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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is it a Crime to Die?

 I came across an article (click here to read it) that really moved me and I wanted to share it with you.  The article is about a recently married young woman (29 years old) who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Rather than stay in California where laws would prevent her from choosing to die on her terms and die with dignity, she moved to Oregon where laws allowed her to have that option.

I have been thinking a lot about this as of lately.  My Grandmother has advanced alzheimer's.  It has been over eight years since I had an adult conversation with her.  It has been at least four since I was able to have a conversation with her that I might have with a four year old.

She is at the stage where she is wheel chair bound, in diapers, and drooling.  She barely opens her eyes nor raise her head.  She cannot speak but mumble an occasional word or two. 

My Grandma was the person who used to make you wash your hands before you ate because she was so meticulous about things being clean and sanitary. My Grandma was a proper lady who would be appalled to have a conversation about pooping.

I wonder if my Grandma knew the fate that was in store for her, would she have taken steps to prevent it. If my Grandma had been given an opportunity to die with dignity, would she have taken it?

I would.

 The experience has been heartbreaking for me.  I struggle with seeing her now because the images of today are over taking my memories of her... I do not want to remember her this way so I do my best to try and remember her how she was.

Watching her pain and the sadness it brings to my family I feel completely certain that if I ever faced a similar situation I would take measures to end my life on my own terms.

Would you?

My question to you is this: when facing a terminal illness, one that will induce great suffering and rob you of the essence that is you, is it a crime to choose to end your life vs face that fate?

I am looking forward to reading your thoughts.


Carpe Diem,

Jesse

www.jessebrisendine.com

www.facebook.com/1year1000challenge

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Day I Will Never Forget

International Sunrise and Sunset Day around the world was nothing less than amazing.

I wanted to post a quick blog so that there was a place to view the photo albums as well as the video from the event.

I also wanted to extend a huge thank you to all of you who participated.  This event more than exceeded my expectations.

I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of something that brought so many of us together from all over the world.  One of the greatest things about technology is the ability it creates to bring people together and make the foreign less foreign.

Seeing all the money that was raised for Reach Out World Wide by our 1000 Challenge Community has really inspired me to look for more opportunities for more good that we all can put out into the world.  We are becoming a community with a very powerful voice. This gives us a lot of leverage in hosting more amazing events in the future.

Imagine what we can do if we had similar numbers for Trash Clean Up Day or if all of us gave up sugar for a month... do you think companies would be willing to start being more transparent if 46,000+ people stopped using one of their products??? Something to certainly think about.

The point of this blog is this: when we come together for a greater good there is no limit on what we can do/achieve/accomplish.

I am so grateful to all of you and extremely excited about future projects that we can all do together.

I have been tossing around some ideas for our next community challenge, but wanted to check with you all first to see if you have any suggestions.

What should our next 1000 Challenge Community Challenge be?

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Enjoy the photos and video.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse






Sunrise/Sunset Photo album Part 1

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.971931062833634.1073741836.187115434648538&type=3

ROWW Donations

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.967604023266338.1073741835.187115434648538&type=3

Sunday, September 21, 2014

International Sunrise Sunset and Reach Out World Wide Fundraiser Update

Well I have some news...

I still have not come close to downloading all the Sunrise, Sunset, and ROWW donation confirmation pictures yet.  There are 1000's of them.   The process of downloading them all is overwhelming at times.  One minute I will be smiling, the next I will be updating my "places to travel list," and then the next I may be crying and having to step away because wounds that have not fully healed began to hurt.

I will keep this blog brief as I still have a couple hours of downloading I want to try to get in before bed time.

Sunrise/Sunset numbers:  All seven continents, even Antarctica, submitted pictures!!  I don't know if I have ever said "So Fucking Cool!!" out loud as loudly as I did when I saw the Antarctic picture pop up.

I have seen pictures from at least 50 countries, but I am pretty sure there are many more than that.  My goal is to have a final count by the end of the week.

Here in the USA it looks like we got a picture from every State!!  Way to go!! :)

Amazing!!

As for the Reach Out World Wide fundraiser:  Paul once told me, "It takes about $50,000 to fund one deployment."  I am proud to say that because of our efforts we have raised almost exactly $50,000 to date.  On the official donor page (see picture below,) because of the donations of nearly 1,300 people we have raised $46,000!!!

I know many of you bought merchandise in lieu of direct donations.  I also know that many of you donated directly through Reach Out World Wide vs using the donor page (I have received many emails explaining this).  So I am willing to bet that our fundraising efforts came in just about $50,000, enough to fund a future Reach Out World Wide deployment!!  How amazing is this!

None of this would have been possible without all of you.  Please, do me a favor and allow yourself to soak this in for a moment: because of You, next time a natural disaster happens and Reach Out World Wide is deployed to help, You have made that possible.  The kids who need medicine are going to get medicine because of You.  The person who is trapped will get rescued because of You.  

This is a prime example of what can be accomplished if like minded people come together to work for a greater good.  If we can accomplish this now, imagine what we can do over the next year?  After all we still have some work to do to reach our goal of One Million.  Keep sharing the link and keep getting people involved.

With all my heart I thank you all for making this happen. 

Being a part of this has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Stay tuned for the Sunrise Sunset album as well as video in the next couple weeks.

You are amazing.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse 


https://donate.roww.org/fundraise?fcid=339063

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Paul Walker & Reach Out World Wide Fundraiser

HI!!!

We are just a couple days away from International Sunrise/Sunset Day aka Happy Birthday Paul aka One Million for ROWW day!

I am really excited for the big event.

As a follow up to last weeks video/blog,  I recorded this video that shares some of my experiences about Reach Out World Wide's first trip to Haiti as well as Paul's commitment to helping people.




To see the photo of Paul I mentioned in the video, click here to go to the Reach Out World Wide Haiti page.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog recounting more about my trip to Haiti.  If you would like to read that blog, please click here.

Friday is the big day.  Remember to post all photos directly to the 1 Year 1000 Challenge Facebook page.

The Goals:  1 Million dollars raised for Reach Out World Wide, A photo of a Sunrise and or Sunset taken on September 12th, from 100 Countries.

This will happen because you all are making it happen by sharing and promoting the event.  I thank you all for all you have done thus far.  We are on the final push... please keep spreading the word.

I look forward to spending Friday with you.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

https://m.facebook.com/events/1468415000077566?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A22%7D&aref=22&ref=bookmark

Suggested hashtags: #InternationalSunriseSunsetDay #1Year1000Challenge #HappyBirthdayPW


https://donate.roww.org/fundraise?fcid=339063


Suggested hashtags: #HappyBirthdayPW #ROWW #OneMillionForROWW

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Honoring a Friend... Happy 41st Birthday Paul

Hi all,

The blog is going to be switched up a little bit these next two weeks so that I can use it to communicate with all of you about the up and coming International Sunrise/Sunset around the world event.

As many of you know, my best friend was killed in a car accident late last year.  I wanted to do something special to honor him and celebrate what would have been his 41st birthday on September 12th.

What I have done is organize an event that has two parts to it.  You can view the event information in its entirety by clicking here.

This event means so much to me and I wanted to try to convey just how important it is to me so I recorded this video to share with you all.

I hope that the video motivates you to take part in Paul's birthday celebration on Friday, September 12th, 2014.

Paul Walker was my best friend.  I miss him everyday... this is one small gesture that I feel will help keep a part of him alive.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

p.s. please share the event info and video with your friends and family.  I need all of you to reach the goals I have set.



To view the event on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/events/1468415000077566?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A22%7D&aref=22&ref=bookmark

Suggested hashtags: #InternationalSunriseSunsetDay #1Year1000Challenge #HappyBirthdayPW


To donate to Reach Out World Wide, use this link: https://donate.roww.org/fundraise?fcid=339063


Suggested hashtags: #HappyBirthdayPW #ROWW #ISupportROWW #DonateToROWW

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Physical Pain an Almost Full Disclosure Part 2

Hi All,

I appreciate all your comments and feedback from my blog last week.  The authorship process is one I want to learn and grow with.  Your feedback is invaluable to me and helps me to better myself as well as produce a better book for the world at large to benefit from.

Before I get to part two, I wanted to pass on a couple of updates:

The next 1000 Challenge Community event has been scheduled.  If you are going to participate in one event, this is the one to join.  It is a very special one for me.  Please click here to learn all about it.  Also be sure to invite your friends and family to join in.

Our next Youtube chat has been scheduled.  Sunday, September 7th, at 7:30am PST.  The topic will be: "Moving Forward from Grief, How to Honor Those You have Lost."
You can join the chat by clicking here:

Signups for the next 28 Day Flat Belly Challenge will be open on Monday September 22nd.  I will only be allowing 30 people to the opportunity to participate.  If you want to join you need to make sure you are subscribing to my newsletter as newsletter subscribers will get the first shot.  Click here to subscribe to my newsletter.

Ok: Physical Pain an Almost Full Disclosure Part 2

As I said last week this is a brief excerpt of the book I am working on.  Any/all comments, suggestions, and feedback are welcomed and much appreciated.



In March of 2012, nearly nine months post hernia surgery, the pain downstairs had subsided enough were I was starting to feel more normal in that area.  Normal in the sense that I was no longer getting the constant pain I had been previously, but there were still problems.  My back had gotten so bad that my movements were very limited.  Sitting for more than 20 minutes was a challenge, as was walking, hiking, etc...  (those of you who have been following the 1000 Challenge page since the beginning have noticed the decrease in hiking photos) This again affected the more intimate parts of my life because if I made any sudden movements, I would be greeted with a shooting pain through my body.  Reaching out to open the door hurt, imagine how much other things would hurt.

I was in so much pain, I felt completely emasculated, and was so frustrated with not being able to do some of the physical activities I enjoyed doing.  I began seeing a chiropractor that I was referred to by a friend.  I saw him for several months and my back did not improve, it only got worse.  In late June of 2012 I was referred to a Physical Therapist.  I saw him a couple times and for the first time since April of 2011 I felt a little better.

When I left to live in Europe, July of 2012, I was hopefully and optimistic that I was finally healing.  I had made a promise to myself that I would take a long walk around London every weekend.  The first weekend I was there I took about a seven mile walk.  The second weekend I walked the length of the Thames River up to London Bridge.  It was awesome.  I was doing the exercises religiously that the physical therapist had prescribed.  I was excited to continue to heal and return home in the fall back to my normal self.

Two weeks into my London adventure I went to the bathroom, number two.  It was really painful.  I thought that was weird, but figured it would go away. It didn't go away, it was there the next time I went to the bathroom and the time after that.  Not only was the pain there, but it was getting more intense and leaving me with a bloody mess.  

It only continued to get worse and worse.  After two weeks of this I was terrified to go anywhere or do anything.  If I walked longer than 10 minutes I felt uncomfortable.  I was scared of being away from a bathroom because the whole process of going was now taking me three times longer than normal.  It hurt so bad that I found myself at times biting down on towels to try and keep myself from yelling out in pain.

I was able to fly back to the States in late August to go to the doctor. By this time I had scared myself stupid by reading horror stories on websites about what could possibly be happening.  The first doctor I went to suspected I might have hemorrhoids. I started taking medicine (the kind you have to shove up your ass) as well as spending 30 minutes a day, two times a day, soaking in an epson salt bath trying.  As you might imagine, I was feeling really good about myself, especially since I had just started to feel better about my sexuality a few months earlier.  Now I am back to having pain and problems in areas that are some of our most sensitive.

 I also went to an acupuncturist who prescribed me to drink aloe vera juice (which tastes gross) as well as wheat grass juice, everyday.

I did all of this and it still did not get better.  I flew back to the States again and went to a different doctor.  He told me a I had an anal fissure, which is basically a tear in the tissue of your butt.  He said it was a fifty fifty chance it gets better on its own.  If it didn't the other option was surgery.  I again read the horror stories about how if the surgery did not go right you could lose control of your ability to control those muscles needed to go to the bathroom.

There was no way I was going to roll the dice and do the surgery, especially after I had had such a "positive" experience with the hernia surgery.  I convinced myself that I could heal naturally and I resolved to do anything and everything possible to heal.

I was doing everything I could to be proactive with my new “condition.” I changed my diet around by adding in a ton of extra fiber, stool softeners daily, eliminated alcohol, and eliminated red meat.  I stopped going out to eat because I was so terrified of not having full control over what went into my body.  Naturally this had a pretty shitty (Pun intended) affect on my social life.

I continued to take the Epsom Salt baths twice a day for 30 minutes at a time. The baths were frustrating to me because they took up so much time, but I had committed to follow instructions.  I began using the time in the bathtub to meditate.  I would go through a visualization of healing energy entering inside of me, healing my body.   Along with the Epsom Salt baths, I was applying this cream one to two times daily that if I put to much of it on it made me light headed, dizzy, and gave me an instant headache.  There was more than one time I almost passed out using this stuff.  The cream of course has to be applied to the injured area, so needless to say the rubber gloves that you see at doctor’s offices became staples in my day-to-day life.  I got very familiar with a part of the human body that most of us never have to acknowledge save  for disposing of our  “wastes” and that is it.  This was definitely some of the more humbling times of my life.

I was miserable.  I had finally started to feel better and now here I was with another problem below the waist.  I felt emasculated even more so and horribly inadequate as a man.  All those feelings I had of not being good enough, of hating myself, of being unattractive that I had fought my entire life were beginning to come rushing back to me.  

A large part of my adult identity had been built around the physical aspects of who I was: being able to be fit, active, and desirable by the fairer sex.  Now my ability to move was again limited; my back was only getting worse and now I was having new problems downstairs. More significantly for me was the emasculating feeling.  I was in so much pain I could barely think about sex let alone be sexual.  It was challenging, in my mind I did not feel attractive, in my mind I felt broken and focused on pain.

I can go a couple ways with next weeks blog... I can share with you part 3 or I can switch it up, save part 3 for later, and go with a different topic.

It is up to you.

Thanks for reading and your feedback. :)

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Physical Pain an Almost Full Disclosure part 1

As many of you know I have been busily writing my second book.  A couple weeks ago I asked if there would be an interest in me sharing some of what I had written.  Today's blog is just that, a small excerpt of some of what I have been working on for the book.

This is my first share and so I would appreciate your feedback from two perspectives: One as a stand alone blog post and two as a perspective reader of a larger book... is this something that interests you, what more would you like to know, what can make it better, is it something you would want to read more of?

Thank you in advance. :)

I say "almost" full disclosure because I want to do my best to be fully honest, but at the same time I will spare you all from reading some of the less pleasant details.  I will include more of those details in the book as my intention with the book is to be as transparent as possible in hopes that it will inspire others.

Some of the stuff I am about to share is pretty personal.  I am not going to lie, I am a little embarrassed talking about these parts of my life, but I am going there in the hopes that my sharing can maybe help inspire at least one other person out there who is struggling with pain.

What I also help you all will take away is this:  That while I have kept this part of my life hidden, you all have still been able to watch me over the years.  Watch me grow, watch me share my message, and watch my choose my attitude and how I wanted to experience life.  I could not control some of the physical stuff, but I have always had a choice in my attitude.

We all experience pain in various forms throughout life.  Mental, emotional, and physical pain will affect us all in some way and at some point in life.  Different types of pain have different affects on each individual.  When it comes to pain, there is not a universal right or wrong for how to experience it.

The last three years I have been in a lot of physical pain.  As painful as the physical part has been, the real daily challenge for me has been the mental and emotional obstacles that my physical pain has imposed.

I have had back and neck problems since I was a little kid.  In fact one of my earliest memories is of being in a chiropractors office, getting my necked cracked, when I was about five years old.  Over the course of my life my back would "go out" at random.  If you have never had your back go out on you it feels, at least for me, something like this: like you got punched in the lung and the fist that punched you is still there squeezing your lung making it hard to breathe.  While you are struggling to breathe, your entire back seizes up making it virtually impossible to do the simplest of movements like standing, sitting, or even reaching out to open a door.

When I got into college and started exercising the frequency of my back going out dramatically decreased.  I had begun giving my spine the structural support it needed to stay in place.  Without fail, it would still go out once every six to eight months, but the recovery time was now quicker.  Usually I would be able to be back to normal function three or four days later.

So in early April of 2011, as I was sitting in a hotel room in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, working on my taxes, it really did not come as much of a shock when I turned to my side and felt my back snap. It was painful, but no more painful than it had been in the past, and I figured it would be back to normal within a week.  A week came and went, but the pain remained.

Not only was the pain still there, but my range of motion had started to diminish, especially on my right side.  I was having a hard time bending or rotating to my right.  When I would try to, I would instantly get this shooting pain through my body.  If I tried to push through the pain I would get a feeling like my spine was about to snap... it would take my breath away.

I was cautious with day to day activities and did my best to take care of it as I always had in the past. Since this happened right in the middle of the 1 Year 1000 Challenge, I was constantly on the go and did not give it the attention I could have or probably should have.  Plus shortly after this had all started I had to have surgery to repair an inguinal hernia that was bulging and beginning to cause me a lot of pain and discomfort.

I never got a really good vibe from my surgeon. This was confirmed the morning of the surgery when he showed up 15 minutes late, rushed into the room looking a little disheveled and asked me, "what are you here for?"  I remember thinking to myself: It is reassuring to know my health is the hands of someone who obviously cares so much about it.

It took several days for the initial swelling to go down.  By the end of the third or fourth day most of the surgery pain (pain that comes from getting operated on), had subsided.  I seemed to be healing with the exception of lingering pain in my testicles.

As the days turned into weeks the pain below the belt not only remained, but got worse.  When I asked the surgeon about it during my post op check up he said (if I recall correctly) it could take upwards of 12 weeks for pain to full subside.

12 weeks went by and the pain was not only still there, it was really impacting my life.  I tried to run, the impact hurt to much... felt like I was getting punched in the balls over and over again.  Even things like hiking had become difficult because the downhill vibrational impact really hurt.  I can vividly remember driving back from San Diego in early September when suddenly I got an intense pain, again feeling like someone was beneath my seat punching me over and over again in a very sensitive area.

Naturally this affected certain other areas of my life... without mincing words, my sex drive all but disappeared and the act of having sex became way way more painful than pleasurable.  I felt horribly inadequate and unattractive.

In the fall of 2011 I went to one of the top penis doctors in the world.  He had me get an ultra sound ( is that what it is called where they take the instrument and look inside you like they do for pregnant women?).  Results said I had a lump in one side and it may or may not be the cause of the pain I was experiencing.  He also revised my post op window for side affects and said to give it until 16 weeks.

16 weeks went by... the pain was still there, not as bad, but still there.  What also happened during this time was my back got worse and worse.  With some of my physical activity being reduced (no running, hiking, jumping, etc...) I was sitting a lot more.  Sitting meant more compression on my already painful back.  I did not pay as much attention to it because I was so preoccupied with what was going on downstairs.

Part two will be posted next Sunday...

Carpe Diem,

Jesse