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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, 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.