Disabled, definitely not in shape: My story and basic approach

by Jesse Mathewson

While not everyone is disabled, many Americans over the age of 30 are out of shape. You will be hard pressed to find one in a hundred who can carry a 25lb pack 25 miles in a day*, let alone a 50 lb pack the same distance and time.For myself carrying 25lbs 100 yards can do me in for a week, depending on the day of the month.

So we are faced with a dilemma, if we can train physically, but do not have the time to do so properly, what are our options? What if we are one of the millions of Americans who are physically disabled, some to the point of reduced ability to stand or walk in any formative way? Are we just supposed to sit back and let the hordes overtake us? Should we give up and die? Many of us have vast stores of knowledge and from experience as a physically disabled individual, many of us are quite capable, just mobility limited.

For instance I will use myself as an example, I am currently 39 years old. At the age of 11 I was involved in a traffic accident, the cargo van rolled multiple times. I remember the driver losing control, I remember walking out through the windshield because the van was so crushed up that only the windshield was open. We were 22 miles from town in the high desert of Arizona, the closest person was a rancher a little over 4 miles away as the crow flies. The long term result was severe ptsd driving in any vehicle for years, and I learned and than taught high speed stops, pursuits etc,. (Just recently realized that my tendency to get extremely upset with stupid drivers is a ptsd thing.) The long term was it aggravated a genetic condition passed through the maternal side, spondylolisthesis. I was diagnosed with grade IV less than a year later, and three surgeries, a year of traction and body cast, another year of learning to walk again and I was back up being human.

Deciding at an early age to push through and better myself was something I did, not something everyone can or does. In 2006, after over two decades of living, working multiple jobs, learning muy thai, penkat silat, some jui jitsu as well as continued education in firearms, tactics and bushcrafting I became disabled yet again. This time my spinal fusion separated from what it had been, it slipped to a grade V (completely separated, spondyloptosis) my left leg became almost completely paralyzed, pain increased to levels beyond what I had been used too. During this time there were other incidents that occurred, getting shot, knifed, baseball batted and more. (Mostly training incidents and proof positive that life is what we make it.)

Over the years the pain had become a dull buzz in the background, post 2006 this became a roar. The fitness I had experienced and embraced disappeared. For several years I worked ceaselessly after the additional surgeries to gain back what had been lost. My daughter was born in 2009, my son at seven years older embraced it, and a dad at home, and I settled into a life of the modern stay at home dad. In 2011 my daughter and I were hit by a large truck and I was again set back physically.

Life continues on and I graduate physical therapy early January 2016. Having reduced my outdoors adventures since 2006 but still regularly spending months out of year in the wilds, since my childhood I have not spent a day in a paid camping spot, preferring to explore and find spots where game trails are all that exist, and animals haven’t seen we two leggers regularly enough to fear us yet. January 19, 2016, my daughter, son and I are hit by yet another driver without a brain, the vehicle is totaled, my sternum fractured and additional injuries sustained.
Another 6 months later and I am sitting here typing this article wondering if I will ever be able to do what I once enjoyed so much, spend my available spare time in the woods.

Yes, I can and so can you!

Mindset is everything, adaptation is essential and adapting ones abilities and conditions to what is necessary to both survive and flourish in the woods becomes a reality. It takes the mental desire to become better than you are. I may be the short (I have shrunk two inches since 2006) fat guy (and put on weight due to not being physically capable of walking long distances or carrying large loads, however, I can and still do daily prove that a disability is only the condition of the body, not the mind. Obviously, there are other possible issues, missing hands etc., however, I know people who shoot with their feet! Reloading magazines and aiming better than I can!

Mental state is everything when physical ability is degraded. So adapt, change and shift your approach. And remember, there are people like myself who have created entire approaches based around being physically incapable of the same feats as the in shape woodsmen may be capable of. Have questions, ask, I teach for free or donations accepted high desert wilderness survival, with a twist, I am disabled and concentrate on that aspect. If you are older and breaking down, younger and broken or just want to learn. Ask, I love sharing what I have learned and how I do things. Thanks for having me here, and as always remember, free the mind and the body will follow.

Always remember, the most important aspect of survival is the mental ability to accept that change is inevitable, and individually we must be willing to do so on occasion, even when it is uncomfortable! Never sacrifice your values or precepts, however, there may be times your approach to life or prepping may need adjusting.

*day refers to the time from sunrise to sunset, which as we all know varies widely based on time of year as well as location, for instance the further north you go the less likely a day is to mean anything depending on time of year.


  1. After an explosion occurred at a plant I was working in,two men died,and I was severely injured leaving me with some disabilities that I’ve had to find ways to work around. I wasn’t able to pass the physical required to be a trucker (my profession of 35 years) so I started buying broken equipment, repairing it and reselling it. I still have to pace my self but I’ve even managed to clear two acres of land using a machete,chainsaw, a walk behind string trimmer and it now looks like a park. My reason for telling this is, no matter how badly you are injured or disabled, nothing can stop you except your own mind. For every disability, there is a work around. Drive on.

    • Always!

    • Good that you continue to fight!

    • Good to hear from you BC, I thought about you during all that rain and flooding. Hope you were spared!

      • Mr. Jessie, just wanted to apologize if I seemed insensitive in my earlier post when I said hello to Bctruck. I just hadn’t seen him post in awhile, so no offense intended.
        I read your post again today and wanted you to know that your article was extremely well written. You have certainly endured more than your share of trauma, and your article is an encouragement to all of us. Praying for you man, and hope to hear from you again.

        • Never apologize, I have thick skin, besides, our pack here has always seemed quite solid, I think most likely if you had not checked on a friend, it would be more insensitive.

          I am happy you think about your friends, thats very important.

          So as I tell my kids, never apologize. You kick butt! Keep doing so!

  2. So, I tried to share this great article on facebook, but it contained content that didn’t meet their standards. I guess being a stay at home Dad is taboo. Great article anyway!

    • Thank you very much, sadly facebook has become PC heaven 🙁

      • OhioPrepper says:

        The DW uses Facebook primarily to communicate with the DD who lives out of state. The DD set it up for her when she headed off to college. I do have a LinkedIn account; but, FB. Twitter and others just seem like a waste of good bandwidth and time.
        I’ve been using computers since the late 1960’s; but, there are some things computers are used for that are just time wasters. IMHO FB is one of those.
        I’d rather spend my free time harassing the folks here on this forum, LOL.

    • Maybe too long and needed condensing, but then FB has become politically correct.

    • ….Face Book…*Phht!* only reason I keep it is because of one or more apps I have that require a FB account to play/use.
      Otherwise…..I consider it an OPSEC threat…of sorts.
      I love this mans post. I’m all prepped up…ready for whatever may come. However….yea…..however. Thank you for the post….I needed that. I’m working on it.
      Good Luck All!!!! It’s coming…..

    • Too many gun and ammo ads along with teaching people to be “self-sufficient, no need of gov’t handouts” types.

      • And that’s bad?

        • No, it’s the answer to DS’s comment.

          Anyone who’s been here a while knows I’m all for guns– the more the merrier– and all the ammo you can fit in a tractor trailer rig.

          • I thought so. I don’t do facebook or any social media except email so I don’t always know what their new rules are. However, I do know that they are becoming more and more rigid in their control.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          My thoughts exavcly.

      • I enjoy semi self sufficiency, even with “issues” 🙂

        I firmly believe we need a good teotwawki event to help humanity along to a better tomorrow –

        But I do see your point!

        • That’s what I tell people…who think I’m a nut job….that we need a reset. I also tell them that if it’s gonna happen…well by God, let’s get on with it….I’m no spring chicken. I want a fighting chance at sixty one…not eighth one.

          • OhioPrepper says:

            I’m as prepared as I can be for it, if and when it happens; but, only an idiot is hoping for it. It will not be a good thing for any of us, no matter how prepared we may be.

            • Im not an idiot, first of all. Never said I was ‘hoping for it’.
              What I’m saying…again….is that if it’s gonna go down, which it is and will, I don’t want to be much older than I am. Nor do I want my knees and back to be any worse. Therefore…I say again, let’s get on with it. Let the reset begin and God Bless us all. Even you….phtt.

              • OhioPrepper says:

                Every moment of time between then and now, you, I and most of us will be more prepared. I’m working on making my physical issues better. It takes work; but, I’m still hoping to hold off as long as possible, because in my case, I’m working on getting better, and not letting things just deteriorate.
                In any case, what happens will happen and the time will not be of our choosing, so I wish you and everyone in the pack the absolute best.

                • Well, good luck on getting better. I’m not as fortunate to have the get better gene. They haven’t discovered that cure yet. But….like I said, I’m still at a point where I have a fighting chance. And fight I will…indeed!

  3. Trauma induced double amputee here (RBE & RAK)… Curious about training you offer. Do you have a website?

  4. Some time ago when I spoke of having limitations-someone here on this forum-yes, right here on this forum- called me a whiner. I won’t do that as I know where you are coming from and no one knows the other person’ state of life better than that person that is living with health or disability issues.

    In my own situation I am prepared to stay in place for the short term-say for a year or more. This doesn’t seem like a good prepper, long range plan, but I am taking into account my health, age and abilities.

    I do think of the countless elderly, disabled people that live in high rise buildings or government housings. In the event of a “Lights Out” epic happening they will be “the first to go.” I also consider the people who are incarcerated, hospital and mental health patients that we would need to help or at least in some cases, protect our selves from.

    If worse comes to worse or even epic worse, will the most undesirables be turned loose onto the streets, will they be feed and sheltered or left to rot in their cells? I just don’t worry so much about my health or abilities, but what is to come down the pike during an interm period.
    Yes, I do advocate some means of self defense. In my case it won’t be the ability to “fight” in the physical way, but there are other methods. One and only one I will share with you as it is perfectly legal. A powerful squirt gun filled with Ammonia. A face full of Amnonia will make anyone think twice even nasty, roving dogs.

    My premise is that there are lots of ways that the disabled or elderly can survive without being strong individuals. But then again, I don’t live in high rise and am not dependent on the goodness of the government where if something does occur, all SS and pensions will stop.
    PS, I know that there are electric powered bikes on the market, but am wondering if there are any that have generators/alternators that are self charging.

    • I have designed and built a small solar generator using a wheeled $15 tool box from walmart, which also works as a shooting box and more… (i have a few)

      I also use 118 quart wheeled rubbermade boxes for easy loading on a repurposed motorcycle trailer complete with ramp…always find a way.

    • A Super Soaker filled with ammonia….Brilliant!!! Thanks!
      If that don’t work…then I’ll use the .50 cal. Optima V2.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      M. Biccum,

      In my own situation I am prepared to stay in place for the short term-say for a year or more.

      There’s nothing wrong with this plan. It’s called Shelter In Place (or SIP) and it’s one that many should plan for. While we’re in a better situation with location and resources, it’s our plan here.
      I am in the process of creating a short presentation to present to our local county EMA later this month, on SIP preparedness. Our local group acts as volunteer first responders, providing rehab and other personnel and equipment resources to the local paid responders. In order to get the first responders (especially volunteers) out to support a bad incident (e.g., a blizzard and massive power failure), we need to make sure all members have a plan and resources in place to ensure those they leave at home will be safe and secure, and that will be the sibject of the presentation.
      Our main premise is one everyone should consider. September 2016 is National Preparedness Month. For a bunch of free resources you can go to the FEMA website @ ready.gov. Finally the bureaucrats have realized that they can’t do everything, and at least in the early stages of an event, we are on our own.

      In short, SIP IS a PLAN!!!

  5. WOW Jesse,

    Your story is definitely inspiring; it makes me ashamed to complain about anything.

    I am going to print it out and keep it posted on my wall. Anytime I feel like I can’t do any more, I am going to read it again.

    Keep the faith, brother.

    • We all have our challenges, I doubt I could make it a day in any one elses shoes, if that makes sense. I appreciate it though, hopefully it will help others see that no matter what, we can do what we want!

  6. Yours is an inspiring story. I am in my 70 and have rheumatoid arthritis and COPD. I don’t think that I have an option but to shelter in place.

    • Which can be done, it simply means living less “brightly” and using air raid style curtains-

      I also use 10ml window covering on inside and outside…amazing how strong it makes a window – and other easily added home castleing tools.

  7. Christian Gains says:

    Hi Jesse! Well, (while I am “partially paralyzed” – Dr.’s description); I’m in WHOLE HEARTED agreement! I contracted Polio at age 5, [1950]; ended up with my right arm & chest “Partially paralyzed”, curvature of the spine; and tight heel cords. But! My first physical therapist cured me! Yup! He was TOTALLY wheel chair bound!?! (I was 7 yrs. old). His job was to help me stretch my heel cords…so…he took me out to the yard, (where there was a small hand railed bridge). He said, “I want you to step on each step, with your toes ONLY…stand there, and let your body sag down, which will stretch your heel cords. Well, I made it one time up, and then, (because it REALLY HURT!), turned around and whinned: “I can’t DO this!”. OOPS!
    He scowled at me, wheeled ove to the bridge, grabbed the rails with his hands, and WALKED with them, up to me, (I of course was stunned, as his feet just flapped against the steps, and stepped back), which enabled him to flip around, grabbing the rail again, and walking with his hands back down, then flipped around and sat in his wheelchair!?! Then, he SHOUTED at me at the top of his voice: “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO, YOU JUST HAVE TO FIND A WAY!”

    That has been my motto, since age seven…(and YES! I DID finish & stretch those heel cords!) AND…played football, baseball, basketball, ran track, and awhile back, began “field training” in fire arms, (long & short), and “cover & concealment”, and “MOUNT”…have even learned “HOW TO” inject & eject an M1 Carbine 30 rd. mag, (1 & 1/2 handed—lol)…”Just gotta FIND a way!” The guys at the FTX, don’t cut me any slack…& I don’t expect any…so I LEARN a lot!

    And, you’re right Jesse, it’s just a matter of determination.

  8. Loved the article!

    • Thank you, I will continue writing reviews of products I use or have tried and failed -however, I figured this was as good a time as any to introduce myself as one of the many “muricans” that is not able to ruck 20plus with a 50-80 lb pack.

      • OhioPrepper says:


        time as any to introduce myself as one of the many “muricans” that is not able to ruck 20plus with a 50-80 lb pack.

        On this forum I suspect you are not at all alone; but, the only alternative is to throw in the towel and wait to die. While death is inevitable, I’ll be fighting that grim reaper off as long as I can with whatever I can muster.

        • Curley Bull says:

          “It seems to me most strange that men should fear, being that death a necessary end, for it will come when it will come!” – – J.C. just prior to going out the door and to his death. Now that doesn’t mean we have to go looking for Brutus and the boys.

  9. Adaptibility is my number one prep. I learned it the hard way, you learned it the harder way. It beats all other preps.
    Imho physical fitness and hiking mountains will not count as much as sheer luck of the draw. In history, mice survive and pass on their genes.
    I believe in doing what I can to improve my luck factor… I am reasonably healthy and take no meds, I exercise (moving landscape rocks down my mountain) over short distances, on a steep incline. Carefully avoid injury.
    I eat wild food regularly, crave it now. I garden, preserve food. Know how to build temporary shelter.
    Every situation will be different enough that you cannot “remember” or look it up. You have to be 100% present in the moment to respond appropriately for your circumstances.
    Not plugged into music, phone, or book.
    When I am uphill looking for edible wild plants, I move slowly, watch the trees for mountain lion and bobcat (both live here, both favor leaping from trees). I watch ahead and behind for movement, coyote and bear. I watch the ground for rattlesnake. I did see one poised for strike, waiting for dinner… and saved my dog from walking up on it.
    Do I want to sanitize my 5 acres that backs up to a wildlife corridor? Nope. I want to stay alert and alive. Human world is much scarier than the woods. Being awake and adaptable is the best prep. Gardening and wild food second. Stacking third.
    Crashing at top speed in the woods won’t get your dinner, either.
    I don’t think woodcraft is a top prep, learned it at daddy’s knees. It is a good one. Being able to walk a ghetto could be a true lifesaver for city people.


    • Amen to that, without a mental ability to adapt regardless situation…nothing else matters.

    • OhioPrepper says:


      I did see one poised for strike, waiting for dinner… and saved my dog from walking up on it.

      Here’s where you need that .22 handgun with you. You could have been having dinner. I’ve eaten rattler and it is tasty and nutritious. It would also be one less left to watch out for.

  10. Jesse, Thank you for the article. My husband is physically disabled so we have spent the last year or so trying to figure out how we are going to approach things and getting our property and house set up to last as long as we can. However, my husband also has early onset Alzheimer’s (now in its 6 year) and is slowly losing the ability to remember our setup. So my advice to everyone disabled or not, don’t wait to do this. Just start and tweak it as you go. Involve the mentally disabled one as much as you can, and then figure out how you are going to handle the resistance they will put up when their world changes. Keep in mind that they will not remember this so you will have to be in charge. Our plan is to bug in for as long as we can. And if we can’t, we have an alternative (and I have packed for it).

    And Jesse? I am glad you are a member of our pack.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      cgbascom, have you tried CDP Choline, or L Theanine, both of these are used to enhance the conductivity of the nerves that loose the ability to fire… We used choline 500mg, 1x a day with my Dad, If he missed 2 doses he did not know me, with it he was cooperative and aware, of who I was as caregiver, at least part of the time, more so in the mornings and early afternoon. I can tell you(him taking ) it made a real difference in my life and I believe it made a difference in his, because he was no longer as frightened, but trusting. The price has come down on it it was 45$ per bottle, now the price is down to less than 20./120-180 ct.

      • AA Thank you for that information. Unfortunately, my husband is under 100% VA care. I have tried to talk to them about using alternative methods, but they balk at the suggestion that I know better then them. It took me 3 years to get them to agree to acupuncture instead of hydrocodone as a means to control his pain. However, since he is not on any Alzheimer’s meds (at the time he was diagnosed the only meds available could only be used 6 months before he would have to stop taking them) and they are adamant that he needs to be, I might just talk to our new VA provider about choline or L theanine. My policy is whatever they want him to have, they have to pay for. This would get us past the cost factor.

        • Anonamo Also says:

          This is NOT a prescription item, … cost/15 cents a capsule. abt 17$ for 120 500mg caps….One bottle =4 months supply.. for a supplement… available OTC. Your info, your choice. Why not .. Ask him if he’d like to try it.. to see if it will help him function normally and remember longer.
          My Dad’s memory was impaired for more than 16 years… we can trace back… I started him on this, did not really know how much it was helping until he ran out after 2 bottles, and after 2 missed doses he did not know me. restarted it, .. Then he knew me again.

          • AA It does not need to be a prescription item for the VA to pay for it. All that has to be done is for the health care provider to order it. My husband gets four items from the VA pharmacy that can be purchased over the counter in any grocery store. Because he has no copay, all health care items come from the VA. I am still going to give it a shot with the VA before I purchase these items in the store.

            • Anonamo Also says:

              I am so glad the VA is serving your husband, They did not serve my husband . You might want to go armed with facts, rather than just some one elses” say so”.. Here are two places..Look here under heading of Memory disorders.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citicoline and here ,http://www.raysahelian.com/cdp.html

              • AA Thanks a bunch. Both sites have been saved and I will print them out the next time I take my husband to his health care provider. Right now they are testing him, again, for Parkinson’s and I will see what the neurologist thinks about the choline supplement.

    • Thank you 🙂 im happy to be a member!

    • That…is a tough situation to be in. My best wishes…and spiritually based thoughts are with you.

  11. Great story! My MVA ended up my profession, my sanity from the use of pain medication for 10 years. So I got off my pain medication, still had RSD a neurological disease. (Like having frost bite in a extremity) . Found out I was sound sensitive, moved to boon docks. Now attempting to build body back up. Every day when I was the 1/2 mile to mail box I carry my pack. At first it was a bad idea but now getting better.

  12. Anonamo Also says:

    Thanks for this article.. I have been trying to figure how I can re-pack my go bag, for the longest self-support time, yet have all I need in it..I have a strict weight limit of 25 lbs, due to vascular weakness.When I exceed this amount I am flat on my back with an ice bag, and feet above my head…so not a position for bugging out. I am aware that a walking/hiking stick can help, am in process of recovering from my own “event”, with limited ROM. ..and have changed my supplement schedule to try to correct some of the defecits, but it is a long term correction…as opposed to a quick fix..

    • I love bikes, bike trailers. While it may only double or triple your distance, its still better than the alternative.

      • Anonamo Also says:

        Jesse, I don’t know how I could make that work without regular trail, and sidewalk.. am very rural already, If I have to leave on foot,it will be rough going. I was considering ways to cut weight off pack and still maintain nutrition+ ..hydration, shelter for several days….and extention of that.. to setting up a remote camp. Will have one with me, but won’t need to carry all supplies for two. I wish to pull my weight,not be a hinderance.Will not be pleasant because of all kinds of multi legged passengers…that all love both of us..

      • j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

        I’m interested in designing a travois (with one non flat tire at rear) that also has PVC pipe ‘water storage’ built into the design. Water is heavy (1 gallon – 8 #s plus) so a wheeled conveyance for that would be welcome.

  13. Your article is VERY inspiring! Thank you for sharing. Mental fitness is certainly the key…your body will only go where your mind will let it. Blessings to you as you continue to be an overcomer.

    • I am thankful that I have been able to pass on the mental agility part of prepping to my children I’ll have to tell the story of my daughter and her grandfather being in a motorcycle accident earlier this year at some point not right now.

  14. Pastor Larry says:

    Thanks for sharing your positive story. I too am at least partially disabled. I was doing fine until I hit 65, now it seems every year brings new challenges. I fell off a roof I was working on, and landed face down in a pile of structural steel. My face was peeled back off the bone, from the tip of my nose to the point of my chin, and then 3″ right. A 1/2″ bolt went into my cheek, below my eye, and broke my upper jaw in 3 places
    Just a year later, I fell asleep driving home, and ran off the hiway into a deep ravine, and suffered broken hips and pelvis.
    After they got the surgery done, I contracted a virulent hospital infection that it took another month of surgery, and rehab, to get it stopped. I lived on oxycodone for ten years, until I decided to just quit it cold turkey. Now I get by on a couple of asperin, or Tylenol, now n’ then, and I hunt and hike in the mountains.
    I totally agree, that it is all in what you decide to do.

    • Congrats to you and Keane for getting off pain meds…I was prescribed 480 oxycodone pills per month for 9 yrs. Like you guys I finally had enough of the addiction and went cold turkey off oxy and cigarettes at the same time.. I had smoked for 50yrs,,,,i still miss my smokes after a year but not the drug. I suffered a broken back in 06 and colon cancer in13. Still have pain but manage with Tylenol. Having had all my core muscles and back muscles completely severed, recovery has been slow. Had a small garden this year and cut my own grass for the first in over 9 yrs. Slow but sure.

      Again congratulations on kicking the meds. Prayers for the pack.

      • Jeane not Keane…sorry.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          I keep a prescribed supply of oxy on hand and have never had an addictive behavior with it. I take acetaminophen for the occasional pain and then a 5mg oxy after 45 minutes if required. My doc and I call it homemade Percocet; but, I haven’t even taken an acetaminophen in 6 months. Sometimes you just have to tough it out and let your mind go elsewhere, to that happy place.

      • Man! You guys are awesome! Congratulations to all of you for perseverance to kick the addictive drugs and smokes. My hats off to you!

        • Jean

          Some folks don’t believe the amount of pain pills I was prescribed, 480/month. The sad truth is there are people I know that get way more than that. Seems alot of doctors just don’t care about the potential risks of the meds they prescribe.
          Without the support of my family and the power of prayer I doubt I could have beaten the addiction. I had become a 60 yr old junkie.
          My thoughts and prayers out to all fighting any addiction or suffering of any kind.

          • Oh…I believe you, indeed. 240mgs oxy per day. Six yrs.
            Took some doin, but I’m free and clear of that potential nightmare.
            Yea…I feel for anyone that suddenly finds themselves unable to get thier needed meds, and can not. Ugly! Real ugly.

    • Dang, get better and thank you as well!

    • Thank you Pastor 🙂

    • I was on OxyContin for 6 yrs…240mg a day 120mg every 12 hrs. Prescribed by VA. After six yrs, I was wanting more and started some stinkin thinkin(illicit pain meds) and figured it was time to ‘get off’ the Oxy train. Any person that went cold turkey off oxy after having been on for that long…and a high dose, would have gone through hell, and a potentially dangerous time. I need opiate withdrawal meds, which I’m still on after two yrs now. The Bupernorphine aka Suboxon, dosent do squat for pain, and there is no high, but I’m no longer a slave to the Ox.
      All in all, I recommend to anyone that is preparing for long term, or even an extended period of time that meds may not be available to them to immediately address what could be a nightmare situation.

  15. Old Counrty Boy says:

    I agree. Mind set is a must. I have a four level lower back fusion. Rods, screws, cage and bone graft. Some nerve damage. Prominate wrist with one bone removed and balance moved and pinned. Pins removed after healing but 50% loss. Takes me longer to do things or find other ways to do things. One gets use to any pain till one over does things. I take things when needed. Deer hunting is from a blind. A while back I determined that my 20 year old thinking doesn’t match my 57 year old body. I try to do things one day at a time and not push myself. Take more breaks and pace ones self. Yep hard to work on a vehical, garden, home maintenance, play with the grandkids but somehow we all manage. Mind set.

    • Always mindset!

    • My local Constable advises using a can of wasp spray for protection, even over pepper spray. He said that you have to be close to use most pepper sprays and they could still grab you. Wasp spray has a reach of 12-15′ and you are out of a blind grab zone. Have a friend who’s being harassed by a tweaker, and is disabled; but can’t seem to keep him around long enough to be picked up on trespassing charges. Spray him, he goes down and will be there still when the Calvary arrives.

      • Make sure it is considered a “chemical weapon” by your states laws and agreed

        • OhioPrepper says:

          I was out taking care of some wasps and was attacked at that moment. I wouldn’t have used it against a person otherwise. right?
          Actually in my case, it would have hurt the perp less than lead poisoning.

  16. Dixie Lee Thomas says:

    I simply want to say thank you, and let you know you give hope to many… hope we must have to continue to live. Hubby has neuropathy in his feet which is giving him almost unbearable pain. Pain medicines do not work and make him confused, and seizures. We continue to pray for our country and prepare ourselves and other with truth. God bless.

    • I discovered somatic experiencing, I highly recommend it for chronic pain sufferers, it basically helps rewire the brain and reduce pain. No magic just solid medical reality, your insurance may pay for it.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Dixie Lee, Has he tried Lion’s mane capsules?.. They have showed promise to help nerve function, even restore myelin sheath., my DH did not tolerate, caused nausea after few weeks…so if he tries, need to use with food. There are also some homeopathic nerve pain formula, swansons carries, Dr B Hendels formula, it is used sublingual, costs less than 10$ for 100, herbal formula… and DH says it takes the edge off his severe nerve pain. currently trying a nutritional stem cell product, using x 2 months, some results noted already.

  17. Babycatcher says:

    You guys inspire me!

    • My Inspirations is gathered by watching others and understanding that no matter how hard I may think I have it there’s always going to be somebody else that has a harder and try harder to make it better. You all inspire me!

      • Curley Bull says:

        There’s an old Marine, Cleb McCary (?). The left side of his face is man made. His left arm is gone at the shoulder. He walks funny because of all the damage to his legs. When you meet him, he comes across as the happiest man alive. Makes you want to slap yourself for feeling sorry for yourself.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Those are my thoughts exactly. While at cardiac rehab I’ve had a few hard days; but, when I see others getting around with a walker, or an O2 tank, or both. I don’t feel nearly as bad. Perhaps that’s not a kind feeling; but, it’s a true one.

  18. Very inspiring. Thank you so much for your article. I feel like a wimp when I complain about my bad back and neck. I still try to do whatever I can because I won’t be beaten. I go to my beloved chiropractor regularly and to help my joints he recommended EFAC by Hope Science which I think has saved my life. Back is much better since using this supplement. Takes about a month to begin working, but I wouldn’t be able to can all those vegetables without it.

    • Never feel like a wimp. You know, everybody experiences pain and different types of things in different ways, none of us will ever experience it the same. Even if it was the same exact injury none of us will experience it the same. I would not want to be in your shoes because it’s more than likely I wouldn’t be able to handle your life in your shoes if that makes sense.

  19. After all you been through you ever thought about playing the lottery. You would win. You are either the most blessed man whose guardian angel must be exhausted or the luckiest person alive.

    • Lived life fully, thats for certain.

    • Curley Bull says:

      Doc, that’s pretty much what Mike Mixon sad about me about 25 years ago. He said, “You are the luckiest unlucky person I have ever met.” It seems that something not good was always happening to me, but I kept getting up and going forward. Personally, I give God all the credit . . .

  20. Ronald Beal says:

    Thanks for writing and sharing your life and problems. It is an inspiration, and as you said, the frame of mind is the major limitation. I forwarded an article a while back of a lady in India that stopped growing from the chest down immediately after birth. Today she is 20 years old and lives in a large bowl. Her family carries her everywhere they go, a head and chest in a bucket. She is beautiful and gave her dreams for the future. I remember a Navy Pilot shot down in VN. He was thrown from the plane on impact, woke to find his stomach busted open, his guts lying pm the ground beside him. He heard soldiers coming, picked up his guts and packed them back inside, then pulled out his .45 and prepared to defend himself. It is primarily in the mind. As Churchill said: Never give up, never… Thanks ..

    • I won’t deny that giving up has been on my mind occasionally. However I also can’t deny that the entire idea of giving up now especially that I have children is impossible for me.

  21. you hit home with this one, i’m 71, my knees are shot, and so is my back, I am also diabetic, purity much house bound for now, and hoping that will change. worked most of my life with cars, and building stuff, went back to university n ’99, got a BA in history in ’03, and a MA in ’06. I am convinced that the swhtf fairly soon and that we all need to be as prepared as we can be. lots of stuff in my head and no one to share it with, when I go it goes with me.

    • Share, write and share! I live it daily, collecting rainwater, growing gardens instead of lawns and more…so I have through the years actually built a decent amount of locals into a solid group! (minus a few here and there) –

    • Hi Jay… ever feel like sharing and t’aint no one ’round…well I’m alwYs willing to swap some verbage and such.
      Same here…knees bone on bone…disintegrating disk disease…etc etc…. but prepping and learning about it, (mining for knowledge) is now a passion. So…feel free to reach out if ya like.
      webrat55 gmail

  22. have to agree about the pain meds, doc has me on 7.5 hydrous when I do need it so I can move I take half, dulls the pain in my knees so I can move around. You are right it is mind set, and usialy there is a way to get it done some of us just have to do it a little differently. I think that as long as you keep your head in the game mots of us can a lot more than we think we can.

  23. Hang tough bother!

  24. Great article Mr. Jessie. Very well written.

  25. Jesse, I have a new found respect for you. I knew you were dealing with your injuries and the pain but not to this extent. I have to say you have further motivated me to push even harder in the gym to maintain.

  26. I am willing to bet the fulcrum and pullies were invented by some stubborn coot like myself, male or female, who just had enough and decided to getter’ done!


    Adapt, overcome!

  27. COPD Prepper says:

    This was just what I needed this morning. I have Stage IV Emphysema and have often times wondered if prepping was a waste of time. I feel there are certain scenarios I probably won’t survive, but I am not a negative person by nature… so I keep on prepping. When I was diagnosed 2 years ago, after a month in a medically induced coma because of a lung infection, I could barely walk across 1 room in my house on 4 liters of oxygen. With a lot of hard work, I now use 2 liters and only when exerting myself. I do my best to keep my immune system strong so I won’t get a lung infection. I keep trying different herbs for breathing in case someday my inhalers are not available. Humidity is not a friend to copd, so this summer I realized it was time to give up the garden. I am researching some of the indoor gardening units via aquaponics and if it’s feasible. My point is… find a way. I’m not going down that easy! If you have any sort of chronic condition or handicap, prep accordingly. We all have different needs. Keep your mind positive, ask for guidance from whatever higher power you believe in, and somehow it all falls into place.

    • Absolutely agreed! Hydroponics /aquaponics is definitely fun and less labor intensive than spread gardening, I use a square foot approach in my gardening, using old soda syrup 55 gallon drums.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      COPD prepper, Rabbit tobacco will mimic the effects of albuterol. My DH uses it this way… we have good supply. He says it works for him as fast as the albuterol rescue inhailer, and our cost is free and the inhailer is about 40$… strangely enough it needs to be smoked OR just breathe in the smoke from it burning in a small dish… just a few leaves are used when done this way…ALSO. can use it as a tea to loosen chest congestion. If you need instructions or help locating supply i can help. There are other herbs that help lungs. including venus fly trap formulas and lomatium. all these are anti microbial and anti vairal as well.

    • You might check into the Leaf unit. Its a self-contained indoor hydroponic growing system. Its being marketed for growing marijuana (don’t get me started on all the benefits there) but it could easily be used for any food/medicine grow.

  28. Sorry to hear about all of your hardships in life. Sounds like you’ve had it pretty rough,but always remember someone out there has it rougher than you and is still trying. My opinion on injuries is rehabilitate and become the best that you can be. After that God’s got it.
    Positive aditude goes along way.

  29. Right is RIGHT-wrong is WRONG says:

    Great article Jesse. At 71 I was moaning and groaning this morning about a physical problem. After reading the replies to the comments written in response to your article I have no physical problems and am blessed to be where I am today. Thank you for your article.

  30. Hey jessie, Im an insulin-dependant diabetic of 36 years now. I have neurapathy in my hands and feet. If I go grocery shopping I usually wind up bedridden for 4 days afterwards. I am EXTREMELY concedned that might SHTF scenario is rapidly approaching. When I read you do wilderness survival WITH EMPHASIS ON DISABILITIES I was ecstatic!! Can you please email me some info? I would be interested in paying for some in person instruction. [email protected]

  31. OhioPrepper says:

    It sounds like you need a new vehicle before doing any more traveling. Could I suggest a surplus A1 or M1 Abrams, LOL
    While I don’t have the same disabilities as you, I have some limitations due to a weak heart, although cardiac rehab is helping there, and some vision issues from a stroke I had in January 2015. I’m coping with the vision issues with some assistive technology and help from friends and family; but, the main thing I’m working on overcoming is gaining back the muscle mass that was inevitably lost with a month in the hospital and the lack of use the next few months recovering at home.
    I haven’t been really fat in a long time and was in pretty good physical shape prior to the stroke; but, I’ve learned that attempting to put muscle back on is quite a bit harder than taking fat off.
    I could probably do 25 miles with my EDC and some water given 15+ hours unless it’s very hot and humid or very cold and windy; but, as we age, we all have those issues at some level, and the trick in my case is to avoid those situations that would require the hike.
    My martial arts background goes back about 50 years; but, has only ever ended up with a few broken toes, and I’ve never had any gunshot or knife wounds.
    I’ve had significant training with firearms both as a student and an instructor, and as Dirty Harry taught us, I know my limits and stick to and practice those firearms I can competently use.
    I’ve taken and taught a bit of wilderness survival; starting as a kid; but, what you do in the desert doesn’t really interest me and quite frankly scares the excrement) out of me. Give me trees, brush and even snow and I can do OK.

    Yes, I can and so can you!

    I agree. You and I are by definition disabled; but, how much of a handicap that becomes, is at least in part up to us as individuals. The DW, who is my primary chauffeur, since I can’t drive on the highways, tells me that often people I meet tell her they are astonished that I am technicaly, legally blind; primarily because I do the best I can, with the functions and tools that I have, and don’t make a big deal about it.
    To sum it up, attitude is everything!!!

  32. After a MVA my life changed. Over several years I was mud because of pain mess. After moving to my home in the woods, medication stopped. I became better physically but then a illiness and small surgery took me back. Physical therapy now in walking in the woods. The walking hurts the hip problem I have. But I’m slowly making it. After I get farther along I’m using my bug out bag to increase my strength. If I can walk mile trip up and back from house to mail box. There’s a old saying in the medical profession “If you don’t use it you’ll loose it! “

  33. Encourager says:

    What a great, encouraging article. I am very late in reading many of the articles as was in the woods camping with family and no wifi or even phone service. Such peace, lowered every one’s blood pressure! Good thing, when we got back our personal SHTF happened in many areas. As discouraging as it all was/is, we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. This too shall pass!

    You helped me keep my chin up! Thank you Jesse!

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