PTSD is an odd affliction. You are fine one minute, then something triggers a full blown panic attack, can't breathe, have that feeling of impending doom. That's how my Saturday started. I got up for work, got dressed, put my leg on and headed out. That's when I got a whiff of a familiar scent, I can't explain it. All I know is that it in a matter of moments I was transported back to the bottom of that waterfall. Water rushing around me, that same pain shooting through my ankle, well...where my ankle used to be. After that, the rest of the day is crushed. I spent the entire day trying to seem normal, pretend nothing is wrong, and move on; all the while I feel like I'm in a tailspin and falling apart at the seams.
Although I am normally verbose, it's hard for me to explain the feeling that I am crumbling. I just want to disappear. I know my version of PTSD cannot compare to that of some others, I just find an odd correlation to how the brain can adapt and overcome many things, but every so often, the neurotransmitters line up and POOF! you're transported back and relive every excruciating moment over.
I think this episode has been building for awhile now. I'm dealing with an allergic reaction on my stump due to the liner that I have to wear with the prosthetic. I'm forced to only wear the leg for a few hours a day, and as soon as I put it on I break out in hives and start itching. This isn't your normal "I got bit by a mosquito" type of itching, this is the "if I had a belt sander I'd take off the top few layers of my skin to make this go away" type of itching. It's a miserable feeling. I try not to get into these negative places, I try to remain upbeat about my situation and just be thankful that I am lucky enough to be alive, not only alive, but walking and talking. By all means, I should be dead or paralyzed. There is no scientific reason that I survived that fall. I feel that the reason I am here is to help others, to blaze a path so that anyone else who walks this path has fewer obstacles to endure. Before my accident, another started this path. His name is Kevin Trees. Kevin is a police officer, like I did, he also chose amputation after several failed attempts to save his leg. Unlike Kevin, I made this decision much sooner than he did, he was immobile for nearly 3 years prior to amputation. Kevin has given me some great advice. Most days, we wake up and are just thankful for that blessing, yet there are some days when I get up and loathe who I am. Not who I am as a person, but who I am as a physical being. I don't want to put this prosthetic on, I don't want to be an amputee anymore, I'm angry that I've been placed into this position. I can't get up and take care of my infant son at night because it's not safe for either of us. Those are the types of things that enrage me...yet when I step back and look objectively I can honestly say...I'm alive. I shouldn't be but I am...so in order to have earned this blessing I have to pay it forward. I have to attempt to lay the groundwork so that if anyone else wants to follow in either of our footsteps has an easier path. Thank you Kevin, because of you I knew that returning to work was a possibility. I hope that I can only be a quarter of the inspiration to others that you have been to me...
That's all for tonight...I'll update more as Stanford Medicine X gets closer.
Oh before I forget...I'm hoping to get the funds together to pay for the flight, rental car, and food for the trip...I may be hosting a fund raising event in the near future if other routes do not come to fruition.