Friday, July 5, 2013


So much times past since my last update. What began as a dream turned into a nightmare.

I was relatively healthy with the exception of a back with twenty years of abuse from working as a Paramedic. I had a new (at the time) procedure ten years ago when I had a spinal fusion. At the time they told me I was disabled, I proved them wrong. There's been other injuries and surgeries. Torn labrum's, and rotator cuffs in the shoulders. Torn up knees. Too many years lifting too many people in a young man's game. It's what I loved.

I loved every minute of it. Everything I did, I did to the best of my ability.

I started having chest pain in May of 2012. I would be on a call and afterwards have chest pain. I would have my partner perform a 12 and 15 lead EKG. I was highly surprised to see signs indicating damage. The period from June 2011 through the time I was forced to stop working on August 14, 2012 was pure torture. I worked despite my knees being so swollen and painful I had to have my partner help me up if I got down on the floor. I have a history of tachycardia, rapid heart rate. From the time I became sick in May Of 2011 until I had my diagnosis in May Of 2012 I was unable to take my heart medicine because my blood pressure was too low. There were day's I would stand up in the back of the ambulance and pass out.

Despite having all the signs indicating a tick borne illness, my doctor finally sent me to a Rheumatologist in May Of 2012. Two weeks later we got a panicked call from her. I had both Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The tests indicated I had them all along. She got me right into an infectious disease specialist. He started Doxycycline immediately and I took it for eight months in all. There were some attempts at IV antibiotic therapy for a month each. In the end, it was too late.

I continued having episodes of chest pain which were becoming more frequent. I had been fighting constant respiratory infections and lymphadenopathy in my lungs and neck which they were unable to determine the cause.

I scheduled a cardiac stress test which was performed on July 31, 2012. During the test I thought I was going to die. I had never felt such pain. I left the hospital which was an hours drive to await the results.

Well, I didn't have cell service for most of the drive home because I had frantic voice mails from the Cardiologist. I had failed the stress test and needed to return for an emergency heart catheterization.

It was late in the day when I listened to the voicemails. I called over and arranged to be at the hospital first thing the next morning. We woke up and I was having some chest pain. It was an hours drive to the hospital. I had changed jobs in the spring and the ambulance service I was working for was nowhere near where I worked or lived.

Once we arrived and they learned I was having chest pain it became a Cardiac Alert. I was taken straight to the ER and they hit me from all sides. Oxygen, IV's, aspirin, and Nitroglycerin. I was only in the ER about ten minutes before they had me in the cardiac catheterization lab.

The catheter was inserted into my right radial artery. It hurt so bad! A Nitroglycerin infusion was initiated. The cath revealed abnormal coronary artery anatomy and that I was having chest pain caused by spasm of the coronary arteries. No abnormal heart wall motion, no blockage. I have since found out two of my heart valves are leaking and my heart is enlarged, but that stems from all the damage to my lungs. I stayed overnight and was discharged the next day with a prescription for Nitroglycerin and orders to start taking baby Aspirin daily.

I continued having chest pain with any exertion. It seemed to get worse. I went back to work for the first time on August 14, 2012. My partner and I had finished our rig checks and chores when I got a phone call. It was a Paramedic I know from the town my mom lived in. He was calling out of professional courtesy. My dad had gone to town and returned and found her in her chair. She had passed away. He wanted to let me know there was nothing that could have been done. I left work and picked up my wife and kids and headed straight down. My dad was devastated. They had been together since I was 3-4 years old. 30+ years together. She was far from perfect but she was human and she was his everything.

That ended up being the last day I worked. My wife and I had been talking about her going to work and she had an offer of full time employment starting August 16. It was on nights and her first night was on the night of my moms funeral. I hated her being gone nights. The place was short handed and after taking out for our insurance she wasn't bringing in enough to get us by. A man losses his pride really fast when he has three kids to feed.

Times were hard. The girls were in school. My wife was working nights and working overtime. When she wasn't working she was sleeping. I had a three year old boy to care for. I did what I had to do.

I became very ill with a respiratory infection in September. I had them off and on since I was first ill. It was nonstop antibiotics. I was taking breathing treatments all the time, I was scared. We had never determined why the lymph nodes in my lungs were swollen. In late  October I was at the doctors office yet again. I was very ill. I gave a sputum sample and got a call when the results came in. I had beta hemalytic strep pneumonia. They started me on some different antibiotics but I just became sicker. The night of October 19, 2012 I woke up with a fever of 107.9. That's not a typo. I have never been so sick. My wife was working. I called and told her I was running a fever that high, she probably thought I was nuts until we retook my temperature. She took me straight to the ER. I don't recall much of what happened. For some reason they admitted me instead of shipping me out someplace with specialty services. I ended up going into heart failure, had a chest CT that revealed some nasty stuff. After 6 days they shipped me out to a University Hospital. The doctors there were dazed and confused. I laid there for two days, never saw a Cardiologist or Pulmonologist.

I had to get a new Cardiologist with my new insurance. I love the guy. He did tests and found the leaking heart valves, atrial enlargement, and found that I had pulmonary hypertension. All missed by my Pulmonologist. I was placed on long acting nitrates for the Angina.

I continued having problems breathing. I was in the ER at least once per month. January, February, March. My doctors office loved me. Seems as if I was there at least twice a month. My out of pocket maximum was met by the middle of February. This ER so called doctor came in and listened to me on March 3, 2013. No x-ray, no labs. He told me I had bronchitis and sent me home. I was going through so much Albuterol I ran out early. My doctor ordered a chest CT on March 22, 2013. The results were alarming.

Arrangements were made for a lung biopsy as soon as my cardiologist cleared me for surgery. The day before my cardiologist appointment I received a call from the Pulmonologist office, he had suffered a heart attack and I needed to arrange to find a new Pulmonologist.

I had an overnight oxygen study performed. I was shocked to discover my oxygen levels were dropping into the 50's for prolonged periods of time throughout the night. I was immediately placed on oxygen at night.

I was perfectly healthy prior to being bitten by those damn ticks. My life has been stolen. A positive lyme test was in my file. Nobody acted on it for one year. Nevermind the fact there were no testing for coinfections performed and I lived with the untreated Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever untreated for a year.

My wife and I have been separated since May. The reasons do not matter at this point. I moved out at her insistence the first of August.

We are going our separate ways. We had 21 years, would have been 22 in February.

Looking back maybe the dream wasn't ours to share. Perhaps it wasn't a nightmare. I never would have envisioned ending this blog this way.

It was supposed to end long from now. With a picture of our house. Maybe pictures of us sitting on the porch.

God chose me. He gave me a horrible illness and a steady stream of challenges. So even though it is not the ending we thought it was going to be, it really is not an ending at all.

It's a new beginning. A chance to make new dreams and overcome new challenges. God has given me a voice and the ability to communicate. There will be a new beginning and the dreams remain.

I started typing this update in July. I have finally healed enough to post it. This is closure on this chapter of my life and the opening of the next. God Bless. October 1, 2013

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Dream Remains

There has been much life changing events over the past couple of months.  Our land and cabin have been sold.  At the time I was feeling so much rage I was dangerous.  We spend so much money on medical insurance and place all our trust in our physicians and most of the time things go the way they are supposed to.

The land and cabin now belong to the people who were going to be our neighbors, we wish them the best of luck, it really is a beautiful place.  They have made alot of progress since they have been there.  I will try to get some pictures if they dont mind.  I saw on facebook that they had utilities ran and the driveway extended to the area we were going to build our house.  We found out that the cost for utilities was going to be very expensive, the area was out of the school district of our choice, and with me catching both Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever which nearly killed me I was reluctant to raise my children there.  In the end Gods plan for us wasn't what we thought it was.

I have been on Doxycycline since June 16 for the tick borne illnesses and according to my infectious disease doctor I will be on them for at least a year.  There is a huge public misconception about Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  When I tell someone I have the typical reponse is "when were you in the Rocky Mountains?"

The answer is, I haven't been.  These illnesses are here in Missouri and Kansas.  The ticks which transmit these bacteria like to hang out in transition zones.  Those areas where woods or high grass and the yard meet.  You may consider treating those areas along with areas your family likes to hang out with a pesticide.  I also suggest you do a daily tick check on all family members.  If you find a tick remove it promptly and correctly.  Document the date the tick was found and save the tick.  There are labs out there that can perform tests on the actual tick.  Lastly, if you begin to have symptoms of a tick borne illness see your physicia at once and insist upon testing and treatment while awaiting the test results.  The test results are not reliable as not all physicians use the correct lab, perform the correct test, your body may not have created antibodies for the illness yet, and lastly your physician as in my case will not see or tell you the results or not order all the appropriate testing.  The one saving grace is that most if not all tick borne illnesses all respond to Doxycycline.

Tickborne Diseases in the United States:

1.  Lyme disease
2.  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
3.  Ehrlichiosis
4.  Babesiosis
5.  Tularemia
6.  Rickettsia parkeri Rickettsiosis
7.  Anaplasmosis
8.  Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF)
9.  364D Rickettsiosis
10.  STARI (Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness)

Signs and Symptoms: Note I am Going To Give you the signs and symptoms of the two I have been diagnosed with and contracted in south-west Missouri near the Kansas border.  For further information please visit the CDC website:

Lyme Disease:

Early localized stage (3-30 days post tick bite)

1.  Red expanding rash called erythema migrans (EM).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Shattered Dreams

As most of you know my goal has been to build a sustainable future for my wife and kids.  I suppose it may not be obtainable now.

We spent many hours at our land where we planned to make our future.  Now im not sure how our future will play out.  The housing market has plunged to the point that im not sure we have any equity.

If you read back thru the blog you will see I became very ill.  The land I loved was slowly killing me.  I have felt like something is killing me this entire time.  I am always fatigued, my knees are swollen and I can barely walk.

I know my wife has been frustrated with me, I have missed out on so much of the kids this past year.  I was to the point that, I wasn't sure how much more of this pain and none of the doctors could come up with the answer.

We finnaly got into see a rheumatologist because my doctor could tell that I had artritis just by the look of my knees.

Surprise!  We got a call from the rheumatologist that my tests came back positive for rocky mountain spotted fever.  I have been on doxycycline for a week.

I am so angry that it has taken a year to figure this out, especially since I begged and pleaded for them to test me for tick borne diseases.

The day I became ill my symptoms were very high fever, the worst headache of my life.  Once they ct'd my chest and found the pneunonia thats all they focused on.

So now we are waiting to seec the infectious diseasev and cardiologist.  

So to the Dr who told me I had fibromyalgia, it doesn't appear overnight and you should have listened to me.  The fevers, joint pain, pettichial rash, and fhe fact told you I had removed at least 20-30 ticks a few,weeks prior should have clued you in.

Educate yourelves on tick borne diseases.  You know your body better than anyone!

Friday, May 11, 2012


It is no secret that we have been very frugal in building our cabin.  We could have just paid the nearly $6,000 for a prebuilt building from a big box store and we would've had our cabin but we don't have that kind of money to throw away when we can do something ourselves cheaper.

We already had most of the tools we would need, I have experience in carpentry, and we are making memories with the kids assisting with the building and that is something you can't place a price tag on!

The major jobs remaining are installing the windows on the east and west sides, building the porch, porch roof, and then installing the metal roofing.

We have been in the same boat as most everyone else, more bills than money.  That contributed with my health issues has really slowed the progress on our cabin.

We have much of the lumber on hand to build the porch and it's roof.  We only have to purchase a 2x6x16' and three piers.  I have been stressing out about getting the remaining two windows we need as money has been short.

We stopped in and visited several area flea markets this past week.  The last one we stopped at I noticed two windows sitting out beside the building.  We had been frequenting the flea markets as I have been looking for a draw knife to peal bark off some trees we are going to use for railings on our bridge we are building along with the cabins porch posts and railings.

I didn't find a single draw knife but when I asked about the windows the owner told me to load them up and I could have them.  While they aren't in the best shape a little sanding and staining is all it is going to cost me.  I am so grateful for his generosity.  I have spent many hours talking with him about sustainable living and usually one of us has a solar project we are working on.

We spent all day today working on our house so we can officially list it for sale.  I had lofty goals of completing the casing and base boards and thought I would even get the floor installed in the laundry room.  We completed most of the trim so now we need to do some caulking and painting and we will have the house presentable for listing.  It will be nice not having the two house payments!

I'll post a picture of the free windows prior to us restoring them.  We hope to get out there tomorrow to install the windows, get started on the porch, and finish the bridge.

The girls birthdays are both in June and I hope to surprise them with our first campout with a few of there friends in our cabin.  Wish me luck, I have so much to get done.

And just for those keeping track, we have spent only $500 thus far on our cabin which we could have bought for $6,000.  I estimate another $2,000 maximum for the same thing I would have gottem purchased off the lot.

We have also been collecting free pallets for which I have some interesting ideas...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter at the farm

We spent the day at the farm.  Sitting under a tree watching Jenn move a dirt pile, the girls looking for frogs, snakes, and anything else that crawls, and my boy riding his gator I couldn't help smiling.  We all enjoy the property and it really is starting to feel like home.

I haven't worked on the cabin lately, we mowed earlier this week so to keep the ticks at bay.  We weren't sure we would be able to make it out because we got alot of rain this week.

It ended up being a nice day.  We grilled some burgers and did some redneck easter egg hunting.  A good time was had by all.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blame It On The Rain

We drove out to the homestead today.  We have received several inches of rain over the past week and wanted to see how the water flowed thru our property.

In my last post I told you about my daughter digging a hole and it filling with water and my hypothesis of there being a spring.  At the time she dug the hole we had not seen much rain so I was really surprised when she hit water after digging less than two feet.  I don't remember if I mentioned but after she hit the water it made my wonder if the low spot of our land just below the berry patch would have easily accessable water.  It is always the last place to dry out and it's where we want to dig the pond.  We went to that area and dug down 3-4 feet and didn't hit any water, just clay.

When we reached the land today we didn't risk driving in for fear of getting stuck.  Once off the gravel the ground was saturated with water.

There was no way I was walking thru the pass so I took off on our path thru the woods.  Imagine my surprise to finding water flowing down the path we had cleared thru the woods.

I walked further into the woods to find the source of the water.  Remember that hole we dug?  The water was coming out of the ground about three feet uphill from the hole and also bubbling out of the hole.  The water in the hole was crystal clear.  I firmly believe I can drive a sand point well and have water for irrigation most of the year.

I made it out of the woods and found the cabin just like we left it.  It's a good thing I repaired the roofing felt because it would've been soaked inside if I hadn't.  The areas in front of the cabin where we have the play set for my son was wet with standing water.  Once I get the porch built we will have to make a path with pebbles.

On my way out I checked out the pass to the back of our property.  It looked like a pond and the water was flowing across it at a fairly good rate.  It will be a major project to make this area passable by car.  Right now I doubt if I could make it to the pass much less across it.

I shot multiple pictures, I will start with the picture of the hole full of water prior to all this rain.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lofty Plans

What wacky weather we have been experiencing.  Yesterday was spent mowing and cleaning up the yard at the house we are currently renting.  It was nice that the mowers started up without much problems, I have kept the batteries charged throughout winter.  Jenn and the girls picked up sticks that had fallen from the trees and stacked them in a pile at the curb.  I had planned on taking them to the farm for tender for our bon fires but our land lord pulled up in his truck and took them away.  We lucked out and have a good landlord.  It's amazing how many sticks fall from the trees it seems like we are always picking up sticks.

We managed to make it out to the cabin.  The ground was really wet, the pass muddy with standing water.  I was hesitant to drive the truck through it as we need new tires, the tread is pretty worn causing me to nearly get stuck on an earlier visit.  The ground is saturated despite no rain recently. 

Lacie had to dig a hole, she got down about a foot and a half and the hole started filling with water.  In no time the hole was nearly full.  The area she was digging is just inside the woods about 20 feet away from the wet weather stream.  I have been thinking about driving a sand point well for irrigating the berry plants.  With this hole filling with water so near the surface dispite no recent rain only affirms my belief that I could be successful in driving a shallow well.

I got to work installing plywood for the loft floor.  We got all the pieces up to cover the loft but only one piece is nailed down.  I was running out of time and the girls were ready for their bonfire, I also had to repair some storm damage as part of the roofing felt had blown off one side when we had high winds recently.