Rap Sheet

Hello friends. I have always tried to be open and honest about my health journey. I have never wanted or allowed my health to define who I am. I am a child of God’s. Wonderfully created in His image. A lot of people have reached out to me since my stroke to see what was going on with my health overall. So after praying about it, I have decided to share my medical rap sheet (HaHa). Once again, none of these conditions define who I am. I share this to encourage anyone walking through a storm to stay positive and use their story to encourage others. Please do me a favor. Do not fill my comment section with home remedies or ways to fight these conditions. I have a great medical team taking care of me. Thanks. Here we go….

  • I am only the 28th person in the world to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Myasthenia Gravis at the same time. Yeah me!

*Covid Long Haulers.

*Still recovering from a stroke.

*Based on being so many medications over the years, the doctor shared my pancreas is fried. So I have been diagnosed with Diabetes. Currently taking insulin.

As you can see, I am in a real fight. But I am not walking this journey alone. God is walking right by my side. Holding me up when I cannot stand myself. I am blessed with a beautiful bride Laura West Shoemaker, who is an incredible caregiver. I have a wonderful circle of friends standing in the gap. I am blessed with a great medical team. I am thankful I have great insurance. I will continue to fight and share the story God has given me. I am far from giving up. I am excited about the wonderful plans God has for me. Living a blessed life. ~OC

Lessons Along The Journey

I have been dealing with multiple life threatening health issues for 20 years. I have had ups and downs during this journey. Throughout the years, people have said some crazy things to Laura and I. I am sure most meant well, but that’s not the way it always came across. Here is a list to help you have positive conversations with someone dealing with serious medical issues. I will expound on some and some do not need any explanation.

*Well, Todd lasted this long. Yes, someone said that to Laura. Please do not say that to her or me.

*How are doing/How’s your health? I know people mean well, but I am more than my health. I really do not care to spend the whole visit discussing my health. Some days I am not even sure how I am feeling. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. (Hear is a free suggestion: Asked how Laura is doing? As a caregiver, her job is much tougher than mine).

*Do not hug me unless I move in for a hug. Let me initiate all physical contact. Not being mean, but my immune system is compromised.

*If I choose to wear a mask that’s my decision. Please do not make it a political or religious issue. It’s my life.

*If I choose to take a flu shot or some other vaccination that’s my business. Once again, do not make it a political or religious issue.

*Do not just show up for a visit. I could be resting or visiting with other guest. Please call first. Also do not stay all day.

*Do not say, I hate seeing you go through this. My current situation is what it is. I know people mean well, but I do not need a reminder I am sick. My body does a good job of reminding me.

*Do not say, Let me know if I can do anything for you if you do not mean it. I know that might sound harsh, but a lot of people say that just to be kind.

*Do not make my health journey about you. I am sorry if you lost a loved one to an illness I am dealing with, but it does not help if that is that’s all you talk about. Sorry.

*Do not tell me my health issues are caused by some spirit or sin in my life. Laura and I will shut you down. We do not need your poor theology in our lives.

*Do not tell me how I should handle my health issues. This journey is not yours. Laura and I will continue to look to God for His guidance and wisdom.

*Do not say how brave I am. Thanks for the compliment, but I do not always feel brave. Also I did not choose my health issues. It’s just life. I will continue to live a life that hopefully encourages others, but there will be days I do not want or feel like an inspiration.

I share these tips to help educate not to criticize. There is not a playbook on how to walk through a health journey. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or suggestions. ~OC

Hello Old Friends

In 2007, I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s and in March 2009, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. There is no cure for either of these diseases. Actually less than 30 people in the world have been diagnosed with both.

In November 2019, I experienced an incredible healing regarding these two illnesses. For over a year, I did not deal with symptoms of Parkinson’s or Myasthenia Gravis. Then In 2021, Covid wrecked my body. After Covid I began showing signs of Parkinson’s and Myasthenia Gravis. My medical team shared Covid caused these diseases to return. Thank you Covid.

I will not allow these new challenges to steal my hope or joy. I truly believe God is going to use these new challenge to help me share His love with more people. These old friends will not beat me. Staying Focused. Finishing Strong. ~OC

Angels Among Us

In an earlier post, I shared about the four angels God assigned me. Here is a little update.

On September 15, 2022, I suffered a stroke. I spent some time in the hospital after having the stroke. Every night as I rested in my hospital room, there were four angels surrounding my room. Those angels were protecting me as I dealt with this new medical experience. I was completely filled with peace. There was no fear, as I dealt with the unknown of having a stroke. Those angels gave me strength in the middle of the night. I thought back to that early morning walk in August, when God prepared me for a new journey. I never thought that new journey would include a stroke, but I am excited to see how God uses this new adventure. I will stay focused and finish strong. ~OC

A Walk With God

For the last 20 years, God has been waking me up every morning at 1:00am to talk. Mostly it’s me listening to God downloading some amazing words into my heart. On Saturday August 20, 2022, I experienced something very different.

That morning, God woke me up at 1:00am as usual, but this morning would be different. As God woke me up that morning, he called me to go for a walk. I wanted to go the gym because August in South Florida is warm. Even at 1am. The gym I belong to is open 24 hours a day. But on this Saturday morning the gym was closed. So I started walking. That’s when the adventure began.

As I was a few miles into my walk, all the sudden I saw four huge angels. They were at least 9 feet tall. Two were standing in front of me and two were standing behind me. These angels were dressed for battle. I thought to myself, I must be having a hallucination. But God quickly shared I was not having any hallucinations. These angels were real and God had assigned this four angels to me at birth. I was totally at peace.

God shared I was going to walk through a new journey. One that I had never walked through before. God shared these angels would carry me when I could no longer walk. These angels would protect me and my inner circle during this journey. God shared my circle would continue to get smaller as I walked through this new journey.

As I continued to walk that morning, God filled with with extra strength. I ended up walking 20 miles that morning. God shared he was allowing me to have this one last long walk. This was a gift from Him. ~OC

Skydiving

In September of 2007, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I thought to myself I needed to mark this moment. So what should I do? I had always wanted to go skydiving. Why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? I got that question a lot. But I always thought it would be a great experience. So, after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I decided I was going to jump out of a perfectly good plane. On a cool November morning, I filled out some paperwork, watched a video and prepared myself to jump out of a perfectly fine airplane. I was doing fine until I got on the plane and started getting further away from land. I started thinking is this really a good idea? Could I really jump out of a plane? I thought to myself I survived cancer, major surgery, a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s and countless hospital visits. Should I really be jumping out of a plane? I knew this was only fear trying to keep me from this incredible experience. I knew I would regret it if I tapped out and stayed on the plane. No, I was not going to allow fear to keep me from this opportunity. So at 14,000 feet up in the air, strapped to my instructor I decided to jump out. Before we jumped out, the instructor asked if I wanted to just jump out or did I want to do some flips on the way down? If I was going to do this, I was going to do some flips on the way down. What a fantastic view and experience. I loved every minute of this adventure. We landed safely and my wife had a big smile on her face. I think there was some relief mixed in with that smile. Embrace the adventures! ~OC

Walking Another Journey

I have always tried to be open and honest about my health journey. God has given me a story of hope and encouragement to share with the world. He has given each of us a story to share. Here is my current story.

As some of you know, I walked an almost 18 year health journey. I faced death on many occasions. At one point I weighed 112 pounds, was living off a feeding tube and had to use a voice amplifier to speak. On November 3, 2019, with just two weeks to live, I walked into a tent and was healed during an old fashioned prayer and healing service. My life changed completely in a minute. I went from The Man Who Refused to Die, to the Dead Man Running sharing my story around the country. A documentary was even made about incredible journey (www.deadmanrunningmovie.com). Life was good. Then February 7, 2021 happened and my life changed again.

I woke up on Super Bowl Sunday February 7, 2021 excited. You see, my Tampa Bay Buccaneers were playing in the Super Bowl. I have been a Bucs fan since the NFL announced Tampa was getting a team in 1974. The Bucs started playing two years later in 1976. Anyone who truly calls themselves a Buccaneers fan knows there have been a lot of ups and downs over the years. But on Sunday February 7, 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would win the Super Bowl. I would only see a few minutes of the game. Life was about to throw me another curveball.

I woke up that Sunday morning a little tired, but nothing major. I went to church that morning feeling excited about the day. After church, I came home and took a small nap. Had to get my rest before cheering for my Bucs. I did not wake up rested. No, I woke up trenched in sweat and a 103.7 fever. So I ended up sleeping through most of the Super Bowl. The next day Monday February 8th, I would be admitted into the hospital with Covid and deal with a 104.4 fever for four straight days. Little did I know that over a year later, I would be still dealing with issues from Covid and be classified as a Long Hauler.

Which brings me to September 2022. I am currently hospitalized and dealing with an uncertain future. I was brought to the hospital a few days ago with stroke life symptoms. Thankfully, the doctors do not believe I had a stroke. So what caused those symptoms? We may never know. Thank you Covid. These days eating and even drinking have become difficult. At this time, I am taking in less than 500 calories a day. My body is being attacked on multiple fronts. A lot of tough decisions will need to be made over the next few days and weeks. Once again, thank you Covid.

With all that said, I am still clinging to the promises of Jesus. I am reaching out, just trying to touch his robe. I still believe in the beautiful miracles of Jesus. None of this is a surprise to the King of Kings. He is still using my beautiful crazy journey to tell a story of hope, love and encouragement. I am at peace.

A little side note. Jesus did not take away my miracle from November 3, 2019. My current health issues are not caused from sin in my life. I do not have some type of evil spirit in my life. The only spirit I have in my body is the Holy Spirit. I share this because these things have been said to me as I am walking this new health journey. I also know other people walking through their own journey that have heard these cruel words. Please do not believe these lies. Remember, Lazarus was raised from the dead, but today he is walking with Jesus in Heaven. So for those walking through a storm, do not walk in these lies. Walk in the beautiful victory, hope, love and peace of Jesus. Stay Focused. Finish Strong. ~OC

Seasons

I know what it’s like to have your world come crashing down in a life changing way. In 2002, I entered a season of health issues that would effect my life in one way or another for next 20 years.

My career and love of running were taken away, and I have been fighting for my life for the last 20 years. I have been pushed to the brink in every area of my life. I would never want anyone to endure the journey I am traveling. Yet, in this season I have learned how to find and spread deep and authentic hope, love and encouragement.

During this season, which continues today with the diagnosis of covid long haulers, God has blessed me with the opportunity to share his love in many different circles. To share hope with many who feel hope has slipped away. I have been blessed with the opportunity to encourage others as they walk through their own crazy beautiful journey. This season has not been easy, but I would not change a step. This season has been filled with amazing lessons and memories. A season of beautiful interruptions. ~OC

The Dance

As I travel this journey, my life has been blessed with meeting people walking through the same dance. A dance no one ever wants to experience. A dance filled with pain and many days sitting in a chair while you experience the drip, drip from your IV. Days filled with tears, but also filled with sweet memories as you laugh with other conquerors doing the same dance. Oh the memories we shared. Our bodies fighting to enjoy another dance. How could we have known the music would end for some and they would say their goodbyes. Oh the memories of the dance. We never thought we would say goodbye. As I continue to walk through this journey, I will think about those that have taken a bow and completed their dance. I will embrace the memories we shared and continue to dance. ~OC

Share Some Hope Today

Today we celebrate one month since our documentary Dead Man Running The Todd Shoemaker Story was released. So I have a favor and challenge for you. Would everyone please take the time today to post the link to your social media pages and share the documentary with at least five people? Let’s share some hope today. Thanks! ~OC

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