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Are you hurting right now?

You are not alone, my friend. A lot of us have learned the hard way that life hurts.

If you’re anything like most people who have experienced pain or endured tragedy in life, you want healing for today and hope for a better tomorrow.

But it’s difficult to know what to do next when you are in pain, isn’t it?

  • No one plans to become ill, be diagnosed with a disease, or sustain an injury
  • Beyond genetic predisposition there’s no way of knowing how to plan for the resources one may want available when facing some unexpected medical encounter.  Neither can one plan for a trauma or accident.
  • How does one navigate the medical system—especially when forced to do so by surprise or all of a sudden?
  • The insurance maze alone—working through it, not to mention finding the right doctor or facility—can be overwhelming and complicated.
  • It’s stressful enough accepting circumstances surrounding the disease, trauma, or life-altering accident you or a loved one is facing.
  • You may realize that life is going to be very different, but depending on the severity of the circumstances, you’re not really sure how to think about your situation in a healthy way.
  • How can you know what to expect when you’ve never experienced anything like it before?

It can be a deeply frustrating season of life.

You may begin to feel like a victim, thinking that life is against you. On your worst days, you may even think you’ve done something wrong to deserve the pain you’re experiencing.

You may be easily tempted to spiral out of control psychologically, giving in to the feelings of hopelessness and solitude—wondering if God even cares about you anymore.

But somewhere within, maybe deep down inside, you hold to your belief that God wants everyone to live again after tragedy strikes because every life is worthy of healing and hope.

Does This Sound Like You?

I understand how you feel. 

As a survivor of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a debilitating neurological disease, I began to understand the feeling of powerlessness at a young age.

GBS causes the body’s immune system to attack the myelin sheath (insulator) around peripheral nerves that otherwise innervate skeletal muscles.

The disease causes progressive weakness as well as crippling pain in the muscles of the extremities.

The syndrome affected my respiratory muscles, requiring doctors to place me in an “iron lung” to prevent fatal respiratory failure—at the age of 5.

Consequently, I endured prolonged and painful physical and occupational therapy on the road to what would eventually be a full recovery.

Yet my experience with pain and suffering had only just begun.

The summer before my 17th birthday, I awoke in the middle of the night to find my family’s two-story home engulfed in flames.

After helping my three brothers escape to safety, I tried in vain to save my mother and youngest brother.

I nearly lost my own life in the process. I was unconscious from smoke inhalation and pain when firefighters found me—with extensive burns over 60% of my body.

What happened next made me wish God had just let me die.

IMG_4382During the first surgery (debridement) to remove burned tissue, I suffered a severe gastric ulcer, arrested on the table, and had a near-death experience (NDE). As a result, surgeons were forced to remove half of my stomach to stanch the bleeding and save my life.

Ultimately, with help from countless professionals, I survived more than 30 agonizing skin grafting and reconstructive surgical procedures. Then I persevered through grueling physical therapy sessions to learn to walk again.

Also, with help, I labored through countless hours of occupational therapy until I could use my reconstructed hands. They had been rendered nearly useless by fire damage.

Constant physical and emotional anguish caused me to think about quitting almost every day.  But I did not let these painful experiences define me.

Instead, I began to reconnect with my core values and belief systems. The NDE reinforced my faith in God, empowering me to reach beyond those tragedies—facing the many life challenges that would follow—eventually restoring harmony to body, mind, and spirit.

I entered college with focused ambition and became a physical therapist, guiding the rehabilitation of burn and trauma survivors. Eight years later, with a desire to learn more, I enrolled in medical school.

After graduation from medical school, I underwent yet another personal reconstructive surgery to my right ankle for chronically ulcerating scar tissue.  Complications mandated a year of convalescence.  This afforded me the opportunity to spend a concentrated year in the research lab studying microsurgery and electrical burn injuries.  Subsequent residencies in general surgery included fellowships in two different leading burn units.

During residency I suffered a stroke of unknown cause, but fully recovered within one month, despite initial symptoms of right-sided weakness and slurred speech.  The following month, I resumed training, persevering through general and plastic surgery residencies.

Ultimately I became a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in a practice working with burn and trauma patients, as well as survivors of life-changing diseases like cancer.

My Goal for This Site

In the last few years, I have stepped back from full-time practice after additional medical challenges, including open-heart surgery for a failed valve.  Doctors’ orders precluded continuing my full-speed career course.

I still volunteer my services at local clinics, but my focus has turned to helping people like you find the healing you need today and the hope that will encourage you to pursue a brighter tomorrow.

My goal for this site is to help other survivors learn to live again.

IMG_2154In my years of practice as a therapist, physician, and plastic & reconstructive surgeon, I came to understand and appreciate the need to restore each person to a state of full health—in body, mind, and spirit.

I will provide practical guidance for survivors and their families, facing tragedy or disease while trying to navigate the complex and chaotic world of the United States medical system.

I will share useful tips for physical healing, as well as inspiration and encouragement for spiritual and emotional well-being within, for both the survivors and their supportive network of family and friends.

My faith in God is at the core of all I do, but all glory is His.  No one is excluded, and I pray to be of help to any and everyone allowing me the privilege to do so.

Ultimately, I want to help you find healing for today and hope for tomorrow.

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You are not alone on your journey to recovery. As you navigate the often-stormy seas, you have a friend who understands the challenges you’re facing and will guide you gently toward the resources required along the way.

It would be my privilege to help you find the way forward to a better life.

You can get all the latest updates when you subscribe to my blog.

When you do, I’ll give you a free resource—the first chapter of my soon-to-be-released new book—just to say thanks and to help you start finding your way forward.

 

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