Shane recently received his first Repair Stem Cell treatment for Spinal Cord Injury.
He has this to say…
First, let me begin by wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays for all my friends of faith. Regardless of our individual beliefs, we all cling to hope of a better world and brighter futures for our children. Nowhere has this been more obvious to me than right here at the treatment center. I have been attended to by Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Different people of different faiths have all provided different services but with one common goal of rendering the best care for their patients. I am not about to deliver a sermon to anyone…God knows that I’m poorly qualified to do this. With the Holy season of Christmas fast approaching, it’s just something I’ve noticed. Now some quick highlights and I’ll close with my Don’t Be Stupid tag line.
I got my latest spinal tap this Friday. Unlike the other time, the Dr. had a difficult time inserting the needle into my spine. This time, they moved pretty quickly in the process of administering the valium. They did not wait until I was completely out. I was groggy, but awake…somewhat anyway. So, each time the surgeon would begin, I’d flinch and tighten my back and compress my spine. When this happens, it reduces the gap in between the vertebrae. This kind of makes it hard to accomplish the task without forcing it. I am sure that they did not want me to come all the way here just to go home in a wheelchair. Well it took four attempts, but finally, success. When the delayed drugs wore off…you can imagine the back pain I had.
With 3 more injections to go, I’m deliberating whether or not to go via the spinal tap method. We are all still adjusting and are adapting well. They really do try here and take their time explaining everything. One more thing I’ve noticed, the docs here are all polite and humble. Back in the US, I have run into more with a God complex than the healers they’re supposed to be. This is a society that’s run for the most part by the govt. You will not become wealthy as a doctor here. If you choose to be a doctor in this country, your doing it purely for the passion of helping people…at least this has been my experience.
We continue to get new folks arriving every day. I do my best to meet them all. They come from all parts of the world. All of them are seeking the keys for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have become a motley group of sorts…and i don’t mean the glam band from the 80’s. Yes, I was a fan. Now, that we’ve got another Shane confession out there, we can move forward. This place is more like Ellis island, with hundreds of families seeking one thing…much in the same way that so many immigrants sought a new future and freedom from persecution from their places of birth to our shores. Here at this place, many come seeking freedom from their physical limitations and afflictions.
Sadly, much like the story of our nation; some will not find the answers they seek or the relief they want. But the hope, the promise is enough for many of them to risk all that they may have for the children. You know, it’s giving me a new appreciation for my parents and all the familiarity that they left behind, the risks taken so that their children may have a chance at a brighter future.
Many of the stories are downright tragic. There are victims of drowning, boating accidents, genetic conditions and others. Some families seemed to be especially hard hit. There’s a Brazilian family here with not just one but three children that suffer from blindness and neurological issues that affect motor skills, speech, coordination and such. It has been emotionally draining for me with my swinging wildly from hope to despair and back again. One wonders what type of God would allow this to happen to the most innocent of his children. I don’t have the answers to this question. I believe it’s an individual quest with individual answers that will hopefully shed light prior to the end of our time here in this life. With most answers not crystal clear, we cling to the only thing that any of us really have…hope. Now I want to make my “don’t be stupid” point. What I should say is” “Don’t be like me.”
Prior to all this happening, I was always too busy to take more time with my wife, kids, family and friends. Work always seemed to come first, last and everything in between. It certainly was the case at my last place of employment. Nobody really knows what the future holds. So, don’t be stupid. When your spouse suggests that the two of you get away for awhile…do it. When your kids would like you home to have dinner with you, leave the office at 5 so you can fight traffic and be there before the food gets cold. When your family and friends need you in their times of need, drop what you’re doing and show up and help them thru their most difficult times. When your aging and at times…crusty parents want you to come visit, go do it. Do it no matter what the costs are from the professional perspective.
Now, I know that we all need to work and provide for our families. What I’m suggesting is that we take the time to conduct audits from time to time. Track how your spending your time and with whom. We men need to be weary of the breadwinner trap. For me, the fact that I went to work to provide for my family, made me feel I was entitled to some things…right? The least of which was time for myself. You know, this is so much easier than the things my wife deals with everyday. The kids, doctors visits, countless trips to school because our lovable tornados left something at home…yet again, meetings with teachers…you Mom’s know exactly what I’m talking about. If at the end of your audit over 60 days, your raw objective data proves that your heavily tilted towards work…and your spouse is beginning to give you that stare…then I suggest you look for work elsewhere. If they try to make you feel guilty or question your commitment to the company, let me ask you.
Do you really want to work for anyone that does not support your concern for your family? Often these companies make stupid short term choices, take poor risks, and make bold and unrealistic claims to investors and bankers. And when the money people come to call in their markers, the employees suffer and the families suffer. No amount of money or stock options are worth losing your relationships with your spouse, kids an family…trust me, I came close to losing all of it. Now, if you’re fortunate enough to work for a company or boss that not only talks the talk but also walks the walk of family values and corporate governance, hold tight with both hands. What you have there is more precious than diamonds. I am not talking perfection but striving everyday to do right by the people that make any business run.
But you know…God is good. In spite of my mistakes, my family and friends have stepped in to provide moral, financial, logistical and emotional help. All of you have been extraordinary. Each time of this year Bob with Cross would encourage me to focus on my family, hug on the kids until they fought to get away and hug them some more, spend time with my wife and really reflect on what I have to be really thankful for. You know, I can’t really top that advice other than the fact I should have followed it much closer and sooner.
Take care my friends and loved one’s. Thanks for being in my life please continue to pray for all those that maybe suffering, our leaders and…As a favor to me, give your families what I struggled so hard to give…
I will write again soon.