The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

COPING |

March 22, 2007

COPING
Name: SPC J.R. Salzman
Posting date: 3/22/07
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog url: Lumberjack in a Desert

I’m doing the best that I can, considering. I spend a lot of time really pissed off or really upset. I know I am getting better at a pretty good rate, but still. In Iraq I was the go-to guy for anything that could go wrong with my CET’s (convoy escort team) Humvees. I was the guy that could build or fix anything. Heck, I even built the door and a bench for the building our company stages in for convoys, simply because I was bored and had a little extra time before I went on R&R in November. There was nothing I couldn’t fix, build, or do.

Now I’m struggling with the mentality that I’m just a one-armed, four-fingered gimp. I have sharp memories of the accident that haunt me every day; the sudden explosion, the taste of blood in my mouth, realizing the bottom half of my arm was missing with nothing left but a couple of fingers and part of my hand hanging off by some skin and tendons, and then realizing how much pain I was in. All I could do was hold the end of my blown-off right arm with my shrapnel-filled left hand and wait for the medic to arrive and put a tourniquet on. The most terrifying part of the memories is constantly remembering my gunner screaming and then looking down and realizing my arm was nothing more than some ragged meat and two bones sticking out.

I realize there are a lot of other people out there who are worse off than me. I am not asking for sympathy here. All I am trying to do is let you know what it is like to experience this. I have constant phantom pain in my arm where it feels like my hand is still there, and someone is sawing on it with a knife. The nerves are still trying to tell my brain that something is wrong. The phantom pain is there every moment of the day and hurts like hell. My left hand is barely functional since the surgery. What really pisses me off the most is that my left hand feels like it isn’t put together right. The doctors removed my ring finger all the way down into my hand, and then pulled my pinky next to my middle finger and tied the tendons together. When I bend my fingers it feels like the bones are at different lengths and just don't line up right. I was really hoping I would at least have one completely functioning hand since I lost an arm. Unfortunately because of my wedding ring stripping the skin down to the bone, and multiple pieces of shrapnel that entered my hand and severed my nerves, and the shrapnel that completely shattered my ring finger’s knuckle, this wasn't to be.

I am happy that I am finally rid of all the tubes, IVs, nerve blocks, and catheters sticking out of my body. Today is the first time in over a month I haven't had an IV or some other tube sticking out of my body. I am finally to the point where I can go to the bathroom by myself without any help. What is really sad to me when I think about it is how lucky I am compared to a lot of the other people here at Walter Reed. I think of the pain and frustration I am experiencing and I realize how it is multiplied for them. My pain is always there and I'm told will be for months to come. I can only imagine what it is like for the others here. There are soldiers here with injuries that I cannot even describe. Some are missing both legs. Some are missing both legs and both arms. When I think of this I can't help but feel a little selfish for my own grief.

I spend a lot of time crying and I don't know why. Sometimes I look at my hand or I look at my arm and I just start crying. I think of when my hand used to be there, or when my arm used to be there, and what it was like. The arm that was there for the last 27 years is suddenly gone. All the little blemishes, all the little battle wounds, all the little scars from being a carpenter, everything is gone. The ring finger that held my wedding ring that was put on by my loving wife is gone. The last time I saw my wedding ring it was being snipped off with a pair of bolt cutters at the hospital in the Green Zone in Baghdad. It was also in the Green Zone that I got to look at my arm and see that it had been sheared off by shrapnel. It was a gruesome sight, but I couldn't help but look. It's an image that will forever be burned in my mind. Sometimes the loss feels overwhelming for me and I just start crying. Other times I’m very positive and look forward to getting out of here and getting on with my life. Other times I just don't know what to think.

Please remember this when you think about freedom. This isn't a dream, this isn’t some fictional story about patriotism, this isn't some story I'm writing to be a hero. This is my life here at Walter Reed. I am the true cost of freedom. Welcome to my life.

Comments

I hope you are feeling better soon. I'll be praying for you...
God bless.

SPC SALZMAN,
I am so sorry you and so many have to go through this.
There are many people who care and are praying for you all. Take care!

"Other times I’m very positive and look forward to getting out of here and getting on with my life." I think that being the can-do guy that you are, you will feel more and more positive as time goes on. It's natural to grieve the loss of your hands, and to be horrified by the events that led up to it. Get counseling. We know freedom isn't "free" and our thoughts and prayers are with you. You rock!

A suggestion for phantom limb pain -- acupuncture can help. I work for an acupuncturist and I have seen several vets receive relief from their phantom pain. Good luck to you!

Fucking hell. Pardon my language.

Stay strong, Spc. Salzman. You've given more than I'll ever know.

I don’t know what to say other than Thank You. It takes people like you to make the world a better place for all of us. Best of luck on your continuing recovery and you are strong, you will recover.

Freedom isn’t free, it is paid for, as you know. When I see idiot protesters abusing their “right” of free speech I have to force myself not to throttle them. You are the reason they even have the right to free speech.

Godspeed and Blessings to you and yours Mr. Salzman, you are one to be truly proud of.

Thank You, A Veteran

I can't think of one thing that might even come close to comforting you... All I can say, from one of Bush's biggest supporters, POINT TAKEN and being considered... God bless you ...

I'm so glad you wrote and shared with all of us. Its easy for our society to forget what sacrifices many of you are making. Time heals and you will continue to get better. Bless you.

There is absolutely nothing I can say that will make a bit of difference, that will ease your pain and suffering.

But what I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your service to this country and for all that you've done in your military career. And thank you for sharing with us. It's easy for those of us not on the front line to say "freedom isn't free." I am awed by all that you have done, that allows us to say that from the safety of our homes.

God bless, SPC Salzman.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LIFE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION! MAY GOD PLEASE BLESS YOUR PRECIOUS SOUL AND GIVE YOU GRACE AND PEACE!!

I remember reading something about using mirrors to trick the visual cortex of the brain, and it worked to relieve phantom limb pain. Ask your MD or psych about it. And watch the movie "Murder Ball." Good luck, stay strong.

Pay attention to the clever suggestions for acupuncture and using mirrors to trick the visual cortex - they work. You need to have the reconstructive surgery on your left hand evaluated by a competent orthopedic surgeon. Its a slapdash job that needs correction, if you are regain functional use of your hand. The damaged nerves and muscles can heal with time and physiotherapy.

You are still the go-to man - your problem solving capacity was in your brain, you were good at translating that to your hands - but you can still translate, to computer as images. I hope you can be fitted with new hand prosthetics that fit above the elbow and are connected to the nerves - you see, you're a great candidate for this functional hand that has gripping and pincering power, rotation and articulated finger motions. With that, you will guide a mouse, and you will continue your design problem solving capacity, perhaps as a designer or engineer.

Life is not about what you can't do, its about what you can do, with grit and determination. You're blessed with an agile mind. You could have gotten that shrapnel to the brain - and then what good would a pair of hands be, when a damaged mind is unable to remember how to use them?

Thank-you for your selflessness, soldier. Stay strong.

P

And I rode my motorcycle home in the rain yesterday, but I was smiling. Once I thought about becoming a basketcase, blinded, deaf, muted by war, no arms, no legs, what was left of my mind and body sitting on a shelf in a basket, my soul waiting for a nice person to come by and touch me, the wait is always too long in the darkness. You could have touched me in my basket. You have touched me today, and I hope you keep coming back to share your humanity. Love, lots of love...

Not a lot I can say. I'm a carpenter too, so I know the horror of feeling/being useless. I assume we both are proud of our functionality and our ability to solve problems in a hands-on way.

The only thing that comes to my mind is that computers -- which are just a little more complex than toaster ovens -- might be a real help to you. I've learned to build them and currently have an A+ cert.

You can probably read prints and plans. Your field skills haven't gone anywhere, they just need other hands to fill in for yours. And, hey, the entire world is short on really good builders.

Voice activation programs are getting pretty good. Not perfect, but good. A good project management program and a good voice program, mebbe a few classes at the local CC. You could be on your way to a new career.

Our union has a helments to hardhats program, I'll ask if there's anyhting they can do for your situation.

Feel free to email if I can help.

GTG

R

thank you for sharing your story. all i can do is wish you all the best and hope that you find your peace.

Dear Spc Salzman,

I agree completely with "Passerby" & Richard, you are STILL the go-to-guy. It'll be in a different way.

If you're still at WRMC, would you like a visit? I'm local to the area and if you'd like a visitor, send me an email.

Take care, and it's ok to cry you know.

MC

"I am not asking for sympathy here."

This is a natural mistake. Asking for sympathy is exactly the right thing to do. But since you've never had to deal with this before you don't know that. In school they taught you to read and write, and somebody taught you to fix a flat tire, and somebody else taught you the rest. But nobody ever taught you how to deal with a lost limb. So you're an amateur.

If sympathy might help, we have lots. There are three hundred million Americans, and we all care about how you feel, so if you need sympathy or a crying towel or a prosthesis we'll find a way. You might have to remind people of their responsibilities but you'll be helping them become better people if you do. A nation that spends a billion or so dollars a year on pet food can spare the effort to provide a little sympathy and whatever adaptive equipment or rehab training you're going to need.

I've been doing some traveling and it has provided me with some perspective. The US is going to have to find a way to deserve the protection we are getting from a courageous and honorable military. As it is, we Americans are getting better than we deserve and we are going to have to improve ourselves to measure up to our military. The words honor and courage have grown in meaning with the actions of the US military in Iraq and it's the rest of us that need to shape up.

Wow, your story puts my own impending surgery in perspective. You've reminded me that I've got no reason to complain.

Richard has some great suggestions. Your talent lay not so much in your hands as in your head and your eyes. I hope you take him up on these suggestions and keep that can-do, take charge mentality. You're still the go-to guy. You're just taking on a new area for your talents.

Please feel better soon and don't be afraid to ask for help and sympathy. You're a human being and you deserve it.

Soldier,

I am in awe and forever in gratitude for the sacrifice you and your fellow servicemen have given. Know that regardless of what others may say, there are innumerable american (and world) citizens that honor and respect the work you do.

Thank you and stay strong.

I'm glad you're able to cry and write about what has happened to you. That's a really good thing. If you couldn't process this thing, you'd be in far worse shape. You will still have your most important capabilities when you heal, you will still be practical and competant. How you express it will change. You will be able to communicate with others, perhaps better than before. You had the emotional wherewithal to marry a person you love, that is still part of you. At some point, you will look back and be rightfully proud of how you have coped with having major chunks of a dependable, hard-working body having been blow away.
As for being pissed-off...so am I, maybe from a different perspective. I am convinced we invaded Iraq to get to their oil. I believe human and monetary resoures were squandered to open their oil fields, instead of practical efforts to reduce energy use and develope renewable sources. I, like most Americans, don't want to think to much about what has happened to you because it's too difficult for us to face up to the reality that we are responsible for our actions. You said you didn't want sympathy, and I think that makes sense, sympathy is far too close to pity and pity means the other person is not an equal, which is another case of human stupidity. Does empathy work? If so, you've got it! I hope we hear more from you. We need it. Thank-you!

Wow, powerful stuff there, hits home more so being in a combat zone. The most important thing is to move on, your life doesn't stop because you're missing a limb. Acceptance of the fact may take some time but once you finally come to terms with your disability, you'll probably even hit life with a renewed vigor afterwards, discover new talents you never knew you had. Keep your chin up bud, I can't truly understand what you're going through but I do know that the world will keep on spinning, make the most out of the time you have on it and good luck.

Keep writing. Another soldier told me it was therapy to write about what happens. I have to believe that things will be better for you. You are too tough for life not to get better. There are more people out there who care for you than you will ever realize.

Please send a copy of your post to the President and VP Cheney. They need to know the death, destruction and shattered lives they are responsible for. "Thank you for your service" isn't anywhere near enough.

Keep writing, and let the tears flow when they need to. It's all part of the mourning for your loss. Then your heart will have room for the emotional healing that WILL happen. 30 years after losing her leg in a car accident my Mom would still have phatom feelings in her toes - like someone was tickling her - she'd burst out laughing uncontrollably. You have a mind and a purpose will come along to keep it busy and the body will follow. Now that millions of us are grateful for your life - what it was and more importantly what it will be!

I was blown away by your post and I am proud at the response you are receiving... Good, logical, loving, caring advice is being given but also SUPPORT... I wonder if you had any idea what kind of response you would receive... What a powerful post you wrote... You probably have no idea how many people you have affected and how many other soldiers you have helped... God be with you, may you find the peace that you are seeking, and please keep reaching out... As Americans, this is one of the only ways we can help our soldiers who fight and suffer for us... Thank you Spc Salzman... With much gratitude from The Strickland family in Sarasota, Florida

Contact Project Valor IT (Voice Activated Lap Tops for our Injured Troops) at
http://soldiersangels.org/valour/

They give voice activated computers to injured troops, a project of Major Chuck Ziegenfuss (http://www.tcoverride.blogspot.com/) Major Z was injured in an IED, lost the use of his hand and has had more than 30 surgeries since 2005. For those who want to help SPC Salzman, consider a donation here.

God Bless, JR. Things are tough right now but I am sure you will overcome.

Dear Parched Lumberjack,

If the "Dicks" in Washington had any idea about what they were sacrificing, they would not be sending America's best and brightest into danger.

Hang in there J.R. and try to remember that it took a great mind to do all those things with your hands.
All the best
Dave

Dear Parched Lumberjack,

If the "Dicks" in Washington had any idea about what they were sacrificing, they would not be sending America's best and brightest into danger.

Hang in there J.R. and try to remember that it took a great mind to do all those things with your hands.
All the best
Dave

Dear Parched Lumberjack: Reading your thoughts today makes me smile, relizing you have survived some awful sh>t and your gift for words makes you that much needed, here today, with us. Please continue to share your thoughts with us, You are very appreciated here and I am sure at home. May the Gods that brought you out of hell, bring you peace of mind, body and soul. Till then, be well my Friend.

When I was a kid, we used to have swimming parties in the summer. My Dad’s brothers and some of their friends, whom they had met in the war, and who had come back to work in the business my grandfather had started, were all there. Uncle Albert still had shrapnel in his leg and limped because one leg was shorter than the other. Fingers and toes were missing and in bathing suits scars showed. I think I was about eight when I first linked their scars with the war. ‘The war’ of course, was W.W.II. They had all fought. At first it made me sad, that they had been hurt, but I looked around, and they were having a ball, laughing and roughhousing with each other in the pool, lying around in the sun or just stuffing in food and beer. No one was paying any attention to their scars but me. I can’t remember when, but somehow, during those summers, for me their scars came to be badges of honour, (I am sure they did not view them as such, more like a bloody nuisance) I always liked my ‘uncles’, but when they stripped off their suits, they reminded me what they had been and what they had done, and I honoured them, as well.

Now, when I turn on the idiot box, and flip through the channels and run into those silly programs that idolise unreal silicone or anorexic bodies, I only see ugliness. My uncles had taught me at an early age what real beauty (and real life) was all about.

Take care,
get well,
be well.

I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for your sacrifice.

"I realize there are a lot of other people out there who are worse off than me.What is really sad to me when I think about it is how lucky I am compared to a lot of the other people here at Walter Reed. I think of the pain and frustration I am experiencing and I realize how it is multiplied for them. My pain is always there and I'm told will be for months to come. I can only imagine what it is like for the others here. There are soldiers here with injuries that I cannot even describe. Some are missing both legs. Some are missing both legs and both arms. When I think of this I can't help but feel a little selfish for my own grief."

DO NOT MINIMIZE YOUR TRAGITY!!! IT IS JUST AS HARD FOR YOU AS IT IS FOR THE PERSON WITH BOTH LEGS GONE. YOU JUST HAVE DIFFERENT GOALS AND THINGS TO LEARN TO DO IN YOUR NEW BODY AND LIFE. I AM A SURVIVOR OF CHILD ABUSE. I LEARNED THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT HAPPENED IT GIVES THE SAME RESULTS. ONE CHILD GETS RAPED OVER AND OVER AND THE OTHER GETS HER BREAST TOUCHED AND IS FORCED TO FEEL SOMETHING. BOTH CHILDREN WILL BE EFFECTED GREATLY AND DEEPLY AND IT WILL TAKE BOTH CHILDS INNOCINCE AWAY. THE ROAD TO RECOVERY IS HARD FOR BOTH AND THE LEVEL OF PAIN IT CAUSES IS THE SAME FOR BOTH.

YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO CRY AND SCREAM ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE MAD ABOUT IT. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO EXPRESS ANY AND ALL FEELINGS YOU MAY HAVE. ONE MAN IS NOT WORSE THEN THE OTHER, THEY JUST HAVE DIFFERNT CHALLENGES. DO NOT MINIMIZE WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL.

THANK YOU IS NEVER EVEN CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ALL THAT OUR SOLDIERS DO FOR US (CIVILIANS) BUT IT SEEMS THAT IT IS THE WORDS TO BEST DISCRIBE IT.

I THANK EACH AND EVERY SOLDIER WHO GOES INTO DANGER SO THAT I MAY HAVE THE FREEDOMS THAT I HAVE. MY HUSBAND IS IN IRAQ AS I SPEAK AND PRAY FOR HIM EVERYDAY. I AM A PERSON WHO COULD NEVER DO WHAT YOU OR HE DOES AND I AM THANKFUL BEYOND WORDS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO.

HOLD ON STRONG AND GOD HAS A PLAN THAT IS BIGGER THEN WE CAN KNOW. I SEND MY LOVE AND CARE TO YOU...

Your story should be required reading for everyone, from the White House on down. Far too many Americans do not realize that you, and all the others at Walter Reed and other hospitals and rehab centers, are indeed the true caost of freedom. I will be thinking of you.

Dear JR,

Reading this brought me back to 4 years old, when my parents were struggling to build a small farm. The Ag Dept sent out a young vet home from Korea who'd lost an arm there. He taught my dad how to build incubators, hatch out chicks, rig up warming and feeding stations, redesigned the stalls in the barn so that the feed was safe from vermin and all the livestock had separate, appropriate spaces, and when it was time, came back to teach us how to process our chickens. I remember sitting next to him holding a chicken while he plucked feathers and joked with my mother about the best stewed chicken recipe - (pour equal amounts of wine into the chicken & my dad and when he's stewed, so is the chicken). Our farm would not have survived without his assistance, and all he had was a hook. There's a whole lot more to you than a missing arm, and your skills would make a huge difference to those who don't have that 'do it' capability. We're here, we're reading you. Take advantage of every shred of assistance and support offered, and then demand more. Use that gumption, that creative f'ix-it, build-it' ability to forge a new path. It may not be the one you saw yourself on, but it's bound to be interesting, and might be really rewarding. Thanks is such a small word, but thanks, thank you. I'm also not that far away, so if you need a visit, just holler.

Spec. Salzman,
I know Freedom isn't Free. Many numerous men and women have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. we should all yell a big THANK YOU to all of our service personnel. I have three brothers who were Marines. One of my youngest brothers was in the first desert war.
War is an ugly part of life on this rock we call Earth. But if we leave before the job is complete, your sacrafice and the sacrafies of others will be in vain.
Remain strong, cry if needed, we all cry with you.
I pray daily for you and all of our service men and women in harm's way. GOD Bless You. Keep a positive outlook.

It's okay to greive the man you were. For men, more so than women, the body is who you are and the new configuration is someone else. Really. The more dramatic the physical change, the more dramatic the psychic one. The test now is to fit the man to the new configuration.

Meanwhile, a trick for the phantom pain. You have to remember that your brain has a wiring diagram that includes the old hand (and it is that diagram you will learn to take advantage of if you go for one of the newer artificial limbs that have some neural controls.) The energy is still flowing out and, when it isn't getting feedback looping from the missing nerves, error messages are generated.

If you aren't going for the newer limb, you can 'redraw' the diagram by practicing sending the signal out to the end of your present arm and looping it immediately back to the brain before it courses down to what is no longer there. It takes patience and practice but it really can be done. At different times, when the pain signals first start to begin a peak, conciously acknowledge the signal to yourself and admit that there isn't anything to be done. Get your SO to get you some cinnamon red hots or ike&mikes or some other candy that looks like a pill and take it to reinforce the acknowledgement (don't want to do this with the real pills, though you do want to take them. They won't touch the phantom pain but they will take care of the healing in the end of your new arm and that caused by the boney growths and other problems and pain is counterproductive to healing. Toughing it out is NOT an option. Stick to the pain management plan. Don't exceed but don't avoid!)

As someone with chronic pain for over forty years, I can tell you that this acknowledgement technique will raise your pain threshold and will work. So will the redrawing but it is hard and requires dedication. Admittedly, this last information is second-hand from reading old USSR research papers (they did a lot of research into phantom pain.) But many of their vets had pretty good success with it.

If you do go for the newer limb, you will find a use for the phantom pain. The signals you are sending will drive the new device. It ain't flesh but it will hold a lazer guide or a paint brush or a straight edge. The missing finger on the other hand will take some getting used to. The bones in what remains ARE misaligned, ARE mismatched. What you feel there is real. It is what it is. You can't change it, you just have to accept it. Again, it is in acknowledgement, learning the parameters of the new you.

You aren't less of you. The man that was is still in there. You don't have to divorce yourself from the body that remains. The body that was is gone and the old man and the new body need to form a new unit, a new you to go forward.

Don't worry about being less damaged than someone else. It is your life and it was changed and you don't have to like it. You just have to accept it for what it is and figure out how to work with it to make your life yours.

Finally, an idea of Protestant thought that this Military Catholic likes: turn it over. What you can't change, what you can't hold, give to God. Let it be the Creator's burden. You have enough to carry. Let the Maker manage the rest.

And once in a while, just to let it all out, find a quiet spot where no one can see and scream your head off. Say all those things you think you ought not say as loud and as angrily as you need to and then turn back and return to your daily life unburdened by just that bit.

Who knows, maybe SPC Fixit can figure out just what needs tweaked to max out his new limb. You can do it. Honest.

With tears in my eyes, I say thank you for sharing your story with us. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. You are a gifted man. Thank you for all that you have done, for all that you are doing now, and for all the good you will continue doing with your new life.

goddamn. I feel lucky. I'm home. I'm intact. I feel guilty. I have to pull off the road, alone and just break down heaving and crying. I sometimes know why. We probably drove the same MSRs/ASRs. Same risks, why did I come out intact? I'd trade my good right hand for my buddy's crippled one. I'd probably trade my arm for your gone one but I do not know why. Sometimes I know why. Good healing to you brother.

I remember and will always be thankful to you and all the other men and women who make my life in America what it is today, the fact that I can sleep tight at night, go to a shopping mall to shop and the list goes on. Thank you every one of you from now all the way back to the 1st war, the one that made us free, that made us Americans. God Bless and keep you.

A magnificent commentary on what we are paying for all this. In addition to being able to fix anything or do anything you can also express anything. That is also a wonderful talent to have. Keep writing!

JR,

I have been wondering how you are for some months since stopping by your last blog post. I am so grateful to hear from you now.

First let me say that I will be thanking you and all the others who have given so much for the freedom I have and can enjoy, for the entire rest of my life. In reading what you have said, I am so much more appreciative of what I have because of what you have been enduring. Would I change what you have been asked to deal with, yes, but I cling to the freedom you have given me and will treasure it always for the price that has been paid for it.

JR, I read "I’m struggling with the mentality that I’m just a one-armed, four-fingered gimp" and want to tell you that while one part of your life has changed for you, you were never simply the sum total of what your arms and hands did for you. You are the brain that powered them, you are the heart that asked them to do good, and most recently patriotic things for others and finally you are the spirit that motivates you. You are alive and will, despite how hard this readjustment time is, come to have a life that will be fulfilled and worthwhile.

It does not have to seem entirely possible at this moment that this will be the case for you. I have become a great believer due to my life circumstances, in the old adage "all things work for good", even awful and terrible things beyond our previous comprehension, can work for our future good. Maybe I believe this because I have willed it to be the case, but I know we have Divine help in making it so and I am praying for you to understand that you are so much more than what you think you are and that God will prove it to you.

I recall reading what you said on your blog about still being able to logroll!! Cry when you need to JR, it is cleansing and gets the bad stuff out, but set aside equal time by a force of your will power to positive thoughts about the future, "I will master this", I will defeat this" and "I can do all things through God who strengthens me." Even if you do not believe them as you say them and other positive things of this nature, initially, do them and repeat them with all the force of your being for what you say and what you believe, you will become. God bless you in this great endeavor.

Please continue to post here JR so that we can know how you are doing. Meanwhile, you are ever in my thoughts and prayers.

I lost my left ring finger through a table saw accident about two weeks ago. At Memorial Herman hospital in Houston, TX, my bed mate got in a awful side collision. He had fractured and a flail chest wound puncturing his lung and a swollen face with all the cuts in his head. Its what got me through my hospital stay knowing I was so lucky. Also I know what you mean about the crying, I get that too. God Bless SPC J.R. Salzman

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