Well in 12 short hours I will be checking into Norton Hospital Downtown. I have 12 more hours to reflect on this journey before I lose this anchor that has been holding me back and begin another long uphill climb. This is a battle of my choosing. I had the chance to choose the opponent, do I continue to battle the foe I know, fight to hold on to a leg that doesn't work and try to learn to live with it, fixed as best they can? No. I chose to fight an entirely new battle. I am cutting the problem off, I have chose to deal with this in a drastic manner. I will begin this battle in 12 hours. I have one thing my opponent does not. I have determination to not just return to my previous glory, but to go way past it, and become a new man. I will be losing a leg, but I have gained an experience that many will never have. As I walk into the hospital tomorrow, I have many great people in my corner. Many who will be there with me, many who will not. I know that I have the support group behind me to turn this into an amazing victory, instead of mourning the loss of an appendage, we will celebrate the fact that I am getting my life back.
Now, I decided to write tonight about bravery. What makes a person brave or courageous? Is it bravery that makes a soldier walk into battle? That draws the firefighter towards the flames? That brings the medic inside the car full of uncertainty and death? I would say no...all these people have one thing in common. They are different than the average person. They have the coding inside them that draws them to danger instead of away from it. If you ask any of these people if they are brave, they would more than likely answer no. If you asked the general public if these people are brave there is a resounding yes...so what is bravery. To me, bravery resides in walking into an impossible situation and fighting to change the outcome. In a sense, isn't that what all the men described above are attempting to do? In this same vein, I walk into surgery tomorrow and know that I am losing a part of my physical being, in an attempt to bypass the limitations placed on me by a leg that no longer works for me. I am losing a part of myself to regain who I am. That's quite a conflicting statement. Up to this point I have faced fear, passion, and now bravery in these writings. Do I feel I actually have any of these things, well yes and no. I am racked with fear, I have faced this paralyzing fact from the beginning of this journey. It would have much simpler if the surgeons had taken my leg on the night of May 8, but instead, they have said "This is a decision you have to make yourself." There is power in making such a decision, and with that power an overwhelming fear that you made the wrong choice. I am certain that I have made the correct one, but that little demon will reside in the back of my mind for the rest of my life...whispering that I can't do this, that I should have kept the leg, that I have willingly crippled myself. This is another battle I am sure I will be fighting all my life...I'm ready. Next was passion...I have this in spades. I have the fire burning inside me to not only return to my ambulance, but to get back to being the father and fiance' I know I am. Being able to return to paramedicine is a wonderful side effect of this passion. Mostly, I am doing this for my sons, both biological and inherited. In doing so I will be able to fulfill my dream of becoming the "Prosthetic Medic." Now...bravery. While many of you would argue that I am brave for going through this. I argue that the bravery resides in those closest to me. Kate, my fiance', is brave for being willing to not only support me through all this, but she will be taking on the role of bread winner while I am incapacitated. Cathy, my mother, who will be driving back and forth from eastern Kentucky to pick up the slack and take care of me until I am able to do this on my own, and also help us financially until I am able to do that as well. My brother Bryan and his wife Krystal, not only will Bryan also be having surgery on his hand this weekend, he has committed to helping Kate and I as much as he and Krystal can. They are brave for taking this journey with us. Saying that they will be here at a moments notice. The promise of "just say the word and we will be there." This is bravery to me. Having the guts to say I am going to step outside my comfort zone to help you get back into yours. That is bravery. They are all attempting to change my world. Lastly, those who are donating to this cause, your bravery sustains me. You're donations are an investment in me. Saying, I know that you will take this seed and use it to become the person you are striving to be. Thank you all for giving to us, please, if you can donate, trust me. It is an investment in my future, I will use it to keep us above water until I am able to do this on my own. I believe in the tenant of "Pay it forward," I fully plan on doing the same for those who will be traveling this road after I have. I have seen that in the community of amputees, they are quick to help out those who are going through this ordeal. To share words of encouragement and hope. They are courageous in my eyes. So now, I leave you, knowing that by the time I write you tomorrow, or when I have the strength, I will be a changed man. No, longer will I be held back by this damaged shell. I will be able to start this battle, strengthened and encouraged by all of you, who continually support and stand not ahead or behind, but beside me all the way.