then there are days like yesterday and today.  I call them two pill days.
Imagine that when you're sleeping you dream of being hurt badly and it's not enough to wake you up.  One of your limbs is being mutilated.  And when you finally do wake up it's into a nightmare reality that you're actually experiencing all the pain from the dream.  Sometimes I wake up shaking like I'm having a seizure, other days I'll wake up screaming, and still other days I simply open my eyes and accept what's going on.
When I wake up with severe pain it's almost always guarenteed to escalate unless I take a heavy narcotic and try to isolate my leg.  I call them two pill days because I usually end up taking one pill around this time and another around 6 hours later.  Sadly it seems that the narcotics aren't working very well anymore and there are no other forms of pain medication available in my area.
If I moved to California I could make use of medicinal marijuana.  Moving would require me to give up the incredible medical team I have pulling for me at the Milwaukee VA.  I'm still not sold that the move for a secondary medicine is worth the gamble of ending up with a terrifying team of incompetant, uncaring doctors...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The System

When an individual becomes disabled they're supposed to file for disability.  Social Security then assigns an adjudicator to work the case who, based on all facts provided, makes a decision.  If the decision is negative it can be appealed.  After the appeal a new adjudicator is assigned the file who goes through the same process.  If this decision is negative the individual can then request a hearing before a judge.  This process takes up to 1 year for the initial decision, 6 months for the secondary, and another 1-2 years for the hearing.
When a veteran becomes disabled they are afforded the right to apply for veterans benefits as well.  This process takes up to 1 year for the initial decision, another year for the secondary, and a minimum of 2 years for a hearing.
People who are disabled like myself have no income, or a single income from a spouse.  This minimal income usually is not enough to sustain a family.
If you request the help of your congressman these times can be reduced, though there is no definitive time frame to begin with.  Because there are so many undefined variables of time it's impossible for anyone to say they can get things done by a specific date.
Both the VA and Social Security will often times request that you be seen by one of their doctors.  When the disabled goes to these appointments they are denied the right to have a third party present for protection.  This gives the doctors the freedom to right what ever they want about the appointment.  In my case, the first VA doctor I was sent to was an orthopedic specialist (my condition is neurological) who couldn't turn on his computer and demanded I get an MRI despite the fact that I have an implant.  During the visit I demonstrated swelling throughout the right leg and foot, discoloration of the same, and severe pain.  His notes state that my ankle instability had improved and that I didn't have any symptoms of RSD.  During the appointment he expressed to me that he didn't know what RSD was...
I've been denied by both entities twice now.  I've had multiple doctors confirm my diagnosis and state definitively that I CAN NOT work.  Mind you these doctors are government employed VA doctors and NOT private sector doctors...
This is the system thus far.
The worst part is that every member of government from my Mayor up to the President of the United States have all openly stated that there is nothing they can do to change the system.  A system with no one to hold them accountable....
And get this, even if I am awarded anything further down the road, they don't have to pay any damages for the denials.  Evicted, in pain, unable to even prepare meals.  For all the pain and suffering they cause, they have no penalty.  Not even a percentage rate to be applied over the period of time the award should have been given...
This is the unchangeable system.

The Power of Dreams

Last night I had a dream.
I was a warrior fighting against Gods and Demons.  Even in death I was still able to force my will against them, and as I tore the soul from a demon who had enslaved a group of people I was returned to life to lead them into the streets of a third world city.  Everything was worn and dry, but held an air of being ancient and backed by centuries of culture.
As I lead the people to their freedom I found myself wanting to learn more than fight and found myself in the midsts of a group of people.  I knew this group of people intimately; knew that they where viewed as evil, but I found myself wanting to know more about them.  I begged and pleaded that they teach me.
Their leader stepped forward and grabbed my arm where I found tattoos; inked images of vines and leaves.  As he spoke more lines began to appear, showing me the true image beneath all the decorative flare.  I was crying, and then I awoke never knowing the true image.

This morning I've found myself with new vigor and determination to bring my story to light.  I will be contacting Congressman Manzullo's office this morning to inform them that my VA benefits have been denied yet again.
Pain permitting, I will be attempting to put together a form letter that I can send to multiple recipients.  Despite the fact that these have been wholly ignored and ineffectual I still feel that I should try again.

Thank you all who have started to follow my posts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Day Same Pain

For those of you who don't know me and are interested...
  I'm an honorably discharged United States Marine with a service connected disability called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.  This is a pain syndrome where the sympathetic nerves in my right leg tell my brain that it's basically being destroyed.  The pain ratings people have conducted studies that demonstrate this pain as worse than child labor.  I have this pain for large portions of every day.  This also has a direct effect on my vision which blurs considerably, and on my memory which has been completely ravaged.
  I'm starting this blog to post up my trials and tribulations in the hopes that it will be read and the systems that govern the care of disabled military personnel will have little other option other than to change for the better.
  Today I've been gasping for breath for about the last 6 hours.
  To bring everyone up to speed...
  I have submitted for VA benefits increases and social security.  Both have been denied twice.  It would seem that they don't believe that I'm disabled and are falling back on technicalities to deny me.  My family is on the verge of eviction and having the family vehicle repossessed.  Things are pretty gloomy.
  My hope is to be able to post here from my phone while lying prone so I do not aggravate the pain I'm already in.  I'll try to do so for those who are interested on a semi-daily basis.
  I will also be posting up my direct dealings with the government so others can learn from my own mistakes, or help me find new avenues for success.