On Recent trip

On a recent trip

Sometimes things just line up perfectly. You are in the right place at the right time and everything just clicks for what ever reason.  On a recent trip to San Diego I had one of these times. 

On May 1st 2003 is when I was diagnosed with MS. The last thing I thought about at 27 was my health going to hell in a hand basket. One moment I am in the prime of my life working in a career I loved… I was a high level figure skating instructor. Three weeks later I was told I had MS, and would never walk again let alone stand on skates. Hope wasn't something I had in ample supply. 

My parents and I went to CMA Fest in Nashville the month following. I went to the convention center where all the labels and artists have tables. An older gentleman come up and says "son your to young to be in that damn thing. That's made for old farts like me". I explained about my MS and what the last month had been like. He listened and then said you and me are gonna take a walk over here. He took me over to Clay Walker's booth and introduced me to the girl running it. The older gentleman explain to her I was just diagnosed with MS.

We talked for about 30 or 45 minutes. She explained to me about what MS was and about the therapies. She also told me about Copaxone which is the drug Clay is on for his MS and how few side effects it has. It was from talking with her that I made the decision on what therapy I would choose. I didn't know what I was going to be doing in 3, 5 or even 10 years but getting the flue every time I did an injection was not in my cards. 

I told this lady that I was hoping to get enough images at fan fair to start a portfolio so that I could get into music photography. I looked around and the older man was gone. I made a joke that the older guy can move for an old guy. She responded by saying trust me there ain't nothing old about Charlie Daniels.

For the first time someone had taken the time to tell me what MS was. Knowing that there was someone out there living a normal life on the same drug I was on gave me something I didn't before….. hope.

It took 18 months of PT but I left that chair and never looked back. I started my photography business that summer. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about what Clay Walker has done for me the hope and the will to fight everyday. 

For 9 years I have thought a lot about all this and what I would say if I ever had the opportunity. Friday night after dinner I stopped in the lobby and sat down to check email. A gentlemen said hello and I said hello back. He asked if I was enjoying the conference and I said I was and when I looked up the person sitting next to me was Clay Walker. I told him that for 9 years there was something I have been wanting to say to him. He smiles and says what's that? I told him just 2 words Thank You. He smiles and says what for and I explained the above story. He was blown away saying he never imagined he would ever ever have an effect on someone like that. 

We talked for a while longer on various things and then he asked What's with the cyborg on your leg? So I explained what it was and how it worked and the G+ story of how we got it. He was absolutely amazed and commented that there are angels among us which I agree. The he asked "can I try it?" My response was sure. Explained how the shoe sensor worked and how to put it on. He walked across the hotel lobby and commented oh my god this thing picks up your toes for you. He say back down and says now I want to see you walk with it off and after a few steps he said turn that puppy on. He was totally blown away and said that's the coolest thing he had ever seen. 

He asked what I did for work and I told him I was a photographer and where I lived. He asked for my card and told me next summer  when I come to town don't make plans. As he left he turns and says don't be late for class tomorrow I have something special for you.

The next morning just before lunch he made an appearance and said he was doing a free concert that night for our conference. The he said sometimes he meets people that the bond is instant and they are brothers for life and that one of those people was me. He then told everyone about the bionic leg I have and how it works. I was blown away.