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OK, after I got the cat scan of the heart, my cardiologist verified that I have a fusiform aneurysm of the ascending Aorta. Enlargement of this section of the Aorta begins to be classified as an aneurysm at 4cm or greater. I'm at 4cm, which means I have to be monitored by a thoracic surgeon to see at what rate it is swelling. They will hold off on the surgery as long as they can, since they will most likely replace the valve also once they operate. The good news is that I have not experienced any blindness or dizzy spells since they put me on blood thinners, which means that I can go probably go back to driving myself around. Although I must point out, that in the letter Social Security sent me, they said that I should be able to resume work as a driver *even with temporary blindness. I kid you not...I'm saving that letter. The investigation into these spells continues shortly when I go see the neurologist to check the brain. They still have to get imaging of the blood vessels of the neck to check for narrowing. - Anyways, my gastric and reflux problems continue and I still get easily out of breath, but at least I'm happy about not going blind anymore. (I hope) I'll keep you posted.
Well, looks like I'm in more trouble than I thought. Now it seems I will be needing a heart valve replacement surgery. Well, in reality, I have known since I was 13 years old that someday I might need heart surgery; but the reality is still troubling. I mean, I know these days they perform these things almost like It's a visit to the dentist, but still. I know they fucked up when they operated on my arm. OK, I'm not going to dwell on what might go wrong. If I need the surgery, then I need the surgery. I just hope this doc is more competent than the last.
I really wish to thank everyone who messaged me with 'get well' wishes during a tough, year long intestinal illness that cost me 30 pounds and a lot of hospital visits.
Right now my condition is manageable with medication and the right balance of hydration and diet.
My mission now is to regain some weight and to live a healthy, straight edge lifestyle.
Once more, thank you, and ROCK ON!!!
Phoenix Rising is now available for download at eMusic.com. Just follow this link: http://www.emusic.com/album/Projekt-Phoenix-Rises-Phoenix-Rising-MP3-Download/11685132.html
Well, after the work related accident and subsequent botched surgery left my left hand semi-paralized in March of 2008, it was very clear to me that I might never be able to play guitar ever again.
It was a devastating blow to me personally since I have had a love affair with the craft since I was a kid learning his first three chords. Even when I simply learned by ear. (No I don't know what I am playing, I simply feel it, and I like that better)
I have to say that it all hit me the very first time I showed up to physical rehabilitation. It was hard.
Luckily for me, the second surgery released the affected nerve and I slowly started to be able to move my fingers and regain some sensation. Not that it is all good news. I have permanent muscle damage to my forearm and hand, weakness and numbness. I also lost the ability to regulate temperature in the affected areas, so I have to be very careful in cold temperatures due to frostbite. Other limitations include a weight lifting limitation of 40 lbs.(although I can't really flex the repaired muscle at that weight), and the loss of 10 degrees of rotation of the forearm. This last one forces me to have to grab the guitar at a sharp angle.
Another difference in my playing is that I have to play a particular guitar with a very soft action, like my Jackson Kelly. It has a nice floating Floyd Rose tremolo that makes the strings ease to bend, since I have no strengh in my fingers, although it comes at the price of losing the string tension needed for really fast picking.
As for the bass, I was worried about not being able to play it. Luckily Ted Ostrander, the recording engineer at Red Devil Studios is a bass player and had a very nice, easy to play bass in hand.
Now, I just solved my guitar and bass playing problems, but what about the vocals.
Back in 1995 I had vocal chord surgery to remove nodules that took away my voice. Unfortunately the surgery, although it gave me my voice back, it also took most of my high range and raspy metal edge, and I also lose my voice easily now.
I solved that problem by simply tuning down the guitar to the point where the strings almost have no tension at all, which by the way made my guitar playing even easier.
I tuned down with the 6th string dropped to "C"
The song Phoenix Rising therefore is extremely personal to me, since not only I wrote it because I got my "wing" back, so to speak, but because I was never able to write a song about 9/11 until I was able to overcome such personal adversity. Hence, I wrote the lyrics about this country overcoming its own.
Remember that just before the Great Depression ended, the song "Happy Days" became a huge hit.
Well, I like to think that Phoenix Rising is a slightly angry version of the same idea. In its own violent way, it looks to a brighter future. It is epic and it is metal.
Well, the song is finally done and it is perhaps my best yet. As you all know a construction accident left my left hand semi-paralized back in March of 2008. After a grueling and lengthy rehabilitation I am back playing guitar (to my surprise). The experience was eye opening and became the inspiration for a powerfull song that deals not with my own sense of loss, but rather about a country dealing with war and its struggle to regain the ability to inspire the world.