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
Looking back on the memory of a run, all was right in my little part of the world. Lacing up my shoes and heading out the door. Most of my runs took place in the early morning. The moon still shining. Usually not another soul in sight. I could hear the sound of my breath and God speaking in my ear.
Oh, the runs we shared.
How could I have known this run would only last for a season and we would have to say goodbye. I could choose to look at the end of a beautiful season and what I have lost. But no, I will choose to look back and see all we accomplished along the run. The pain and the victories along the way. The thrill of being in a corral with others excited about the run ahead. My life is better off for taking a chance and being part of the run. ~OC
America, Come Together
At 3:41 a.m. on January 7, 2021, Vice-President Michael Pence officially certified Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris the winners of the 2020 Presidential election. This should have been a pretty boring proceeding. But we know that was not the case. Instead, we saw a few politicians and many protesters try to hijack the election results. Thankfully some leaders who actually believe in the constitution prevailed.
A time honored proceeding that should have only taken a few minutes on Wednesday 1/6/21, ended up lasting until 3:41 a.m. on Thursday 1/7/21. Why? Because some sore losers did not like the results of a fair election. So those individuals decided to take things into their own hands. Instead of peacefully protesting the election results which is their right, this group was encouraged to march on the Capital. We all watched with sadness and horror as this group decided violence was better than peace. At last count, four people died during this senseless uprising. Yes, in America four people died and several more were injured because a group of people did not like the results of a fair election. I know some will disagree that the election was legal and fair, but court after court has thrown out every challenge. Why? Because no real evidence was ever presented to show any fraud. So on January 7, 2021 at 3:41 a.m. President-Elect Joseph Biden was officially certified as the next President of the United States of America. I encourage everyone to pray for President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Harris. They have a tough job ahead. They need our prayers and support. America needs our prayers. It’s time to come together and actually be the United States of America. ~OC
Today’s a new day! My praise is not dependent on the outcome of my situation. ~OC
Memories. They can make you smile, laugh and cry. Sometimes memories just make you sit back and reflect. That happened to me this morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook page and a memory from May 13, 2009 jumped out at me. It took me back. On this date in 2009, I went back to work after a month in the hospital and recovery at home. I did not realize at the time that life would never be the same.
As I went back to work that Wednesday morning, I thought things would go back to normal. Little did I realize that my life would never be normal again. Several days after going back to work, I would end up back in the hospital. This scene would play out many times over the next few months. I would work a few days and end up in the hospital for a few weeks. Finally after seeing this Groundhog Day moment several times (Google the movie Groundhog Day), my medical team shared it was time for me to retire and go on disability. Retire? Disability? I was only in my early 40’s. I was not real excited about this new normal. But this new normal was now part of my life. Little did I realize what a crazy beautiful journey God would allow me to experience.
As I have walked this new normal since 2009, I have become a full time Abolitionist, a Missionary and a published Author. I doubt any of my teachers or professors would have ever guessed I would write a book. During this new normal, my faith became so much stronger. My wife Laura and I have experienced so many amazing adventures. I definitely would not have chosen this new normal, but I would not change a thing. My new normal has become a beautiful gift. Thanks Facebook for the memory. ~OC
You and I
As we turn on the news, scroll through social media or just walk down the street, we see so many heartbreaking things happening around us. We see and read about homelessness, gun violence, human trafficking and substance abuse. The list could go on and on. We pray about these issues and we ask God to bring help. Not only do we pray, but we demand that our elected officials do something about these and other issues our communities are facing. We cry out to God to please bring someone to help those that are suffering. Oh Dear God, why are you not answering our prayers? Has anyone else but me had these thoughts and prayed these prayers?
Guess what? Sometimes you and I are the answer to the those prayers. Wait, what? That’s right, God wants you and I to help the homeless. God wants you and I to help end gun violence. God wants you and I to help end human trafficking. God wants you and I to help end the substance issues in our communities. God wants you and I to help change our communities. Mind blowing isn’t it? Not really.
God has always used His people to help make the world a better place. A lot of times we are just not listening. Or we cannot believe God could use us to make a difference. But God is looking for us to be His hands and feet. We just have to be willing to stand up and answer the call. Because sometimes God will use you and I to answer our prayers. ~OC
Today I Choose
When your dealing with multiple life threatening health issues, each day brings different challenges. Some days those challenges can seem overwhelming. What’s awesome, is each day I am able to choose how I deal with those challenges.
When my crazy beautiful health journey started over 17 years ago, I made the choice to embrace my challenges and really live life. That is not always easy. My body is really not my own anymore. Most of the time my body feels foreign to me. But even in those tough moments, I still get to choose how I deal with this new reality. Do I allow my challenges to consume me or do I choose to overcome those challenges?
If you have followed my story at all, you know the answer to that question. I have made the choice to truly live. Even though it would be easier to sit around and take it easy, I choose to take trips with my beautiful bride and make amazing memories. I choose to use my story to encourage others dealing with their own crazy beautiful journey. Heck, I even chose to write a book. I choose to live a positive life.
I believe my positive outlook on life, has gotten me through some of my toughest days. I believe my days as a long-distance runner, has given me the mental strength to deal with the health struggles I deal with on a daily basis. I know my faith has helped guide me through this crazy beautiful journey. Because I know this journey is only temporary.
Each morning, we choose how we life today. Here are some choices I make daily.
Today, I choose to be a Warrior.
Today, I choose to be an Overcomer.
Today, I choose to Thrive.
Today, I choose to Live. ~OC
A Life Full of Miracles
My life has been full of miracles. From being healed of cancer, running a 1,000 miles in one year, to surviving multiple Myasthenia Gravis Crisis. Today I experienced another miracle. Last week I had three medical tests that Emory ordered. I have had these three tests in the past. They have always come back positive. A few weeks ago, I asked my doctor what would happen if the tests come back negative? He said “Todd, your test never come back negative.” Today my tests results came back and all three were Negative. That, my friend is a miracle. A Huge Miracle! I have had these same test multiple times in the last 4 years and they always came back positive. What does all this mean? I will probably not be a candidate for the G-POEM procedure. I am not crying over that one. I will continue to try drinking the Ensures and see if I can graduate to solids at some point. From the research I have done on Gastroparesis, it can go into remission. I truly believe God is going to completely heal me of gastroparesis. It will be another amazing miracle in this crazy/beautiful health journey.
So if you’re waiting on a miracle, don’t give up. Surround yourself with amazing friends who love to pray for you. Change your thinking. Part of me started believing I would never eat or drink again. Get out of your daily routine and watch God work. I truly believe going to Atlanta in June helped me to hear what God was trying to tell me. I needed to get out of my comfort zone. Also never be afraid to share your prayer request with others. I believe the prayers of many are the reason my test results came back negative. The prayers of many are the reason I have been able to drink some Ensures. People want to pray for you. People want to help you. You just have to be willing to aske and accept that help. We are all on a crazy/beautiful journey. A journey none of us should be traveling alone. ~OC