Imagine being a young, attractive, and healthy dad living an active lifestyle with a successful career in Vegas. Everything seems wonderful until your body starts attacking and destroying itself with a rare autoimmune disease known as Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Your brain starts to swell, you’re induced into a coma for three months, and then you have to relearn how to talk, walk, and eat after being fed through a tube. You’d be questioning God too, wouldn’t you?
That’s exactly what I went through in the summer of 2012. I laid in my bed, waiting to be bathed and changed after soiling myself, unable to lift my head from my pillow, and was down to 4% body muscle mass. I was praying to die after enduring hourly painful seizing for six months, multiple surgeries, and medical bills exceeding $3,000,000. At the time, death seemed like a reward after all this suffering.
I left the big city and moved to a small, quiet, rural town in Utah, where I pushed myself through my intense physical and mental struggles and found motivation to resume a somewhat normal life after finding God. I began making something beautiful of the world with woodworking. Using local driftwood from the Paiute Reservoir and rusty re-discovered treasures from the old Junction dump, I have received three grand champion awards and two reserve awards by the Utah State University.
Despite my ongoing condition, night terrors, and high anxiety, I happily look forward to continuing my artwork with a positive outlook on life while spreading awareness for ADEM. Although this disease can happen to anyone for any reason, no matter your genetics, my humbling experience is expressed in the simplest way through my art. I rejoice in the Lord every day and wish to personally thank you all for the second chance to make the world a little kinder - and a little more beautiful with my art. God bless.