Hello friends! I am sorry for the lack of updates to this site over the past few months. The main reason for this is the fact that there have been few new developments worth writing about. I’ll spare you all the finite details of my minute-by-minute activities… That’s what Twitter is for, right? Nonetheless, I have been keeping myself busy. My weeks have developed a semi-mundane normalcy that is actually quite refreshing, given the craziness of the past few years. Speaking of years, just last Monday (May 26th) I marked the three-year anniversary of the date I sustained my injuries in Afghanistan. While I’m not keen on making it a big deal, it did provide me with an opportunity to put things into perspective. I am still faced with many challenges in day-to-day life, but comparing my current condition to where I was three years ago, I’m happy to say that I have come a very long way.
On that fateful day in May 2011, I flat-lined on a MEDEVAC helicopter and for days, maybe weeks, nobody was certain if I would make it to the next day. The long recovery seemed, at times, impossible, and my outlook on the future was dim at best. Yet today, in 2014, after 53 operations and countless hours of therapy, I now live completely independently. I drive myself wherever I need, or take public transportation if I prefer. I have successfully shifted all daily tasks from my former dominant right hand, to my left (to include the one-handed typing of this post). I resumed playing the guitar last year, and have started learning the piano. I have been dating a wonderful girl, Jazmine, for a few months, and have two semesters of pre-med courses completed. Overall, I have regained a satisfaction with life that was missing over the past few years, and my outlook for the future is brighter than it has ever been.
With the major hurdles in my recovery complete, the Army has begun the process to medically discharge me. I should be fully transitioned to civilian life by the end of the Fall. So, as my time in the Army is drawing to a close, I have shifted my focus to future goals. Call me crazy, but rather than being sick of medicine, I’ve developed quite a passion for it. This interest has set me on a path of hopefully attending medical school in the not-so-distant future. With that in mind, I have finished two semesters each of General Chemistry and General Biology, along with General and Abnormal Psychology. I am currently undertaking two accelerated summer sessions of Organic Chemistry, and have enrolled in Physics, Calculus and Molecular Cell Biology for the Fall.
Yet, challenges remain or simply evolve as I shift priorities. For example, my emphasis on school has unfortunately come at the expense of physical therapy. Simply put, I just haven’t had the time necessary to work on my prostheses and improve my walking. That said I am confident that I have been given the tools and knowledge I need to improve that aspect of my life when time permits. For now, I’m keeping the scholastic momentum going, and attend physical therapy three or four times a week when I can.
In other news, I recently had the honor of serving as one of four Parade Marshals in the Memorial Day Parade of my hometown, Glastonbury, CT. The other three Marshals were my brothers John, Tom, and Steve. We were certainly humbled to be recognized and grateful to be part of the event. But above all, we are thankful for the immeasurable sacrifices made by our nation’s many fallen servicemen and women. We appreciate all who came out on Memorial Day and joined us in recognizing their bravery, and honoring their sacrifice.
As the service’s guest speaker, I had the privilege of delivering a few words to the audience and I am overwhelmed with the positive response from those who heard them. I kept it short, but the basic message was this: Memorial Day is not about me, or any veterans you see in your communities. Rather, it is about remembering and honoring those who never made it home from our nation’s wars. The unfortunate fact about this scenario is that those men and women aren’t around to remind us of what they gave, which is more than any of us can comprehend. This is why our nation has dedicated a holiday to them, and only them. Not amputees, nor any other group of veterans, but our fallen comrades. Because their sacrifice stands above all others, we must ensure as a nation, that such noble deeds NEVER be forgotten. In truth, we do not need Memorial Day to honor these heroes. By getting involved in our communities and making sacrifices in our daily lives, we thank those veterans and their families by demonstrating through action that we follow their example. And, that we too are willing to make sacrifices in the constant effort to improve our world, our communities, and our home.
Thanks for reading, and thank you to everyone who helped get me to where I am, and where I’m going.
Until next time,