Most days I feel like this could be my last day. Not in a negative way, but in a positive way. The continued pain I feel throughout my body and the continued fight to keep moving forward has exhausted me over the years. Since 2004 I have been pushing myself to move forward. When the pain in my legs started settling in in 2006 I had to push even harder and when I was discharged in 2009 I thought that push would end, but it didn’t. With a low rating I had to push again to work and push through the days to keep going. There have been many days that I wish I could just give up, but I continue to push through those days. For the last 11 years it has been a continued push forward to protect this country as a soldier and provide for my wife and kids.
Since July of 2014 that push was sent into overdrive. That is when I had my last blood clot that put me back on medication and grounded me to not working out or traveling. The continued push to provide and continued thoughts of what if have plagued me since. Now there are some days that I wake up and I feel perfectly fine. The pain is minimal and the headaches are gone, but by the end of the day they are back and with full force, but I continue to push forward.
I write this to try and help those that don’t understand a soldier mind frame. This is something you can never take away from a solider. It is instilled in us from the first day of Basic Training. Pushing through the pain, pushing through the rough times, and completing the mission. So many soldiers have died at the hands of the VA because of this discipline. We push through the pain and the issues not only to not look weak, but because we don’t want to be a burden on anyone. This has been my problem for so many years. I issues are mine I use to tell myself, but I had to snap out of that mind frame and remind myself that my conditions were due to my sacrifices for this country. Yes I signed the dotted line and gave up my life for this country, but I didn’t sign up for a condition that no one can tell me how I got it and I didn’t sign up to just sit in a corner and wait for them to give me more medication so I can just die slowly.
So lets put it on the table. With my condition I will be lucky if I am walking in the next 10 years. Lets put that in perspective, I am 33, at the age of 43 I will most likely be immobilized and unable to experience life with my kids. Right now I can’t carry them, I can’t lay on the floor and play with them, I can’t go out side and play ball with them, I can’t travel for vacation with them. I am missing out so much with my kids and family and it all could have been prevented and my condition could have been slowed. I accept that this is going to happen. I have to, because if I don’t it will tear my family and me apart. I have a sister that I have never met that I only hope and pray I can meet one day, but can’t travel to do that. My life has to be put on hold because of the failures of the US ARMY and the VA. It isn’t just the VA at fault here, the US Army was the started ground for my conditions and now VA has to deal with them so I take that blame off the table for the VA. But their lack of compassion and urgency has left me and many other Vets this way.
I guess at some point we all snap and take action and that is what I am doing. I just happened to do it at the right time and be taken in by Concerned Veterans for America. Their take action and drive is exactly what I needed to fuel the fight in me to say enough is enough and Veterans shouldn’t have to come home from war and die from horrible medical facilities. As Pete said, “we had the choice to serve, we should be given the choice of health care.” Last time I checked choice comes with no restrictions. But the government has put so many restrictions on the Vets choice that they shouldn’t have even used the word choice.
I asked God many month ago for guidance and strength towards the VA and my medical condition. I asked that if i was worthy enough, please help me to be the voice of the Veterans and please give me the strength to continue through the fight. What I have seen in the last few weeks is a testament that He is working. As I have been telling the world, my door is always open and my story is always available. I won’t stop until I know that every Veteran is receiving what they deserve and those at fault for killing my fellow brother/sisters in arms will be held accountable. However long that may be I will stay in the fight.
One last thing….for those that still think that your health care through the VA is perfect and that we shouldn’t change anything. I have one question. What are you doing to make sure your battle buddy is receiving the same care? What are you doing to make sure your fellow soldier is happy with his care? Last time I checked we were all in this together. If your not part of the solution your part of the problem. If you feel you don’t want to be bothered and your slight discomfort wouldn’t be worth making a difference to thousands of fellow soldiers, then I am sorry to say this, you were never a real American Solider. We never leave a fallen comrade. NEVER!!!!!!