Saturday, October 31, 2009

SBAC Walk and Roll Update

A brief update to the fundraising effort I undertook in late September...

As you'll recall, I walked in the 9th annual Spina Bifida Association of Cincinnati Walk and Roll on September 26th. At the time, my team had raised $2,147.

As of this hour, that total stands at...$2,417!!! That's right...$2,417! And you have to take into consideration, too...there's still some donations that hadn't been counted!

I expect that the Rockin' Rollers will have raised over $2,500 when the money is all counted and things are said and done! What an awesome thing to this writing, SBAC had raised, in TOTAL, amongst all the teams...$83,505!!! This event was truly a game-changer for the Tri-State area! What an awesome day September 26 was!

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Freestyle for 10/30/09

Yo y'all it's that time again
I'm bringin the freestyle like only I can
So let's look back at the day that was
Because it's a day that was full of WIN

I started my day not really doing much
Tried to get the energy to get up and move
When I finally did, the sun, it greeted me
This is October, I said, "Are you kidding me?"
It don't feel like October, it's 80 degrees
You really can't beat this time of year in Cincy

Turned on the radio and straightaway
Heard the sounds of a Q102 DJ
Holly was the name, the music she played
Was just off the charts for a warm fall day
Skyline was the first stop and I must say
The chilito is awesome, somethin ya must try

Brian and Laura, they were up next
Kept me goin while I did some shoppin and stuff
Got me a headset for the ol PC
Now, I don't gotta worry about waking ppl up here
I can play music as loud as I want on my computer here

Got me a game for the Wii too
Smackdown V. Raw '10, oh yeah, it's true
I'll probably play it sometime tonight
I just have to figure out how to get controls right

So that's it for this Freestyle
About my super epic Friday
Tune in next week, same time same place
Til then stay blessed and away from the stress

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Friday, October 23, 2009

No freestyle this week.

My heart just is not in it this week. I don't have any creativity in me because of events over the past hour or so.

Therefore, there won't be a Friday Freestyle this week. Hopefully, it will return next week...if I can get the creativity back.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Like Trae Huffman Because...

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I began this series some time back to spotlight friends I felt deserved it. I still feel all my friends deserve said spotlight - but, I got away from the series for a bit for reasons I'm not very clear on. But it's back... Way back on May 12th, I wrote about this man's girlfriend, Lindsay Zeis. Now, it's HIS turn for the spotlight. Introducing, Trae Huffman.

I first met Trae Huffman in September of 2008. I was taking part in the annual Walk To Cure Diabetes in Newport, Kentucky. I didn't know much about him - all that I knew was that this man was Lindsay Zeis' boyfriend and I was getting a chance to meet him.

At first interaction, I knew this guy was cool. He didn't have a bad word to say to me. He seemed like, and is, a really nice dude. That said, I wouldn't want to be on his bad side - because at the same time, he looks like a man who would go Chuck Norris like at the drop of a fist. (Although as long as YOU'RE not his target, that's a good quality.)

From the second I saw how he interacted with Lindsay, who I've previously talked of before in glowing terms, I knew he was going to treat her very well. And he has.

I don't know much more about him. I'm sure he has family that he loves to death...but, beyond that, I'm sad to say I don't know much. What I know of him, I like.

Trae does have a dog, who he makes sure he takes good care of. This year at the WTCD, which was once again held in BEAUTIFUL Newport, he brought this dog along with him. I have a picture of the dog here I think...

Above: Diesel at the 2009 Walk To Cure Diabetes, Newport, Kentucky. Photo by me.

But yes, Trae likes his dog. And he LOVES Lindsay. And in my eyes as her friend AND his, that's all that matters.

Anyway, the reason I decided to write about Trae today was not to go through a specific order. Indeed, it's because of events of this weekend. (I noted this in my previous, classic post, in the update.) Trae and Lindsay got engaged over this past weekend. So it made me feel bad because I haven't gotten to know him like I should, BUT, I know enough to know Why I Like Trae Huffman.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Classic Post: I Like Lindsay Zeis Because...

AUTHOR'S NOTE/UPDATE: I originally posted this blog on May 12th, 2009, celebrating 6 years of friendship with Lindsay. The reason this is partially an update is, you can scratch out "girlfriend" when it comes to her relationship with her boyfriend Trae Huffman...and write in "fiancee" - they got engaged this past weekend. I am proud to say I know both of these individuals and I know they will have a great life together. So, here's the classic post. Oh, and next up is a separate "I Like...Because..." post written this morning about Trae himself.

Above: Myself and Lindsay, September 6, 2008 following the JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes.

So, tonight I would like to spotlight a friend who has dealt with a devastating disease for ten years, but yet has never once said "poor me", never gave up and never quit. This friend is Lindsay Zeis.

Lindsay is 23 years old. She was diagnosed just over ten years ago with Type One Diabetes. The disease has ravaged her body on the inside, but it has not destroyed the heart of this wonderful young lady. She has inspired ME to never give up on occasions when even I had my moments of breakdown, where I just wanted to quit fighting my own battle with Spina Bifida.

Lindsay and I first met in 2003, at Boone County High School. We never really spoke much before that time, but we had crossed paths well before...having gone to two schools together (Ockerman Middle and Boone County High). The way I met Lindsay was that we both were nominated to the Homecoming Court for Basketball Homecoming. I didn't have anybody to escort, and Lindsay chose me. That began our six year friendship.

We continued to talk through much of 2003, and all the way to graduation in 2004. I knew of her diabetes. How could I not? When someone you're friends with misses school more than a couple times a year, you kind of have to expect that there is something serious. Add to that that I knew the signs of diabetes because of my stepdad, and you can see how 2 + 2 began to equal four in my mind.

I lost touch with Lindsay after graduation for awhile. In that time, her condition got worse. Sometime after a Conner vs Boone game both of us attended, Lindsay began to drastically lose weight. She wound up on a feeding tube, because she couldn't eat. Through it all, I know the heart inside Lindsay did not want to give up. She allowed doctors to use experimental methods to save her life. When I saw her in February 2008, she looked better than ever, and was just the same as I had known her to be when I was in school with her.

After that, we started communicating off and on through Facebook here. And in August 2008, I was surprised to learn of the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Newport. I decided I would attend and would walk with Lindsay. I did so on September 6, 2008. I was proud to do so, for a wonderful friend like her.

Lindsay not only has a heart that will never quit, she is a sweetheart. I cannot even begin to count the number of times she's been willing to drop everything and run to her friends. And I know there's been things she has either said, or written to me, that have left me with the biggest smile on my face.

Lindsay also is a devoted family woman. She is a loving girlfriend to Trae Huffman, who I had the pleasure to meet at the JDRF Walk last year. Her family is really blessed that they have her, as she will do whatever she needs to for them.

All of these are reasons why I like Lindsay. As I say about all my facebook friends, if you are one of her friends, go drop by, let her know you read this note, and let her know how much you appreciate her friendship.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Recovering Nicely

I've spent the weekend in bed, trying to let my arm rest and recuperate from a minor pull. I've been needing to give it a rest - but unfortunately, life would not really cooperate. I was staying very busy and doing too much...or trying to do too much.

Anyway, I think I've completed my classic post quota for the month...but I'm going to surpass it. In the next day or so, I'll be updating/working on a repost from something I started months ago, and REALLY need to get back to...the "I Like...Because..." series.

Why? Because the key player in one of the early "I Like...Because..." posts got engaged over this past weekend. I will let you folks speculate if you wish...if you follow me on Twitter, you might already know who I mean...but if you don't, you'll have to wait and see.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Classic Post: Personal Recall: October/November 2000

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following was written November 29th, 2008. It's a timely post, as I was at a Boone County High School football game tonight (we lost, 63-21), and I spoke to someone who works with Young Life NKY. Young Life is a group of young Christian students that meets every week. I told this young lady the first part of this story. Maybe if I run into her again, I'll get the guts to offer to tell this story to the Young Life group. Anyway, here goes.

October 1, 2000. A day that for me lives forever etched in my brain.

And the intervening 5 weeks after that also remain etched...what I can recall through the drugged stupor I was in for the first week of that anyway, and about everything since.

I'll attempt to go through the first two days each as I either remember it or was told that it all happened, then continue with a recap of what I do recall of this time period.

October 1, 2000

I went to church as I normally do on a Sunday. And yes, I remember it being Sunday. Anyway, I recall several people asking me if I was okay; my shoulder had been hurting and I told them so. But got worse. I began turning blue. I wasn't getting oxygen and I didn't even know it.

I was run to the pastor's office while they called my mom down from the 9am service. After minutes of discussion, I was rushed to Children's Hospital in Cincinnati (I was 15 at this time). As soon as my mom got me to the ER, I remember staring up at lights, and that was it. Nothing after that registers from that day in my own personal memory. I was later told I coded, or went into cardiac arrest, for about 10 minutes that Sunday morning. They did emergency surgery and discovered I had ruptured both bowel and bladder, which had allowed large amounts of toxins to be released into my blood. That had choked off the oxygen supply, which explained why I had turned blue.

October 2

I was still in a fog. I don't remember much of anything, except that church staff came to see me in the hospital. I was extremely weak at this point. Meanwhile, back in Florence, massive amounts of information were being sent out about my condition. At Ockerman Middle School, my sister and brother spread the word. At the Boone County Bus Garage, when word was received I was in the hospital, somehow, someway, they found out just how critical I was, and this was passed on to Boone County High School, which I attended. The word went around the school like a wildfire.

October 3-13

I continued to drift in and out of consciousness until October 7. At that point I began to slowly come back to life. Additional visitors came to see me, including a few of Boone County High's staff. Steve Horstmeyer, who was then at LOCAL12(then branded as 12News, WKRC-TV) and is now at WXIX-TV 19(and by the way, this is one of only TWO media references you'll get in this blog, I promise), also came for a visit. I was released October 13. I also received a LOT of cards and well-wishes.

October 14-29

I was home schooled during this period. Continued to receive visitors to my home here in Florence, and also received I don't know how many cards and things from fellow students both at BCHS and OMS. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: One of these even contained about 50 dollars)By 10/21, I was beginning to target October 31 as my comeback date.

October 30-November 6

On October 30, I made an appearance on 12News First at Four (second and final media reference) following a doctor's appointment, to tour their studio. This came about because of a personal interest in meteorology that, as WIXY will tell you, continues to this very moment. This was to test my physical endurance. The question wasn't if I was a tough guy, I knew I was that. The question was: Could I handle being out of the house for 8 hours? The answer: Yes, I could and I was ready for a return to routine. I returned to BCHS the next day, Halloween, and was greeted with an unbelievable welcome back. My fellow students didn't let me forget how much they were glad to see me and that I had returned in one piece. This continued for almost a full week before I had a...

November 7-16

...setback. I had to be hospitalized again. This time, it was for a bowel obstruction which had to be flushed out, I would return on the 16th, and that was that.

Special Note: If I had never taken the time to thank you for the well wishes...I am now. I know - I am HORRIBLE at this stuff. But, I do mean this from the bottom of my heart. Especially those of you who I went to school with in that time period of my life.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Classic Post: Perspective From the Wheelchair

FROM THE AUTHOR: I originally wrote this post November 23, 2008. It deals with the perspective I see things through, having been in a wheelchair for about 17 years. Doris is my now ex-girlfriend, who I was dating at the time I wrote this post.

OK I promised last night I would do a perspective blog about what it is like to be disabled. However, I got home at midnight last night from dinner with Doris and her family, and quickly crashed into bed. So here it is...

I am 23, but have spent all but 7 years of my life in a wheelchair. Why? I don't do it for kicks.

I have Spina Bifida, which occurred when my spinal cord was still exposed at birth. It was surgically closed within hours after my birth; however, doctors could do nothing to save my mobility. I am paralyzed from my waist down. So in 1992, I started needing a wheelchair. I pretty much have had one since.

So why is this a perspective blog?

You'd be surprised at the number of people who tell me they're "sorry". (NOTE: I know they're not sarcastic, I'm quoting) They shouldn't be sorry.

And you'd also be surprised at the number of people who, every day, ask me if I need help. Sometimes, I need it (ever try to push a wheelchair through snow? Doesn't work well). But most of the time I don't. It is nice of them to offer. But then, other times, people come up behind me and just start pushing my chair or trying to carry things for me. I don't appreciate people just doing things for me. I really appreciate it MORE if you ask.

The thing I hate worse than people trying to help without asking, however, is the "C" word. To be specific, the word "cripple". I LOATHE that word. I despise it. It sounds like a word you say when you don't give a hoot about a person who has a wheelchair. And to be honest, that's pretty much what it says to me if you say it to me. You don't care about me. You don't care that I have feelings, or a heart.

So the next time you see someone like me, and you want to help but aren't sure what to do...ask. And don't tell us you're sorry about our condition. We don't all want pity. And if you ever see me, or anyone like me, and you want to use that "c" me and everyone else a favor. Don't. It makes us feel better about the world.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Freestyle - 10/10/09

Yeah here we go again
I'm bringin the freestyle like only I can
I guess there ain't much to talk about this week
But we gonna try this anyway

Being sick really does suck
I would know because I had to go through it
Three days in bed really sucked muchly
But I'm feelin a lot better right now

The Bengals be kicking serious tail
But y'all, ENOUGH close calls already
I swear I'm gonna need blood pressure meds
If it comes down to yet another few seconds

I'm missin my someone special
And I know she misses me
So I gotta get my mention in of Sheena
We might fight, but I still love her

Alright guys this is the end
Of another Friday Freestyle
Stay blessed
Forget the stress
See ya next week y'all

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A 5 AM Musing

I sit here at 5 AM East Coast time thinking. I do this a lot in the early morning hours when I SHOULD be asleep but unfortunately am not.

Here's my musing for the morning: Love.

Not love like "I love my girlfriend" (although what I'm about to discuss can and SHOULD certainly be demonstrated to ALL people around us). I'm talking brotherly love.

Here's what I mean: How many of us look around and see people that just truly seem to be invisible to everyone else? Or how many of us take time to CARE for those who no one else seems to? Not just who we WANT to care for, but who NEEDS to hear it from us because no one will tell them?

We as a society have completely lost the plot of love. We use the SAME WORD for how we feel about ice cream, as we do about our families. When the heck did a FOOD become on the same level as a person? (That's a free thought, by the way - not totally related to my point for the day.)

Need I remind you of Romans 5:8? "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Read that again. "...while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Folks, I don't know about you, but that sounds selfless to me. There is NOTHING conditional about that verse! Zero. Zilch.

Wednesday night, I went to an online bible study webcast via which is where we discussed this subject. If you have time today, check this out. In this video, there's a really powerful story in here beginning around the 3 or 4 minute mark. This young lady named Stacey takes time out of her life, and in the process most likely lost some friends, to love a man who she later wound up marrying. He might have had cerebral palsy - but friends, he is NO LESS of a human being than you or I, deserves no less than ANYBODY else on this earth does to be loved, and this young lady made it a POINT to show it.

So my challenge to you is this: How many people will you show unconditional love to today? You don't even have to do something for someone, to show it to them. Just do it for the people who are IN your daily life. Those people who you might not have to interact with daily, will look at you, and will see God IN you.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Testing second new header

Clean and Crazy of My Recovery fame sent the above header to me. So, we're using that one now! Jen and I are trying to figure out how to enlarge the one she sent me, so that it fits the entire header area.

By the way, if you are wondering what the pictures are of, they are, counter-clockwise from top: 1) Newport, Kentucky at 7:30 AM on September 19, 2009. 2) Florence, KY at 6:25 AM the same day. 3) The same area of Florence (a different view due to being in the parking lot of a McD's), around 8:20 AM on September 26, 2009.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Update On My Header Help Request!

I would like to thank Jen of Unglazed fame, for her assistance with my header request of this morning! The header above came from her. She also sent me these:

I also am expecting to receive something from Clean and Crazy of My Recovery fame. So thanks to her as well!

Finally, a HUGE thank you goes out to Cliff of WIXY's Gone Bananas fame, for his help putting the word out.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Quick Post about a page change

I made a change to the header. I hate stretching it out, but I don't like to leave a space to the right of the picture, either.

With that said, the above picture is from the morning of September 19, 2009, when I was on my way to the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Newport, KY.

If anyone is interested, I'd like to come up with a header that will showcase a few (say 3-5) pictures I have taken of scenes around my area, but will fit the header box above with the minimal amount of either stretching OR squeezing down. If you're interested in assisting, email me.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Classic Post - What I Have Endured in 24 Years

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following post was originally written on November 29, 2008. This was a post in which I chronicled some of my previous medical history. Not in great detail, mind you - but significant enough to explain some of what I have had to fight in what was then just over 23 years of life. Since then, I have had fainting spells due to anxiety attacks, along with what is currently increasing back pain. I have, however, decided not to list those at the end of this post, but rather, leave it as is. Later this week or early next, depending on if I get Round Tuit (trademarked by my friends at Ohio Media Watch, who inspired me to begin blogging about local media, which in turn eventually led to a desire to spin off the personal stuff to this blog), I'll try to put up the other posts referenced here. I originally intended to do so over the past weekend, however, illness did something that weather doesn't this time of year - stopped me cold in my tracks.

I decided to parlay the blog from last weekend into a three part series. I told you last week about the perspective I see things through, being in a wheelchair for sixteen years and not having use of my legs for all 23 years of my life.

Today, I have decided to let you have a peek at some of the things I have had to endure over these 23 years, separated into 3 segments: Birth to 10 years, 10 years to 14 years, and 14 years to today. This isn't a complete medical history, but it DOES give you a look at some things I have had to deal with in 23 years.

Birth to 10 years:

1985 - Shunt placed in my head, correction to spina bifida, tendon releases for club foot. Also a broken foot.
1986-88 - Bladder infections, but that was really about it.
1990 - Attempt to use a walker. Didn't go over too well.
1992 - First use of a wheelchair.

10 years to 2000

1995 - Cyst removed from spine. Also began having more and worse latex reactions.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: To this day I cannot come in contact with latex balloons, toys, or anything containing latex. Otherwise, you'll be watching 3rd degree burn-type blisters sprouting on my arms and other areas)
1996 - Bladder surgery.
1998 - Surgery to correct scoliosis.
Early 1999 on to mid 2001 - Pressure ulcer issues. This is due to weight shift following the 1998 Scoliosis Correction Surgery.
2000 - Septic Shock - First major illness. Spent 13 days in hospital, another 2 weeks at home for this alone. Then in November, bowel obstruction landed me in hospital for another week, and in December, a broken leg put me in a cast for 3 weeks. I've suffered an additional obstruction since then but cannot recall the date. (AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: I will describe what I remember of the October/early November timeframe in the next blog)

2001 to today

2001 - Finally had correction of pressure ulcer from 1999.
2004 - Car crash. Destroyed wheelchair, but otherwise I was fine (incredibly, and by God's hand alone)
2005 - Mitroffanoff began to close off. Late December surgery to construct first ilial chimney.
2006 - Another bout of septic shock that June, caused by inadvertent clog in ilial chimney. I had severe pain in my stomach for two days and a very high fever. I was later told that if I had waited another 36 hours, I would have been killed. Two weeks in hospital leads to recovery by late June.
2007 - Another pressure ulcer becomes infected and results in 7 month bedrest, with surgery done in December resulting in the final month of rest. Also, early 2007 - depression diagnosis, but haven't had a significant episode of such since then.
2008 (Current to Nov. 29): Broke neck in April. Had surgery in May to construct a second ilial chimney. Another pressure ulcer led to 2 months of restriction which was lifted August 20 in time for a small 23rd b-day celebration. Nothing since.

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Freestyle 12 - October 2, 2009

Here we go y'all it's time for anotha Freestyle
I looked for ideas, and these came to my mind
Have some things I want to say, people I wanna thank
So yo, here we go it's time to roll

First thing's first I wanna thank Sheena
She's been there for me for a while now
Over a month, we still going strong
I love you babe, I hope that you know this

Had to go pay the phone bill today
That was a pain in the you know what
But yo, if I don't pay y'all I can't play
I found I can tweet from the web on that thing
It's so cool I think it rules

I saw LoyalBelieve with a tweet about a cupcake
That might not interest most but hey, what can I say
I told her she should worship it then eat
But y'all, you know I'm just playin cause there's only one God
I believe in and it's not some thing ya bake

Did a couple walks in the last two weeks
They were both for good causes, I am proud to say
1500 for one, 2 grand for another
That's a big accomplishment I have to admit

Alright you guys it's time for me to cruise
Because I got some stuff to do like WOW and WWE
I'll see ya in 7 days til then stay blessed
Forget the stress and just stay chill, y'all
I'm out

Courage + Belief = LIFE

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month

I know a LOT of people focus on it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Don't get me wrong - that's a great and noble cause, too. But for me, October is about something else.

October is officially National Spina Bifida Awareness Month. So today, I will give you some information on Spina Bifida. Plus, I'll have a classic post from last year, over the weekend. (All of the following facts are from the Spina Bifida Association of America, except as noted.)

What is Spina Bifida? Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect, occurring in the first months of pregnancy, where the spinal column does not completely close up.

Over 185,000 Americans live with Spina Bifida, according to the latest tally from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Nearly 1/2 live with the most serious form of Spina Bifida, called Myelomeningocele.

There are three forms of Spina Bifida.

Often called hidden Spina Bifida, the spinal cord and the nerves are usually normal and there is no opening on the back. In this relatively harmless form of Spina Bifida, there is a small defect or gap in a few of the small bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine.

There may be no motor or sensory impairments evident at birth. Subtle, progressive neurologic deterioration often becomes evident in later childhood or adulthood.

In many instances, Spina Bifida Occulta is so mild that there is no disturbance of spinal function at all. Occulta can be diagnosed at any age.

The protective coatings (meninges) come through the open part of the spine like a sac that is pushed out. Cerebrospinal fluid is in the sac and there is usually no nerve damage. Individuals may suffer minor disabilities. Additional problems can develop later in life.

This form of Spina Bifida occurs when the meninges (protective covering of the spinal cord) and spinal nerves come through the open part of the spine. This is the most serious type of Spina Bifida, which causes nerve damage and more severe disabilities.

Spina Bifida costs over $532,000 per child. That's a LIFETIME cost. Staggering, isn't it? Here's an even more staggering statistic. In the US, total surgical and other medical costs for ALL of those with Spina Bifida is over 200 MILLION dollars. (These numbers are in mid-1980's US $$ - and so these are likely higher!)

What can be done to prevent Spina Bifida? The best course of action is for ANY woman who may become pregnant to be sure to take a multivitamin that contains Folic Acid, or Vitamin B9. The suggested dose for those women who do not have a history of pregnancies with Neural Tube Defects is 400 micrograms, while for those who have had a child with an NTD is 4,000 micrograms. Even if you're not planning on getting pregnant, this is the best bet just in case you DO become pregnant. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the incidence of Spina Bifida and other NTD's by 70 percent! However - there's no single cause, as in my case, it was due to the use of a herbicide called Agent Orange in Vietnam, which was found in 1997 to cause an increase in Spina Bifida incidents. There is currently a study that is trying to figure out what in a person's DNA causes Spina Bifida - and yours truly is planning to be a part of this study.

Is there a cure? Not currently. The effects can be reduced via pre-natal surgery, which is currently in a phase III clinical trial - but the surgery is not without risk to the mother and the unborn child and as such further study is needed.

So, there are the facts. I tried to keep it as simple as possible. Hopefully, this is easily understood by all of you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or at and I'll either assist you myself, or find someone who can.

Courage + Belief = LIFE