The Outside Looking In

Having an AVM, (Arterial Veinous Malformation) having it hemorrhage without evening knowing it existed, having brain surgery and then having an almost 100% recovery is almost a magical thing.  It’s actually awe inspiring for some. How I survived the initial brain surgery I’ll never know.  God must have been by my side either during the operation or perhaps throughout my whole life.  We’ll never ever really know the truth but I’m here and that’s what counts at this point.  It is however a testimony of Gods existence and grace.

Let me explain the type of person I am.  I’m a performer, a doer and a make it happen type.  I work with strength, conviction, fortitude and passion.  When I truly set my mind to something rarely do I miss.  This is not to say I don’t miss or make mistakes but generally I’d consider myself a hustler.  Someone who sets their own destiny.  Why is this important?

Since my recovery from brain surgery I’ve suffered a few setbacks.  The most undeniable setback has been the diagnosis of Epilepsy.  As with everything in life I’ll tackle this challenge just like the next.  I simply deal with it.  I’m positive, motivated, I laugh about it, make jokes about it and move on.  I wait for the next seizure with little fear and just deal with it.  I think courage, strength, positivity and humor is an effective way of dealing with adversity.

The reason I titled this the “Outside Looking In” is I have many observers.  Many people that love me, care about me and are my friends.  The interesting thing is some of these people only know a small ounce of who I am.  There are two reasons I say this:

  • One person today said I went back to work way too early or I shouldn’t have gone at all.  This is a clear indication that they simply do not know me.  A catastrophic injury, surgery or condition doesn’t mean you just give up on life or do not make a comeback.  I know this person meant no harm in what they said, but it shows that our life value systems or how we attack life’s difficulties are significantly different. I’ve had nothing to prove through this whole ordeal but Intestinal Fortitude runs in my veins.  The Marine Corps officially tattooed it on my soul after it flowed through me long before I earned the title Marine.
  • Recently I went to New York City with my family and that same person went with us.  We went to Rockefeller Center to take our kids ice skating and although I knew I was going to have trouble skating, but I slapped pped on some skates on went with it.  First the skates are absolutely terrible.  They’re in horrible shape and killed my ankles and feet which made it extremely difficult to skate even on a normal day.  Second, the other issue from my surgery is something called Left Side Neglect.  In short I can’t feel the left side of my body and I don’t have a complete understanding of where my limbs are in space.  It’s an interesting condition to have and I’ve had some incredibly funny experiences with it.  In the end I couldn’t skate.  I believe it was mostly due to the skates because my ankle couldn’t balance properly but who knows, maybe I’m wrong.  After trying to skate our friend kept on saying “well at least you tried”. On the way home we began discussing it again and she basically gave in to defeat for me.  I however did not concede and explained I would in fact skate again.  Then I said I was going to run a marathon in retort to her explaining my own defeat and she said “well that’s just different”.  These goals, accomplishments and drive that I have “to do things” are not to prove to others that “I can”.  These goals are for me to achieve because I love nothing more than a good challenge.  I love defying odds for myself, not for others.  Defying odds, doing the impossible and accomplishing goals is a part of  truly “living”.  I’m not the type to sit around and do nothing or not accept the next challenge without 100% of what I’ve got.

One of my earliest mentors noticed that in me with regard to playing music.  She said in a college recommendation “Will just needs a challenge”.  This has never changed and I will always need a challenge and the need to take a full BREATH of LIFE.

In the end I realize that these people, their feelings and attitudes toward my recovery don’t really matter.  It’s my condition to live with.  They’re my goals to achieve and as much as people think they understand, they really don’t.  This person, for as close as she’s been to this whole situation had never even seen the scar on my head or seen pictures of my shaved head where they cut my skull.  It is what it is I’ve washed my hands of it.

They’re simply on the outside looking in.

Any thoughts or comments?

Take good care,

Will

About Adventures in the Burbs (71 Articles)
I'm now considered a survivor. A survivor of what you may ask? For my entire life I have been a walking time bomb due to a visitor embedded in my brain called an AVM, or an Arteriovenous Malformation. I never actually knew I had it. My story of survival is so improbably and spectacular that it is worthy of an entire book in itself. I may have a post in here somewhere on my blog that covers it. In the end I’ve survived a brain hemorrhage, brain surgery and I’ve been left with Epilepsy and Left Side Neglect. Believe it or not, Left Side Neglect has been nothing less than a fascinating experience although I don’t recommend it for the feeble or weak minded. In the end that time bomb exploded yet I’m still here to put my adventures up on this blog and I will never let my survivor experience hold me back from life. Although I’m now considered a “Survivor”, throughout life I have been many things and it seems I have assumed many different identities along the way. For me life has been a zigzagging adventure woven with change and that change has always been good. I’m truly blessed as my life has been nothing short of amazing and my cup has always been overflowing even in the worst of times. I’ve had a good family, good friends, excellent mentors along the way and an amazing wife. Wonder if she will actually ever read this?? I’ve been a musician, a dishwasher, a pizza maker, a break-dancer, a skateboarder, a long haired metal head, a United States Marine, a husband, a father to many, a technologist, a college student, an adventure racer, a businessman, a manager, a leader, a crisis manager, a Harley Davidson enthusiast, a wannabe bourbon connoisseur, an amateur RV’er, an amateur blogger, an amateur writer, an amateur photographer, a thinker, a doer, a traveler, a wannabe digital nomad, an adventurer, and a remote worker. So as you can see I’ve maintained just a few identities….but what’s in an identity anyway. I know my identity as a “survivor” will not sum up my existence nor define me as a person. My name is Will and I am all of those identities listed above and then some. Hopefully you will join me on my journey. Do take Care, Will

1 Comment on The Outside Looking In

  1. GREAT! I get it as I am similar in nature. Same with my husband! We actually think that was a trait among Americans for the longest time, “The Rugged Individual” mentality. Oh, it is sure missing these days – in fact, we just discussed this fact yesterday. Bill was always a hustler with his skills and talents – made money on the side doing mechanical/body paint work. Our generator isn’t working and he has done everything he can figure out to fix it. Two friends know men who actually work on Onan Generators and both do some “hustling” on the side. Both were going to call him yesterday to offer to help – neither did! Of course, it was drizzling a bit yesterday here in Fredericksburg – but the morning was beautiful.
    Anyway, that’s a side note to give you kudos and really to thank the Marines! If not for them, where would we be?
    Bill finally is facing his first real health challenge, and like you, he has tackled it head on and told his cardiologist, he’s going to reverse his diagnosis! The doc said that was impossible, but we don’t think he knows Bill nor our Healer, our Lord! Just like Bill had to look at a youtube video to figure out where the air and fuel filters were on our Onan (he’s never had one before), he’s gone to the Source of our health, admitted what he knew he was doing wrong, learned what he now needs to do and has transformed his health buy losing 40 unnecessary pounds as a start. But this is NOTHING to what you are doing so I just want to keep encouraging you to keep on truckin’!
    Love your passion!

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