In November 2006 I was diagnosed with Head & Neck cancer. I had a modified radical neck dissection surgery in December 2006 to remove the tumor, 25 lymph nodes out of my neck, and my right tonsil. Because I was an unknown primary my surgeon recommended that I undergo radiation and a antibody treatment; which I commenced in January 2007. About half way through the 30 radiation treatments I was prescribed a fentanyl pain patch. This patched leaked too much fentanyl into my system and I began to throw up the entire next day. The following night, February 17, 2007, I threw up during my sleep and aspirated into my lungs. This is never a good thing. My wife found me nearly dead in bed the next morning; whereby the EMT's were called in and took me to Community North hospital. To make a long story short I nearly died in the ER, finally was stabilized and was in the ICU for the next 11 days, put on a respirator for the first 4 of those days, and on dialysis for 30 days.
I had incurred what is called hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain, which caused a pretty serious brain injury; limiting my speech and literally changing me from an extrovert to an introvert. After being in Community North for 30 days, I was transferred to the brain injury unit at Community East, where I began pretty intense speech, occupational and physical therapy. After 30 more days in the Community East brain injury rehab unit I had advanced enough that I was eligible for outpatient rehab. I spent the next 90 days in the Hook outpatient rehab facility, undergoing intense speech, occupational, and physical therapy, 8 hours a day, five days a week.
When I entered the outpatient rehab center I underwent various cognitive and other type of testing; my family was told that the results were not promising and that it was likely that I would never be able to return to my commercial real estate banking job; as well, I would likely never be able to drive myself again. However, through hard work and determination I passed both the Hook Rehabilitation center drivers test, but past the Indiana State drivers test. As well, I returned to my commercial banking position shortly thereafter . In May 2014 I walked across the stage at Anderson University to receive my MBA certificate. I was back!
Then, in 2011 I was in a car accident where I had to be cut out of the vehicle by rescue workers, and transported to a level one hospital (St. Vincent's - 86th Street). I had broken my right leg, and my femur was push through my hip socket; as well, seriously messed up my right ankle to the point where I still can not dorsiflex that foot. When I woke up in the hospital I had an external fixator connected to my right leg. It was there to hold my leg and hip in place until the swelling went down, so that they could operate. During the operation the Orthoindy surgeon put me back together using 9 screws and two metal strips in my lower leg, just below my knee, and the same on my hip socket. I was "non-weight baring" for the next 3 months, on a walker for the following 2 months and walked with a cane for the next month. Long story short, when my surgeon was taking the staples out of my leg and hip I asked him if I would ever run again; his answer was "NO"; not likely at all!
So, when Team World Vision came to my church in June 2017 and presented the opportunity to bring clean water to children in Africa by running a 1/2 marathon, I thought I would give it a try. I hadn't run seriously since I graduated from college in 1984. So I was literally a couch to half marathon in training. Starting July 3, 2017, using the work-out schedule provided by Team World Vision, I began to find my stride. After 4 months of training, which included approximately 600+- miles, I accomplished my 13.1 mile run on November 4th 2017. By the way, I raised $1,775 dollars that will provide 36 children with clean water for the rest of their lives. There were 800+ Team World Vision participants in the 2017 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental race; raising more than $630,000 dollars for clean water; bringing it to approximately 12,600 African children.
That is my story.