Category 1

Don’t wait, it could be too late!

Do you mind if I share something with you? First, I’d like to say that, while I have invited the public in on a lot of my life, with the intent of helping someone else, this story is one I was determined not to write.  After all, this isn’t about the “old” Kenny that was buried, nor the blessed Kenny with the beautiful fiancé and productive work life; this involves a current struggle and I didn’t want this aspect to be known. There was an internal tug here and there to tell what I realize now is a testimony, but I found a way to keep pushing it aside. This week I got confirmation that I needed to put away pride and share. My shift in thinking was prompted after I received a call from a very dear friend who is dealing with something in her body that MRIs aren’t detecting. She is in pain every day and frustrated with the way her life is affected by it. In listening to her I just knew it was time.  I hope this testimony resonates with you-whether now or in the future.

As we all know Facebook is used for many different reasons: posting pictures, family events, weddings, graduations, health concerns, accomplishments, and basically whatever people want to use it for. When I first joined Facebook in 2009, it was due to a break up of a relationship. I needed something to take up my time…a new activity…a crutch is what I call it. I never thought at that time I would share personal information about myself, let alone develop my own public forum-through various mediums-trying to help others as it relates to relationships.  This includes all relationships not just dating relationships. I’ve had many follow and un-follow, show their true color of who they were, and have also met some real genuine, loving people. I have shared my life story of growing up from a young child all the way through adulthood. I’ve had many talk negative about me based on the things I’ve shared, but I didn’t do it because I needed validation. I did it because I cared and wanted to help others. The greatest way I’ve found to do just that is by being transparent with some of my life’s experiences.  So, that brings me to this point-that what I’m sharing today is, to me, bigger than any testimony I’ve ever shared. My hope is that this speaks to someone who may be struggling and needs answers or healing.  Stop being your own doctor, playing God, and worrying about what others think of you especially when you know you haven’t done anything wrong-stop playing with your life.

 Most times when we look at people, we focus on what our eyes can see. For example, when people look at me they only see what I show or how I “appear”.  To some it’s a guy that is intelligent, well-dressed, physically fit or maybe even arrogant, a butt-hole or whatever it is they see. I take good care of myself and take pride in my appearance, but trust that all that appears well on the outside isn’t always so-no matter how good it looks. I have been secretly (only a small handful knew) dealing with a pain for so long that I thought it was just normal and would eventually go away.  After all being me, “I’m tough and will be okay on my own”. There were times-whether in a first-time meeting, coming across someone I hadn’t seen in months, or someone I see daily-where one would ask, “Why are you limping?” My response was always the same, “I hurt my knee”.  I had been saying this for years, at least 3, that I can recall. The pain I was experiencing wasn’t visibly noticeable, but occasionally people would see me limping. I tried so hard to throw people off or fool them that I was overcompensating (trying to walk like I was fine) and unknowingly adding on to the problem. I continued working daily, modeling, working out at the gym, acting, traveling and all the other normal things you do to live, but through all of that I was always in pain. I have always been to the doctor to get regular checkups, but I never told the doctor of my pain in my knee and soon to follow hip area.

 I remember going to Canada in 2015 and out of nowhere my father-in-law asked, “Why are you limping?” My quick response was the usual.  “I hurt my knee but it’s nothing”. By then the pain was getting much worse, so when it was time to see my physician for an annual physical I told her about the discomfort I was feeling in my hip and knee area, but of course I downed played it.  I told her I hurt my hip by riding a bike and the discomfort felt like a pulled muscle. She listened to me and said based on the symptoms (which I hadn’t fully discussed) that I may have a hip flexor sprain and tendonitis in my knee. She gave me some exercises and suggested an x-ray to be safe, but I declined saying I didn’t think it was necessary. She gave me a follow up appt, which I missed thinking, “I don’t need to go back, I’ll be fine”. Unfortunately, the pain continued to get worse, but in the process of me missing the appt, I received a call from my physician asking me to come in to discuss my knee and hip. I agreed to come and at that time she again insisted on the x-ray.  I went ahead and had it done and while it wasn’t all that bad, she put in an order for an MRI. Several days went by and my doctor called asking me to see a specialist.  I admit I was concerned, but still trying to brush off the urgency. I remember sitting in the specialist’s office hearing, “I have your results and it doesn’t look good. I’ll see if we can do physical therapy which I doubt, but we’ll see”. I returned days later to find out the most disturbing news I’ve been given, regarding myself, in all my 47 years.  “YOU NEED A TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT; no physical therapy will help you. You have osteoarthritis of the left hip.”  He showed me the computer image of the MRI results, but it wasn’t making sense-it took a moment to register that he was talking to ME. I was in denial for sure. “No way, I’m too damn young to need a damn hip replacement” I thought to myself. He suggested I get a second opinion and then speak with the recommended surgeon-he was sure a second opinion would prove the same diagnosis.

 

Although I hadn’t fully accepted it yet I set up a meeting with surgeon several weeks later. I was very nervous while waiting for him in the office. He entered the room like he knew me…very direct and to the point. He said, “Hello Kenneth. You know why you are here, right?” I told him yes, and he continues, “I won’t prolong this because from the way you are sweating I can tell you are nervous. YOU need a total hip replacement.” I immediately started crying as the reality that the seemingly impossible diagnosis I had been given weeks before was true. I felt like my life had just been shattered. He wasted no time in asking when I wanted to schedule the surgery.  I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted it. He said, “It’s your call, but I recommend you get it as you will be in pain for the rest of your life. You can take a shot which lasts for maybe about a month and you would have to get them the rest of your life.”  He stressed that the pain wouldn’t go away and to consider if I really wanted to live like that. He said I could leave the hip as it was, it wasn’t a life or death situation, but I would always be in pain. He assured me that I would bounce back fast and strong. He also added that he didn’t typically work on patients my age, as normally hip replacement patients are elderly. After going back and forth unable to come to a decision he suggested I bring in my fiancé to help in the decision-making process. From the way I talked about her, he figured she was the right person to help me make a logical decision since I was very emotional. The surgeon stressed that it wasn’t the end of my life and that I would be fine-it’s just that I had never experienced anything like this and it just didn’t make sense at how it could happen.

 

Several weeks had passed and I returned with my fiancé. She is so damn smart! She researched him and found out he was one of the best surgeons. She had all her questions written down waiting to ask him, as I didn’t have many. She wanted to make sure she knew the ins and outs of everything involved. The wait seemed like forever in a sense, but once he walks in he quickly breaks the ice. He turns to my fiancé and asks, “Are you the tough one because he was crying for both of you!?” They both laughed as I remained quiet and nervous. She starts asking away and once she’s done the surgeon says, “I have been married 30 years and marriage is beautiful, but I must say to you Kenny, you have an amazing woman in your life, you are blessed. I hope after this meeting you will listen to her because she has your back as if it’s hers.”. Then big question came, of what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, the sensitive man came out again and I cried; I was genuinely scared. He left us alone so I could decide. Of course, my fiancé was the voice of reason and I agreed to have the surgery.  I was relieved when the surgeon said I wouldn’t even need a wheelchair. He promised to have me up and walking that same day! With that type of promise you’d think I was ready to get it over with, but I told him I wanted to wait until Oct. He was surprised as that was six months away. He questioned my waiting period. I explained that I had just gotten engaged and wanted to make sure she enjoyed our engagement and the summer. I had already planned to take a month vacation in Nov, so it seemed perfect. The surgeon insisted I not wait, explaining that, he so happy for the engagement but we’d have the rest of our lives to celebrate. I was stubborn and adamant about waiting, however. He warned that the longer I waited the worse it would get, since it was already bone on bone. He offered to administer a shot if we needed to travel but reminded me it was only a temporary fix. I declined the shot as I wasn’t trying to get fat due to steroids-no joke!

 My loving fiancé tried to encourage me to get the surgery right away so I would be out of my misery.  She appreciated my wanting to spend the summer a certain way, but hated seeing me in pain.  I wasn’t budging and my fiancé being the person she is, didn’t want to make me do something I wasn’t comfortable doing, so she backed off and let me make my decision. While my reason for waiting seemed noble it was the worst decision I could have ever made. For the next six months, from the day of signing the papers of consent to surgery, to the actual procedure date I was in absolute excruciating pain.  It was greater than anything I could have imagined and had experienced up to that point.  There was a moment that I felt like I wanted to be taken out of my misery…to the point of no return. Yes, it was really that bad. I felt like my hip was getting back at me for prolonging things-it was like torture. I literally slept for only 2 hours every night. I woke up faithfully at 2 a.m. in the worse pain and could never get back to sleep. This went on every…single…night. I was prescribed strong pain medication by my surgeon, but it only worked so long. The hip was dead, but somehow, I managed to hide it in public. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it honestly. I still worked, traveled, modeled, worked out and fooled people every day. Even when folks asked why was I limping, I kept blaming it on a knee injury.

 

 Well, here we are at the end. Last week marked one month since my major surgery (Oct 28,2016) for a total hip replacement. I am completely pain-free. I was walking the next day!! I did have a walker, but only had to use it for precautionary reasons while with my home care therapist. To even my doctor’s surprise I was out of the hospital and back home just 24 hours later. My loving father-in-law was in town taking care of me because he knew my fiancé would have her hands full with classwork, practicum etc.  He was so attentive and was eager to meet any possible need. I am amazed at modern medicine and realize now I didn’t have to suffer for so long.  I’m just grateful to feel like a new man.

Now that I have shared my testimony, I hope it’s reminded you of how important it is to let go of ego, pride, and worrying about what others think-take care of yourself.  Don’t hurt yourself trying to cover up because you will be the one suffering-no one else but you. While my physical well-being was at the core of this message I stress that I was emotionally affected as well. Pain and worry can put you through some things. I hope this message will resonate with someone that is struggling with any illness, broken heart, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, rejection, pain, etc. I shared simply because I care, not for sympathy or backlash because you may not like me. I am a winner and survivor in my own way. God alone is in charge. Even though you have no control over the final outcome, you are in charge of finding out what any underlying problems are. Please heed any warning signs.  It’s better to find out nothing is wrong versus causing more damage because of denial. I know so many love and genuinely care for me. I didn’t tell you what was happening, because I didn’t want you to worry. Now that the secret is out…meet the new, improved Robot-Kenny !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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