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Surgery #2 May 2016

On May 12th Katy got out of HealthSouth just in time for us to celebrate 26 years of marriage.  Starting on Monday May 16th Katy started losing control of her right leg and was no longer able to stand and use her cane or walker to go to the restroom on her own.  It became a major effort to get her off the couch and move from point A to point B.  On Wednesday evening I helped her to go upstairs to take a shower and she fell in the tub because her right leg just would not lift over the edge of the tub.  I wound up having to call 911 to get some stronger backs than mine to help her out.  On Thursday we spoke to the home health RN that came by for a visit and she in turn called the Neurosurgeons office who decided to have me bring Katy to MUSC ER department where she was admitted. 


A catscan revealed Katy has air on her brain which meant that she is leaking spinal fluid.  The air was expanding and causing issues such as headaches and pushing against other control areas of her brain. The doctor seems to think that once the hole is plugged and the air dissapates that her mobility will return to normal.  Katy went into surgery around 1:30 pm today and it will last approximately 3 hours.  They will keep her in recovery and possibly ICU for one day to allow the air to get out of her brain and the fluid to return.  Then she will spend 3 or 4 days at the hospital in her regular room. 

I am very thankful to my new found angels by the names of Kim and Katie who have been a huge help with my Katy this week while I am at work.  Both of them helped her with daily routine stuff and they have been keeping an eye on Willow while I am at the hospital.  A huge heartfelt thanks goes out to my neighbors who have selflessly given of their time and energy to support another neighbor.  Can you imagine how awesome this world would be if everyone would take the time to do this?  People caring for people because it is the right thing to do. 


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Random Ramblings

Katy has been home from HealthSouth for 4 days now.  It sure is good to have her home.  Willow sleeps on the couch next to her while she sleeps in her recliner.  The couch has two recliners built into it and she is having to sleep in that until we can get a portable AC unit upstairs for the bedroom.  So, for now, we snore together downstairs in our respective recliners. 

So far this week home health has sent an RN to do a patient assessment and the PT person came by to do one as well.  I think that Katy will get a visit two or three times per week for a while.  I am sure Cigna will see to it that those visits end sooner than later.  We still have to come up with 2300.00 to pay up our 5k family deductible for 2016.  Once we do that Cigna will pay 100% for everything that is left minus what they refuse to pay for.  The hospital bill estimation before the surgery came to 71,000.00 so I am sure we will get an updated bill soon.  That does not count the bill for the surgeons and other doctors who were on her healthcare team while she was at MUSC for a week. 

Justin came by to visit his mother at HealthSouth while she as there and Katy received several get well cards and flowers for her room.  Several church members came by to visit including the pastor which really made her day.  One of the church members brought Katy 3 paintings that are now hanging in the bedroom.  They are very colorful and cheerful looking.

The next step for Katy is for her to regain some of her strength.  Katy spends a lot of time in her recliner dozing for now and watching TV and using her iPad to surf facebook so she can chat with her friends and family.  On Monday she will be calling her case worker to see about getting the wheelchair delivered so she can go to church and other places. 

Katy and I both appreciate the outpouring of love and generosity through her Gofundme page. 


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Challenges in 2016

We are 3.5 months into the new year and there has not been any lack of challenging events.

The biggest challenge has been to convince our insurance carrier, Cigna, to authorize an MRI for my wife Katy.  In 2011 Katy was diagnosed with a brain tumor after discovering that the hearing in her right ear was greatly diminished.  Fast forward to 2015 and 2016 and Katy has a hard time with her balance to the point she has been falling a lot.  Katy went to see an ENT the other day and he agrees that there needs to be a new MRI done to see if the tumor has grown which he thinks it has.  Cigna is not authorizing the MRI because they do not see any clinical evidence for her to have the exam.  There is no clinical evidence because the doctors at MUSC are not entering the proper notes for her medical records. 

Our next challenge has been to reduce our living expenses down to the bare minimum.  We were fortunate enough to reduce our rent 50% and that has certainly helped.  Our car payment is higher than I would like for it to be but thanks to less than stellar credit it is what it is.  We are being forced to ditch our cable provider and do without cable TV.  I believe that I could do without cable TV for much longer than I could do without Internet connectivity.  Luckily for us I have a MiFi that allows us to connect without depending on Comcast. 

Both of us are battling with our weight and the need to reduce it so we can increase our quality and longevity of life.  We want to be healthier so we can feel better physically and be able to get around better.  Katy has been fighting with a back issue that causes pain to shoot down her leg.  We got her a shot in 2015 and after insurance it cost us 800.00.  She needs to get another one but we just cant afford those prices.  That means that Katy cant work since she is unable to stand for any longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Along with Cigna we are fighting with the Social Security Administration as we try to get them to authorize Katy being on disability.  She was denied the first time in 2015 and now we have engaged with a law firm in Mt Pleasant that specializes in this sort of thing.  They told Katy that it typically takes about 20 months to get approved but that she could get denied several more times before she is approved. 

Despite our challenges we are still together.  We love one another and support one another in whatever ways we can.  God has blessed us with having our needs met.  We need to remember that needs are different than wants and that we cannot compare ourselves to others. 

Our son Justin is living downtown Charleston with his girlfriend and he is attending Trident Tech. At first he wanted to be a geologist but has now changed to wanting to be an RN.  Kristina landed somewhere in Louisiana and seems to be liking it there. 

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Is the ocean too loud?

I left the protective cover of light and familiar surroundings, and headed to the rushing sound. The sound was so loud that it seemed to mask all other sounds.

As I walked the path of asphalt, and continued on to the boardwalk, I was greeted by many different types of insects who were creating their own symphony of noise. I forced myself to stop and listen with my eyes closed standing there in the dark. I could pick out 5 or 6 distinctive insect sounds. I brought a flashlight and a cell phone with me on my brief journey, but I did not want to turn either of them on for fear of interrupting the cascade of life all around me.

As I walked up the boardwalk and closer to the water’s edge I was greeted by the sounds of rushing and crashing waves. The water was all the way up against the boardwalk. The beach was being massaged constantly by the rushing of the ocean back and forth. I turned on my flashlight briefly to see if I could see any tiny creatures scurrying about but none were to be found. It was as if they were burrowed deep within the sand seeking safety from the rushing ocean.

I pocketed the flashlight so that my eyes could adjust to the darkness. In the northeast sky I watched as a full moon the size of Texas began to climb above a bank of clouds and shone brightly on the waves below. Where there were no clouds I could see the twinkling of many stars. I attempted to take some pictures with my cell phone but the camera was not going to be able to capture the beauty and splendor that I could see before me. This would have to be a moment that I would capture with my mind’s eye and find a place in my memory to store.

Off in the distance I could see thunderstorms that were lighting up the sky with lightning bolts and illuminating the clouds all around them. The moon and the lightning bolts were had an orange tint to them. As I watched the cloud cover in different spots in the sky they appeared to be cotton balls drifting about. The storms were far enough away that I could not hear any thunderclaps. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be on a boat or ship near those thunderstorms. I could imagine how the storms would cause the waves to increase in both size and tempo. I could imagine the waves crashing into the bow of the boat as it struggled to make progress towards its destination. I tried to imagine the ship mates as they watched helplessly as the ocean waves crested and blew over their boat and not be able to do anything about it. I think that I was glad that I was not anywhere near those crashing waves and lightning. I would be better off observing from a safe distance. I remember thinking to myself that if the storms got too close to me that I would be able to walk back to the lights and buildings where we live and get out of harm’s way.

As I took all of this in and allowed my senses of sight, sound and smell catalog it all, I was reminded of a couple of things. The first thing that hit me was the splendor and majesty of it all. Once again I was reminded that life is much bigger than me. There are so many awesome things all around me and it is important that I take the time to seek those things out. When I do that it helps me to put the perception of who I am and my limited world into perspective. As I gazed upon the moon, stars and lightning I was again reminded of how big our planet is and that we mortal beings did not create all that I could see. I was reminded of the fact that there is something much bigger than all of us at work.

I initially went out to figure out why the ocean was being so loud this evening. After I spent a period of time taking in the sights and sounds, I realized that it was not so loud after all.

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What happened to modesty and consideration ?

Despite what you may think, I am not a prude.  I guess I have an unrealistic expectation of my fellow man when it comes to being considerate and showing some modesty in public.

Katy and I live in a nice gated community.  Please let me highlight the word community.  One definition of community is as follows.

“A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government”

In this gated community we all sign a lease and we live under the rules that are set out in that lease.  As members of this community I would like to think that we will be aware of how our actions affect other community members.  This is where being considerate of others comes in. Unfortunately there are those people who live in a community who are not considerate of others but are inconsiderate. Here is the definition for inconsiderate.

Thoughtless of others; displaying a lack of consideration.

Living in a gated community some inconsiderate activities include the following

  • playing music as loud as we want
  • throwing trash on the ground or in the parking lots
  • ignoring reserved parking signs and rules
  • having loud parties until 2 am in the morning
  • talking loudly in common areas
  • racing your motorcycle or car engines when you feel like it
  • allowing your car alarm to go off for a long period of time
  • not picking up your pets poop

I was taught at an early age to think about what I do before I do it.  How is it going to affect my fellow man?  Is it going to be viewed as offensive by them?  How would you feel if someone else were doing the very same thing?  I was taught to be objective and to try and put myself in the other person’s place before I make a decision on what to do.

We all see acts of kindness and acts of inconsideration in the world around us.  People have the power to decide how they want to act around others.  Sometimes people are inconsiderate around others because they did not have the benefit of being taught better by their parents.  Maybe some people just do not play well around others and like to show their proverbial behinds when they are in public.  I was taught that saying thank you, excuse me, and have a nice day were words that conveyed respect and honor to those around us.

Last but not least lets examine the word modesty and how it applies to every day living.

  • having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
  • having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent:

Living in a gated community, especially during the hot summer months, reminds me of the total lack of modesty when it comes to swim wear. This is where the “my not being a prude” comes in to play.  I do appreciate the physique of the opposite sex very much.  God wired us guys to like and appreciate the way a woman appears physically. It seems to me that we live in a hyper sexual world and that when it comes to swim attire at the pool anything goes.  The more revealing it is, the better it is.  In other words, some women leave nothing to the imagination when they go to the pool.  It does not seem to matter if they are in the pool or out of the pool either.

Here is what blows my mind.  If a woman catches you looking you are considered a perv.  Here is another thing that blows my mind.  Men apparently like for their girlfriends or wives to be scantily attired out in public.  It is almost as if they are showing off their trophies.  On occasion I have seen some women who make it a point to cover themselves up a little bit when they get out of the pool.  That is because they are exercising a measure of modesty and perhaps do not want to encourage the opposite sex to drown in their own drool.

I am thinking that in order for me to avoid the overtly displayed eye candy I am probably going to need to walk around the outside of the pool area on the way to the mailbox and not cut through the pool area to get there.  There is no sense in my torturing myself and viewing more than I should be viewing.  Doing that would honor my wife and keep me out of trouble.

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Memorial Day is not happy

This is Memorial Day weekend 2015

I thinStarsStripesk that some Americans are confused about what this holiday is. No, it is not Labor Day. No, it is not Independence Day. It is not Veterans Day.

I think some folks confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. On Veterans Day we honor our armed forces members who are currently serving or have served in the past. On Memorial Day we “remember” or honor the memories of fallen service members who have died so that we may have the freedoms we hold dear today in America.

I think that one of the problems with holidays is that most Americans identify holidays with long weekends in which they can get away from work and have a good time. Having a good time typically means getting together with family and friends and enjoying good food and cold beer or whatever it is you like to drink.

I have no problems with people having a good time and letting their hair down. I do have a problem with retail personnel greeting me with the saying “Happy Memorial Day”. Brick and mortar and online retailers like to leverage any holiday they can to sell their goods and services. Is that the best we can do?

Sadly enough, there is nothing happy about Memorial Day. People in our past have laid down their lives and paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Their lives enable us to enjoy the freedoms we take for granted every day. Yes, they laid down their lives for idiots that like to burn the American Flag and exercise their 1st amendment rights.

On Monday May 25th let’s remember that our freedoms were purchased with a price. Please take a few moments away from the weekend long festivities to think about this and to be with someone who has lost a loved one and has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us all.

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Testimony: Paul Arsenault

I recently met PaScreen Shot 2015-03-08 at 9.48.34 PMul at DXL where he helped me to try on some new clothes.  Paul made my shopping experience much easier than I had expected.  Typically I hate shopping for clothes because it reminds me of how morbidly obese I am.  Weight loss has always been a struggle for me and so when I shop for clothes it is a very depressing experience.  Luckily for me Paul was working that day and he helped me out with the clothing and shared his faith with me.  He encouraged me on my weight loss journey and told me about his journey as well.  His story encouraged me.  We are friends on Facebook and this evening I saw the link to his testimony on the church website he attends.  I was sort of surprised to read this but I am proud of Paul’s courage and faith.  I would encourage you to read it as well.

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Fighting obesity 2014 and l lost the fight.

Today is December 28, 2014 and I am morbidly obese. There is no sense sugar coating the obvious. On Monday December 22nd I got on the scales and weighed in at a whopping 380 lbs. I became angry for a good reason. In 2014 I had hoped that the digits on the scale would be moving in the opposite direction.

I remember telling someone on social media how my goal was to lose 50 lbs this year. Instead of losing 50 lbs I gained 50 lbs. All of the hard work that I had done in order to lose weight in 2013 was gone. Now I am worse off than I was in 2013 and I am living with the consequences of obesity.

Here are some of the consequences

  • Very little energy
  • No flexibility
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Low self-image
  • Low self confidence
  • Generally feeling like crap
  • Always feeling guilty about eating
  • Clothing that does not fit right if at all

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, or slipping into depression about my situation, I decided to become angry with myself. Here are some things I am angry about.

  • Eating food that is known to pack on the pounds
  • Poor food choices
  • Giving in to depression about how I look
  • Emotional eating
  • Not sticking with an exercise routine
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Drinking too many diet sodas
  • Snacking too much late at night
  • Visiting fast food restaurants too much

What I need is a change of attitude. I need to switch emotions from self-pity and depression to anger and determination. If I expect a change to occur in my situation then I must be willing to make changes in my life. Positive changes that will benefit me both in the near future but pay dividends in the long run. I realize that if I do not lose a lot of this excess blubber then I am a candidate for a stroke, heart attack or both.

My wife and I both have friends and friends of friends who have had heart attacks just this month. Most of these folks are in their 50’s like us. I cannot speak to their lifestyle or eating habits because I do not know them. I just know that these events are like warning signs to me to do something. I must do everything within my power to lose weight.

So, knowing all of this, what will I do? I am going to take baby steps and make some immediate changes. Doing these things has enabled me to drop 8.5 pounds just this week.

  • Limit myself to one diet drink during supper and no more
  • Drink (8) 8 oz glasses of water
  • Stop eating sweets
  • Stop eating breads
  • Stop snacking late at night
  • If I must eat a snack make sure it is a healthy snack
  • Exercise as much as possible -à walking is good
  • Stop beating myself up
  • Educate myself about food

Having lived with obesity for way too long, I understand the emotional rollercoaster that is involved in gaining weight and then losing weight. Losing weight and then regaining even more. I must break that cycle of madness. I need to remind myself that this is a lifelong problem and it is going to take some time for me to overcome it. You cannot eat an elephant all in one sitting and you certainly cannot lose the elephant all in one sitting either. I have to make good decisions from moment to moment and not give in to emotions. I must remove the temptations from my living areas. I must surround myself with supportive people who will engage me and challenge me to do the right things.

Living with obesity means that my addiction is food. Food is something we all must have to survive. I need to think about food as fuel for living and eat the correct fuel. I need to eat food that will help me burn calories and not store it as fat.

2014 is almost in the books and I lost the battle this year. 2015 is a new year and I plan on making some progress with losing some weight. Will you join me? How can we help one another? Please tell me I am not the only person battling the obesity monster in 2015.

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Christmas 2014

ChristmasTree2014Katy and I are in the “empty nester” stage of life now.  Kristina is in Eugene Oregon and Justin is living with his girlfriend and her family in downtown Charleston.  Both children are adults now and doing their thing.  Learning how to beat a path down the road of life on their own.

Katy and I figured there was no need to go through the hassle of getting a big tree for Christmas.  If found this 2.5 foot tree at Home Depot.  It was pre lit and decorated.  You pull it out of the box, fluff it up a little and plug it in.  Instant Christmas tree.  LOL

You could say that this was one of the more frugal Christmas years on record for us. No credit cards means that I wont be paying for Christmas 2014 in 2015.  Our gift to one another was to go to the Carolina Opry and see the Christmas show two days late.  I have to tell you, if you live in South Carolina or a near by state, you should travel to Myrtle Beach SC and see the show.  You will be glad that you did.

On a sad note, I found out that my sister who lived in Canton Ohio passed away at some point on Christmas Eve. Rest in peace Tanya.


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In loving memory of Tanya Lynn Moffitt

Tanya_GrandsonsTanya Lynn Moffitt was born on December 27th, 1959 and left this life on December 24th, 2014.  She leaves behind a companion and several children and grandchildren.  Tanya lived in Canton Ohio.

Tanya and I were both adopted from a German orphanage in Aschaffenburg Germany in 1962 by James and Hedy A Moffitt.  My father, James Moffitt Sr was stationed in Frankfurt Germany and met my mother at a bingo game. Shortly after meeting they fell in love and tried to have a family.  After several miscarriages they decided to adopt a girl which turned out to be Tanya.

The paperwork process took approximately a year and as I hear it when they went to pick up Tanya from the orphanage the nuns told my parents about ME, her brother.  I was told that my father walked over to my crib and picked me up.  I grabbed the hat off of his head and threw it across the room and laughed at him.  That resulted in my being adopted as well.  My sister and I both were able to receive the medical care that we both needed and were able to come to America.

I am horrible with remembering exact dates but I remember that Tanya entered into the Army when she was about 18 or 19 years old and went to boot camp in Fort Benning Georgia.  At some point Tanya moved to Canton Ohio and settled down to have a family.  I know that Christina and Dean are two of her children, and two of her grandchildren are pictured with her in the photo above.

I have many fond childhood memories of Tanya and I as we were raised in small town called Quinlan Texas.






Quinlan is in North East Texas between Terrell and Greenville near Lake Tawakoni.  My father retired from the Army after 26 years of service, and moved his family back to his home town of Quinlan.  Tanya and I spent our childhood there and attended Quinlan Independent School district schools.  We both attended Ford High school and graduated in 1978(Tanya) and (James Jr)1980.

Over the years Tanya and I grew apart and for whatever reasons we did not stay in contract as regularly as we should have.  Hind sight is always 20/20 and now I regret this fact.  Hopefully it will serve as a reminder to all of us that life is not forever and that we need to love and hug those of us that are near and dear to us.  I know that I as well as all of Tanya’s friends and family will sorely miss her.  Rest in peace my sister, you are loved.


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