Certified Storm Nut Since 1974

Certified Storm Nut Since 1974

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How It Started: My Lifelong Passion For Weather And Storms

I guess it actually started when I was nine or ten and read about the deadly F-5 tornado that struck Lubbock, Texas in a newspaper.  I was always a boy interested in science; the kid who wanted to make a volcano and perform chemistry experiments at school.

My interest in weather and storms really went into the stratosphere four years later when an early morning March tornado badly damaged my home and neighborhood west of Atlanta.  The infamous April 3, 1974 tornado "Superoutbreak" occurred two weeks later and I was hooked.

After that all I wanted to do was learn about weather and storms; learn what made tornadoes and hurricanes occur, how to predict them, and how to protect yourself and survive severe storms when they occurred. 

I spent my spare time in area libraries, radio and tv stations, and the Atlanta National Weather Service office, pouring over weather data, storm surveys, reports, and research information;  what I couldn't find locally, I ordered through the mail....hurricane reports from the National Hurricane Center, tornado statistics from the Severe Storm Forecast Center, research info from Dr Theodore Fujita.  I called NHC long-distance to ask questions of hurricane forecasters in Miami.

I had a thirst for weather information that couldn't be quenched.  When cable tv became available in our area in 1980, I had live weather data and radar 24 hours a day.  I purchased all sorts of thermometers and weather gadgets, including a Tradewind anemometer in 1983.  The Weather Channel began broadcasting at about the same time (and only 24 miles from my home); another source for learning about storms.  I purchased my first Davis home weather station in 1996 (Weather Wizard III).

I chased my first hurricane in 1979, and saw my first tornado two years later.  I decided to use what I'd learned to help save lives, so became a trained Skywarn spotter in 1982, and have continued trying to educate and save lives ever since (and will never stop).  I feel an obligation to help others learn about hurricanes and severe weather in order to prepare and stay safe.  A lifelong passion to learn and teach.....but that's how it all began.

Still Alive And Kicking!

Cancer is a horrible disease.  I know from firsthand experience because I've beaten cancer twice since 2008.  The first time I learned I had kidney cancer (stage one renal cell carcinoma) from a routine checkup.  It was caught early and my odds of being cured nearly 100%.  Even so, the cancer cost me my right kidney.

The second, much more serious, and still ongoing battle against cancer was discovered after being misdiagnosed for two months as a pulled or torn thigh muscle.  What appeared to be a pulled quad in late December turned out to be a large, aggressive malignant tumor.  The biopsy at Emory Midtown hospital on March 2, 2015 confirmed my worst fears.  I had a high grade. chemo resistant, rapidly growing cancer (osteosarcoma) that grew two inches in two months; that continued growing through two rounds of potent chemotherapy my Oncologist thought would shrink the cancer and save my leg.

I learned on May 8th that my leg had to be amputated to save my life, and the amputation took place three days later, changing my life forever.  Losing my leg meant the end of my security professional career, a job I loved, in addition to losing my home and financial security.  Even though the year since losing my leg has been tough, I've managed to stay positive and have made many new friends as result of my illness and struggle to recover.

I'm not cured of osteosarcoma (am "in remission" per my Oncologist), but my odds of surviving five years have increased from 55% one year ago to 75%.  I've just celebrated my one year anniversary of being cancer free, and just today had my chemo port removed.

I've battled cancer twice, lost everything I had because of it, including my left leg and kidney, and am still in a nursing home because of cancer, but am still alive and kicking.....will never surrender or give up!

Monday, May 16, 2016

How On Earth Did I End Up Like This?

Hey there!  My name is Perry and I've returned to this blog after a three year absence.  A lot has happened to me during that time, much of it bad.  At the time I put this blog into storage, I was working as a security officer at Cooper Lighting in Peachtree City, Georgia.  Thanks to medical expenses resulting from a bout with kidney cancer in 2008, I was forced to move in with my father in Newnan, Georgia.

In July 2014, my father was diagnosed with both Alzheimers Disease and cancer.  He went downhill rapidly, and sadly passed away in December at age 81.  I was forced to move from his home, but was fortunate enough (blessed) move in with two good friends.  I was planning to get my own place by spring 2015, but fate interveined in February when I suffered a severe fall at work, which it turned out was caused by a large, aggressive cancer in my left thigh (Osteosarcoma).

I knew there was something going on in my leg; severe swelling and pain had begun a few weeks earlier, but was believed by my doctors to be result of a pulled or torn thigh muscle.  After the fall on February 15, 2015, I was transported to Newnan Piedmont then several days later to Emory hospital where I was diagnosed with cancer.  My Oncologist made the decision to try chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and save my leg.  The chemo made me sick, and caused my hair to fall out, but did nothing to stop the cancer, which actually grew during the two rounds of intense chemotherapy.

On May 8th, the decision was made to amputate my left leg below the hip joint to remove the tumor and (hopefully) save my life.  My leg was amputated on May 11th at Midtown Emory hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.  I spent two days in ICU but they started me working with physical therapy only three days later.  I was so weak it took two physical therapists to get me off the hospital bed.  I was transferred to Emory Rehabilitation hospital in late May, then to Emory's Budd Terrace rehab/ nursing center in mid-June.

I progresssed rapidly, and by early July could easily stand and transfer from my wheelchair to bed, chairs, and toilet.  Here is a photo of my two therapists Everett and Oscar taken in July.  I had hoped to relocate to Portland, Oregon (where my younger sister lives), but unfortunately that wasn't possible, so I agreed to a transfer from Budd Terrace to a small nursing center in Austell, Georgia, where I currently reside.  I'm hopeful of getting into an Assisted Living home soon, and eventually into my own place.  I was approved for full disability in November, but there are few affordable places available.  Just keeping my fingers crossed and praying something good will come my way!

About Me

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Austell, Georgia, United States
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