I've done some pretty cool whitetail and elk hunts. One of my all time favorites is still 2009 when I went DIY MT archery elk and got a ton of help from Bowsite members. (Link below to my write-up from almost ten years ago.) I new next to nothing about elk hunting at that time other than what I read on Bowsite and info I got from several Bowsite members through PM.
My mind had, and still has, long lists of hunts I would like to go on one day. Different States to visit. Different mountians to climb and rivers to cross.
But, it turns out my health has taken a turn South. Some type of disease that affects the muscles in my body. Mostly muscle weakness, tingling, and sensory problems. Still working on exactly what it is but best case scenario is not good and worse case is really bad. Problems so bad now that use a walking cane parts of my day. 6 months ago I really started to notice the strength in my left leg and left arm getting weak. At that time my hand grip in my left hand was 90 lbs and the right was 125 lbs. 40 lbs of grip is considered normal and over 80 lbs is strong. One problem from the start was that I am left handed and my left should of been equally as strong as the right. Today, 6 months later my grip is 36-38lbs in both hands. My bow sits in my closet. I havent even attempted to try to draw it back because I don't think I could do it. The physical problems can be tough at times, but the mental game is the real mother ***ker that takes its toll. From never having much real stress or anxiety in my life --- to current day panic attacks and valium use. The mental game is tough when you think of the REAL important things like playing baseball with your 4 year old boy, taking a late evening walk with the wife, or imagining the day you walk your daughter down the aisle to get married (who is only 6 months old right now).
By far family is the number #1 most important. But, I struggle with wanting to be a great husband/dad and still wanting to be the hunter. A part of my mind stirs nonstop thinking about all the hunting I still have left to do... the way I want to do it. And, how the physical part of that hunting is going to most likely make a big change that greatly limits me. A part of me screams inside to run (pun intended) for the woods this fall and hunt hunt hunt hunt. That must be the selfish part of me as TIME is the enemy and I really-really like hunting.
I don't know what I am trying to say here.... Not sure if I am trying to give advice to others while you are still in good health or just looking for some attention to myself from my hunting subconscious. Im usually not much of a posting kind of person. Im writing this here on this forumn, but not many other people know. Im not the kind of guy who would post this kind of stuff on FB or IG. I cant really say that I would do life any different if I could do it all over again. Maybe just slow the pace of life down a notch. Maybe enjoy a little more and not be in such a race to win at everything. Take a few more moments to myself while hunting. Pause a little longer when you see one of those breath taking views and take a few more pictures.
Thanks for your time. Enjoy your season. Enjoy the day. Im down, but not out. My next health steps going to do some ALS center testing and rule that out. Then hopefully do some IVIG treaments to see if I can get some improvements for that if it is some type of auto immune disease.
-Trey from Texas Ps. FYI, The mental game is tough. Stress is high and anxiety is high. Worries are strong and tears are often. But I dont have depression or any bad life ending thought by any means for my particular situation.
Good luck with everything!
Life is a fickle affair . My great grandmother lived over 100 years and I had a brother that only lived 28 hours. At 60 years old , I have friends that don’t take a pill and others confined to a wheelchair from a stroke.
Everyday is a blessing and I pray you have many years ahead of you and that your health improves . Science today is more advanced than ever, be patient....
A little background about me…….. In my 34 years, I’ve never dealt with a single personal tragedy. Those only happened to other people. The only close relatives that have ever died are my grandmothers, who died peacefully after long full lives. No one in my immediate family has ever faced any serious illness. I grew up with a Mom, Dad, and sister that loved me and gave me a wonderful childhood. I never lacked for anything.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I would tell you that there are few things in life I haven’t excelled at…….athletics, music, academics…..... I’ve always had the (false) sense that I was in control because no matter what came at me, it seemed I could work hard enough or pull enough strings to make it go my way.
I’ve been blessed with a beautiful, intelligent, and loving wife who has given me the 3 most beautiful daughters I could ever ask for. I have amazing friends, spread across 6 continents. Professionally, I’ve enjoyed tremendous success that has brought money, some prestige, and has allowed me to travel all over. I could go on but, I won’t. The point of it all is this…………how does a person like me learn humility? How does a person like me learn to appreciate the blessings he has when he’s never known any different? How does a person like me learn to show real empathy and compassion to those who are suffering and in need? Answer: Pancytopenia
Pancytopenia is a word I vaguely remember hearing in a pathology lecture in dental school. I had to google it to remind me what it was. It’s “deficiency of all three cellular components of the blood (red cells, white cells, and platelets).” You see, for the last 2 months, I’ve been battling fatique and chronic pain. Usually, I would work all day, come home and hang out with the girls until their bed time, and then get on the computer and go hard at working on dental stuff………emails, social media, case documentation, work on lectures. It wasn’t unusual for me to go until 1 or 2 in the morning and then wake up and repeat it the next day. But the last couple months, I just couldn’t do it. My back was killing me and I was tired. I’d get the girls to bed and I was right behind them. I thought it was just from overworking or perhaps sleep apnea brought on by the weight I’ve packed on over the years from neglecting to exercise. It certainly wasn’t anything serious in my mind. Just thought I needed to rest more.
Then came the random bruises that would come up in areas I didn’t remember injuring. That was concerning. Then came cramping in my hands. It turns out it’s pretty hard to do dental work when you’re hands won’t cooperate. So, I scheduled a doctor appointment. I hadn’t been to the doctor in years so I figured it was time. They worked me in, gave me some meds to help with pain temporarily, took some blood, and rescheduled me the next week for a full physical. So I was a bit surprised to get a personal call from my doc at lunch on Tuesday of this week, a day before my scheduled appointment. He said the bloodwork had come back and didn’t look good……..pancytopenia. All my blood cell levels were way off which explained all my symptoms.
He told me he had me scheduled me to see a hematologist the next day and that I should be prepared to get a bone marrow biopsy. I was in shock. This couldn’t be right! I cancelled the rest of my day and headed home because I was in no shape to see more patients. Over the next few hours, my world fell apart. An internet search revealed a long list of possible causes and few of them were pretty. I am not an emotional guy. I can’t even tell you the last time I cried but, over the next two days I wept……….uncontrollable, sobbing, painful, weeping. The only two thoughts in my mind were “what if I can’t be around for my girls” and “look at all the time I’ve wasted on things that don’t ultimately matter”. I was in a DARK place. It brought me to my knees like you couldn’t imagine. Thankfully, we’ve been able to hold it together in front of the girls.
So yesterday, I went to the hematologist. Numbers were worse. My platelets were down to 22 thousand from 30 thousand on Friday (they should be between 150k and 350k). There were no answers to be had without a biopsy so they took some bone marrow from my hip. That hurts in case you’re wondering. From there, I had to go be blood typed and cross matched for a platelet transfusion and I spent last night hooked up to an IV getting platelets. I’m thankful to all you blood donors out there and also for the makers of Benadryl which allowed me to actually get some sleep.
Today has been better. I can’t explain it other than to tell you God has given me peace and comfort in the midst of this. I still don’t know anything and I won’t until we get the results next week. But, I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with my side of the family and as I type this, we’ve just finished setting up the presents for what I hope is the best Christmas ever for our kids. The only breakdowns today have been at the outpouring of love and support from friends and family and I am truly grateful for each and every one of you.
Now I started out by telling you that this sickness, whatever it may be, was a gift so let me get to the point. Until the last couple days, I’ve never experienced sorrow, fear, anxiety, or helplessness……….. at least not in their purest form. But I’m thankful to have experienced them because it’s tough to empathize with others until you walk that road.
I’m thankful for the humility it’s brought me. There’s no studying or working or paying my way out of this. It’s entirely out of my control. And it’s a good thing because if I could “fix” it, I’d only grow prideful.
I’m thankful for the chance to refocus my life on what’s really important. It’s way too easy for life to get fast and to get bogged down in stupid stuff like chasing money, possessions, notoriety, entertainment, hobbies, etc. Those things are so enticing and yet, the moment we get them, they fail to deliver on the happiness we thought they’d bring. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet, forfeit his soul?” Absolutely nothing. Friends, if today you have your health, food to eat, a home, and loved ones around you…….. be content. Anything beyond that is gravy
Finally, I’m thankful for the joy this has brought me. I’ve always heard about the difference between happiness and joy. That happiness was fleeting and dependent on circumstances whereas joy was unshakeable regardless of what you’re going through. Today, I felt the difference
I hope that this Christmas, you’ll slow down, love those around you, and realize that everything you know can change in an instant. I pray that you would know the peace, joy, and love that only Christ can bring you. Focus on what matters and toss the rest.
We’ve got a long week of waiting and wondering ahead of us and I would greatly appreciate your prayers for my family and for my health. I’m doing well right now both physically and emotionally. That changes form hour to hour right now but at the moment, I’m just a little weak and tired. We are in need of nothing but your prayers. I’ll be taking some much needed time off work through at least the end of the year. I might even find the time to make that online course Howard has been after me about ; ) Thank you to everyone in the DT communitiy........... you've enriched my life in so many ways.
I am not going to pretend I have any clue on how to persevere through your ailments. I could give you rah rah speeches, but I suspect you have the inner strength to grab onto whatever you need and not let go.
We all have an expiration date. God is undefeated. Do the things you can and spend your time with people whom you love. Life is too short. We do not know when we will no longer be able to do the things we love to do.
I’ll be praying for you brother and surely thinking of you constantly. Don’t leave us hanging please.
I too have had to negotiate some crap. I refer to life as thunderdome. Its a battle but I say bring it.
I'll be heading down tomorrow to chase some elk for a few days. Its where I find peace. I'll think of you while I'm out and send some good thoughts your way.
Good luck my friend, Jeff
I'm out hunting elk now and was getting a little frustrated with things not going my way. But reading this made me stop to appreciate being able to be out here. Really hope you get better, buddy.
Grandpa was disabled from the time I can remember, He used to pick me up after school when I was in Jr. High. He would be parked at the school curb in his old 3/4 ton Chevy, with two weapons appropriate for the season, a six pack of mountain Dew, and a package of oreo cookies.
We would head for the hills, and spend a couple of hours hunting. Grandpa would use a lawn chair and a rifle as crutches, walk until he was done then sit until he could walk again. I would run around the mountain while he walked the gated roads. (he killed more deer than I did). When dark hit dad would be off work and he would drive until he found the truck, hike in and carry grandpa back to the truck and I would carry the chair and the rifles. Most days we got grouse, many days we got deer.
It was hunting and it was family, your top two. He may have regretted it a few times when the pain was bad, but I never, never regretted it.
Now they have handicap roads in our area and they will give you the key to a gated road. Maybe not the type of hunting you long for, but it is a beautiful memory for me.
God is good all the time.
Before I began this journey I thought that in some ways mental issues of the mind were not a real thing. That maybe even that mental health issues in the media was over talked about a little too much. I was also the person who would take the positive direction in every situation. I would often say that no matter how bad your day could be there were still a billion plus people in this world in a worse position. But I now know the mind is a very powerful and personal thing. Effecting so many in their own ways.
I remember 6 months ago when I went to the doctor and was told that my problems were not skeletal back problems like I thought. When the doctor showed me things about my own body going wrong that I had never noticed and mentioned a list of very basic to very scary problems it could be.... it broke me down like nothing ever else before in my life. I dont know what it is like to be told that you are terminally dieing, but that day felt as close to it as possible. Over the next days and months from that first doctors visit Goggle turns into your worse enemy. Goggling symptoms and possible diseases that doctors mention is probably as much evil as anything could possibly be in the world. Goggle search can have you thinking you are dieing of just about anything and that is tough on the mind. Within the first 3 months I went from never having a panic attack to having several a week. To the point of them lasting a hour plus at a time and trips to the emergency room twice.
Since the start of this mess Ive had MRIs from head to tailbone. Nerve conductor tests, more blood tests that I can count (including lyme disease), a spinal tap, and have been to the 3 types of neuro doctors. Ive lost 30lbs. Went from 6'3 235lbs to 205lbs for the sake of trying to eat right. I take all kinds of supplements. B12, vitamin D3, vitamin C, methofolate, DHA oils, Iron, L-lysine, Pharma GABA250. Ive tried to make big changes in my life when it has come to Diet and Stress. I figure that I'm going to be the guy to try everything possible instead of doing little. Ive even tried using CBD oils and have really liked them so far. CBD oils over the Pharma pain pills has been great. I did the pain pills for a while but quickly saw the bad path that they could take me.
Today at this point best case is some form of CIDP. Possibly my immune system attacking my spine from two previous back surgeries. One surgery 13 years ago and the other 4 years ago. GBS as mentioned is similar to CIDP. Even though this isn't the best answer I would want it would be much better than the worse case.... ALS. I should be doing a ALS study here in the next few weeks in Houston (close to home). Also flying out to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to try and get more guidance once I rule out ALS. Goods news is that my brain looks ok so MS is not on the table.
ALSO, I dont want to forget to mention that God is good like so many others posted about. The prayers are very appreciated and my prayers will also go out to all others who have their own struggles, whatever they may be. Before I began all of this I thought everyone was healthy. We all see these great FB accounts and IG posts on social platforms. It makes everything look great. But since I have started using a cane to assist in my walking over the past months. Ive met so many people with so many health conditions that they have or that a close loved one of theirs has. Many of these people who I have known for years but never knew they had health problems they dealt with often. It is amazing when you slow down and put a cane in your hand at 32 yrs old that you really see how many people are really affected by both physical and mental problems. Its life changing to say the least.
I havent post anything to do with myself medically anywhere else. Id rather as few as possible know what I am going through. I fear to hurt others that care about myself. I decided that Bowsite would be a good place to turn to to break my silence about it and I am really glad I did. I am still going to try to hunt as much as I can this year. And as much as possible with my family. I love my wife amd my two kids more than anything else.
My little 4 year old loves to sit in the blind with me and my wife likes to hunt as well. I have a KS rifle tag unit 1 and 2. I have a muzzloader NM mule deer tage unit 41 and I will be doing a lot of whitetail hunting here in TX. My love is archery elk hunting but that will have to wait a while for now. I have also picked up a crossbow to replace my compound bow for now. Hopefully though there will be a chance for me again to pick the bow back up again. My work has been great to me and is supporting my extra time off this fall to spend more time with the family and some extra time hunting.
Thanks again so much for all the words. So touching and so great for me to read them. Just what I needed right now! Seriously! Im glad I made my post here. I had written it over a week ago but felt uneasy about comming out of the closet to anyone other than my direct family about my issues. Im glad I went ahead and finally posted it this AM. God bless you all and thank you Bowsite.
I had to experience this to understand.
You're right. Focus on things that matter now.
I hope for the best for you.
May God grant you the peace that passes all understanding and give you the measure of faith needed to receive your healing.
Jesus himself said that the faith of a mustard seed would move a mountain if it be God’s will and, used to Glorify God. Don’t ever forget that. Healing and happiness is missed so often in these trials due to the lack of faith from those in your position. That’s not my understanding of it. That is God’s own words.
I’ve been sick. I’ve missed hunting seasons. But, my faith in God has restored the life I dreamed of. Things aren’t perfect but, nobody here can say their life or path has been either. We live in a fallen world with fallen problems. Don’t wish yourself the best against those trials. We can’t beat this without him. So obey his commands and RECEIVE the promise he made if you follow his commands.
Fight like there this is no tomorrow. Do not give up. Simply put every stitch of your faith in God’s will and hold on bro. Don’t fall off the wagon. You are riding and he is driving. So, staybtge course.
I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. Or that you won’t have down times. Only to stay the course. Take it from a guy that has been there, our God is true to his word IF YOU give him the chance to be.
I’ll pray for you. I’ll pray for you all. Life is so fragile and, everyone forgets that until we are looking something life changing in the eyes.
Keep the faith. Keep the trust in him. And, let him do for you what HE promised he would in his word. God Bless brother.
When two or more gather in prayer, he will be present. What better way to show faith in God then to speak openly of your struggles? God says to go to him in all things. That means everything. Lean on him. He also instructs that we must pray in numbers for his healing touch. I haven’t read anything in the Bible that says we must face this alone. Have you?
I’m not a name it and claim it Christian. I can’t tell you what God’s will is concerning your health. However, I can and have told you what Jesus himself proclaimed to his disciples. I can also tell you that the power of God lies within reach of you. Once again, this is not my opinion. It’s Gods word. You must understand It was Jesus’s declaration to his disciples for a reason. The faith the size of a mustard seed will move mountains.
Continue to accept your course. Trust in God’s will while doing so. Ask for every prayer you can receive while facing this mountain And, give glory to God In all things.
This is going to be a long hard fight. Stay faithful to God’s instructions throughout this struggle. I’ll pray daily for you until you instruct me not to. That’s two gathered in his name concerning your issue. Imagine what a bunch more can accomplish doing the same.
Good for you that you reached out to share with the community here. It can be humbling and difficult for guys, especially young fellas, to acknowledge weakness and struggles. I'm 38, and thanks to some injuries and some genetic defects that have recently come to light I've realized some of my hunting dreams are only ever going to be just that, dreams.
Embrace the life you've been given and rejoice in what you have. It's not always easy, but it is always worth it.
God bless you!