Ask Doc Rock | Fighting an Uphill Battle and Winning
Dear Doc Rock,
Where do I begin? First of all I am a happy gay man living my life freely in good ol’ Alabama. Maybe that is the problem? Gay in Alabama? Anyway……I am 39 years old, gay, a widower and a single father of two beautiful teenage girls and an exchange student son from Italy.
I married my late wife in 1993 when I was very young and “green on the vine”. Fast forward to 1999 when I came out of the closet not only to my wife but to my entire family. Later in 2006 I came out to my daughters after the sudden death of my wife. I fought a long and nasty custody battle against my super religious in-laws and I won despite who I am or what I believe in. My daughters and I moved back to my hometown where I swore I would never return to ever again. Heartbroken, grief stricken from the death of my wife, I was totally lost in life. I started to college in a nursing program which ended abruptly after one year due to the stress of trying to balance life at home with two teenage girls and the daily responsibilities of running a household.
I have always kept my life private from others, yet with my daughters I have been open with them (as far as what they needed to know, etc). I dated a few guys but it just was not there. You see, I have always felt that I have been blessed in this life to experience a love that is comparable to the love of God. I have been further blessed with a continuous love of my children, a love that does not know judgment and it is unconditional. Through all of this, there was still a void in my life. I am utterly happy with who I am. Despite the general opinions of the religious communities, I am okay with God. God gives us things in life and he takes things away from us in life. My journey and my faith is between God and myself.
I began dieting, cramming the diet pills as fast as I could get them……why? Partly because it gave me energy to keep up with daily life and a big reason was to rush my striving to be fit and wanted by others. Little did I know I was headed for a huge train wreck years down the road. After three years, I had lost over 200 pounds and I was finally stepping on the scales to weigh less than 200 pounds. But still I was searching for more and more to fill a large void in my life.
In April of 2010, our home was destroyed by a violent tornado when it ripped through our town in Alabama. After months of clean up and rebuilding, life seemed that it returned to normal.
In November of 2010, I found myself facing some tough decisions after being diagnosed with a vein disease which affected the veins in my legs. I reluctantly agreed to have surgery to correct the problem. At the time, I was in a relationship, or at least I thought I was….with a guy. The disease left my legs very unsightly and created a huge problem with self confidence. Upon talking with my partner at the time, I decided to go ahead with the surgery. In less than six months I quickly realized that I had made a huge mistake. My partner was gone and my disease had worsened to the point where I could barely walk. I sought treatment with a specialist in Birmingham, Alabama to learn that the surgery had been performed on the wrong vein…in fact; the surgeon left the vein open which brought on a multitude of problems. Less than one year later I found myself in a wheelchair unable to walk. It is easy to see that being in a wheelchair brought all the weight right back. It has been three years since my surgery and I have never had the health problems as I have now. I am unable to wear shoes because of excessive swelling in my legs and feet. I have lost almost all the hair on my legs because of circulation problems. I have a sought legal help against the surgeon not to be vindictive but to prevent someone else from going through what I have experienced. Later in this year, I have surgeries to go through to bring some relief and possibly a better quality of life.
Through all of this…..life still seems to be nonexistent or life lived through keeping up with others on Instagram or a blog site.
When is enough actually enough in life?
Personally I do not feel that I will have the “perfect love” again in life. It has become a consuming passion to dedicate my life to my daughters and their well being. Participating in the exchange student program does bring a sense of belonging by being able to share my sordid life with other teenagers from across the globe.
Now I know you are not an actual doctor and you hold no liability in this blog…..but let me ask you (because I have seen your own transformation)……
Is there hope for someone to have a partial physically enjoyable life even after facing the problems with this vein disease? I am not referring to being another Jared from the sub company….but it would be nice to be able to fit in normal clothing without feeling like I am a busted can of biscuits. I appreciate any insight, thought or advice that you might have to offer.
First, I want to commend you on being able to share such an intense and personal story with not only me, but with the entire internet community. That takes some serious guts.
Aside from all of your intimate details, your story is very similar to many other people out there. No matter who you are, we all are given big obstacles we have to overcome. For some people it is health-related, some deal with never being able to find the right relationship, some people struggle with schooling...the list of examples is endless..... The point is, you need to take a really good look at where you are today. Look back over your life and think on all of the obstacles you not only faced, but overcame. You are still a strong individual (if not stronger than your average person) because of what you've been through.
You are setting an example for your daughters and everyone who comes into your life. You are showing them that even though you have been through hell and back, you are still here and you're still living your life to the best of your ability....Give yourself a TON of credit for that. Be proud of who you are and where you've come from.
Be proud of every scar and every tear because they have allowed you to grow and change and develop into an emotionally and mentally, strong person.
When it comes to getting back in shape or feeling better about your appearance again, I want to share this photo with you which I look back on personally every once in a while:
This guy has ONE leg....I think it's much easier for us to make an excuse to not be able to something and use it as a crutch, than it is toJUST DO IT.We're scared of failure because we've been taught failure is bad....but it isn't.
Failure is necessary for change, for growth, for life. Do NOT limit yourself, every little thing you can do to improve your health, DO IT because it all adds up. STOP comparing yourself to everyone else. Use yourself as your own landmark, mark your own personal progress. You've done it before, you're still alive, so you can do it again.
Finally, before you consider any sort of relationship, please, PLEASE, make yourself and your family 100% first. You cannot give yourself to someone else if you are not whole yourself.
I have so much positivity and optimism for you and I hope you motivate yourself to achieve your own, personal greatness. You can do it!!
All The Best,