Thursday, August 6, 2009

How I got here...

My life before the US Navy and my personal battle with Leukemia and the side effects of chemotherapy...
I was born and raised by a career Marine and his registered nurse wife. We lived in Jacksonville North Carolina. Were I was raised and steeped in the traditions of the old South. American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. A place where gentlemen are born and not made by an act of Congress! Where big Brothers not only defend and fight in place of their siblings out of love but also out of duty. It's what was expected. People put Southerners down as being backward. But the world would be a much better place if there were more big brothers out there. There would be no workplace sexual harassment for fear of having your face caved in by an overzealous brother who had nothing better to do that day.
Before my 16th birthday I had survived several life-changing and life-threatening incidents. I survived them all but was either scarred physically or mentally by each and every one of them.
At age 8, I was run down by a speeding car while riding my bicycle across four lanes of traffic. My first concussion and experience with road rash. No broken bones and only a very short hospital visit. Age 12, I almost amputated my left leg by accidentally swinging a machete at a pine tree. The blade glanced off the tree and down into my left leg just below the knee. Another short visit to the hospital and into the orthopedic surgery unit. A couple dozen stitches and a few tendons reattached and six months in a full leg cast from hip to ankle. Doctors prognosis "you'll be lucky if you regain 40% motion in that leg. But you should still be able to walk". Later in life I played high school sports, football, baseball, basketball, wrestling track and field, so I never really let it slow me down. I figured the doctors opinion was only an opinion and not a proclamation of how I must live. So of course when I accidentally hanged myself at age 14 I almost turned the Doctor's prognosis into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And then a month and a half before my 16th birthday, while goofing off with illegal fireworks I accidentally (there's that word again) shot myself in the eye with a bottle rocket. That one landed me in the hospital for two weeks. But when it was over I had completely regained my sight. Then during my junior year in high school, I guess I was 16 by that time so this one doesn't fit with the others, I got a pretty serious scrape on my left hand that got infected during a varsity football game. Nine days in the hospital hooked up to IV antibiotics. I returned to practice with the football team on the 10th day and played in the next varsity game two days after that. Although I was not bulletproof, it seemed that I was invincible.
And if I had accepted what Doctors told me about my future, every-time I was in the hospital, I would have left this world long ago.
Truth be known, I faced my mortality many times in my early youth and was quite familiar with the warrior's heart and the survivor spirit God had placed in me. But it was much later in life before I acknowledged God as my Savior. He is still my Savior and in my weakness he makes me stronger. I owe him everything that I am and ever will be. And I dedicate my life to telling others about the good news of God's great love and salvation. A gift that he freely gives and asks nothing in return. It's really that simple.

And now for the rest of the story:
I got married late in life (age 30) to my best friend in the world. She has stuck by me through thick and thin. She knows all of my secrets and loves me anyway. We have two grown children that live nearby. My son is 23 and my daughter is 20. There are pictures of them on my pictures page on classmates. I never really thought about having children, I was too much of a kid myself. But after the first one I couldn't imagine life without him and couldn't wait to have another. I wouldn't trade the world for either of them. And I wouldn't change a single thing about them. I love them and am very proud of what they have grown up to be. I remember when my boy left home to go to college. I was lost and heartbroken. He went to the University of California at San Diego UCSD. He is the single smartest person I have ever known. It was every bit of 25 miles away from our front door. But to look at me, you would have thought he moved to China. I was almost as much of a wreck when my daughter went to San Diego Christian College, about 12 miles away. She hates it when I call her "my little girl", but I can't shake the memories of that little girl calling for her daddy! I tell her "I can't help it" and to "get over it". She sighs at me but I think she understands or at least doesn't grumble about it so much anymore. The cancer story next time! Be BLESSED...


Blasé said...

I figured it would take more than one post to give the whole spill. Surely the rest of the story can't be as dramatic as the first chapter??

Krippledwarrior said...

I wish...

AmyK. said...

First off...soon, your daughter will totally get over it and love that you still call her your little girl. I think I got over it near the end of college or once I got my first "real job". Now, at age 42, it makes me giggle when my dad says stuff like that. Very nice :-).

Wow...lots of scares and trauma. Your body has taken a beating and come back for more! Perhaps a good thing your mother was a nurse??

Thank you for I said before, I enjoy getting to know other people through this bizarre blogging world.

purefaith91 said...

I just want to share how well my big brother did his "job". I grew up with quite a complex as I thought there must be something horribly wrong with me because I would have one or two dates and the guys would disappear from my life...I wondered if it was something I said, or if I had food in my teeth or what. Well I was married and sitting with one of my brother's best friends, Ken and he said, "remember what we used to do to all those guys you went out with?" I played dumb (not hard since I had no idea what he was talking about) and so he unwittingly filled me in. It seems that my 6'3" brother and his 6'2" inch friend would follow my dates into the bathroom when nature called and placed themselves on either side of the poor guy and proceeded to talk to each other over his head. They would start out saying what they would do to anyone who hurt "their little sister" (me) and then spoke directly to the guy and told him what his code of conduct would look like..."or else". Sooo, I would have a pleasant remainder of a date and then never see or hear from the guy again. Thing is, they told me what they had done as though it was a good thing. Funny thing, I did not have a serious relationship with a guy until they joined the Navy and Marine Corps (but I did not know why).
Thing is, it kind of made me a "sis" to have someone to fight my battles for me and that is just how I like it. Thanks Big Bro. I love you.

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