When You Lose Your Health for the First Time

On April 19th, 2016 (my ex-wife’s birthday funny enough), I began to have back issues. Here I am, 5 months later and 2 months post a spinal fusion operation and for the first time in my life, I have not had my health for an extended period of time. I haven’t been able to run, play basketball, go to the gym, or do any of the fun things that I like to do. It is the singular most frustrating thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life. At age 38, I feel like I’ve been mortally wounded and unable to do the things I love to do.

Now, not having my health has forced me to take a step back and examine my life. I’ve had to work out short term disability leave from my employer and tomorrow, I officially move into a condo that I bought last week. It’s a lot of stress at once, that’s for sure! Somehow, I am managing to do all this with my lower back tendons, tissue, and nerves, rocking and reeling from my surgery.

When I had my health – when I was running 5K’s daily last year, I gave thanks to the universe for my health. I always knew in the back of my mind that my health could be ripped away from me. Now that it has been, I have fond memories of running, playing basketball, and running around with my kids. For the next long while, I am going to be in recovery mode and I do not know what the end date of that recovery will be. I think for the rest of my life, I will have to manage my back and spine…

I’ve cried a lot this week. As I’ve been moving, I’ve overused my body and caused nerve flare ups in my legs and back. If you’ve never experienced them, they suck. It feels like your leg is being boiled in acid and shocked with electricity.

I don’t say this looking for pity, but to share – share raw and real what is going on with me and how I feel. Moving to this new condo and having a place of my own that I BOUGHT will force me out of my comfort zone even more and the area is in my favorite city in Utah, Draper.

I have to believe that there is a time I will be healthy again, because living my life as a cripple is frustrating :) I will get there, or die trying.

The Illusion of the Twin Flame

My most popular article about twin flames has gotten so many comments that I just don’t have the time to respond to them. I just let people share paragraphs upon paragraphs of their stories because I know how helpful it is when you are initially going through it to be able to voice yourself.

After all this time, I’ve deconstructed the situation and I know exactly what it is. My situation is very similar to everyone else’s, but I’ll share exactly what the illusion is and how my situation unfolded.

There was for sure an initial attraction in the situation for me between both of us – absolutely. Both of us freely interacted and in my case, I was married at the time. This created additional attraction toward me because I was “unavailable”. A married man is off limits and that’s enticing.

Because I was married, I was extremely free to interact without any expectations. This created additional attraction because a woman who sees that a man’s feelings are unclear and isn’t pressuring her into anything is going to be drawn to that man – especially if there is the initial attraction. That man then becomes a challenge, which is way more interesting than a man who just throws himself at a woman. This was the case for me.

In my case, we had casual lunches where we would talk and I would always end the lunch. I never acted in a way where I needed anything from the other. Once we started spending more time together, it had been such a long period of time of interacting that there was quite a bit of tension to escalate the situation.

Once we began spending more time together, that was what people call the bubble phase. It was really just two people who were really into each other at the time. Unknowingly, I created the perfect recipe for attraction – confidence, control, challenge, and not being easily available.

After this period ended after a couple months, that’s when the search for the explanation started. But really, it was just a huge investment in emotion by my part who would be called the chaser. The other saw the situation and “checked out” many weeks prior, similarly to how I “checked out” of my marriage a while before I actually got divorced.

The one who “checks out” loses any emotional attachment and separating is not that big a deal for them. Many in the twin flame situation who chase create these elaborate ideas that the other is just so afraid to talk to them because they might get rejected. That’s a huge lie. The other has simply checked out and moved on much sooner than the one who is the chaser.

The illusion is that because the “chaser” did not “check out”, they remained emotionally invested as the other disconnected. This lead them to feel pain because their emotions were still running hot. It’s like taking away a rack of ribs from someone who hasn’t eaten for a few days. They really want those ribs because of their hunger.

And so it was the case for me. Eventually, through discipline, willpower, and moving on, those emotions do die down for the “chaser” and reach the level that the “runner” is at. It becomes level again.

So many chasers, especially women, create this idea in their mind about the situation and become fixated on the other instead of seeing reality as it is and moving on. These women want so badly the other to want them and this is a poor way to value yourself. Always move on from people who don’t respond to you. This does take discipline.

There really is no twin flame, I hate to say it, just a situation where two people were really attracted to each other, the perfect situation allowed interaction and interest, and one person checked out and the other didn’t while their emotions were hot still. It’s just a type of human interaction and that is it.

Hope this helps some of you see the reality of the situation where you may be having a hard time. Just move on and chalk it up to a learning experience – especially if you were the chaser in the situation.

What It Is Like Returning To Work 6 Weeks After My Spinal Fusion

I went to work today, for the first time in a long while. It was pretty funny actually. I just walked in and went to my desk, just like I did before my surgery. Some people said hello and asked me how I was feeling, my boss let out a cheer for me and some people clapped, I talked to my team members, and then it was back to business as usual. How funny :) It felt like I never left.

I’m proud of myself in that I worked almost a full day. I worked from 9:30 AM to about 4:00 PM. That’s pretty good! My lower back and left leg nerves were all sorts of grumpy by the end of the day, but I’ve been laying down on my bed for about 30 minutes and a lot of that has calmed down now. From what I understand, it’s just the healing process of the nerves, which are grumpy little things. They go from my lower spinal cord down my legs and the nerves going down my left leg (which were the nerves getting hit by my disc to begin with), is where I get the nerve flare ups. It feels like there is a slight electrical current moving through my left leg. Lots of movement and just being up out of bed causes it to increase, but I don’t feel nerve pain usually, just nerve pulses. It’s interesting.

In case you don’t know, I had a PLIF. That’s a surgery done through your back where bone is removed from your spine, the disc removed from your vertebrae, a bone cage put in where the disc was, and titanium rods and screws put in your vertebrae to hold it together to start the fusing process of bone for that joint.

After 6 weeks, I can walk a lot, and all the work today – standing, sitting, moving, and just being up for over 6 hours, has caused the nerve in my left leg to pulsate a lot. I even had a couple really sharp pains of the nerve toward the end of the day. But it’s all calmed down mostly, which is good. I’m hoping that as time goes on, the nerves will heal and I will get back to my usual activities. There’s always the risk that the nerve will never heal and I’ll just have to deal with it :)

Either way, I made it through the day and now have a long list of things I need to do this week. Welcome back to the real world, Jeremy :)

Oh, I almost forgot. This is a picture while I was recovering many years ago from my prior back surgery (a discectomy of L5S1) surgery, in February, 2010, with my daughter Ellie who was 2 1/2 years old at the time. It is one of my fondest memories and makes me cry when I see it. I miss seeing my two daughters as often as I once did.

Daddy and Ellie, Feb. 2010

Walking A Lot

One of the things I’ve been doing as I’ve been recovering from my spinal fusion is walking. I walk a lot – many times a day. Usually I do about a mile a time – 15 minute bursts and each day I end up covering 4 miles or so. This is my cardio exercise. After I walk each time, I do very light versions of the following exercises: squats, wall push-ups, arm curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, squats, and calf raises. Then I lay down and do bridges and stomach crunches down, along with very light crunches.

Of all the things I’ve done, walking and getting out and moving my body has been the most beneficial. It’s overriding my desire to not move and be safe. I still feel concerned that I’ll do something that dislodges a titanium screw in my spine or dislodges the spacer between my vertebrae. But each time I get out and walk and move my body, I feel much better.

I feel some minor soreness in my lower back and some very light nerve pain/pulses in my left leg occasionally. This is much better than I was last month, so I’m grateful that I am getting better slowly it seems. I just try and take it a day at a time and hope that in the long run, I’ll never have this disc issue cause me nerve pain again and that I will fully heal.

Tomorrow, I am going back to work – we’ll see how I hold up…

Well, that’s my update – I’m walking a lot and trying to recover fully from this major and intense surgery I had.

Returning To Work After 6 Weeks Off Recovering

This Tuesday, after Labor Day, I’m going to be going back to work. I’ve been away for 6 weeks. In fact, today is the 6 week mark from my spinal fusion surgery. It has gone by fast. When I think about returning to work, I have mixed emotions. It has been nice not to have to go to work. Not working feels good to me. However, the downside to this is that not working also creates a void where my sense of purpose and drive isn’t being fulfilled as much. I know when I go back, that my energy won’t allow me to work full days, but I will do the best I can with where I’m at in my recovery and that will have to be enough.

I work as a manager of software engineers. While I’ve been out, two of those software engineers have either quit or moved to a different group. My interpretation of this is that as I’ve been gone, there has been less of a continuity as a team and that my leadership and presence is needed. It helps me see my value to the business as well. Now, the people on my team could have done this either way, but it’s an interesting coincidence that this happened while I was out.

A large part of my job, I feel, is to help motivate, inspire, and guide my team members. I also need to provide vision and direction in the projects we are doing. It’s a very uncertain time for me. Physically, I am still recovering. I drove 45 minutes this morning from West Valley to Orem here and my lower back is in a lot of pain. Fully recovering is going to take a while it looks like and I hope that I can do a good job at work when I go back.

Another one of the main things I’ve thought about while laying and recovering this last 6 weeks is my own sense of self and empathy. I feel like the world lacks empathy and a true desire to understand each other as humans. The little of the news and TV I hear seems to be geared around short bursts of emotional rhetoric rather than trying to consciously talk about the challenges of the country I live in and what could be done to solve them. I’d like to see a candidate focus his or her attention on the issues and how they would be solved and spend zero time slandering or bashing other candidates. I feel, however, that this wouldn’t work as the mass of population wouldn’t resonate or feel enough emotion from that person, even if they were the best person for the job.

As I lay here, 38 years old now, soon to be 39 (in December), I realize my strengths and weaknesses. I have a lot of empathy for people and their challenges. I still do not do a good job as a leader or communicator and still have fear guiding my actions just as I did in my childhood. I may never solve this challenge, but at least I can recognize it.

These are some of the thoughts going through my head as I lay here. It’s very easy to focus on the negative aspects of life – the things I desire to improve. I must also be grateful for what I do have – two wonderful daughters, a mind that still can think, and opportunity ahead of me. I’m grateful to be alive, but man, life can sure be tough sometimes.

Expressing and Feeling Emotions as Men

There’s an instructor I’ve been watching and one of the things he does very well is he helps the young men he is teaching express and feel their emotions and fears, and then to overcome them. As a man, I know I’ve felt the pressure to keep my emotions and fears hidden so as not to be judged as less then a man. However, at this point in my life now, I realize that is a shit way to be, to hide what is really happening in my body and be inauthentic.

Here’s one of the videos I really enjoyed from this instructor. As a man, it is OK to cry – cry a lot. It’s ok to be nervous. Feel your anxiety. It’s ok to be angry. Feel your anger. Then do the thing anyway that scares you.

Surfacing Childhood Wounds

I had an interesting experience today. The experience was super positive. Through that experience, I felt tons of emotion and felt the surfacing of wounds from my child hood. I would call these wounds the things that happened that stopped me from becoming what I am capable of being. Here’s what some of them are:

Fear of Being Assertive

When I was young, there were occasions I asserted myself. That is, I did what I felt like doing. In my household, I was punished usually with a combination of verbal and physical abuse.

I remember being told in 6th grade to hold my pencil correctly. To keep my hands, feet, and objects to myself, to sit still and listen. I remember constantly being told what to do and that if I went outside that “norm”, I was punished.

I hold back much of who I am. I hold back at work, in my personal projects, and for who I am. This holding back is mysterious to me. Why would I hold back my true potential and grander things? I believe it is related to other fears. If I give everything I have and something doesn’t work out, would I feel like a failure and not enough – that at my core, even with my best, I wasn’t enough?

Fear of Success

The fear of success is interesting to me. I remember in 8th grade, shooting free throws in a basketball game against our city rival. If I made both free throws, our team would seal the win. Unfortunately, I missed both of them. I can remember what I was thinking when I went to the line to shoot: “what if I miss?”

I think the fear of success is simply wondering if you will lose it all or not be good enough once you have succeeded. Will you be able to sustain the success you have achieved?

In my home growing up, success was something that wasn’t talked about much. Usually it was what was wrong with things and people. Rarely did I hear conversations about what was possible. I therefore realize that I have taken with me similar things and it is why I want to quit at times.

Fear of Rejection

Who likes to be rejected? When I was in 2nd grade, I remember having a paper of mine getting ripped up by my teacher. I was just simply drawing lines to connect where things weren’t as clear on the paper. My teacher saw this as disruptive and took it and ripped it up. It was embarrassing to me.

I can look at this single moment as when I started to fear doing things because someone might not like it or agree with it. It caused me to be pretty passive and afraid to take risks.

These childhood wounds or things that I realize about myself are there, whether I like it or not. The first step is admittance, the second step, feeling the wound and crying/yelling/whatever I need to do, and the final step, overriding them through reprogramming myself :)

5 Weeks – My How Time Flies :)

5 Weeks ago I had my spinal fusion surgery. I’m going to be returning to work on Sept. 6th, the day after Labor Day. It’s an intense recovery, but I’m slowly getting better. In fact, I drove 35 minutes to South Jordan, UT today to sign a document for a new place I’m buying in Draper, UT. I have spent much of my time recovering and having time to myself to think and ponder life. Recovering from a spinal fusion surgery is hard, but I have really enjoyed the time away from work. I have enjoyed it so much that I can say that I don’t feel like returning to work :) But I will.

One of the things that has happened while I’m away is the explosive growth of my YouTube channel. I’ve had this channel for 6 1/2 years and my subscriber amount has quadrupled in just the last two months. The reason for this is actually an accident! I did a video a couple years ago in my old basement from the house I used to live in about my perspective on the whole twin flame shenanigans. I made the video private because I didn’t want people knowing that I talked about that kind of thing.

Just over two months ago I decided to hide all my online stuff, including my YouTube videos. I just kind of said, “fuck it” to myself and hid it all. This included making all my YouTube videos private so nobody could see them. A few days later, I came to my senses and realized that no matter how long it takes, I should continue to do what feels right to me and never quit.

I made all my YouTube videos public. I quickly realized there were a few that were REALLY private and should not be public, so I made those private again. But I left this video about twin flames up and people started finding it and commenting and telling me how much it helped them. It seems that women are deeply seeking a male’s perspective on twin flame situations and so my video filled that need. Fascinating.

After a few years now, I’m no longer afraid of talking about the experience and the profound impact it had on me. I’m not afraid of sharing my fears publicly. I’m not afraid of people not accepting me. In fact, I was inspired to make a video about all my vulnerabilities. People are so scared to share what their fears are. Fuck that. I’m going to lay it all out publicly and be completely transparent with it all. It was like a public confession. After I did it, I realized that I was still breathing and nobody was coming to take me away in hand cuffs. More people are appreciating my being vulnerable and being raw and real in my videos. Again, fascinating.

I’m feeling the pull to do more videos about twin flames, being vulnerable, and growing to become better versions of ourselves. I feel pulled to do this. At my day job, I don’t feel the pull, but it is a good job that pays well. The pull to help others though is stronger and I finally feel like I am on my life’s purpose with this YouTube channel of mine and I will continue to make videos. Some day, I can see myself doing seminars in front of people, and writing a book!

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned lately is that in order to change who you are, you have to act in a way that is like what you want to be, even when your emotions within your body are telling you the opposite. Here’s an example: a woman tells me she’s not feeling it or a connection. My normal reaction says, “how can I get her to like me?” My action I take is to say to her, “cool, have a good one,” and then remove her number and move on. Another example is my back. When it hurts, my natural reaction is to worry that my titanium hardware has become fucked up. Instead, I say, “It’s all good, I’ll just rest and it will be fine.” It is how you act that creates who you are – done over and over through repetition.

It’s been a lot of blood and sweat for the last few months – since April, 2016 when my back really started having issues. I feel confident that as I continue to work on myself that great things will be in store and that life will continue to be this grand adventure :) Now, to get some rest from all the driving I did today!

My Spinal Fusion Journey – The Night Before

I’m going in tomorrow at 5:30 AM to get prepped and ready for my spinal fusion surgery of the lowest vertebrae in my spine. It’s a proven surgery and the surgeon, Dr. Reichman (62 years old) is well renowned here in Provo, UT for doing it. He’s done thousands of them and I feel confident that over the long term, this is going to be the best thing for my back.

It’s funny because I’ve done a pretty good job of getting my back pain healed without surgery. I still feel the nagging ache and sciatica, however, and I know the joint is only going to get worse over time and I cannot live my life like I have the past 3 months with no physical activity hardly at all. I need to be active and for me to do that, this joint has to get bolted up.

I know the recovery will not be easy. Moving will be difficult for a few weeks. I believe a positive mental attitude, a desire to succeed and overcome this, and pushing myself will help me get through it. I know I’m not going into something easy right now. It is going to test me more than anything I’ve faced to this point. But I will overcome it.

Here’s a short little video I did about it. This is the beginning of my spinal fusion blog posts :)