Easier to Run… My Fight Just to Walk

I want you all to meet my good friend Rick. You can find him on Twitter as @El_Gandulito. I’ve known him now for about eight years. In the last three, he’s been through quite a lot with his health and ability to walk.

Through these trials, I, along with his family adapted to this and became as supportive and hopeful as possible. I saw him get into depression and hopelessness. he was one of the many reasons I created this website. By helping myself, I wanted to help others. I wanted to help Rick see that things aren’t really THAT bad, and that he would soon get better and get back to normal. Through positivity, support, and a little hope.

I would visit Rick, we would watch movies, eat, and play video games, like normal friends do. We would talk and I would be encouraging, and I even got him to go out to the tweetups in Chicago. He was opening up and it helped me show him that sometimes changing yourself helps your outlook in life.

Ultimately, he just got the right medication and is off his wheelchair and has such a happier demeanor. I am encouraging him to go back to one of his loves, cooking, and hopefully he will continue to make more friends online. Rick represents what it is to take the year and make it yours. He’s come from a low in life and is quickly climbing back up. Year of the Rick is in full force and he will relish his second chance at life. I am happy and excited to be a part of it.

Don’t take MY word for it though, here it is in his own words. I asked him to write up/summarize what he’s gone through in the past few years. Please take the time to read about his experience and keep in mind that right now he’s at the beginning of this new phase, of rediscovery, and of a better happier life.


“Easier to Run… My Fight Just to Walk”

By Rick Montanez

It’s hard to put into words the last three years of my life but, with a world of words at my disposal, the simplest way I could describe it would be…Frustrating!

I want to start at the beginning. The point at which my struggle should have, at least in my mind, been taken more seriously. Back in 2006 I went from walking “normally” to falling to the ground as I would walk. It just so happened that the months prior to March 2006 were a struggle just to find work. Walking to job interviews had become habit but, little did I realize, my walking was off. As I would go to interviews, there would not be one moment where I didn’t trip or fall at least once prior to getting to the interview office from my car. It wouldn’t be until a few months later that I looked back at myself and found that my “walking” was off and I just brushed it off as clumsiness.

It just so happened that, in March 2006, I was finally able to find a job after almost a year. Work became a weekly routine again and so did the falls. I began to notice, more consciously, that the normal task of walking from my car to my desk at work was beginning to be difficult. As I would walk from my car to the elevator, it was a mental fight just to keep my back straight and my posture upright. This would be the start at which I would trip over my own feet. At first, it was a weekly struggle. I would have to consciously make sure not to fall. Even worse, when I would fall, I would hope that there was an object that was sturdy enough that I could catch myself on so as to avoid injury. There were other times when I would try to avoid the falls in front of people so I wouldn’t injure them.

As time went by the falls would get increasingly worse. I began falling on a daily basis. At work, my legs would feel extremely weak and I would drop to my knees several times within the course of the day. I was finding it more and more difficult just to keep my balance. At home, I had to get dressed sitting down cause if I tried to dress standing up, my balance would falter.
After four months of falls, I was finally able to afford health insurance for myself as my job was only on a temporary basis and offered no health coverage.

It was in July of 2006 that I finally went to see my family doctor for my walking difficulties. I mentioned to him that I did some research on WebMd.com and felt that, at that time, the closest diagnosable match to my walking difficulties was Ataxia. He explained to me his thoughts on Ataxia and informed me that he would do some research himself but that he would help me to find an explanation for my walking. After two months of waiting, my doctor admitted me into the hospital for a three night stay so that he could run blood tests, MRI’s, etc. He explained to me that my difficulties could be the start of MS and wanted specific tests done to see what showed. He even referred me to one of the hospital neurologists while I was a patient so there would be more expert opinions available. A month later, October 2006, would find me hospitalized again for more testing. This time I would be in the hospital for almost the entire month of October. They ran blood work, did a spinal tap, which was one of the most painful and uncomfortable experiences I had to endure, and physical therapy. As a result of being in the hospital for so long, I lost my temp job because the company is not able to hold my job so, on top of being sick, I’m now unemployed.

After finding no answer to my walking difficulties through testing, I was released from the hospital on Halloween, of all days, and sent to Outpatient Physical Therapy. I was also put on muscle relaxant medication to see if that would help any. For a while the medication seemed to be helping. I was able to walk slightly better and had fewer falls but, two months into physical therapy, my symptoms returned. This time, the symptoms had gotten worse and, if that wasn’t bad enough, my health insurance dropped me from being covered due to a “Pre-existing Condition.”

Now its 2007, my condition has worsened to the point that I fall with every step, it’s difficult to get dressed, I can’t even stand up long enough to take a shower. My physical therapy has ended because I have no insurance and no means to pay the therapy bills so I’m basically stuck.

Months go by; my condition goes up and down. Some days I’m ok but not 100% stable, other days I just don’t want to be alive because my symptoms are just hard to deal with. I feel weak, tired, my legs feel heavy and hard to move, I get shaky in both my arms and legs. I just have no energy whatsoever to even initiate movement. I go through more testing at a third hospital as I was finally lucky enough to get state-sponsored health coverage. At this point it’s around the end of summer 2007 and I’m sent to a Movement Disorder clinic at the third hospital for more “help.”

It’s at this hospital where it is determined that the symptoms are stress-related. Basically, it’s all in my head and I’m sent to see a psychiatrist and psychologist. They put me on anti-depressants because of my thoughts of suicide but tell me that seeing these two doctors should help in getting my symptoms to subside. They also have me do hypnosis with the psychologist. About a year goes by and I’ve been seeing those two doctors with no improvement. My primary neurologist is no help so I seek another opinion. I’m referred to another neurologist at the same Movement Disorder clinic and she, after some time, runs more blood tests, sends me to see an eye doctor, and does a thyroid test. After all results come up negative, she looks at my file and says to me that she too believe my issue is stress-related. I think to myself, “She’s fucking nuts.” How can stress cause a person so many problems?
I don’t know what to do. I can’t move well and have been getting around for over a year in a wheelchair. My friends and family are supportive. They try to keep me positive. I’m at my wits-end though. No answers, no help.

So, it’s nearing the end of 2008, I’ve been to 6 different hospitals, had an array of tests/procedures done, and nothing has come about. I’m still falling, still experiencing tremors, still feeling extremely weak, and have idea why. I return to the Movement Disorder clinic and am told by my neurologist that she recommends I enter into this research study where I see a more experienced psychiatrist on a weekly basis for three months to see if intense psychotherapy sessions can help. After the three months are up, my neurologist says to come back and see her. If there has been no improvement in my condition she will start me on Parkinson’s medication as a potential treatment.

It’s December 2008 and I’ve started my weekly psychotherapy sessions. About a month and a half goes by with no improvement. It’s now mid-January 2009 and my symptoms are getting even worse now. At this point, the tremors in my arms and legs have increased to the point that, when I fall, I can’t pick myself back up. Have to have help from others in my family to get me off the floor and onto a chair. Heading into February, I can’t take this anymore. I go back to my original, or rather primary, doctor for help. He informs me that he doesn’t understand why the doctors aren’t helping me and will do everything in his power to get me better help. Another month goes by, condition still horrible, and I see my primary doctor again. After my appointment, he has me checked into a hospital again will he will work with the neurologists there to try and find an answer or possible solution to my walking difficulties. I spend about a week in that hospital. More blood tests are run and, after the first two days, am told I will be moved to the Cardiac monitoring floor as they, the neurologists, are going to start me on Parkinson’s medication. I am told that my symptoms resemble Parkinson’s so trying the medication might help but that the medication affects the heart so they will have me monitored for a few days. Three days have passed while I was on the Cardiac floor and the medication has had no negative affect on my heart but, in a surprise turn of events, has had a positive affect on my symptoms. Into the fourth day of being at the hospital and on the Parkinson’s medication, I’m feeling much better. I am able to walk, with a walker, more stable, and my tremors and weakness has subsided slightly. It’s now that I have a more positive outlook and can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After 3 years with the symptoms, I’m now happy.

It’s nearing the end of March as I write this. I’m still doing the weekly psychotherapy sessions and my condition is stable. I’m still on the Parkinson’s medication and it is still helping. I have had days where the symptoms nearly returned but, at least now, I have enough energy to fight back for my life.

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Edgar it Forward

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. – Edward Everett Hale

I’ve always been a fan of the concept “Pay it forward” from the same-named movie starring Haley Joel Osment. In the movie, the kid decides to come up with a way to change the world as a class assignment. Do something nice and tell them to pay it forward.

This is the kind of thing I try to live by. Do nice things for people simply because I can. Nothing’s more rewarding than having someone smile because of something I did. If enough people were like this in the world, it would be that much better.

Please take the time to “Edgar it forward” and put a smile in as many people’s faces as you can. Do it with candy, a compliment, or a prank… being Edgar’d is actually a great way to make them smile. How ever you can make them smile. Its such a great feeling and everyone should be able experience that.

Just do it.

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You’ve Been Edgar’d

@LeahJones gets Edgar’d by myself, @AmyGuth and @TheFemGeek.

You could be next!

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More to Come


Year of the Edgar from Edgar Garcia on Vimeo. Also available on Youtube.

Stay tuned!

Edgar

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Think Positive

You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. – Ralph Marston

Fear. Uncertainty. Lack of self-worth and self-confidence. These are things we must face every day. It keeps us from realizing our potential. What if I told you that you can rid of these hurdles easily? Its as easy as you make of it. That simple. I was a very shy person. This was as recent as High School. I faced these issues and they conquered me on a daily basis. Most of my life, actually.

Soon as I realized that I could use this energy to my advantage, things became much better for me. Think of them as challenges. Ask how you can push yourself today? Think positive.

That’s the rub. There’s where it gets interesting. We’re inclined to be pessimistic by nature. We’re worry-warts. Not all of us, but a good portion of us are very highly critical of ourselves. This is the main reason why we always wish we coulda, instead of reveling in the fact that we did. Its time to rid ourselves of negativity. It won’t completely go away, it never really does, but if we work towards a positive attitude about life, and everything, we could accomplish so much more.

I assume if you’re reading this, you know by now that I’ve recently acquired acting credit on IMDB. Obviously, being their webmaster had something to do with it, but don’t forget that I got there somehow. That somehow was by being myself. My positive self. This came about because of the Year of the Edgar notion. This is the type of thing I am talking about. I also had my first Dungeons and Dragons game last month as I said I would. The last thing I started was learning French. This is on my own, using some old software I had a while back. I haven’t spent any real time with it, but I have taken the first steps.

These are things I’ve wanted to do. So I either did them or begun doing them. You can do the exact same thing. You can accomplish so much by just keeping positive and trying things out. Stress levels will go down and life will be much sweeter.

I’m having the best time of my life right now and I really want others to share in this. Especially now with the way the economy is, there is too much seriousness going on and with life being so short, we need to make the best of our situations. Smile. Enjoy. Be positive.

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First Month

tea is delish

tea is delish

January has passed. Year of the Edgar is in full swing. As I mentioned before, this year its all about positivity. Its time to do things just because. No other reason but that. I want to take this moment to comment on what major goal I have accomplished this past month. If you follow my personal blog Edgar of all Trades, you know I have begun to lose weight. Yes, I dedicated January to start doing something I’ve tried to do in the past many times before only to fail. What’s different this time? Its my year.

This, my friends is the power of this message. I am here to tell you that anything is possible. If I can do this, so can you. There is so much behind my decision to become healthier. My sisters are a prime reason. I love them and I want to show them that when it comes down to it, we each have the power to change ourselves. I will continue my path of health for the rest of the year. I wanted to start this year off strong and show you that I meant business.

February is the shortest month and I have so many things I need to get done this year. It is my goal to step up the game and work on at least two goals. Note that the goals do not have to be major changes. One of the February goals is to learn and play Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve never done it before and have been curious for a long time. Through the help of @leahjones, I have a group to play with and it shall begin soon. I have not decided on the second goal so I will have to figure that one out soon and start working on it.

Have you taken this year for yourself yet? This is about the time that the new year’s resolutions begin to dissolve. This is the time to act! Please let me know what you’ve accomplished already this year, and/or what you plan to accomplish for February.

One final note, I’m looking for like-minded individuals with similar messages. If you have fully embraced this year as being your year, and you want to spread your story, or you have topics to discuss that coincide with positivity and creativity, please contact me so we can discuss collaborations on this website. I’d like to be able to add other forms of content here to better help people. May it be a one-shot blog post, or a specific column (weekly, monthly). Lets work together to show the world that live IS this easy.

Edgar

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Welcome to my Year

My name is Edgar Garcia. I am a simple man with simple ideals. I had ups and downs last year. Mostly ups. My network of people I know has grown exponentially, and I’ve had some very cool experiences. Now its the new year and I need to ante up. This year needs to be much better.

This year is going to be much better. I should know, its the Year of the Edgar. What does that mean? I keep saying that. No, its not about an ego trip. I am not egocentric. Full of myself. Or am I?

Here’s the thing; I am all about positivity. Self-affirmation. Year of the Edgar is actually not about me, but about you. That’s right, this is YOUR year. Feel good about yourself for once! Its been said that you are your own worst critic. Well, its time to become your own fan. Motivate yourself to do whatever it is you dream of doing this year. Be creative, be positive, and most of all, be active.

I have goals I want to accomplish this year. Make new friends, write more, learn a language and an instrument, be creative, possibly work on other websites I have come up with. Help as many people as I can however I can. Most importantly, continue my lifetime goal of having a healthy lifestyle and ultimately lose weight.

What are your goals? What five major goals do you want to have worked on by the end of this year? Comment here. Also, to help you get you on your way, I created a little banner you can add on your websites. Show people that this is your year. Also have a nifty little cartoon Edgar face. How cool is that?

Comment here as well if you add the banner to your website. Later on, I will compile a list of people that will make this year their year.

Peace.

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