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Well, sometimes it isn't good news....

Journal Entry: Fri Jul 16, 2010, 1:08 PM


I'm going in for vascular surgery again. 4th time for major in 3.5 years. My arterial system is shredding away from the wist down. The only other end game besides death is death by slow attrition due to an ongoing series of amputations.

My immune system is being torn apart. Turned off, Turned on. Turned off. Turned on. That can't be good for it over time. I've had more radiation over my life than a chemo patient, or someone who works in a missile silo or on a submarine. There is cumulative effect of system drain from the surgeries. I can so perfectly, completely empathize with people who are gravely ill or terminal preferring certain music or sounds. I need more and more sources of stimulus to pull mu thoughts away from the damage my body is sustaining that I can't come back from.

We're steadily moving towards a nexus where the main decision is what amputation to try first. The right one could arrest the progression of the disease for as long (possibly)) as 12-20 years, before symptoms return and force me to address my disease again.

But, I'll survive this up-coming surgery just fine. I quit smoking 8 weeks ago. Everyone is going to be extremely proud of me, and oh so hopeful for a good outcome and prognosis for me regarding the progression of my disease. This disease... that has already cost me so much...that I already hate.

See you all a few weeks from now after the surgery.

Rob

  • Listening to: myself snore
  • Reading: not so much lately
  • Watching: Spartacus Blood and Sand, The Pacific, DWTS
  • Playing: at being an adult
  • Eating: more salads...yeesh!
  • Drinking: now and then. But only in moderation
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:icongiadrosich:
giadrosich Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
:hug:
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
aww....:)
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:iconethalenskye:
EthalenSkye Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2010
I'm not sure what I could say that hasn't been said already, Rob.
I just stopped by your page to see what you are all about. I looked at your work, and it is outstanding! Wonderful!
And then I read your journal....
Man! I just want you to know I am hoping and praying (if you don't mind) the best for you. You inspired me instantly when you "stopped by" to view my work and left such a grand comment! And you inspire me still. You keep your head up and look ahead, Rob! Keep being open to those around you and those of us starting to know you. You're an amazing bloke to me already!

I'm rooting for you! Whatever it takes!

Much love, my friend!
~David
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks David. I truly appreciate the kind words.

I thought I'd mention that I feel I'm always going to appreciate your works based on The Silmarillion more than your works based on The Lord Of The Rings. Not that those pieces aren't also quite good. They are. In particular I find your character based pieces, such as The Witch King of Angmar, to be particularly good.

But you are correct. Allan lee's influence is damned difficult to forgo the effect of. Your work from The Silmarillion is far more original and fresh.
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:iconethalenskye:
EthalenSkye Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2010
Thank you, kindly, Rob.
You probably won't see this until after your time in the hospital, but I appreciate what you said about my work - especially on The Silmarillion.

I do feel it's easier to be original with The Silmarillion, compared to the giant that is LOTR culture.
The films really nailed down an imprint that will last. Not saying originality cannot be accomplished. But Strider and the Nazgul, for instance, are for me personally just about the mark to the way I have imagined.

So there is a wealth of original territory to be had with the history before. I am going to do my best to portray some of that. :)

Be well, my friend.
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Due to insurance issues (we have great insurance, but you wouldn't know that by how many accept it in Volusia Count Florida... it was golden in Texas) I have only been able to arrange to be seen by a surgical team day after tomorrow. Both I and my primary doctor expect me to be in surgery within days of that meeting.

So, for the next several days, I'm still waiting.

I am glad you didn't take my comments as derogatory, They were far from being such. That said, I agree, you will find far more open territory in his works based on the earlier history of both The Undying Lands and Middle Earth ripe with illustrative and editorial opportunities. In my opinion, not only because of the fact that these works have received far less accumulated attention by illustrators, but also because those stories have a distinctly different aesthetic.

As any true Tolkien fan can verify...:)
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:iconethalenskye:
EthalenSkye Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
Definitely not offended in the least, Rob.
I can't tell you how much your insight has meant to me.
I love every comment I receive from folks - be it one-word compliments or tough critiques. One can only grow.
Your comments have been outstanding and substantial! Quite encouraging!

If you could please, Rob, let me know when you do go in. I would just like to keep you in thought during such a time. :)
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:iconbreosaight:
Breosaight Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2010
I am not so good with words or conversation, it's just that when you took the time to read something that meant the world to me, I was entirely moved because you didn't know me, but still seemed to care. So I stopped by to look at your art <I love art :D>, I noticed this beautiful journal <the flames and the metal dragon>, and I thought wow! I was magnetically drawn to this post and I read it.

I wanted to say something, but I couldn't think of anything to say, so I wrote down how I got to looking. You are a lovely writer, your self reflections and awareness is truly amazing, I read your posts and I understand a lot of the things you're feeling not exactly the way you feel, but similarly. They are not foreign thoughts or feelings if that makes any sense.

I'm not going through the exact same thing as you, and maybe I don't get it 100%, heh, maybe I don't get it even 90%, but if it means anything at all from a complete stranger. Everything you have said makes sense to me.
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I like you too...:)
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:iconcelestriastars:
celestriastars Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
I'm so sorry Darkmir. I know it's hard - I've been through some rather scary medical stuff myself lately, but nothing like what you are going through. I know this must be so hard for you and your family, but try to keep positive. I'll second what PixlFantasy is saying. Live your life to it's fullest.

Sending postive thoughts and prayers your way on the surgery.
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
If strangers could look in my head and heart, and know beyond doubt what I really want, it wouldn't be money, or sex with young girls... or to be a rock star. or even to get rid of this disease that is killing me.

What I want, with all my heart, is to never, ever have to spend one single second without someone with a soft, generous spirit to stand close enough to me to physically touch me whenever I need it. When I am afraid, when the fear of death form this shit affects me the deepest, and I want to cry but can't, the one thing I need and want more than all the fame or money in the world, is a warm gentle, loving touch that won't go away for as long as i need it.

I apologize for telling you this. You don't know me, really. And therefor you don't deserve this.

If I told my wife, she'd cry, and try to give me what I want, and she can't, because she has to work. So I told you. I hope you forgive me.
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:iconcelestriastars:
celestriastars Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010
Of course I forgive you - you have to tell someone. It's really just not good to hold it inside and it's OK to cry. I think you want what we all want when faced with this type of thing. I've kind of been on both ends of this. I was the wife when my husband got sick and we didn't know what was wrong for over 6 weeks. I had to hold it together for the both of us until we got him diagnosed correctly. He had a hard time telling me he was scared he was going to die and he was in tears. Men tend to feel they have to be the strong ones - the protectors. Women are just as protective, so please talk to your wife about your feelings. I think your wife is much stronger than you think she is and I think she will be able to give you what you need. Just because she may not be able to be there every second, just knowing that she loves you, cares about you and knows you need her touch to help you through will give you a lot of comfort when she can't be there physically. You are always in her thoughts and in her care - I can guarantee it.

I think I sort of know how you feel. I couldn't explain to my husband why I was having PTSD like symptoms after being in the hospital or why I was constantly crying uncontrollably while I was there (don't really know myself), or my absolute terror of any chance of going back in. Probably that it was two life threatening things within 6 mos. and it just was plain scary. He tried his best to make things better for me even if he didn't totally understand what I was feeling. He did understand that sometimes I just need to be held and feel comforting arms around me. I know he loves me, cares for me and will always be there when I need him the most. I think your wife can give you the same thing, but you really should talk to her.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
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:iconsacerdoteneko:
SacerdoteNeko Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010
I can't possibly imagine what you're going through, I hope you make it through all right though.
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks very much for the kind words.
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:iconsiteline6:
SiteLine6 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
just a suggestion, but knock off all smoking .. all of it!
cut out 90 % of the fatty foods! lose the butter/margarine, I use lemon juice, (to add moister to dry foods) and spices now to flavor food, and start eating more fruits like strawberries, cranberries, red grapes! I love the greens one myself better, but the red one are better for you, so I eat the red one now and or red wine! will work as well, but only a glass a day, nothing more one... tomatoes as well Rob,, eat lots of them, provided you don't have stomach ulcers, even so try to eat tomatoes or drink V8 juice as much as you can, fresh veggies to, mix it up, but start eating them, and switch out your red meat intake for chicken and fish! you can still eat your pizza, hamburgers and steaks, but just not as often, once a month maybe
I Don't mean to preach at you, but maybe a healthier diet and live style will help you in the long run and prevent you having to go to such evasive measures!
I'm not saying it's going to cure your situation, but it may help to give your body a fighting chance
jump on a bicycle if you can and start riding a bit.. small amounts at first, and increase as your system will allow.
you also don't have to do all of this at once, as that could be to much of a shock to the system, but start phasing out and phasing in the changes. Again this is all just suggestions... maybe these are pointless or going to do nothing for your situation, but even so, at least it doing something positive, even if it's just for the mental aspect of it, and healthier live style .. certainly can't hurt you
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Did I make it sound as if my quitting f smoking was limited or temporary? It is not. I will never smoke again. As for the rest. I m constantly looking for any practical to improve my lifestyle and health.

thanks for caring, grim.
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:iconsiteline6:
SiteLine6 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
sorry I thought well.. you know
there's smoking and then there's smoking
there are those that smoke but don't Smoke!
and there are those that Smoke and don't smoke
then there are those that smoke and Smoke =)
at any rate congrats that you did! It's now been two years for me
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
8 weeks for me. I didn't take it badly. I knew you weren't trying to do anything but lighten the moment.

I'm dying, Grim. Slowly. Might take 12-15 years, if I give up everything that makes life worth living, basically. But, in any case, I am done with tobacco. I smoke a joint now and then, and may end up on medical marijuana for pain, but cigarettes are out of my life forever.

Congrats on the 2 years. I'm proud of you.
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:iconsiteline6:
SiteLine6 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
8 weeks! nice
the hard part is over with
ya I somewhat gathered by the context that the prognosis
is was not good! I suggested the changes as maybe a way of
extending things.. positive mental state can help! and a good diet along with that
reinforces it, well in my mind anyhow, but I here where your coming from
no point in doing something that is only going to have the opposite effect
and thanks! ya I'm sure glad I did manage to beat it
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:icondarkmir:
Darkmir Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
You'll have to forgive me Grim, if my responses seem a bit bleak.

In addition to a myriad of medical problems, and bureaucratic problems we (my wife and I) are plagued by, I am also quite deeply medicated every day now. I'm presently taking 90mg of Ativan (lorazepam), and up to 70mg of hydrocodone each day. I've also been given Fentinyl patches (a morphine derivative delivered through the skin) in case the hydroco doesn't bank down the pain enough. I've been trying to avoid taking the patches so far because I end up having to be carried/pored into chairs/beds/etc... it's about like being on a morphine drip at the hospital.

I'm now living with the constant threat of losing my right leg below the knee. This could happen any time now, even if this latest up-coming surgery goes well. Last year, they operated on my femoral for this same problem, and pronounced the result to be outstanding, A month later the artery blocked off again, and they had to replace it with a stent (artificial vein) to save the leg. Now the problem is back, and worse.

My surgeon in Texas was a god. Although I deeply respected and totally trusted him, I never knew how good I had it until we moved back here to fucking Florida. Same with the pain management specialist in Texas who handled my post-operative long term pain. Guy was so cool and straight up, you took it for granted, until you had a bad experience you could compare him to. Here in Florida, There isn't a qualified vascular surgeon within 150 miles of where we live that takes our insurance. And when you go to a pain management center, the first thing they try to make you do is prove you aren't a druggie trying to cruise for scrips.

I am on the verge of flying back to Texas to have a surgery I need to have started 10 days ago here. But it's to the point I'd rather die under Cruz's knife than let any of these fucking third-rate clowns come near me with a blade or an oxygen mask.

And just so I can say I laid out the real deal for at least one person, I'll tell you know that the cigs DID NOT do this to me. Smoking made it worse, and contributed to it getting worse a LOT faster, but I've had two teams of top shelf surgeons confirm the underlying problem is genetic, and progressing a LOT faster than a normal case of atherosclerosis.

Nobody's fault, really, but there it is. Giving up the smokes buys me time. Eating like a bird with no sense of taste buys me time. But this is a wasting disease they don't know the exact underlying cause of, and have no treatment for.

So, just between you and me?

The truth is the only reason I quit smoking is because I'm not blatantly suicidal. We're talking about the difference between 2-3 years and 7-10 years. I want those years.

It just so happens that I'd pick grilled chicken or white fish over steak 98 times out of a hundred, and fresh corn or broccoli over mashed potatoes any day. I do miss my rice, though. And I love really good bread, so that's been a bit of a sacrifice, but all in all, the diet thing was never going to be a huge issue for me like it is for some.

Drinking? Not a prob. Never did. I love really high shelf vodka, and I'm not a teetotaler, but the truth is I never took to drinking because the hangovers I get are enough to make anyone swear off drinking.

I used to tell my friends, when, for the 19th time I was having to explain to them why I wouldn't join them on a Friday night for the typical drinking binge, that for me, a hang over goes something like this:

"First," I'd say, "I'd wake up, and feel like I was probably going to die." This would bring smiles and knowing nods of heads... then I would say; "But after a few minutes, the real depth of the pain would hit, and I'd be pretty sure I WASN'T going to die..."

The second feeling is worse, Grim. It may take you a moment to understand, but that sensation that you are about to endure the deepest, most painful suffering of your life, and you can't get out of it, even by dying, is a lot worse than just dealing with your typical garden variety hang-over. I've had those, too. You feel like hammered shit, go to work anyway, avoid bosses and dangerous machinery, eventually make it back home, pass out early, and you are fine the next day.

But mostly I got the worse ones. So I never became a big drinker. I smoke pot. 7-10 grams a week on average since I was about 13. But every doctor I've ever spoken to about marijuana has never been willing to draw a firm connection between smoking pot and atherosclerosis, The honest truth is the vast majority of them think pot is probably one of the most beneficial plants available to man, and it is used that way in all but the most highly developed western nations. Most doctors already know pot is a great reliever of pain. It is an extremely effective anti-depressant. It can reverse the damage caused by cataracts. It can help people with gastro-intestinal problems because of it's tendency to regulate a whole variety of human systems when they get a little out of whack.

Before, during and after more typical medical procedures, pot is proving to have benefits that modern western doctors are just now beginning to accept, because of stupid, backwards, completely false information and an inexcusable lack of verifiable research, bordering on an almost hysterical, and entirely propagandist effort to maintain a puritanical status quo.

So, yeah, I quit smoking. But it ain't the deal maker for me it would be for someone like, for example, yourself. I'm still on my way out. High side: 10-12 years. Low side: any time from next week during surgery to 2-3 years from now.

Remember these words, Grim, if you ever find yourself in similar circumstances:

Drawing breath, and good television reception do not constitute sufficient motivation to remain alive and vital. Us smart people (like those of us with high creative drives) need more. The thing that is killing me faster than anything else is the race to figure out who I am, what I want to do with the rest of my life, and where my life is going, now that this fucking, pernicious disease has robbed me of everything that once defined my happiness and sense of self.

Sorry you got the full low-down, Grim. if you feel used and a bit soiled, I completely understand and hope you'll forgive me. I don't have any close friends within driving distance, can't talk to my wife about this kind of thing (because she'd lose it herself, and then we'd really be screwed), and so I never get a chance to vent about what I'm really dealing with, how I really feel, and how completely it sux.

I won't put you through this again, I promise.

Thanks for listening.

Rob
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:iconsiteline6:
SiteLine6 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Rob
I would be amiss and a complete asshole if I said I found this a burden
Please feel free to express yourself at anytime, about anything!
that is in my mind anyhow, what friends are for! even if those friends
only correspond over the net.

I can relate to parts of what you say in a direct manner, I would be a lair if I said I understand all of what your going through!
you have given a name to your situation and I have looked into what it is your dealing with! I see what you mean
for the most part really only knocking off the fatty foods is going to make much of a difference to any degree, and as you say marginally at that, but it will help to buy time!

lol Well I use to be a week end warrior in the booze department, and in my youth when through a few nasty bouts of severe alcohol poisoning, to a point that I was drinking water just to be able to have something to puke back up, as after about 4 hours of crippled up on the ground gut wrenching dry heaves the pain unbearable, and the hangover was days before I was able to to get up and move around, as you say.. death would have been preferable to going through it. And knowing you aren't going to die was more horrifying then anything else.
I went through this a few times and decided that I'd had enough of that, and learned to better gauge it, and only ever managed to get hammered to the point of sleep after that. with the odd hangover, I try to avoid such things these day and have cut right back on how much I drink.. I go for a year at at time without even having a drink now, and don't drink to the point of excess anymore
And yes I liked my high stuff as well. But those days are gone.

I can concur that it's situation like this that really makes one sit and think about what is important and what is trivial
I watch people run around their daily lives concerned and consumed by such material and unimportant aspects of life!
and it's only when they run into such situations that they ever stop to consider what is really important in life!
and many don't even do that. they just fall apart as their lives had been so shallow and material that they have nothing left to live for.
It's good to know your not one of these!

I guess the whole quite smoking part for me is pararmount as it's most likely the factor that's going to end my time here
and really it's not so much the dying that bothers me it's the living a slow painful long drawn out death that bothers me the must! and is the hardest aspect to deal with, for it will either be lung cancer or Emphysema or a combination of both
So I guess maybe I transferred a bit of that personal battle into my suggestion.. for that you have my apologizes.
I agree with you about the Pot aspect.. it's more the fact its easily grown, can grow it anywhere. So they can't regulate it and tax the shit out of it and make money off it, that keeps it illegal. besides the wealthy scum bags that run the whole drug trade are making a fortune off it and don't want it legalized as they wouldn't make the money off it anymore, mind you, they are now moving into the synthetic shit now anyhow as it's faster to produce and more profitable! In all alcohol is far more damaging then pot and it's exceptable.
It backward thinking at it's finest..

The only problem I have with pot is the means in which you have to use it.. no good for the lungs, if you could ingest it and get the same results then all the better. as a pain killer I have no doubt, it works and rather effective. and again it has to do with the fact the drug companies would be able to capitalize off it and make billions in profits!

and again Robert .. I have no problem with you discussing anything with me.. feel free,
I'm glad to be here! Even if its it just to listen!
I don't have much in the way of personal friends either, at least none that I would care to discuss such matters with
Where I live is to small and its hard to keep personal matters out of the noses of the busy bodies that got nothing better to do then gossip
It's a love/hate relationship with the place I live, its hard to keep your business your own here, so I tend to keep to myself here.
If I can offer you a sounding board, then by all means!
It the least I can do!
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:icongahlaktus117:
gahlaktus117 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010  Student Digital Artist
damn. I'm sure you'll be ok dude.good luck
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:iconnarkya:
Narkya Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I wish you all good luck that you can ever need!
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:iconpixlphantasy:
PixlPhantasy Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Keep your spirits up. You've over come this before and you can do it again. This diesease may have cost you so much but I'm sure you've also gained.

There is a difference in people who are dying of a disease and those who are LIVING with a disease. Those dying of one let it eat them and beat them down. Those living keep fighting back and making what they can of life and enjoying every day they do have! Keep on Living!

:hug:
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:icondojang:
Dojang Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010
eesh. i dunno what to say, man. that's pretty fucking shocking. i really hope things pan out okay.
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:iconmanfox:
ManFox Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wish you best of luck, Mr. Art God :thumbsup:
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:iconblades-123:
Blades-123 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Best of luck, and well done for quitting. :thumbsup:
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:iconamarie-veneanar:
Amarie-Veneanar Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010
I wish you best of luck for the surgery! :shamrock: You're right, I'm proud that you've quit smoking. :thumbsup:
I'm also glad, that I never started smoking...
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:icontakirami:
Takirami Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hang in there!
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