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Showing posts from 2016

The Pocketatch: Year 7 of a Christmas Tradition

Seven years ago today, I wrote a post entitled "The Pocketwatch". It is a story about my mother, who was my best friend and is the inspiration for this blog.  It is my favorite Christmas story, and has become an annual tradition. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.



As a kid growing up, Christmas Eve was always the most special day of the year. Aside from the Santa visit, the day was filled with so much tradition and family that is was more like an event than a holiday. Everyone would gather at my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. Cars would fill the drive way, be parked on the hill, and even in the front yard. My Uncle Ronnie would read the Christams story.  And there was always a feast, with us kids pushing everyone to finish their plates so we could get to the presents. And there were a lot of presents. Whatever car mom was driving, from the Pacer to the Nova, would always be packed full by the end of the evening, and many years required a second trip ju…

I'm a sap

I'm a sap.

If you have read this blog for very long, this is probably not news to you. After all, mosts of my posts contain come sort of story about my experiences in life, whether that story is the focus of my writing or anecdotal in the latest chapter. I have been told I have a story for everyting, and I love being known as that guy. After all, my Mom was a story teller. I get that from her. Not the only thing she passed to me though.

She was a sap too.

This time of the year is a little tough for me.  It was during this time, 8 years ago, that we spent our last days with my Mom. And while this by far has been the best Christmas season since that happened, what with Little Red getting on the transplant list and all, I still have my moments of sappiness, wishing she could be here now. One of those happened tonight

Tiffany asked if we could go for a drive to look at Christmas lights. She hadn't been out all day as she wasn't feeling great, so I was happy to oblige. We jumpe…

One body of awesomeness

306-C West Johnstown Road, Gahanna, Ohio 43230.

At 19 years old, I knew it all. I bought my first car for $150.00. I had quit college to save money so I coud marry a girl. And I had moved out of my parents house (after they told me I had too) to my very own apartment. It was my life. My freedom. My place. Well sort of.

Rent was $525.00 a month. That was a lot. So I had to have a room mate. Well 3 actually. I had to share a room with my best friend Brad, while my crazy, gun nut, con artist other roomate shared the second bedroom with his girlfriend. It was not a good situation. Still, though, it was my first taste of adulthood. And while the girl dumped me and the car broke down (who knew a $150.00 car would not be reliable?) the memories of living in that place have stuck with me through the years.

I remember one day in particular, as I was walking to work, I saw a man in the driveway of a home along the way. He was teaching his son, who could not have been more than 4 or 5, how to ri…

Smelled like wedding cake

It was the summer of 1991, and I had just graduated high school. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. I was free. Well sort of. That 11 pm curfew at my parents put a damper on my social life. So did the lack of a car. And while I wasn't ready to move out just yet, I did drop some cold hard cash on a set of wheels.

A 1967 Ford Falcon, I named my car Excalibur. Why? Because I was 18, and a rebel without a clue. She was primer black.  Everyday I had to pump up the tires. The headlights only worked on bright. The heat had to be turned from behind the dash. And I had to press the gearshift up as I turned the key to get it to start. But that rust bucket was mine. All mine.

About a week after I bought it, I was on my way to work. It was raining, and I hit a mud puddle. It was then I realized that, under the shag carpet floor mats, there were big holes in the floor board. I got an unplanned shower, and my lifetime of stories about bizarre things happening to me and my ca…

Never hurts to ask

I have been posting entries on this blog for a long time. March 28th, 2010, in a small hotel room on the 4th floor of the Hotel Panamericano in Santiago, Chile, Buckeye Mike Blog was born. It was a very difficult time in my life, and I knew I wanted to find a way to begin journaling (and hopefully understanding) the jumble of thoughts dancing in my head at the time.

Through the years I have published 331 posts, and kept another 55 for my own personal reflection. I have written many times about my Mother, who was my best friend and we lost a few years ago. She was a big part of the inspiration for this blog, as my life is a reflection of who she was. She was a storyteller, just like me.

I go back and re-read from time to time. It is cathartic to see where I have been, see the struggles and the victories. And now, to look back and see where God was working in my life even when i was running from him.

I have written about the restoration of a sewage treatment plant. I have talked about s…

Padiddle - Tiffany update 11-2-16

Padiddle.

Yesterday, Tiffany had an appointment with the surgical oncologist at the Stephanie Spielman Center. After last week's good but confusing news concerning the biopsy of a mass in her left breast, we had been looking forward to getting clarification and, more importantly, finding out if there were going to be more obstacles to jump through before Little Red could actually be listed in the Heart Transplant List.

Of course, we are talking about my wife. So obstacles are par for the course.

Dr. Farrar told us that the issue with the biopsy is a few abnormalities in the sample. While the tissue was completely benign, there were a few anomalies that could have been evidence of pre-cancerous cells. And, before we are put on the list, we have to know if these cells could present an issue further down the line.

So what's next? Well we first have to go speak to Ohio State Preoperative Assessment Clinic to make sure that they can use anesthesia on Tiffany. I would assume that an…

Tiffany update 10-26-16

Good afternoon everyone. I wanted to take a few minutes this afternoon to bring you all up to speed on what is going on with the effort to get Tiffany on the heart transplant list.

When I last wrote, we were waiting on Tiffany to have a biopsy on her left breast. that occurred Monday morning. Early today, the results came back. Benign*. Good news, right? Except, the asterisk is not a mistype. While there is no cancer present, the cells they looked at were "pre-cancerous" and she is considered high risk for developing breast cancer in the future. So what does that mean?

A heart (or any organ) transplant recipient has to be immunosuppressed for the rest of their life to limit the risk of rejection of the donated organ. If Tiffany is immunosuppressed and the cancer develops, it would spread quickly and lead to the worst possible outcome.

So whats next? Well on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016, Tiffany will see a surgical oncologist. He will explain what the concerns are, and likely …

Tiffany update 10-21-16

Good afternoon everyone! If it is your first time here, welcome to my blog. In the past this has been a place for me to share thoughts and stories about everyday life. And while I haven't written in awhile, I decided today was the day to jump back in, as this is probably going to be the easiest way to keep everyone updated as we hopefully get a heart transplant in the near future.

To catch you all up, my wife Tiffany suffered her 8th and most severe heart attack on October 1. It was a scary day in which we almost lost her. She spent the next 2 weeks at the Ohio State University -  Ross Heart Hospital, where the doctors determined that she would need a heart transplant. They put her through every test you can possibly imagine, and ultimately recommended her to the State of Ohio Solid Organ Transplantation Consortium for a heart transplant, who approved her almost immediately. All we had to do was wait for one more test to clear, and Emily (her amazing transplant coordinator at OSU …

Just the two of us - Part 2

I never had a daughter. I don't know what it's like to buy a Barbie Doll. Or dress up as Cinderella for your little girl's princess party. Or meet some zit faced teenage boy at the front door to instill the fear of God in him . And while I genuinely miss not having those experiences, I also will never have to meet that acne covered kid, which lessens my chances of ever going to prison. And I never have to pay for a wedding. So I suppose that, while I never had a Daddy's Little Girl, best not to second guess the man upstairs. He knew what he was doing.

Instead, he gave me 3 awesome gifts.

My guys.

I will never forget that moment. It was 11:30 pm or so on August 26, 1998. The nurse's name was Ava. She turned to me, with him wrapped up in his little blanket, and said "Would you like to hold your son?" I took him from her, a little hesitantly, and said these words to him for the first time:

"Hello, John-Michael David Slusher. I am your Dad"

The next…

AT&T Stadium Tour Photos

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Bucket List I never knew I had - Part 1

Do you have a bucket list? You know, a list of things you want to do before you die? They made a movie about it, with Jack Nicklaus and Morgan Freeman. 2 elderly men in failing health set out on a world wide adventure to cross things off a list that one of them had spent a lifetime making. And while I cannot recall all of the things they did off hand, I do remember that the last thing on the list was to see something majestic. And they did.

I have had a bucket list too, a whole litany of things I would like to do before my time on earth ends. I have been fortunate enough to cross a few items off, like auditioning for a commercial or going to Seattle. Other moments, like skydiving or trying stand up comedy, have yet to come. However, what I have found is that my own bucket list is fluid, and often I do not realize that something was on it until the moment actually arrives. That was the case this past weekend.

The idea started simply enough. Tiffany and I wanted to get away for a weeken…

Through All Of It

This month will mark 6 years I have been writing this blog. That seems almost impossible to me as I never was able to finish anything I started, let alone sustain something like this for that long. Yet here I am. And while the posts may not come as frequently as they used too, I often go back and read them and watch the roller coaster ride my life was taking in the first couple of years, and how it has stabilized over time since then. And as we approach next week's 72 month mark on my personal journal, it was only recently that I have begun to discover why it has come this far. Its a cool story, and I hope you will continue to read while I tell it.

I will begin by telling you a story. Just a few days ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. He was commenting about how much change he has seen in me over the last few years. From putting down cigarettes and alcohol to losing weight to the change in me as a professional, he said that I am an inspiration to him and the pe…

A Confession

I have a confession to make.

Brace yourself, you are probably never going to look at me the same way again.

A deep dark secret that only my wife has known until recently, just saying the words brings more shame to me than you can possibly imagine. I mean what kind of person I must be to be hiding this. Worse yet, what kind of person does that?

Ready?

Here goes.......

I have not been to the dentist since I was 9.

(dramatic pause, I will wait for you to process that and try to re-focus)

I remember the day well. The dentist was somewhere on Colerain Avenue in Cincinnati. From the light in my face to the dentist's hand in my mouth to the needle they stuck in the back of my jaw, I was not a big fan of that experience. And I never went back.

Sure I thought about it in my twenties and thirties. I would hear other people talk about doing it. Like all the cool kids were get root canals and fillings, but stuck in my head was the memory of that smell and the mean dentist yelling at me for fl…

Planet Y

For as long as I can remember, doing anything was a struggle. Between smoking and eating anything sweet that I could get my hands on for most of my adult life, I had put my body through the ringer without a second thought. I was never a physical specimen, even in high school. But by the time I hit 40, even taking the trash out was a chore. Any exercise would have been beyond imaginable.

Somewhere along the path of "I need to lose weight in order to not be insulin dependent" it dawned on me that I have been presented with a golden opportunity. With the nicotine addiction a distant memory and the change in eating habits, suddenly I feel better and I have more energy. Maybe this could be more than a weight loss goal.
Day before yesterday I was up and down 2 flights of stairs in a home a dozen times and realized I wasn't even a little winded. 2 nights ago, on my nightly walk, I pushed Little Red in her Wheelchair. Better than a mile on the truly rough terrain that Gahanna Ro…

48 and a half

I almost ran today.

It seems like I am doing a lot of remembering these days. People I have known for years are in failing health or passing away at an alarming rate. In November, one of my oldest family friends Nancy Richner passed away from surgical complications. In December, another high school friend, Dan Askew, lost his life to an aortic aneurysm, the same thing that claimed my natural father 20 years ago this May. And another, Jill Bryant, lost a battle with cancer she had been fighting for years. It has been a sad few months to say the least. But when word got to me about what another old friend and her husband are dealing with now, it really hit too close to home.

He is a diabetic. Has been for years. Guess the fast food eating competitions we had in our twenties did neither of us any good. Even in trying to control the disease for the last few years, he and his wife received devastating news in December. They told him his foot and part of his leg were going to be lost becaus…