A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Story Of My Life: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Enjoy every second you have.

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We all have issues. Some are bigger than others, most are blown out of proportion. Deep down, we all think our problems are worse than they usually are in the grand scheme of things, but once in a while you or someone you love gets a swift kick in the nuts from reality, just to let you know who is really in charge.

Like many people, I have some health issues. Some minor, some just aggravations, others worry the hell out of me from time to time. As a result, I am on several medications and visit the doctor a couple of times a year.

In 1997, I had just joined the Army. I was 17 years old and in perfect health. Not even a year later, I started to get migraines. I never thought much of it, because most of my family has migraines. Then they progressively got worse, to the point they were crippling. I eventually broke down and got the brain scan done, where I was informed that I had several cysts on my brain stem, and several polyps in my sinuses. They didn't seem concerned, and put me on Midrin and steroids. Years went by with no migraines and no other health concerns until 2003.

I woke up one morning feeling like my head was going to explode. My wife was in Connecticut visiting family, so I was home alone. I decided to take some BC Powder, and head to work. I don't know how much time had passed until I woke up in a hospital room where I was informed that I had suffered a stroke while driving to work, and had backed straight out of my driveway into the woods in front of my house to the edge of the road before the car stopped and a pedestrian called 911.

I was 24 years old, and ignorantly thought strokes only happened to old people, or people grossly out of shape. Apparently, the cysts and polyps were not so minor after all. A 3cm cyst on my brain stem had ruptured, and is believed to be the source of the stroke.

My wife was called and immediately flew back down. I knew it wasn't so good when she saw me and burst into tears immediately. She pulled the mirror out of her purse to show me why she was crying, and it looked like my skin was melting off of my face. They said I had been relatively lucky and it was a minor stroke that was only temporarily paralyzing the mentalis and frontalis muscles in my face. I was treated and kept for observation for 5 days before being sent home. Since all of my vitals were fine otherwise, I was not placed on any medication and was released to my wife and to be further treated as required by my PCP.

Two years pass and it is 2005. I start having what I think is a heart attack, and my wife rushes me to the hospital. My chest is tight, my heart is racing and feels like it's stopping every few beats or so and I am gasping for air. I get to the ER, and they take me right in. After being run through a battery of tests and bloodwork, they inform me that I likely have nothing more than a severe panic disorder, which caused all of the symptoms and palpitations. They give me Ativan and Metoprolol and send me on my way.

A week later, it happens again and I pass out from it. I go in again, but this time they send me to have a heart stress test done where it is discovered I actually have cardiomyopathy with no damage to the heart. They did discover at this time, that I have hypertension. They eventually decide to keep me on the current medication I am on at an increased dose, as well as putting me on Clonidine and Maxzide, which did the trick and I have had no ill effects other than occasional periods of elevated blood pressure.

Fast forward to June 13th, 2011. I notice I have a freckle that appeared out of nowhere on the palm of my hand. I had a friend die of skin cancer at 26 years old, so I immediately put everything in my life on hold to get it checked out.

My doctor was concerned enough to send me to a dermatologist to have it looked at. June 14th I went in, and they decided to cut it out along with the area of skin around it, stitch me up, then send it off for a biopsy.

You may or may not have noticed that I was absent for several days here afterward. I was a complete nervous wreck. I went through every emotion in the world. It was a very rough few days, where I was scared and depressed so severely that rather than start drinking again after almost 2 years of sobriety, I just stayed doped up on valium and tried to sleep it all away.

After a few days of that, I started to do some research and found out there was at least a 50/50 chance it was completely harmless and a total fluke. I was in good spirits and very optimistic. Today, a good family friend invited me over for a summer party to clear my head and enjoy myself. Around 6pm, I got a call from my doctor telling me they had faxed him the biopsy results and that it was not benign. I threw up, threw a fit, hated the world, cried, then collapsed from being overcome with emotion.

After having my breakdown, I called him back and he told me it doesn't mean that I have skin cancer, it just means there is more testing they would like me to come in and have done. He is trying to keep me optimistic, but it has been unbearable to deal with it and I don't know what to do. I have kids I adore that I might never get to see grow up and do all the things I have taken for granted and just assumed I would see. I have a wife who I love dearly that I think this will hurt more than it could hurt me. I have a close knit group of friends and family that are pouring so much emotions and well wishes on me right now that I can't even listen without breaking down and crying like a little kid.

I am completely lost and don't know where my mind will go from one second to the next. I am not stupid, so I will tell anyone here who cares to hear it that I am definitely not suicidal. I am as far from the that as anyone could ever possibly be. I love life, I love my family, I love my friends, and I have so much living I still need to do.

I apologize for coming on here and being shorter and shittier with people than I should have been. I apologize to any one of you that somehow feels any hatred toward me because of my brash approach to disagreements on here. I realize that is probably at least 50% my fault, and probably more in most cases.

I love you all, and consider you all my brothers. Even you Mike. I know behind all the bullshit we throw at each other around here, we would be friends outside of this place. You have a big heart, you're passionate, and you really do seem to be a decent guy. I know I rub you the wrong way a lot, and I apologize. It's nothing personal, I am not the same person in real life that I am on the internet and I wish I was better at showing my real self.

I hold no ill will toward any of you, and it has been really great getting to know each and every one of you. The stress here tonight has broken me down, and I just don't know when or if I will ever be able to deal with that in the near future. I'm going to keep my head up as much as I can and stay positive and hope for the best. Right now, I just need to focus on the things that really matter, and slinging insults and fighting with anonymous people on a message board and getting too deep into fights that in the real world mean less than nothing, is not the way I want to spend my time. I might be back, I might not, it all depends on where things go.

I will try to update you guys whenever I know anything new, and I will check my pm periodically if anyone has any advice they can give me, but I am done with the forums indefinitely, to the relief of many I am sure.

To the fathers here, happy fathers day. Enjoy every second you have, good night.



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