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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father's Day in the US

Today is Father's Day back home in the US. While it is not Father's Day here in Spain, I wanted to make a special post about my dad.

Mark Horton is quite possibly the world's best dad and I hope to be half the father to Eliana that he has been to me. 

I gave my dad hell as an unruly teenager, however he was always kind, patient and loving to me. He only spanked me when I deserved it. He was fair and he put up with a lot having three wild boys. 

I managed to survive all of his operations, like his home made failed tooth extraction, where he tied a string to my tooth and then the door. He has been a great dad and I hope to have many more happy years with him.

I am quite sure that I have tested his patience more than once. However, he always supported me in whatever I choose to do. Even when my life choices took me far away from him physically, he has always remained close to my heart. 

He has accepted Jenny as his own and he loves his grand daughter Eliana to pieces. I couldn't ask for a better example to look up to. 

I love you dad, Tyler 

My thoughts on marriage

I wanted to share my thoughts on marriage with you. Marriage is hard work. Anyone who says otherwise, has never been married. Putting two different people together 24/7 and forcing them to make a life together isn't easy.

Jenny and I didn't officially live together before we got married because she was against the idea. However, I believe that it would have made the transition of bringing our lives together easier. 

Jenny and I are very similar in many ways, and very different in others. She is very clean and organized and I am not. However, I realized very early on in our marriage, that it was easier for me to get cleaner and more organized than it was to make her like me. Her way takes more effort and time inincially but it pays off in the long run.

Jenny and I didn't fall in love instantly. In fact, we had a terrible first date. 

Everyone in Colombia always arrives late. Rather than arrive on time, and have to wait for her, I decided to arrive thirty minutes late to our first date, assuming that she would also be late (so then technically I would be on time) 

What I didn't know at the time, was that she is always on time everywhere. So, she called me to ask where I was and I was on the bus 20 minutes away. However, like any good Colombian, I lied and said that I was five minutes away. I ended up arriving 30 minutes late to our first date. 

Then, I drug her all over Bogotá, with her walking in high heels and it was freezing cold. Only to find out that the bar I wanted to take her to was closed.

I had no backup plan. So I took her to the first place that I saw. It was a terrible, run down dive bar full of music so loud that you couldn't talk without screaming at each other. 

I was convinced that she would never see me again after our terrible first date. Yet, somehow amazingly, I convinced her for a second date and I planned much better.

Then we just kept on seeing each other and before I knew it, I realized that I could not live without her. However, it was a gradual process. It was not love at first sight. 

Jenny and I are two very different people, we have our problems like any couple. I am by no means perfect. I try though. 

I want to be the best husband and father that I can be. We have had a lot of ups and downs but there is no one else that I would rather be with. I love Jenny despite her flaws and luckily she loves me back 

Now eight years later, we are living in Pamplona Spain with a wild 3 year old daughter whom we love more than anything. I hope the three of us get many more happy years together. 

Til next time, Tyler 


Friday, June 14, 2024

My Health - Looking into the future

I wanted to give you a more detailed health outlook for the future. My progress has been small but it is slow and steady. I know that this is a marathon not a sprint. However, even if I am like this for five years total, in my entire lifespan, five years is just the blink of an eye.

I hope that I will have many more years happy years left with my family and friends. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful to me. I am truly a lucky guy. 

The most frustrating thing about living with my condition is losing my independence and the ability to walk and talk correctly. I used to take those things for granted. However, I do not anymore! Walking and talking are a miracle. Most people are lucky to do it without thinking about it.

My brain is healing faster than my body is. So sometimes my brain will send a command to my body, like move your left leg. Then my body will just ignore it and not respond. It is very frustrating. I am relatively young still, mentally but physically, I am trapped in an old man's body. 

Having to use thickener with my liquids is annoying but not the end of the world. Luckily, I can eat any solid food that I want. After being on a liquid diet when I was in the hospital, was terrible and I lost a lot of weight. So I consider myself lucky now. 

My short term memory has been affected by all of the anesthesia that I had. So now I write down everything in my phone so I don't forget. But again, this is more annoying than the end of the world. 

I always used to have bad handwriting but it was legible. Now after all of this, my handwriting is not legible. So I prefer to use the computer or my phone so you can read it. 

I used to have shakes and tremors a lot due to my weak muscle tone and my head and neck swayed like I was on a cruise ship constantly. However, since I have been going to physical therapy four times a week, all of that has mostly disappeared. 

My left eye went crooked due to the increased brain pressure and my vision deteriorated but I have worn glasses since I was 12. I can no longer wear contacts but I don't mind really. At least I am not blind or paralyzed, even if I do have bad balance and rely on a wheelchair or walker to get around. 

The only operation that I have left to go through is one to straighten my crooked left eye. It will only fix it cosmetically, it won't improve my vision but at least it will look normal again. 

I am lucky to know that I will only continue to improve my life slowly but surely and eventually I will get back to normal life again. I am a lucky guy and I am lucky to know that my condition will only continue to improve with time and effort and not get progressively worse. 

My situation sounds terrible but, Jenny and Eliana have both been extremely helpful and supportive even though they never asked for this situation. 

Jenny 's family has also been amazing as have my friends and family. I am a lucky man and blessed to be alive and relatively normal despite my health issues.

The last thing that I want to mention is my current work situation. Obviously, I can no longer teach English due to my limited mobility and speech issues. Unfortunately, I didn't work enough years back home to qualify for social security and I would have to work 20 more years here in Spain to qualify for a pension. So I am between a rock and a hard place.

I am now looking for a job that I can do from home that doesn't require me to talk on the phone. It has not been easy to find something so far but I won't give up. I would be willing to get a job outside of the house if it is a good fit. However, working from home would be more isolating, but easier for me. 

I feel bad for Jenny because right now she is the only one who is working and I want to take some stress off her shoulders and contribute financially again. 

That is all in a nutshell, Tyler 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Some more thoughts on the eventual end of my life

Maybe I spend too much time thinking about the eventual end of my life but I think that it is better to be prepared than the opposite.

Many people do not like thinking about their own death because it scares them. However, I am not scared of my death. Of course, being sane, I hope my death is relatively painless and far off, but I am prepared for it. 

I hope to have many more happy years with Jenny and Eliana and my family and friends. However, just like everyone else, I do not know how long I have with any confidence. That means despite my health issues I must be grateful for everything and every day that I am given.

I have good days and bad days like everyone. However, I am thankful for every day that I am still vertical. Even on the bad or boring days I try to remember that I should be appreciative of every day that I am given. 

The reason why I have prepared so throughly for my eventual death is that I have had a lot of time to think about my death (and I have been close to it a few times) while I hope it is a long time from now, I am prepared for it to be tomorrow because I consider my death only the beginning of my next adventure. 

Til next time, Tyler 

Monday, June 10, 2024

Jenny and Eliana

Edit: I accidentally posted this twice, each post being slightly different. So I decided to combine them into one.

I wanted to give a special shout out specifically to Jenny and Eliana. I couldn't do this without either of them. Firstly, my wife Jenny is a saint.

She is kind, loving and supportive. She is my rock and one of the main reasons I keep going every day. She is the strongest person I have ever known. 

Everyone tells me how strong I am because this condition affects me physically and mentally. It is true that I have been through a lot but Jenny was 8 months pregnant with Eliana when I first got sick. Yet she came up to the hospital every day with a smile on her face.

She saw me at my worst but continued to stand by me. I am not perfect, and there were (and are) days that it is very frustrating to be around me. Yet she continues to love me through it all. 

She is also the most determined person that I know. When she wants something better, she will do anything to get it. 

I had no plans to ever get a masters degree in bilingual education but she convinced me to do it. It was not easy, but it allowed me to get a job at Los Andes University in Bogotá. Which I never could have dreamed would happen. It is the equivalent of working at Harvard University in the United States. 

I was not able to be present for Eliana's birth due to being sick but my mother in law was there for Jenny when I couldn't be. Jenny is very brave and a great mom to our daughter.

Jenny and I are very different in many ways, and we have our problems like any couple but, she has supported me through all of the trials and tribulations of life and there is no one who I would rather be with.

She is working hard to support our family while I can't. Even though I am currently looking for a home based job. I am forever grateful for her. 

She is not perfect but I never expected perfection. I love her despite her flaws. 

Now onto Eliana. She is the greatest joy of my life and the best thing I have ever done. My only regret is that I waited so long to have a child because I was scared of the responsibility of fatherhood. 

Eliana is kind, loving attentive and so very smart. I see her growing like a weed and learning new things every day. She has her moments like any typical 3 year old but overall we won the lottery with her. I love her to the moon and back. 

She treats me the same as any able bodied father and my limited mobility doesn't seem to bother her. I am very thankful for that. She also has a great sense of humor. She is stubborn as a mule sometimes but she gets that from me! Because Jenny is a lot of things but stubborn is not one of them. 

When I was 3 years old, I tried playing with my grandparents TV. It had big tactile buttons you could push. My parents constantly told me that I couldn't touch the TV. 

My parents entered the room hearing my screams of delight. I was with my grandfather (the father of my mother) and he let me push all the TV buttons that I wanted.

He went on to say, if he lived to be 100 years old he would never forget my screams of delight. I feel exactly the same way when I hear my daughter laughing.

Well that is all I wanted to say, Tyler 
 I know I have said this before, but I am extremely grateful, thankful and lucky to have Jenny and Eliana in my life. I am very fortunate to have them both. I would not be able to do this without their love, help and support.

In no particular order, Jenny is kind, hard working, loyal, loving, driven, selfless, a good friend, wife and mother to our daughter. I am a lucky guy to have found her (and convince her to marry me!)

Jenny is also the strongest person that I know. Everyone always tells me how strong I am, because this condition affects me more visably yet I continue to stay positive. It is true that it is not easy being me. 

However, Jenny was eight months pregnant when I was at my sickest. Yet she came up to the hospital every day to visit me. Not to mention, that I was unable to be present for Eliana 's birth due to being sick but Jenny took my mother in law along instead. After 24 hours in labor they finally decided to do a C-section and luckily Eliana was born healthy 

My life and recovery have not been easy, but you couldn't pay me to trade places with Jenny. I am very lucky to have her.

Eliana is growing like a weed. She is kind, loving, smart, selfless, empathetic, a good friend and an excellent nurse. All at 3 years old. I have put her through a lot unintentionally, with all of my health issues but she has been amazing.

My favorite part of the day is when she gets home from school and gives me a big hug and tells me all about her day. Even though I have limited mobility, she doesn't treat me any different than anyone else. 

If I am honest, I delayed having a child until I was almost 36 because I was afraid of the responsibility of being a father. My dad is such a good dad I was worried I would be bad at it.

After much convincing, Jenny persuaded me to become a father. I was reluctant at first, but the first time I held Eliana in my arms, I cried like a baby and I knew instantly that I would love her always and forever with all of my heart. 

At first, I was very worried that Eliana would be born with my medical conditions. However, we were very lucky and nothing I have is genetic. She was born perfectly healthy, and other than the occasional fever or flu she has been perfectly healthy. 

She makes me crazy sometimes, but we won the baby lottery. She was a good baby, she is a good toddler, and before I can blink my eyes, she will be a teenager then an adult. 

My only regret is that I didn't have a child when I was younger and healthier. My parents were 30 when they had me. I always thought 30 was so old to have kids but I was almost 36 when Eliana was born!

Every parent passes down parts of their personality, the good and the bad, to their children whether they intend to or not. I can admit that I am stubborn as a mule. Whenever I don't want to do something, I don't do it and there is no way anyone can convince me to change my mind. 

This can be both good or bad depending on the situation. I didn't raise Eliana to be as stubborn as me, yet it happened anyway. There is no convincing her to do something that she doesn't want to do. It can be frustrating sometimes. 

Jenny is many things, both good and bad. However, stubborn she is not. So Eliana got this one directly from me. 

I have a long, slow road to recovery but I know that I will get there sooner or later. I hope that I will get many more happy years with Jenny and Eliana. 

That is all I wanted to get off my chest, Tyler 

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Who I am thankful for

This will be a long one so strap in tight. I wanted to write this to thank everyone for their support and help both financially and otherwise.

Firstly, I want to thank my wife Jenny and daughter Eliana. They did not ask to be put into this situation, but they have both handled it with low, kindness, patience and stability. 

I have been sick and with limited mobility for the entirity of Eliana 's short life. At first, I was worried that she would treat me differently. However, she doesn't notice the walker or wheelchair and she treats me the same as anybody else. 

My daughter Eliana is kind, caring, empathetic and always willing to help me with anything that I need. She is also an excellent nurse. She has had to deal with a lot during her short life but I love her to the moon and back and I am a lucky to have her. I hope to give her and Jenny a normal quality of life one day soon.  They deserve nothing less. 

I am sure it was quite scary for Jenny being eight months pregnant when I was at my sickest. Yet, she came up to the hospital every day without fail and was there every time I woke up after 12 brain surgeries.

She is the strongest person that I have ever known and I couldn't do this without her. 

I know that she is under a lot of stress due to her currently being the only bread winner since I am not currently working. It has been hard on her since I lost my independence and have limited mobility. However, I am extremely happy, lucky and thankful to have her by my side.

Next, I want to thank my family. They have all been amazing. My mom came to Spain when I was at my sickest point and she stayed with me every day for six weeks when I was in the hospital in Barcelona.

She slept in an uncomfortable hospital chair and was there every time I opened my eyes. She forced me to eat when all I could have was nasty pureed gruel. 

She saw me at a low point in my recovery yet she stuck by me. I am forever grateful for her unconditional love and support. I am a lucky guy. It must have been a scary experience for her but she faced it with strength and courage. 

I can't forget about my dad. Last year, I spent six months at home in Texas while I was recovering. My dad went to the gym six days a week with me and got m personal trainer. 

I ended up in the best shape of my life. He forced me to work out even when I didn't want to and he worked out right along side me. He also took me swimming daily (until I fell and broke my hand). 

He helped me shower and go to the bathroom when I was unable do it myself. He did it all without complaining. I am sure he was scared seeing me sick and sometimes I hated him for pushing me so hard. However, it was for my own good. I will be forever grateful for his unconditional love and support.

I also need to thank my brothers. Jason and Lucas have been a great help throughout all of this. Always willing to help in any way that they can. I love them both and I am lucky to have them in my life. Jason's wife Lou has also been very kind to me. 

Next, I need to thank my in laws. They have been amazingly supportive during this time and help us out a ton with Eliana. Getting free childcare is not a luxury that everybody has so we are very blessed. 

My father in law has been with me to every one of my hundreds of different medical appointments and he treats me like I am his own son.
My mother in law has been amazing too. Always willing to help me or Eliana anytime that we need it and she drops everything else without complaining. 

 My in laws had no experience with hydrocephalus or any medical condition prior to this but they have been amazing and I am thankful. 

My brother in law and his wife and Jenny 'a younger sister have also been great. My sister in law Rebecca (Daniel' s wife) stayed with me all day in the hospital after one of my failed operations to correct my lazy left eye.

Ana, Jenny 's younger sister has also been a great help. Always willing to help me out any time I need it. I am very thankful for her too.

 I want to thank all of my various doctors and nurses. This has been a long, hard road to recovery but I will get there. They probably could have fixed me faster back home, but I have gotten good care here and they have tried their best.

I want to single out my primary doctor Juan José. Here in Pamplona, you are required to go to the doctor closest to your neighborhood. However, my doctor is located in my in laws neighborhood. We started going there when we lived with them temporarily.

However, he is such a good, kind, caring and trustworthy doctor that we decided not to switch doctors when we moved. Making the drive to see him is worth it. 

I also want to thank my neurosurgeon here. She has been great and really tried everything she knew to get me back to normal life. I am very grateful to her. 

I also need to thank Dr. Poca from Barcelona. She removed all my previous shunt stuff and gave me two new ones that have a special technology that allows them to sync together and not fight against each other.

I need to mention all of my friends and everyone who donated to my GoFundMe. Since I am not working, there selfless financial giving has helped us out a ton. Everyone who follows my English language learning channel Djath English or this blog or my new podcast Talking to Tyler deserves a special shout out.

I am also thankful for Jenny 's boss Martin. I have never met him as he lives in Germany but I always asks how I am doing and he gives Jenny paid time off any time that she needs to help me. He seems like a really nice guy. 

Thank you again to everyone. I love you all and I hope I didn't miss anyone. Til next time, Tyler 

Friday, June 07, 2024

The story behind my scars

I was picked on mercilessly as a kid because I looked different from everyone else due to all my scars from the various surgeries that I have had. As you can imagine kids can be incredibly cruel to someone who looks different. 

As a kid, I grew my hair out long and always tried to comb it in such a way that I could maximize the coverage of the scars on my head. 

As an adult, with no one making fun of me anymore, I have gone the opposite direction and I keep my hair short because of the heat and I never have to comb it. 

My wife Jenny cuts my hair so I haven't paid for a haircut in 8 years. I have had 29 surgeries thus far, if you add them all up. I have one last surgery to straighten my crooked left eye but it should be a piece of cake compared to what I have already been thru.

I look at all of my scars on my head, neck and stomach as a reminder of what I have made it through. I am proud of my scars now even though it looks like I got attacked by a bear! 

That's it for now, Tyler 

Thursday, June 06, 2024

My Politics

I am a lot more liberal than most people back home. However, living abroad has allowed me to compare living in the US vs living abroad.

The US is still a great country but our mentality of do it yourself independence is sometimes to our detriment. 

I believe there is a place for the government to help those in need. No one should go hungry or need to go into life long medical or educational debt. The government should also provide paid maternal /paternal leave and have affordable childcare for working parents. 

You also should not be taxed by your home country if you live abroad. I pay taxes every year to a country whose services I do not use. I pay taxes yet I have no representation, precisely the reason for the Revolutionary War against the British. 

These are basic things that other countries provide. So, the excuse that the US can't do it doesn't fly. It is only that collectively Americans do not have the political will to do it. 

The government should charge more in taxes to everyone but provide the basics for a decent standard of living to everyone. 

This is of course my opinion, you are free to agree or disagree with me. I may take a lot of heat for this blog post but I stand by what I wrote and I am happy to come out of the closet so to speak.

Til next time, Tyler 

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

When I die - my final wishes

No one likes to think about their own eventual death. However, given all the surgeries that I have had and all the time that I have been in the hospital I have had plenty of time to plan for my eventual (and hopefully long off) death.

I have a legally binding Will and medical power of attorney. Additionally, I have planned out my funeral and what to do with my body. 

The only thing that I have not done yet is write my own obituary. That seems like a step to far, even for me. 

Everything is in both English and Spanish. 

I have done all of this because I do not want my loved ones to agonize more over my wishes when I am gone.

Euthanasia is legal here in Spain thank God. However, I have always said that I would never request it unless I get diagnosed with altheimer's disease or another similar disease where I will slowly lose my mental faculties.

I am willing to fight through anything else as long as I have breath in my body. However, I do want to become a burden for my family and slowly waste away. 

At my funeral, I want friends in low places by Garth Brooks played. That has always been my favorite song. I also want everyone to wear festive clothing, black is so drab and depressing. 

I also have what I want written on my headstone but Jenny informed me that due to lack of space, here in Spain you can only get a burial plot for 30 years then they dig you up and give your plot to someone else. 

Since I will be cremated, I decided to put what I was going to write on my headstone, on the urn my ashes will go in. I want it to be inscribed with "Here is a man who got all he ever wanted". 

I want to donate my body to science before I am cremated so hopefully they can learn something. Additionally, I am an organ donor. I want to be cremated as cheaply as possible. I will be dead, no need to spend a ton of money right at the end. 

I have had some health issues as of late but I still consider myself very lucky and I have amazing family and friends. I am very thankful for all of them. I hope to have many more years left with them.

That is all I wanted to say for now. Even if you don't agree with all of my decisions thank you for taking the time to read this. I wrote this blog post to inform everyone and to have another written record of my final wishes. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

My new YouTube channel

I also thought that I should mention that I started a new YouTube channel for people who want to learn English.

I plan on releasing three YouTube shorts (videos of one minute or less) a week, Monday through Wednesday and a long format video every Thursday. 

I use an artificial voice from Google to convert my text to speech and I use chat gpt to make my scripts. It allows me to do the only thing I have ever been any good at, albeit in a new and different way. 

If I get really lucky and manage to get at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 viewing hours then I will start earning money from my YouTube channel. This will be in addition to my podcast. 

Check me out at DjathEnglish on YouTube. Take care, Tyler 

Monday, May 20, 2024

My new podcast

I have some big news to report to you dear readers. I am starting a podcast using my real voice for speaking practice.

I have created a new website, www.talkingtotyler.blogspot.com where I will post a link to my YouTube channel where I will be uploading the podcasts.

My YouTube channel is called Talking To Tyler

I decided to have make the podcast in conversational style with my friends and family. I ask them ten questions and they ask me ten questions in return. 

I will be uploading one new episode every month. There are a few seconds of silence on my first recording, but the audio does start. I hope you enjoy this experiment with me. 

That is basically all. I just wanted to let you know. Take care. I hope you enjoy my new podcast. - Tyler 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

That time I broke my hand

I had never broken a bone until I was 38 years old. Even though I have had a ton of surgeries, I managed to make it 38 years without breaking a bone.

However, I fell down while using my stand up walker and when I went to brace myself with my hand, I ended up breaking two bones in my hand. 

I also cut my forehead and bled like a stuck pig. I had to have ten stitches in my head. 

I am all better now and hopefully I don't break anything else. I did have to get a cast, and I was unable to swim with it. Now I have full range of motion in my hand. 

Because I broke my hand back home in the United States, my insurance didn't cover that fall and it ended up being extremely expensive. I just thought I would let you know. Til next time, Tyler 

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

How we are choosing to raise our daughter

When Jenny was pregnant with Eliana, we had a lot of discussions about how we were going to raise her. Even though Jenny is more politically conservative than I am, surprisingly we agreed on all the foundational stuff.

Every parent can choose how they want to raise their child. We have chosen to raise Eliana with the following rules. 

We agreed that she will not get an internet enabled phone until at least age 12, she will have minimal daily screen time, she will always try and be kind and polite to everyone and mind her manners and she will learn she can come to us and trust us for anything.

We want her to follow the golden rule, treat others how you want to be treated. Basically, we just want her to be a good person and leave this world a better place than she found it. So far I think we have done a pretty good job. She is smart, kind, polite, empathetic, loyal and loving. 

That is all I wanted to say, Tyler 

Friday, May 03, 2024

Day to Day Life

My daily life is honestly pretty boring. I am not currently working (even though I am currently trying to find a job) so I spend every day doing exercise, speech and physical therapy and working on my YouTube channel. More on that later. Then I come home and eat dinner then the next day I do it all over again. 

Sometimes on the weekend, we go out with my in laws. My life may seem boring to some but, I am pretty happy. 

But honestly, a boring life is better than no life at all. I have a wife and daughter who love me and great in laws. Not to mention my amazing family and friends. 

I am a lucky guy who has had some health issues but I trying hard to get back to normal and give my wife and daughter the breaks they so deserve.

I have food in my stomach and a roof over my head. 

That is really all I wanted to say. I am thankful for the good times, the boring times and the bad times.

Take care, Tyler 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Story Time with Eliana

Last night I tried to tell Eliana a true story from my personal life. However, I quickly realized that she is still a little bit young for true stories.

She was frustrated that there were no big, bad wolves in my story haha. I will now tell you the story I tried telling her. 

When I was about 8 years old, my aunt Bunny and Uncle Mike took me to Carlsbad Caverns which I believe are in New Mexico if I am not wrong.

The guide told everyone in our tour group to lick a certain rock. There were between 20—40 people. The guide warned us if we didn't lick the rock that we would have 7 years of bad luck.

Everyone in our group chose to lick the rock. I however, thought it was disgusting. My aunt and uncle begged me to lick it, as did the tour guide. 

I stuck to my guns though and I never licked the rock. I will be darned, but I truly believe that I did have 7 years of bad luck because of choosing to not lick that rock.

That's it for now, Tyler 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Something to be thankful for

I wanted to write this to let you know how thankful I am for the little things like a supportive family and friends group.

You may not be aware of this, but back when I was much sicker and unable to take care of myself, we were at the point of putting me into what amounts to an adult daycare center where there are professionals who take care of you. 

What they do not provide is intensive therapy and rehab. So how you enter there is basically how you will stay. It is hard to make any progress. 

However, luckily I got to a point where we decided intensive therapy and rehab was the way to go. I am still not fully independent but I am making progress slowly but surely. Every small step forward is one step closer to returning to normality. 

I am very thankful for the help provided by my family and friends. I couldn't do this without you. I know one day, sooner or later I will be back to normal life again. I am slowly but surely beating this. Even if it takes me 4 more years, that is a blink of an eye in my total life span hopefully.

That's it for now, Tyler 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

My anniversary of being out of the hospital

I recently decided that today is my two year anniversary of being released from the hospital. I honestly don't remember the exact date, so today is as good a day as any.

I have made slow, small progress but it's progress nonetheless. I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life. 

My speech is improving slowly but surely as is my balance and I am no longer on a liquid diet. I still need thickener in my liquids to prevent liquid from going straight to my lungs but honestly it is not so bad. It doesn't taste great but there are worse things out there. 

I can shower and dress myself and prepare my own food despite having limited mobility. I can enjoy being with my wife and daughter. 

I am a lucky guy and I am thankful for everything I can still do and continue to do.

That's all for now, Tyler 

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Thoughts about each country I have lived in

Now that I am back to blogging regularly I thought that I would share with you the overall experiences I had in each country that I have lived in. I will try to go in chronological order starting with Australia the first place I lived that was not the USA. 

Australia was a nice place for a young kid to start living away from home. They spoke English and were very friendly. I still have some good friends there. The biggest downside was that it was expensive and far away from home. 

Next, I moved to New Zealand. Again, everyone was very nice and it was very beautiful but it was also expensive and far from home.

After that, I moved to Colombia where I met Jenny and spent the next 8 wonderful years. I still have many close friends there and honestly I don't know if I would have ever left but Jenny wanted to be closer to her family in Spain.

Colombia is a great place if you don't have kids but raising children there is expensive and the education and health care aren't the best not to mention the security issues and petty theft. 

After Colombia, we made a pit stop in China for two years (Jenny a little less) overall I enjoyed my life there and I loved the chance to go cashless and pay for everything via the phone. However, the pollution and overcrowding sucks not to mention the strict government control. If I had to do it all over again I would try Singapore instead.

After China, we made the move to Spain. I got sick shortly afterwards, but we are happy here close to my in laws and childcare. The government takes good care of you. You do pay more in taxes but Healthcare and education are paid for by the government. So, you receive a lot of benefits from the higher taxes you pay. 

The education system is good, security is good and Healthcare is also good. The life style is overall relaxing and we are happy here and not planning on moving anytime soon. 

The biggest downside is that I am far away from my family and friends. However, I knew that when I married Jenny. It was not a surprise. Luckily, my family and friends can come visit us any time or vis versa. 

That's it for now, Tyler 

Monday, April 08, 2024

Random Thoughts

Now that I am back to actively blogging more, I wanted to share some random thoughts with you. I enjoy this blog because I can express myself through the written word and I don't have to speak which I currently struggle with.

Now on to the blog. I am turning 40 this year and my brother's are turning 37 and 30. My parents will be turning 70 and Eliana 4.

It amazes me how fast time flies. Some days I feel 39,some days I feel 18 and others I feel 99. My body doesn't always respond to my brain. But I am slowly but surely getting back to normal life.

I am truly a lucky man to have a wife and daughter who love me and family and friends who do too. 

Just remember, none of us know how long we have and we will all die eventually, so make every day count.

That is really all I wanted to say. Short and sweet. 

Take care, Tyler 

Thursday, April 04, 2024

A big thank you

I figured it was high time I thanked everyone who helped me when I was sick and I continues to do so. I couldn't do this without my friends and family being supportive financially and otherwise. I am truly a lucky person.

I want to especially single out Jenny, Eliana, my in laws and my parents and brothers. They have all been amazingly supportive throughout it all. 

Firstly, Jenny was 8 months pregnant when I got sick and I cannot imagine having to go through labor and delivery and having to deal with me being sick. She is the strongest person I know.

Secondly, my mom saw me at my worst when I was down to 112 lbs, on a liquid diet, wearing adult diapers because I couldn't control my bladder and I was having enemas and a cathater. Yet she stayed strong throughout it all.

My dad was my personal trainer while I was home in Texas. He was a huge help getting me into tip top shape. We went to the gym 5 days a week and I had a personal trainer named Michael. Between him and the stationary bike and swimming (until I fell down and broke my hand) I was in the best shape of my life. I felt 18 again.

My in laws have been amazingly supportive throughout all of this. Ferrying me to and from the doctor whenever I have appointments and taking care of Eliana. I am very lucky to have them. 

Eliana has also been great. She throws tantrums like any normal 3 year old. However, she is always eager to help me anytime I need it and she doesn't treat me any different than any able bodied father. I love her more than I can say and having her was the best thing I have ever done. 

I also want to thank all of the doctors and nurses and anyone who took care of me while I was sick. It has been a huge blessing that Spain has socialized medicine so I am not stuck paying medical bills for the rest of my life. I know they gave me the best care they could and for that I am thankful. 

I also want to thank my brother in law and two sister in laws. They have all been incredibly helpful with everything and I am very thankful for their support. 

I guess that's it for now, Tyler 

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Current life goals

I wanted to update you dear readers on my current life goals. Goal number one is to be walking and talking normally again. It may seem simple but I can assure you that it is not. It is something that I used to take for granted but no longer.

Walking and talking normally really are miraculous. Secondly, I want to start working and being able to take care of my family financially so even if I have to do it from home. 

Thirdly, I want to give Jenny and Eliana the lives they deserve and I want to be the best husband and father that I can be. Both Jenny and Eliana have given me unconditional love and support (as have my family and friends) and I want to give some of that back. 

I am blessed and lucky beyond belief despite my physical challenges. I wouldn't change anything even if I could. Everything happens for a reason.

 I am very grateful to see another day and if I am lucky, I will have many more to come. However, even if I don't, I am thankful for the life I have already had. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

General Family Update

I realized that I have recently given you dear readers a general health update but I failed to mention my family! I want to rectify that.

First off, Eliana is 3 going on 30 haha. She is ready to be a teenager even though I am not ready yet. She is growing like a weed and recently got her own princess bed. No more kicking me at night.

Additionally, she loves her school, Teacher and classmates. This is great news because she will be there until she turns 18 haha.

She has been a great help to me with my limited mobility. She is kind and patient and she treats me like a normal bodied person. She throws her tantrums like any typical 3 year old but overall I love my daughter to pieces. 

She is completely spoiled rotten by her grandparents as she is the only biological grand child on either side. 

I am extremely lucky to have great in laws who help us anytime we need it and they have put up with a lot these past 4 years with my health stuff. 

My parents have also been amazing even though we don't get to see them as much as I would like due to the distance. They recently retired and moved to a lakeside cabin in the middle of nowhere. The perfect place for them to spend their retirement. They are living close to some friends so I am happy for them. 

Jenny is working hard and doing well as can be expected under the circumstances. She has put up with a lot over the past 4 years and I am luckier than I deserve to still have her by my side. She took in sickness and in health literally. There is no one who I would rather have by my side. I can't wait for the day I return to normal life and I can finally be the husband and father that I want to be, living a normal life. 

My brother's are also doing well and staying busy. I have been lucky to have their support. My grandmother (my dad's mom) is 88 and still going strong. I hope for a lot longer. She remembers all of the important dates in our lives and luckily we will get home this summer with Eliana to see her. She loves all of her kids, grand kids and great grand kids. We are lucky to have her.

I guess that is all for now. Take care, Tyler 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

General health update

I figured it was time I gave everyone a general update on my health and progress. I will start by taking you through my health issues then I will share my progress with you. 

So it all started 4 years ago. I had recently arrived to Spain directly from China. Shortly after that, the valve that drains my excess brain fluid into my stomach failed. It had lasted 35 years but no longer.

I started having headaches and vomiting due to the increasing pressure on my brain. So I went to the hospital here in Pamplona. They initially tried to repair my old valve but it was too old to be saved.

So I ended up having 6 brain surgeries in Pamplona. But none were successful. I had one of my 4 ventricles in my brain block off. This necessitated a surgery to implant a stent on my brain to try and restore flow to the ventricle that blocked off. 

Due to the blocked ventricle, my left eye went crooked and I lost all my peripheral vision in the left eye. I was also on a total liquid diet at the time due to my facial paralysis (due to my shunt failure) I ended up losing weight until I was down to 112 lbs/52 kg.

The stent surgery failed. It was at this time they transferred me to Barcelona where they had more shunt experience. It was there that they removed all the previous hardware and implemented a second shunt. 

These two shunts have a technology that allows them to talk to each other so they avoid the previous problem I had with one shunt working and the other not. So now they work together instead of fighting against each other. 

I ended up having 6 additional brain surgeries in Barcelona bringing my total brain surgeries to 12. If you include my surgeries as I child I have now had 29 total surgeries.

After 6 months in and out of the hospital I was finally released to go home. I started going to speech therapy (my speech has been affected by the facial paralysis) and physical therapy 4 days a week trying to regain my balance. I can walk but not well. I use a walker or wheelchair to get around. But I am not paralyzed thank God.

I need thickener added to my liquids due to my swallowing being affected. But I can eat normally. No more liquid diet!

So none of this is ideal, I have lost a lot of my independence but I can shower normally and dress myself and do most things. So my condition is not perfect but it could be much worse. I am a lucky guy and I know with time and effort I will only continue to improve not get steadily worse. 

I have one more operation to go to correct my crooked left eye but it should be a piece of cake compared to what I have already been through. I have also regained all of the weight I lost in the hospital. 

I am also very lucky that Spain has good socialized medicine so I don't have to spend the rest of my life paying off medical bills. 

The most frustrating thing by far about my current condition is that my mind is healing faster than my body is. So, sometimes my brain will send a simple command to my body and it will not respond. It is frustrating having to relearn to walk and talk. They are simple things that I took for granted. But no longer. Your brain controls a ton of things that you do not even think about until you lose the ability to do them. I look forward to the day I will be independent again. 

So overall, I am happy and doing well. I am lucky to have supportive family and friends. Thank you all. I am also thankful every day for Jenny and Eliana. I love them both. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

March update

I figured that I would blog and let all of my dear readers know how I am doing. Health wise I am still stable and staying out of the hospital thank God. I still struggle with balance issues so I rely on a wheelchair or walker to get around. Everything else is coming together slowly but surely. My speech is still not perfect but it is improving with daily practice.

Eliana is growing like a weed and Jenny is working hard and treating me better than I deserve. I am a lucky guy. So overall, things are not perfect but they are headed in the right direction. 

Til next time, Tyler 

Friday, February 09, 2024

The doctors will operate on Monday

Edit: I wrote this initially in 2021 but I accidently saved it as a draft instead of publishing it. I apologize for the error and I have no surgeries planned for 2024 other than an eye surgury to correct and straighten my crooked left eye. 

So the plan is for me to have the brain surgery I detailed in another blog post on Monday. They have cancelled this surgery twice already so I'll believe when they actually have me on the table.

Obviously every brain surgery has risks and I'm not thrilled about this but as long as the doctors are more than 50% confident they will be successful, I want them to go ahead and try.

Why? Because this is my one shot at returning to a normal quality of life where I can work, take care of my family, walk, talk and eat normally.

If this surgery is not successful then they will put everything back the way it is now but that means that I'll have to come into the hospital 4 or 5 weeks out of the year for the rest of my life to be adjusted. I won't be able to work or live normally.

So needless to say, I am accepting the risks and I want this (hopefully) final surgery to work. 

Worst case scenario is that I die. That would be truly unfortunate for my family and friends. But I'm OK with that risk. The second worst outcome is that I will lose my memory, or my ability to walk, talk or eat. Honestly that would be worse than death for me. But I accept this risk also.

Now, if everything goes according to plan, they will fix me and I'll be back to normal in a week or so. I'm really hoping for this outcome. 

If you are the thoughts and prayers type of person, I want you to send them to my doctors. Give them steady hands and the wisdom to do everything they need to do.

I am looking forward to getting my life back and having many more years with my wife and daughter. I love them to the moon and back and I want nothing more than to be a normal husband and father. 

Saturday, December 09, 2023

I made it home

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am back home in Spain with Jenny and Eliana. My dad came back with me and he will be here until the day after Eliana 's birthday on the 14th.

I am very happy to be reunited with Jenny and Eliana but I am still continuing daily speech and physical therapy trying to slow but surely get back to normal life. 

I am a lucky man all things considered and I know sooner or later I will be back to normal. But this is a maratón not a sprint. I know that I have a long road ahead of me but I am prepared. I am also very lucky that with time and effort I will only continue to improve not get steadily worse. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

general update

I have not blogged in a while but I wanted to give all of yall a general update.

Eliana is now 2 years old and growing like a weed. I am so proud to be her father and she is so smart. I love her with all my heart. 

I am finally stable health wise and still going to rehab Monday to Friday. I still have issues with my balance and stability but everything else is progressing well. 

Jenny is staying busy with work since I can't work currently. I am lucky to have her help.
So overall, things are going well. They could be better of course but I am luckier than I deserve. 

Friday, January 07, 2022

Fatherhood

I thought I'd write a blog to share my thoughts on fatherhood now that I'm a year and a bit into this.

I was really hesitant to become a father. I was terrified of everything to do with raising a child and I felt totally unprepared. 

However, Jenny after lots of serious discussion, convinced me to go for it.

So I jumped in head first damn the torpedos. It has turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. 

We have a perfect little girl and she is growing more and more every day. We are so lucky that she is happy and healthy and has so many people who love her. 

I don't mind changing dirty diapers, her crying doesn't bother me and I love every second I get to spend with her. 

Becoming a father has made me realize the depths of love that my parents have for me and there is nothing I can think of that is a greater privilege than being Eliana's dad. 

I hope I get many more years to be with her as she continues to become the amazing woman that I know she will be. I have loved every moment of this journey so far and I hope in the future we will continue to be as lucky as we are now 

Jenny is a great mom and a loving wife I'm lucky to have her by my side during this journey. Both of us have been transported back to a child like sense of wonder as we explore the world with fresh eyes from Eliana's point of view every day.

I truly am the luckiest man alive even though I have had my fair share of struggles. 

Monday, January 03, 2022

2022

 Now that we are well into the new year I figured I would write something. They (the doctors) decided to cancel my brain surgery out of an abundance of caution because they felt while I was ¨good¨ it was too risky to try it. I am frustrated because I feel like I will just go bad again with these two shunts but the doctors have promised if I do go bad again then they will operate. Who knows? This last fix that they did could actually last forever and I won't ever need to have another surgery (but I doubt it). The good news was that I got to spend Eliana´s birthday, my birthday, Christmas and New Years Eve with my mom and Jenny and the baby and all our family here. 

It has been a difficult year for me. 2021 was not great but Eliana is growing like a weed and she is perfect and healthy so I am thankful for that. I have had a rough couple of years but I am feeling positive about 2022 and I hope it turns out better than 2021 did. I am hoping this is the year that we can finally put the pandemic in  the rear view mirror globally. Luckily, Eliana is too young to remember any of this terrible stuff. We have been extremely lucky to stay healthy and not lose anyone close to us to this terrible disease. You never know when your time will be up so you gotta soak up every second to the fullest. I truly am one of the luckiest men on the planet and I am doing much better than some other people. Here's to hoping that 2022 will be the best yet.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

My (hopefully) last operation explained

 Many of you have been asking so I thought I would take this time to dive into a little more detail about my condition and my upcoming surgery. So I was born with hydrocephalus, just bad luck really. I was born 3 months too early and not ready for the world yet. It is Greek for water on the brain. I had excess fluid on my brain and it was causing pressure on my brain. However, I was lucky. I was born in 1984 and they knew about my condition and how to fix it. Had I been born  any earlier and they probably would not have had the technology or knowledge to know how to help me.

The doctors decided to implant a VP shunt on my brain basically a one way check valve that was gravity fed that drained the excess brain fluid via a tube into my stomach lining to be absorbed. This setup worked fine for me (after 3 different shunts from the doctors!) until I was 13 years old and the tube broke. I started having headaches and vomiting and the pressure was increasing on my brain I knew something was wrong! The doctors went in and gave me another tube and all was well until I was 35 years old.ç

My original shunt from 1984 was designed to work for 10-15 years but it lasted me until 2020. In June of 2020 this whole saga started. I won't rehash everything but basically the old shunt broke and they tried to reuse the one I had but were unable too. 

I have had 4 operations since June of 2020, and they decided to implant two programmable vp shunts to control the four ventricles in my brain. So I have one shunt and tube controlling three ventricles and another tube and shunt for the 4th ventricle. 

The problem (in addition to my lazy eye) is that the shunts and ventricles are not playing nice. They are not talking to each other as they should and they are getting out of whack and everytime they do this I have to go back into the hospital and the doctors have to adjust the pressure of my shunts (luckily with these new shunts they can adjust the pressure via magnets and don't have to operate every time)

But for two years now they have not been able to get the pressure right and get me fixed on a permanent basis. It is extremely hard to work or have a normal quality of life when you are living with this uncertainty. I never know how good I will be or for how long. Every time I go bad again, I have to go back into the hospital and my speech and walking are affected. My whole life gets turned upside down.

So my doctors here in Spain finally decided to operate. Their plan was to remove one shunt, put in a stent and allow the four ventricles to talk to each other again. Basically restoring me to how I was before June of 2020. I was very happy that they had finally found an option to (hopefully) get me back to normal! Of course any brain surgery is scary, I was worried about losing my memories or my ability to speak etc. But it was (and is) really the only option left.

However, I found out today that they are delaying my operation. I am ¨good¨ since my last hospitalization/adjustment and they don't want to mess with anything if they don't have to. But I have been here before. I will probably be good for a month or so and then get all out of whack. Of course it is possible that this time they really did find the correct pressure and fix me for good. The good news is that I can spend the holidays with my family and not in the hospital. They have told me if I go bad again, then they will operate so at least I know that I do not have to deal with this forever.

I know this was quite long but hopefully if you made it this far you have a better understanding of my condition and what I have been going through. I tried to avoid technical language hopefully I did ok. 

P.S. Even though I have had some struggles (had to go back to rehab and speech therapy) I am doing much better than some others out there and I consider myself the luckiest man alive to be alive and to get to hold my little girl every day and love on my wife and my family and friends. I couldn't do  this without yall. Thank you. 

Take care, Tyler

Sunday, November 28, 2021

November Health Update

I just got released after spending 15 days in the hospital again due to my shunt pressure not being correct once again. I have now spent 16 weeks more or less in the hospital since June of 2020.

I am getting very tired of going to the hospital but the good news is that even though I have already had 4 brain surgeries they are planning a 5th (and hopefully) final brain surgery for the 15th of December. 

They are planning on removing one shunt and lesving me with only one like I had for 35 years with my previous shunt. 

I am only nervous about losing my memory or personality changes. However, I hope everything will go smoothly with this surgery. 

Amy brain surgery is risky but this is my only and best option to hopefully get a normal quality of life again.

I just want to be able to work and have a normal life with my wife and daughter. 

I love them more than anything in the world so I'm ready to get this over and done with. I hope to be recovered by my birthday and ideally by Eliana's 1st birthday. 

Friday, October 08, 2021

Health update October 2021

 So I will start with the good news first. Jenny and I are all moved into the new house and they are (almost) finished with all the updates they need to do. The baby is growing and happy and healthy. We have food in our fridge and a roof over our head. I am blessed beyond measure. 

Now for the bad news. In late September, I started having severe stomach pain which I thought was dehydration but I finally broke down and went to the hospital and it turns out one of my shunts was broken again. I am so tired of being sick and have stuff break but this is the life that I have and what I have to deal with. 

You know how your parents may have had an appliance that they got in the 70s or 80s and it is still running fine? Seems like it may work until the end of time. However, you buy a new washer/dryer (or whatever) and after like two years its totally broken and you need to get a new one. That is how I feel about my current health. 

My previous 1984 era VP Shunt lasted until 2020 and gave me zero issues other than a small revision when I was 13 years old. However, I now have two of supposedly the newest and best shunts on the market and I have had nothing but issues since June of 2020.

I was finally getting back to work, I worked almost all of September for my job teaching the Colombian high school students online and I managed to get two new in person teaching jobs here in Spain. Everything was going swimmingly or so I thought. I was finally busy and able to provide for my family. 

Then I got sick and had to spend a week in the hospital having one of my shunts and the tubing replaced. For me, a week only, in the hospital is super fast. But because I was still in my trial periods at those jobs, I lost them. They both choose not to continue working with me due to my health. It is extremely frustrating to be back at square one. 

But I still have my 8 hours a week teaching the Colombians (for now) which is better than nothing. I will be back on the job hunt and trying to stay positive and healthy. I have missed my family and friends and I only want to be healthy again and not in the hospital. I currently still have stitches in my head and abdomen. However, I am at home and feeling pretty good all things considered. Now if I can just get back to work. 

I am trying to stay positive and take the good with the bad. Yall take care, Tyler

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Global Inequality Part Two

 Originally, I was going to write a quick status update on Facebook about this but I had like a week in the hospital to sit alone and think about this and yall know that this is one of my passions so this quickly spun out of control into something much longer and something I thought more appropriate for a follow up blog post about global inequality instead of something short on Facebook. For those of you who take the time to read my thoughts, I thank you.

This all started because Facebook helpfully (or unhelpfully) reminded me that 13 years ago when I was in my early 20´s I was making 12 dollars an hour working at a construction related job. It wasn't great but considering that the minimum wage at the time was 5.15 an hour and I didn't have too many expenses so I was doing ok. 

Well once the recession of 2007-2009 hit, my company at the time told us that we could all take a paycut to 11.50 an hour or be released from our jobs. I was not happy but I accepted the pay cut. Then two months later our company was liquidated and I ended up being laid off anyway. That is what gave me the push I needed to move to Australia and start my world travels.

Well I am positive that the fat cat CEO of our company at the time, didnt take a paycut from the millions he was bringing in. When our company was liquidated, I was sure he got a huge retirement package or transitioned to another job without problems while all us little guys who were just struggling to get by were the ones that had to take a paycut on our meager salaries, all for nothing!

Global inequality has only gotten worse in the past 13 years and I am part of the problem as I continue to support a system that makes the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. If you are religious, atheist or agnostic, all of us should realize that the current system is broken. If you are a follower of any of the Abrahamic religions, a Muslim, Buddhist or basically any other main stream religion, your chosen God or Deity would never tell you that Jeff Bezos should have 200+ billion dollars while his workers have to pee in bottles because they do not have enough time go to the bathroom. 

I am going to pick on Jeff Bezos because he is currently (as of 2021) the richest man in the world but he is by no means the only one or even the worst one. In fact, I can´t even fault him for taking all the legal options available to him to get as much personal wealth as possible. But he should share that wealth. 

We should all understand that every human being on the planet deserves to make a livable wage and not have to struggle to keep the lights on or feed their family. It should be a moral imperative, for the religious and non religious alike, to want to help their fellow human beings. Everyone should get a shot at a basic decent standard of living.

I don't have any answers. I don't know how to fix this, I just know that it needs to be fixed. Recently a Saudi King paid 456 million USD for a painting. A painting! It costs roughly 13,000 USD per year to house one homeless person in the U.S., let's be generous and give them an additional 6000 USD per year for food and other expenses for a total of 20,000 USD per person per year.  Using that 456 million dollars you could house and feed 4,385,964 people for one year. All that for the price of a single painting some guy is going to put on his wall and hide away from the world. I am ashamed of humanity sometimes. 

Here are some stats related to Jeff Bezos. 

1. Pay Inequality
The Columbia Journalism Review reported that it would cost just $9 million a year to fix pay inequality in its newsroom. Ensuring equal pay at the Post would be akin to sparing pocket change for Bezos, who would still have $199.991 billion.
2. World Hunger
For the sake of argument, let’s just say it’s a “good” year for hunger and the cost to solve it is on the lower end, let’s say $10 billion. Bezos could pay and still have $190 billion to his name.
3. Extreme Poverty
 The World Bank classifies extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 a day. To get above the extreme poverty threshold and into the higher poverty groups, you’d need to earn about $3.20 a day.
The math depends on location, but if 804 million people need a bump from $1.89 to $3.20, then $1.05 billion would be needed to close that gapBezos could front the cash and still have just about $199 billion in the bank.
4. Clean Water
Across the globe, 2.2 billion people do not have access to safely managed drinking water services. WRI research estimates that resolving the clean water crisis by 2030 would cost just more than 1% of the global GDP, or roughly 29 cents per person daily, from 2015 to 2030. That number would surely exceed Bezos’ worth.
But Bezos could manage the clean water crisis in the U.S. In Michigan, 140,000 Flint residents have been exposed to lead in their water supply. Replacing all lead pipes in municipal water systems could cost somewhere between a few billion to $50 billion. Even if it cost him $50 billion to replace lead pipes and open up access to clean water in U.S. households, Bezos would still have $150 billion.
5. Education
Perhaps getting the world an education is beyond the powers of Bezos’ net worth, but he could make an outstanding impact. Rescue.org states that $58 a year can pay for the education fees, books and school supplies of one child. Using this math, Bezos could cover this fee for 10 million children, for all grades K-12 at the cost of about $7.5 billion. He would still have over $192 billion.
6. Child Health
A donation of $39 a month to Save The Children can sponsor a child in the U.S. in need. That’s $468 a year. Hypothetically speaking, for $40 billion, Bezos could sponsor 5 million children for 17 years. He’d still have $160 billion.
7. Clean Oceans
The best way to stem the flow of plastic waste into the oceans — plastic pollution could be reduced by 80% over the next 20 years. The price tag on such an ambitious overhaul is $600 billion, which is actually $70 billion cheaper than not overhauling it, because of reduced use of virgin plastic, National Geographic reported.
8. Vaccines
Back in 2006, the study, “Worldwide cost‐effectiveness of infant BCG vaccination” found that for $1.8 million you could prevent nearly 300 cases of severe childhood tuberculosis worldwide, or 450 in Southeast Asia.
Factoring in inflation, that number today is more like $2.3 million. For around $23 billion, Bezos could provide TB prevention for 300,000 children worldwide, or 450,000 in Southeast Asia. He’d still have $177 billion.
9. Homelessness
A 2019 report released by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute determined that it would cost $12.7 billion to end homelessness Bezos could pay that and still have $187.3 billion.
10. Climate Action
The big picture of climate change is pricier. The International Renewable Energy Agency says $750 billion a year is needed in renewables over a decade. Then you’ve got the cost of carbon capturing and storage ($2.5 trillion), $ 2.7 trillion for biofuels — and the list goes on. All in all, you’re looking at at least $50 trillion to solve climate change.

All stats taken from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/global-catastrophes-jeff-bezos-could-120012088.html


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

To Eliana

Dearest Eliana, I have loved you since I first saw you during the sonogram and heard your little heart beating. I continue to love you more and more everyday. More than I ever thought would be possible. 

Your mom and I watched you grow from a little ball of cells in her stomach into an eight pound/3.7 kg baby. 

You have been with us for 9 months today and you spent 9 months growing inside your mom's belly. These have been the best 9 months of my life.

Thank you for making me a better person and giving me something to look forward to everyday. When I was sick, it was the thought of you and your mom that kept me going. I hope one day you will understand how truly special you are.

When I hold you in my arms or see you laugh with your mom there is nothing that brings me more joy in this world. I can't wait to see and experience life with you as you grow and I hope that one day in the future you will get to feel the same love that I feel for you, but with your own child.

I promise to do everything in my power to give you the best life possible just as you have done for me. I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always, my baby you'll be.

Love, Dad. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

My one year still alive anniversary

One year ago today I was being wheeled out of the operating room here in Spain after my third brain surgery. The surgery lasted 12 hours and there were some complications but I was alive!

The first thing I remember is waking up in intense pain and asking for Jenny and my family.

The next thing I remember is realizing that my left eye was crooked, my face was partially paralized and I couldn't eat, drink or speak properly. I had lost the lateral vision in my left eye completely and the optical nerves were damaged in both my eyes due to the pressure on my brain. I ended up losing 40% of my vision completely. I am by no means blind but without glasses I do not see well. 

My mind still worked though, I had all my mental abilities intact but it was very scary for me because the doctors couldn't tell me at that time what functionality would return and what would be gone forever.
After 12 weeks in total and 5 different hospital stays I was finally released to start rehab in September 2020. 

I started off my recovery in a wheelchair doing speech and physical therapy 5 days a week. However, in October of 2020 I had a setback. I had to go back into the hospital for 10 days and basically start my rehab over from scratch.

Once I was released I started working hard to regain my ability to eat, drink and talk normally again. I also progressed from the wheelchair to using a walker.

Eliana was born on December 14th 2020. On December 15th 2020 I stopped using my walker and walked unassisted for the first time. My wife and daughter quite literally saved my life.

There were days where the pain was unbearable and I wanted to give up. But thanks to the support of my mom (who had come from Texas) and Jenny (and all her family) I knew that I couldn't give up. I had to keep on trying for that little girl of mine.

I cried the first time I got to hold her and realized there is nothing in this world that I will love more than her and my wife.

Gradually over a period of six months my facial paralysis disappeared and I could eat, drink, walk and talk normally again. After 6 months I got released from speech and physical therapy. I am so grateful to all my amazing therapists (both speech and physical) and to all my doctors and nurses. 

That 40% of my vision is gone forever and I still don't have lateral vision in my left eye. They gave me a botox injection into my left eye to straighten it out (however the effect is wearing off and I think I will have to have an official surgery to correct it)

But I just had a check up with my neurosurgeon here and my shunts are both working fine. Considering where I started from, I am doing incredibly well. I have had many struggles but there are so many other people in worse shape than me.

I truly am the luckiest man alive. I have had excellent medical care here (without the threat of huge medical bills) and the love and support of my family and friends. In no particular order, My parents,brothers, friends and my wife (and all her family) and my daughter have all been amazing. Every day I get to wake up to the smiling face of my little girl. I am not back to 100% yet but I'm getting there and I am so very Thankful for every breath that I have the privilege of taking. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Time

 I saw that Dale Hansen will be retiring September 2nd and it inspired me to post this. For those of you who don´t know, he has been the local sportscaster for Channel 8 WFAA in Dallas for 38 years. I never really have gotten into enjoying sports but, I always have enjoyed his commentary/opinions about the social issues of the day.

You see, he has been a constant presence in my life for my entire life. I remember watching him as a kid when my parents would watch the local nightly news. (This was in the days before cable/satellite when we had limited options for TV channels). For as long as I have been alive, he has been doing his job. It is odd to think that he is 72 years old now and getting ready to retire. John Mccaa,Gloria Campos,Tracy Rowlett and Troy Dungan have all long since retired. I know none of those names will mean anything to you (unless you are from DFW) but they meant a lot to me growing up. They were my trusted news source. 

Pete Delkus is the meteorologist who replaced Troy Dungan (Troy had been at WFAA for 34 years by the time he retired). I have never cared for Pete Delkus, he just rubs me the wrong way I guess. But now, he himself has been with WFAA for 16 years after replacing Troy Dungan who was there for 34 years. It is amazing how time flies. 

I am constantly amazed at how old I am (and continue getting older!) Some days I feel like I am just 18 years old (even though that was nearly 20 years ago) other days I feel like I am 80. I don't know where the time has gone and how it has gone so fast. I have been blessed with an incredible life though. I have not gotten everything that I ever wanted, however I have gotten everything I ever needed and more. I have seen and done so much in my short time here. The old saying goes, you can't escape death or taxes and I believe that to be true.  My grandmother is 85 years old and still going strong. I can't imagine how she must feel when she thinks about what has happened over her lifetime and where the years have gone. 

I am currently 36 years old with a 5 month old daughter. I have kept this blog going in one form or another since 2009 so a lot has happened to me over those years (and will continue to happen) I am not afraid of death or getting older but I do hate the fact that time is unstoppable. Eventually it comes for us all. So you need to take advantage of every second that you are given. I cannot imagine what the world will be like when Eliana is 36 years old and beyond. What a journey this has been (and continues to be) for me. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Policing in the United States

 I wanted to vent about this because I have an opinion that maybe many people share. (or possibly no one else haha).

I think most people would agree that the police in the United States are far too militarized in general and kill far too many people of color. As a middle class white guy, I have never experienced discrimination or racism so I won't pretend to know what it is like. I do know a problem when I see one though. The problem of police killing unarmed people is a big problem.

I know there are good police officers. I have police officers in my family and I know the vast majority of police are good and honorable people trying to do a hard job with not enough resources and sometimes not being paid well. 

However, there are also police officers like Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd. In my opinion, The problem is not that there are too many ¨bad apples¨ the problem is that the system encourages bad behavior by not holding police accountable and giving them qualified immunity in almost every circumstance they know that they can do whatever they want and get away with it. 

There are also cases like the killing of Ma´khia Bryant, a 16 year old black girl who was killed for attacking another person with a knife. The case has drawn outrage because it is yet another killing of a person of color by the police. However, I do not have all the details. I was not there nor have I seen the video. I am unsure why she was shot instead of tasered but if the media reports I have read are correct, she was attacking someone with a knife (or trying to) and the police officer did what he thought was his only option to save a life.

I cannot and will not judge that officer for what he did as I was not there and I have no idea how I would react in the same situation. However, at the end of the day one life was ended and another saved. I have seen people calling for defunding the police nationally or, for abolishing police departments completely. 

To me, this is absolutely ridiculous. Society cannot and should not function without police.  They provide a good and necessary service to society. However, I have never (and probably will never) have to fear that the police will kill me. My perspective is one of privilege. I do recognize there is a problem and I truly hope for everyone's sake that my country can get it together and make some real changes. We most definitely should be funding more mental health workers and dispatching less police to situations that they should not be expected to cope with. 

That's all. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Take care. Tyler

Friday, May 07, 2021

Nuclear Non Proliferation

Originally I was going to make this a short status update on Facebook but then I decided I would put it here because I had too much to say to fit into one status update. Yesterday, I was watching a short video on Youtube about the very real possibility of humanity going extinct due to nuclear war. In my opinion, nuclear technology should only be used for power generation and nothing else.  No one should have nuclear weapons. 

I believe this is reasonable (although unrealistic unfortunately to think that we will live in a world free of nuclear weapons) because humans have had the ability to kill each other since the beginning of time. However, only since 1945 have we had the ability to kill the entire planet and everyone and everything on it. No one should have that amount of destructive power. We as humans have the ability to kill many, many people in various different horrible ways without killing the entire planet as a side effect. 

The worst feeling for me as a new father is that I am powerless to protect my daughter against this threat. Every parent wishes their child(ren) have the ability to grow up safe, happy and healthy. Unfortunately, our world is populated by fallible humans and human based systems to prevent nuclear war. Frankly, I am amazed that we have gone this long without an all out nuclear war or huge global accident/terrorist attack.

Currently, something like The United States, Russia, China France, The UK, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and North Korea control all of the worlds confirmed nuclear weapons. With the U.S. and Russia holding the vast majority. Just the U.S. and Russia alone, have enough nuclear weapons to kill everyone and everything on the planet many times over. 

These few countries that have nuclear weapons want to tell the rest of the world that they can keep their nuclear weapons (or even produce more) without consequence yet they do not want to allow other countries to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. is constantly fighting with Iran and North Korea trying to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons (or producing more than they already have) yet the U.S. is unwilling to destroy their own nuclear weapons. 

If I was North Korea or Iran why would I listen to the U.S. if they are unwilling to do the exact thing they are asking of me, why would I want to listen to them? I am not anti American by any means. But what right do we have to tell the rest of the world what they can and can't do? I am anti destroy all of humanity with nuclear weapons. 

Another way to look at this would be, if I tell my daughter that she can't have any chocolate ice cream but I sit there and eat some chocolate ice cream right in front of her and additionally I am the owner of an ice cream store so that I can produce more ice cream anytime I want and I can refuse to share it with anyone else. The situation that we have with nuclear weapons is exactly the same.

The idea that having a huge amount of nuclear weapons to prevent nuclear war is a bad one. Mutually assured destruction benefits no one. I cannot go back in time and prevent the invention of nuclear weapons. Nor can I destroy every nuclear weapon ever made or prevent their misuse. The current system we have of checks and balances to prevent all out nuclear war is not a good one and frankly I am surprised that we have not had a failure so far. We need to improve this system. 

The best I can hope for is that my daughter can grow up in a better world than I have and maybe one day humanity will be free of the threat of extinction from nuclear war and we can worry about robots gaining sentience and killing us all. Sorry this blog post has been so depressing, I try not to think about this stuff too much because it just depresses you knowing that you can't do anything about it. Gotta live your life to the best of your ability with the time you have. 

For all of the problems that we have in the world, there is still a ton of beauty and good things also. I try to focus on those. Thanks for reading my rant if you made it this far. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Unpopular Opinion: Politics and the global economy are broken

Call me a bleeding heart liberal if you want, but since mid-October 2019, Jeff Bezos' (owner of Amazon) fortune has grown by $80 billion. Based on the year-over-year change in his net worth, Bezos has made $152,207 per minute — and $2,537 per second. That latter figure is more than three times what the median US worker makes in a week.

There is something distinctly wrong with that. I am quite sure that Bezos worked hard to start Amazon and make it the success that it is today. However, has he worked so hard that he deserves to make in one single second, more than three times what one of his workers makes in a week?

I don't think so. While his employees are peeing in bottles to avoid being fired for wasting time going to the restroom, he has more money than entire countries and more money than he could ever spend in multiple life times.

I think it was Lincoln who said “A government for the people, by the people and of the people will never perish from this earth". Unfortunately that is not what we have in the U.S. (or globally really)

What we have is a billionaire and elite political class who control almost all of the economic pie and the rest of us are left to fight over the crumbs, hoping one day to reach the billionaire status yet having none of their advantages.

Politics (at least in the USA) are just as broken as the billionaire class. Our two party electoral system has failed us and the majority of citizens are governed by an elite ruling class beholden to rich donors and big business who have no inclination to care about the average Joe. 

Sadly, the game is rigged before you are even born. There are some European countries that start everyone out on more equal footing by using tax money to finance education and healthcare so at least their citizens can all have the same basic necessities covered. In my opinion, this is the least that any responsible government should do.

However, back home in the United States, there is a very strong sense of independence, pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality. What we don't have is a basic social safety net to help people. 

In the United States, your health insurance is usually tied to your job (if you even have health insurance) you need to pay co-pays at the doctor, monthly premiums and pay for prescriptions along with deductibles out of pocket. An unexpected medical expense can easily bancrupt a family.

Addionally, higher education is very expensive. This automatically puts lower income people at a disadvantage.

I do not believe in governments giving out unlimited free hand outs to everyone and expecting nothing in return. But, people around the world should be able to live a life with dignity having their basic necessities funded by their tax money.

No one should live in a world where one man has more money than entire countries. Everyone should have the chance to create the next Amazon instead of being handicapped by circumstances right from the start.

There was a CEO of a small/medium sized tech company who was making 1.5 million dollars a year (not that much by CEO standards) while his employees had to get second jobs at McDonald's just to cover their basic living expenses.

He decided to cut his own salary to 70,000 usd per year and give every employee a raise up to 70,000 usd per year. Many people predicted his socialist experiment would bancrupt the company. However, now six years later, his company has expanded and grown and his employee turnover rate is basically zero.

This is what happens when everyone is given a fair shake in life. Good ideas and hard work should be rewarded but a CEO who makes hundreds of times more money than one of his/her employees, certainly is not working hundreds or thousands of times harder than they are. 

I can only hope and wish that Eliana will grow up in a fairer world than I have. I am not optimistic though. At least here in Spain we won't be bancrupted by medical or educational expenses. 

OK rant over. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

My life in a nutshell

 I recently finished up my memoirs (for now, it's an ongoing work in progress that I plan to continue) and I have had this blog since 2009. I will publish my memoirs at some point but, they are more a gift for Eliana (and just for my own sake) than anything else. I want her to know about my life, her family and where she comes from.

However, I realized that I haven't taken the time to sum up my life in short form before so I thought I'd try now. 

I was born 3 months premature in 1984 with excess fluid on my brain and epilepsy (among other health problems) but against all the odds, I beat the doctors predictions and I was not in a vegatative state.

I had (and still continue to have) two great parents and a wonderful, normal childhood.

Fast forward to age 24 and after living a fairly conventional life in Texas, I decided to move to Australia in November of 2009 after getting laid off.

At that point, I think I had visited maybe 8 countries for short trips and I just planned on staying a year in Australia then heading back home.

Well one year in Australia turned into a second year in New Zealand then 6 months of traveling in South America.

By the time I was 26, I had moved to Thailand to teach English, I left there after a year and at age 27 I moved to Colombia which would be my home until age 34.

While in Colombia, I managed to get married and start living a real adult life. I had great friends and a great job (eventually) but all good things must come to an end.

When I was 34, Jenny and I decided to move to China. After living there for almost 2 years, we decided to make the move to Spain to be closer to her family. 

I was 35 when I arrived to Spain. After about 5 months of living in Spain I had a problem with the valve that controls the amount of fluid on my brain. I ended up having 3 brain surgeries to correct the problem.

Prior to all my brain surgeries we found out that Jenny was pregnant. I was very happy, but during much of her pregnancy, I was in the hospital or in physical therapy relearning how to walk, talk, eat and drink again. My recovery was (and is still ongoing) but after 6 months of hard work I have regained almost all of the physical and mental abilities that I lost.

Eliana was born on December 14th 2020, since that point I have been motivated to get in the best shape physically and mentally that I can so that I can be the best father possible. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

Now, in April of 2021, amid the corona virus pandemic, I am looking for work again and still working on my recovery. However, I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive. I have now visited or lived in 45+ different countries, survived various brain surgeries, gotten married and had a daughter.

I am blessed beyond measure and grateful for every breath that I get to take. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for me. I married a Saint in Jenny who took care of me while 9 months pregnant and when I was in the hospital for 12 weeks and I have super supportive family and friends. I couldn't do this life without them. For all these reasons and more, that's why I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive. 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Motivation

I wanted to write a little bit about motivation. I have had a long, hard six month journey to get better since I had my brain surgeries. Some people have told me that I motivate them and they are not sure that they could go through something similar to what I have been through and still be optimistic about life. I am flattered and honored that people consider me an inspiration. However, I think it is just a question of finding something worth fighting for and keeping that in mind while you go through your struggles. 

Everyone has problems that most people know nothing about. What I have been through has definitely been hard and I would not wish this on anyone nor would I want to repeat it. Although, there are certainly people fighting battles harder than what I have gone through. My motivation has been my wife and daughter. There were times where I wanted to give up, throw in the towel. The pain was terrible physically and mentally. I was unable to eat or drink anything and I couldn't even walk! I think anyone would be depressed in those circumstances. Especially with my facial paralysis that affected my speech, as an English teacher the ability to speech clearly is extremely important to me. 

There were times when I was scared and depressed not knowing if I would ever regain the ability to walk,eat,drink or talk correctly again. But especially after Eliana was born in December of 2020, I made the conscious choice to keep fighting. I was only 35 years old when this happened and I reasoned that I still have a lot of life left to live. 

I started off this journey six months ago unable to eat,drink,walk or talk. Eventually I was able to speak again and with intensive speech therapy and physical therapy I managed to regain my ability to speak and decrease my facial paralysis. I also managed to eat solid food again and drink water, juice and other liquids. 

I moved from using a wheelchair to a walker. I set a goal for myself that once Eliana was born in December I wanted to get rid of my walker and walk on my own. At first it was very painful and I was very weak from all the muscle and body weight I had lost during my operations. But Eliana arrived on the 14th of December and I did get rid of that walker!

But I knew that wasn´t enough. I wanted to be independent again. So I set another goal for myself. I would run on the treadmill and do five pushups. I wanted to be an active father in my daughters life so I knew I couldn't give up. Now I am up to 42 (and counting!) consecutive pushups, 11 pullups and I can run a fair distance on the treadmill. I really have come a long  way in six months. I am not 100% but I am getting closer. Really the only thing I cannot do is drive (due to my loss of lateral vision in my left eye) 

I still hate exercise but after exercising five days a week for six months I am probably in the best shape of my life. Now, I really value the ability to exercise and work at a normal, boring job. I had those things taken away from me for a time and I know it could happen again. Now I place a lot more value on being healthy and doing something boring like going to work. There are many people who do not have that luxury. 

I write you all this not to brag at how amazing my recovery has been, but to let you know that no matter what challenges you have in your life, there is always someone going through something and if you set your mind to it, you can overcome your challenges. You know who inspires me? ¨Team Hoyt¨ this was a father-son duo who ran marathons together (sadly the father passed away recently at age 80). The son was born in 1960 and his umbilical cord got wrapped around his neck and he had brain damage. The doctors said he would never walk, talk or be normal. But his parents refused to believe this. They eventually got him a computer that he could use with his eyes, to ¨talk¨ when his father was 36 years old and his son was 11, the son said he wanted to run a marathon. Obviously being paralysed he couldn't run but he wanted to experience it. His father had never run any long distances in his whole life.

But do you know what his father did? He trained for a whole year pushing a stroller full of concrete 26 miles. Eventually he started running full marathons pushing his son in his wheelchair and they ran marathons together until the father was 78 years old! They ran over 1200 marathons together. Prior to becoming a father I could never understand the love that a father has for his child, however now having Eliana, I can completely understand why he did what he did. Oh, the guy from Team Hoyt? His son who was supposed to be a vegetable his whole life, graduated from college and now designs customs computers to help paralyzed people like him. If that is not inspiring I do not know what is.

I want to end this, thanking all of you for your support. I couldn't have done this without you. I still have a ways to go to be 100% but i'll get there. Thank you for everything and just remember not to give up and keep on going.