What is Strength?


I am the son of a Vietnam Veteran, a career Marine for 22 years. When I was a teenager, we, of course, had our disagreements, but I wanted to be like him: compassionate, inspirational, an influencer and strong. I don't know if I have managed all of them, but I know I have been strong on several occasions.

I have a very high pain threshold, but, on May 11, 2016, I was tested to my limit. I woke up that morning and felt a pain different from any other. Fortunately, I managed to make my way to the emergency room. I went to the ER to get something to relieve the excruciating pain, but when I arrived at the emergency room, the nurse met me at the door with a wheelchair. That was 11:30 in the morning and I was immediately admitted to the hospital.

After 2 MRIs and a CAT scan, the on-call neurosurgeon came in at 9:00 pm and told me he could not allow me to go home and that I needed emergency surgery immediately. He cleared his schedule and performed the surgery the next morning.

After a 10 1/2 hour procedure, I woke up with three metal bars and screws in my back from T-2 to T-10. Thankful for having my dad’s strength, I’m fortunate that it kicked in. I needed it to endure the journey ahead of me.

When I woke up, there was my Neurosurgeon and an Infectious Disease Specialist. My Neurosurgeon told me I had no disk between my 5th & 6th vertebrae and my spine was compressing and the Infectious Disease Specialist told me I had Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever).

Talk about a one-two punch; I was overwhelmed. The strength and determination I had to draw on was huge, much like the same as when I became an entrepreneur. My mindset and determination were strong. It was hard, but I had to set daily goals and stay focused.

I got up against doctors’ advice and stood up while saying to myself, “Here we go. If I can stand, I can walk. If I can walk, I can do anything I want. I thrive and strive every day to be and do more than the day before.”

The next two years I needed all the strength I had to, first of all, learn to walk again and endure all the challenges I had to face.

We all face challenges, but it’s our shear determination that helps us become successful. Even with all the challenges I face now, I have been blessed to have the right doctors, nutrition, facilities, and determination available to assist in my recovery.

Darryl K. Horton