It has been far too long since I have updated this blog and I assure all of my supporters that I will get better at keeping you in the loop. My amputation was completed on June 22nd and went as well as it possibly could have. I had so much support at the hospital that day including my wife, brother, father, Chad Hall, his mother, The Veasey’s, Carol Shephard and many more. I spent less than 24 hours in the ICU following the surgery and I was up and walking within a day. Total, I only spent less than a week in recovery before they released me. I had my wife by my side every day along with a countless amount of visitors throughout my stay. I was moving pretty well by the time that I was released.
Towards the end of my hospital stay I had a very special and unexpected visitor. A classmate of mine from the Academy by the name of Christy Wise drove all the way from Valdosta (about 5 hours) just to pass on some very important information. She lost her right leg above the knee in a boating accident a little over a year prior to my surgery and told me about a place by the name of Center For the Intrepid (CFI). It is a department of defense owned and run facility in San Antonio, Texas for military members with amputations. It not only allowed her to get healthy and helped save her life, but allowed her to return to active duty where she was able to regain her pilot status. After talking to Christy, I was SOLD! She pushed my name through CFI and I immediately started making plans to get there.
Once released from the hospital, I returned home to a new bed and an updated house compliments of Shauna Veasey, Ms. Wendy Childs, and several others. I am truly in awe at the way that everyone has surrounded Brittany and I and have offered to help in any way possible. Again, thank you to each and every one of you. I was able to spend around a week recovering at home with my Aunt Sue, who drove down from Michigan and was a HUGE help. At the end of the week we drove up to Lake Lanier where we spent a few nights with the Air Force boys for a little bit of pre-Fourth of July festivities. It was so awesome to see everyone even though I was not very mobile.
Brittany and I spent our Fourth of July on a plane to San Antonio so that I could get enrolled in the program. After a couple of weeks in and out of the hospital due to fluid build-up, an infection in my nub, and the start of a new drug to include a low dose chemo I was finally cleared to start rehab. I was extremely excited as my goal was to be able to surprise Brittany and stand/walk a little at our wedding. I had six weeks and I was determined to reach my goal. Between the Rabold’s taking me in and one of my oldest friends’ staying with me (Jamar Williams), I was confident that I could reach it so I sent Brittany home to finish up wedding loose ends. I worked my butt off for those six weeks and felt that I would be able to surprise her.
I flew home a couple of days prior to the wedding in the second week of August. The wedding day finally came and I was extremely anxious and nervous. I just wanted everything to go well but more than anything I wanted to see Brittany in her white dress and surprise her. We made it to the venue and everyone started getting ready. I was so pumped with the way that the groomsman looked in the outfits; they turned out great! The best touch was the way that the ring bearers looked, my two nephews, they crushed it! The first look finally came and between her seeing me standing with my prosthetic and me seeing her in that white dress, we were both sobbing.
After a few photos, it was finally time for the ceremony. I was so touched that every seat was full. The weather was amazing, probably a bit too warm but that’s ok. Following the amazing ceremony, my new wife and I started back down the aisle where everyone was pointing up at the sky. We both glanced up to see a completely full and beautiful rainbow right above us. There is no doubt that it was my mother and Brittany’s father showing off through the hand of God and proving that they were there with us.
The reception was so awesome! It was filled with great food, great company, plenty of dancing, and a song played by myself, Hunter, and Moff. We played an acoustic version of ‘Drunk on your Love’ for Britt and she seemed to approve. Following the reception, we spent the night at Serenbe in the honeymoon suite which had been decorated by the Moffett women; it was something out of a fairy tale! We left the next day to spend the week at the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina where we enjoyed our much deserved, much needed honeymoon.
We returned to San Antonio after the honeymoon and it was tough to get back into the swing of rehab. I began to have issues with my lungs. Whether it was coughing, wheezing, or just the pain, something didn’t feel right. The great news was that we got a scan and the cancer in my lungs has been stabilized and has not grown as of today. This leads us to believe that the pain wasn’t related to the cancer as much as it was my environment.
A couple of weeks after we returned to Texas, we were flown out to Colorado Springs to return to the Air Force Academy for Alumni Weekend. I had the great honor of being the keynote speaker for the weekend and led the team out on to the field for the game. It was a weekend that I will never forget. The support we have received from the Academy, alumni, and football program has been unbelievable. To make things even better, I had about 20 of my friends fly in as well as my younger brother. It felt like returning home and it was a huge honor. I will never forget what the academy has done for me.
About a week after returning to Texas, I hit a wall. I was barely going to rehab and my chest pain was worse than it had ever been. I called my wife to fly out and drive us home. We had found out that my pain could be related to the climate or allergies in San Antonio. Within six hours of flying in, my amazing wife had packed up our apartment in the truck and we took off for home. We were back in Newnan within 48 hours and I could finally rest. We spent the next two days in bed, her trying to recover from the drive and I was trying to feel better. It wasn’t quite immediate, but shortly after returning home, I felt better. Since then I have continued to feel a little better each day so we know that it was the right move. My oncologist is located here in Georgia so I can see her anytime and I was able to learn enough at CFI to continue to do my own physical therapy when I’m ready. I am hoping to return to the gym in the next week or two. I am also hoping that it will help my appetite as it has been very weak since starting the chemo.
So, that is where we stand! I am going to see my oncologist Friday the 30th and we are hoping for continued good news. I am HOME and I am HAPPY! I have my pups by my side and get to spend every day with my wife. I work from home and am enjoying my job. I pray that my health continues to improve here in Georgia and I will begin to gain weight soon. I am so very thankful for a wife that knows what is best for me and acts when she knows it’s needed. As always I am forever thankful for all of the support I continue to receive from all of you. I need to reiterate that I could not do any of this without your unwavering support. I love you all and God bless!!!
All my best