Monday, March 21, 2011

Analyzing the Superman/Batman mythos

OK, I admit, I look at some silly things from time to time. But my son, clever boy that he is, proposed the infallibility of every one's boy in blue and red. Of course, he logically came to the conclusion that superman is not real. But, in his rationalization of the subject, he endeavored to understand why there would even be a batman if there was a superman. I found this idea pretty intriguing, so now you all get to suffer through a blog on it.

We all know superman. Fly faster then the speed of sound. Can pick up staggering objects such as buildings, chunks of earth and planes. Can run at super speeds, Blow freezing air out of his mouth, suck in with a hurricane like force, and shoot beams of energy that are equivalent to solar flares from his eyes. Oh ya and he bounces conventional weapons off his chest for fun too. Pretty amazing list of abilities. Now lets not forget his xray vision, his super hearing, and his super quick mind.

Batman on the other hand, Well lets see. Orphaned at a young age, serious trauma PTSD issues from watching his parents get killed. Rich beyond all means, a fine tuned physique the product of a regiment that would practically allow little else but time spent exercising. Martial arts experience in just about every known form. Gadgets that are extremely lightweight, durable and cutting edge. A keen knowledge of laws and their application. The almost unending need to travel the night fighting bad guys, meaning he never sleeps normal hours, yet still manages to pull off running a multi-billion dollar company.

Both of these are some pretty astounding feats. Batman's are of course more realistic, in that he is just a man, he can be hurt (and has). Superman has been hurt as well, but it always ends up being some form of universe ending thing that does it. Could either truly stand up to their tasks at hand.

Superman, raised by Midwest culture driven, ideological, assumed devout christian parents. Now we plunge his naive rear into a world filled with megalomaniacs, radicals, and even just the common hoodlum. He can hear EVERYTHING, he can see just about anything he wants. In other words he cant hide from the worlds evils. In truth for all his power, he cant fix the source of the real problem in the world which is mankind's own dissatisfaction with his current position and willingness to sacrifice others to increase that station. Would it even be possible, knowing superman's upbringing for him to forgive and pardon that many people. Or would having his beliefs destroyed be enough to push him over the edge. You have all this power, and yet none of the ability to stem the tide of evil at its source. In recent years they have sort of limited superman's intelligence down to being on a more normal scale. In fact, at one point superman comes into Gotham during a crisis and trys to "fix it" and this very point is proven to him by batman. "You are not a god nor do you have the right to pretend to be one" Despite his otherworldly origins we have to assume that he is still a product of his environment. Capable of only rationalizing most things as a "human" not as a kryptonian. I don't think someone in his position could do it without being driven insane at their inability to actually solve the worlds woes and protect it from itself.

Batman on the other hand, Well, Batman lives in the dark coils of humanities excess and greed. He was born understanding wealth, and quickly was taught that having everything doesn't protect you from losing what is most important. One could argue that with his parent's deaths, a portion of Batman's humanity died as well. Unlike Superman, I don't think he had any ideals to be lost. He has never had the ability to feel like he could solve all the problems of the world. To him it has always been a single driven purpose of one criminal at a time. Could someone like this exist? I am quite sure they do in one form or another. Police officers, DA's, even judges I think having spent time with the seedy underbelly eventually build up a tolerance and a understanding of what is needed and what battles can be won. Batman, to me is a all to realistic product of what society could truly create.

I understand the point of all this is discussing a moot point. Superman and Batman are both works of fiction. Neither exist in the world. But, I wont discourage my son from wanting them to exist. In this age where, kids quickly forget the core values of truth, justice, and the American way (A way which i pray one day we find again) I think a little hope of one day being the scourge of crime in Dacono is just fine for a boy age 7. Sure, like myself, he will grow up and change his mind several times before deciding what he wants to be. But maybe just maybe, he will carry a little bit of that boy inside him who wants a better world, one way or the other. And maybe that little boy will drive him to make it happen. I can only hope to be half the inspiration to him that my father was to me. And my father always let me dream. Even if it broke a few shovels (those who know me know the graveyard of broken shovel handles my youth left behind.)

Trying to quiet my overactive brain
Keep your chin up

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rituxamib Round 1

Well, as those close to me know, I recently had to stop my regiment of Tysabri. Turns out I am JC virus positive, which is not as scary as it sounds. The virus is very common in the general population, infecting 70 to 90 percent of humans; most people acquire JCV in childhood or adolescence. By itself it is not a huge deal. However when taking immuno suppressants (drugs that lower your white blood cell making abilities) there is the possibility that it can cause you to have progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

My neurologists suggested I try Rituxamib out as it has a much lower risk factor for PML. I gave it a shot, and I must say that round 1 REALLY sucked. On top of having rapid onset symptoms of the flu, and not just any flu, like the worst flu you have ever had, it also made me feel like it was hard to breath. I spiked a temperature of 100.1 during transfusion and was not able to finish the full first dose. Not a huge confidence builder in my opinion. My neuropathic pain has been 10 times worse since taking it however 3 days afterward most of the nasty symptoms have gone away, and I am left just with the pain. My sleep schedule is still all over the place as well.

I am so tired of all these different drugs. I am just beginning to feel like the drugs are worse then the disease. My headache has still not gone away. I still feel like my arms are just lit up with electrical pain and my legs are the same way. I have regained my balance back, and my strength seems to have mostly returned but I just don't like where this has left me. I am calling my Neurologist now about it, but every time I do I feel guilty about it. That is what this disease leaves you with sometimes. Alot of guilt. Guilt at not feeling like the man you should be for your wife. Guilt at not being the father you should be for your kids. I hear my kids fighting and I feel terrible that I'm yelling from a bed to get their attention. That is not good parenting. I feel bad that I'm not taking advantage of the great weather and getting outside and doing things.

I know I am just ones of millions effected by this disease. I am sure that I am better off then most. I feel like I am losing my mind some days. Its hard not to get selfish and see yourself first in times like this. I catch myself buying things I don't need at the grocery store, and not knowing why I do it. Every time I get an MRI and see more of my brain tissue gone I just cry. I am not ashamed to admit it. It becomes a game of what am I going to lose this week. I shouldn't vent, but then again hell, I am entitled to vent a little. I called the Doctor and of course no one can get back to me till Thursday. So tired of the bullshit some days.

Having trouble keeping my chin up today!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Its been awhile

I know I know. Its been awhile. I don't know why I haven't written much. I think to some extent I've been a little down in the dumps. I had been doing really well, practicing Yoga, regaining some of my muscle strength. I shed about 40 pounds got off all my diabetes meds, and half my blood pressure stuff. Then, around November, it all slid into reverse. Now anyone who knows anything about Multiple Sclerosis, knows this is very much the trend for the disease. I should have known that I had the possibility of this occurring. Yet I think its only natural to live in a bit of denial. Its also natural to dwell in self pity when something happens as well. I felt a lot of doom and gloom during this period that has only started lifting around February. Yet as I examine it, I am the only one who put myself in this state. Inactivity through self pity can be as much of a disease as the diseases we have labels for.

So this is me putting pen to paper (or keys to monitor?) to help myself realize what I do have. I do have a beautiful and wonderful wife. I have two healthy and vibrant children who are very smart. I have a house that much like me is a work in progress. I have some pretty darn good friends who act as a back up support group. Heck, I even have people who aren't related to me in any fashion ,beyond blood relation to my stepson, that act like family to me. So I guess my first step in all this is to realize I am not alone, as evidenced by the prior statements. OK good, round one goes to happiness. (for the record I really hate the term stepson. To me that somehow reduces the importance of my son to me. He is no less or more important then my daughter is to me. I don't know why the term even exists, because to me at least it adds a qualifier to something that shouldn't be there. It down plays a very important bond that can be built, as if it grants some reason to love something a little less. Nothing could be farther from the truth where Aris and I are concerned)

I have reconciled a lot of my past within myself. No, I haven't committed any crimes, robbed any banks, or did any evils to my fellow man (OK OK a little gas here and there Wendy but is that really evil). I have been guilty of judging folks a little harshly, but I think everyone does that from time to time. We judge the important part is in the judging process do we also look inward and play our own devil's advocate. As anyone who knows me will say, I probably over analyze even simple things to give them a fair shake. Some of that reconciling has been here in this blog. I have had the privilege of jotting my thoughts down, getting a few opinions and moving on. But this is a important resource that have a available to me. Not only do I have a inner monologue, but I have the pressure of rereading it, analyzing my thoughts, and then having others look upon them as well. Really makes you think about WHAT you think sometimes.

I have had some rough and tumble times with the medicines for treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. Doctors and Scientists alike will tell you that medicines are suppose to work a certain way. Sadly there is absolutely no way in a human being we can conjecture with 100% certainty from day to day just how a medicine will work. In my case Tysabri wiped out my immune system ( Every little snotty nose I came in contact with I got some present), caused festering boils on my skin, and raging headaches as well as stomach upset. Of course we talk to the doctors and we get the well meaning but not completely factual statement of "Well it hasn't done this in other patients" Thankfully at least the Doctors in the VA stopped the medication (not that I gave them much choice) It did teach me that I need to trust and listen to my own body more. We have become far to reliant on a magic pill to cure all things. The fact of the matter is, despite what scientists and doctors may think they know common sense does dictate certain cliches stand true. Our body will adapt to things over time. And through adaptation comes change.

I am living proof that medical science cant be completely viewed as factual. I "should" be in a wheelchair. Yet I have managed through late night yoga and better eating to retrain my brain function a bit. I should be on pills and insulin shots, but instead I did the next to impossible and despite every med they had me on having the side effect of weight gain, peeled weight off. The fact of the matter is we just don't know. I have opted to do one more medication trial of rituximab. I am walkin into this extremely leery. I have decided this is the last chance for modern medicine and me. If I have even half of what I suffered under Tysabri occur with Rituximab, I'm done with it. I will go the holistic route perhaps eastern medicine route for treatment from there on out. Ive been using more and more holistic treatment anyway and have felt 20 times better from that then any of the "fixes" I've been offered.

I guess what I am saying in all this is. Ive learned some things in the last year.
Listen to your body
-- It tells you the truth of things
Use the positive in your life to help heal your ills
We really are what we eat
. All this processed garbage we eat really does have a negative effect. Don't believe me, Try organic for a month. I mean REALLY try it. Shop around you can find organic cheaper then you think. I dropped my blood sugar almost 100 points by simply changing the quality of the food I eat. Not only that, but it also caused me to reduce portion sizes because I was feeling more satisfied by what I eat.
Most important of all, Inactivity does not lead to progress
. You will not find motivation unless you move. Plain and simple. One step will lead to the next but sitting on the couch is guaranteed to lead you nowhere.

I realize this has been a very mixed bag of things. But I didn't write this for other readers, I wrote it for me. To help me realize some very important stuff. I invite you to do the same with yourself. You don't have to publish it like I do. Just sit down and write it out, even more then just thinking about stuff writing spurs you into a lot of self reflection. As you struggle to pin down that next sentence, you will find the flurry of activity your brain engages in will move you farther then you might think.

Keep your chin up folks