Episode 117 – Unstoppable ME Survivor with James Davis
So what is ME, you may ask? Read on. Our guest this episode is James Davis who lives North of ME in Washington State. He began life in the Midwest and lived there until he and his mother moved to Colorado to get Mom out of an abusive relationship.
James tells us how he went to college where he majored in history, a subject he hated in high school. It’s interesting how often our perspectives change and in James’ case, History became quite interesting for him. He then went into teaching, but as he puts it to us, he began experiencing “brain fog” and eventually had to cease teaching as a career.
It took years for him to learn what was happening to him. By the time he learned that he had a disease called ME, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis he had decided to commit suicide. He couldn’t kill himself, however, without first talking about his decision with his wife. She convinced him not to leave the Earth quite yet and, eventually, he discovered what was going on with him. Our episode with James concludes with some great life observations from him such as not letting severe depression overwhelm you.
James had many times in his life where he could have just given up and bowed out. He did not. Unstoppable? Yes. James is easy to listen to and his stories are engaging. I hope you enjoy what he has to say including how he now serves on the board of ME International, an accessiBe customer.
About the Guest:
I was born in the Midwest and spent a majority of my youth moving around Illinois and Missouri. I spent some time in California and Colorado as well. I grew up in an ultra-conservative environment, but that never set well with me because I was always curious and wanting to know more. Asking the why of something was discouraged. I spent most of my youth exploring woods and creeks around places we lived. Those are my fondest memories of my youth. My earliest memory is with my dad. It was at night and we were parked next to a beach. My dad carried me down these large rocks with a flashlight. He was whispering to me, but I don’t really remember what he was saying, only that he was excited. When we reached the sandy bottom, he shined his light under the rocks where I was amazed to see these little crabs scurrying about. He reached under there and pulled one out. It was clearly agitated looking for something to latch onto with its claw. I loved seeing this tiny creature for the first time. My dad snatched me up into his other arm and climbed back up the rocks to our car. He sat me down and whispered, “Watch this” and proceeded to make my mother and sister scream in horror as he dangled the crab toward them. We laughed heartily at their expense. Not sure why that memory stuck with me, but it has definitely influenced my sense of humor.
My father was murdered when I was 16. My mother went from one abusive husband to another. One of them was a mean alcoholic and tried to stab me one day over some drunken delusion. After a brief altercation where I defended myself with a greasy cast iron skillet, I decided I had more than enough. I packed a duffle bag and hitched a ride to the nearest town where I spent some time couch surfing and being homeless. I was 16 years old when I left home. I went through a rather destructive phase and abused drugs and alcohol for some time and barely showed up for school. This went on for about a year before my mother found me and asked me to move to Colorado with her. She was trying to get away from her abusive husband, but she wouldn’t leave without me, so I moved to Colorado with her and my siblings.
I am not entirely certain what it was about the change of environments, but being in the mountains was a life affirming moment that had a profound impression on me. I stopped my delinquency and enrolled in an at-risk school where I finished my high school diploma. Many years later I would come back to teach there. I spent a lot of time biking, backpacking and fishing. I loved to fly fish but I was never especially good at it. I used to scout trails for overnight hikes for the Boy Scouts up in the mountains. I hiked the Grand Canyon, which was both amazing and grueling. I was not well prepared for the extremes. At the top of the South Rim it snowed 4 inches my first night there. I had foolishly decided to not bring a tent and sleep under the stars to save weight in my pack. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. After a hike to the bottom of the canyon, I was pleasantly surprised to find a balmy 70 degrees. It had been several days since I had a shower, so the first thing I wanted to do is wash myself. I made a foolish error of leaving my pack at my campsite while washing up along the river only to return and find a wild turkey had consumed an entire bag of granola leaving me short on food for my trip out. It was not a fun hike out. The last mile was excruciating and I was practically crawling. I heard it was called the wall by marathon runners where you have exhausted all of your energy reserves. This same feeling of exhaustion would revisit me years later, but not from over exertion or a turkey stealing my food.
After I graduated from high school, I did end up going to college. I was the first in my family to attend college and I loved academics. If I hadn’t become ill, I imagine I would probably still be taking classes to this day. My first school was South Western Illinois. I was an honor student, president of the Poetry club and editor of the school magazine. I started my first non-profit with some college friends called The River Foundation. Our thinking was we wanted a venue for novice writers to hone their skills to hopefully someday become professional writers. It was a lot of fun and work, but it fell apart when my college partners decided to go overseas for school or run off and get married. I completed an Associate of arts degree from here and then later moved to Colorado and attended Mesa University for my History degree with a teaching certificate. I was in the honors program here as well and on the editing staff of the literary magazine. This is where I developed a love of Bronze Age Cultures and did my honor’s thesis on gender representation in Minoan art and iconography.
After college, I was all set to teach high school until I became seriously ill. There were days I was so exhausted I could not lift myself out of bed. I had no idea what was wrong with me and neither did my doctors. At first, they thought I had AIDS, which was really scary. They tested me 3 times over the course of a year, but it was always negative. All my tests where fairly normal with some results just outside normal ranges. Nobody had any idea so I went through a period where new drugs where being thrown at me, some only exacerbating my illness. I remember taking Lyrica for the chronic pain. It helped at first, but over time made me have violent episodes. I am one of those types of people who love their dogs like their own children, so when I felt an urge to strike my dog, I knew something serious was wrong. Needless to say, I was weened quickly off that medicine. I can’t remember all the drugs I was given in those years but they were numerous. I think in total, 8 anti-depressants were tried on me all of them made me feel worse. One, made me so agoraphobic, I couldn’t leave my house.
This dart board medical approach went on for several years being shuffled between specialists without ever having any answers. I was unable to work due to the horrible brain fog and memory problems, chronic pain, sleepless nights and a whole host of persistent symptoms. You can’t really teach history if you can’t remember the names of the historical figures. Hell, I often forgot the names of close family members. I remember thinking I had to have some horrible disease that was going to kill me any day. Between the unknowing, the chronic pain, the loss of my cognitive function, which was something I deemed very important to me, I just became overwhelmed and decided to end my life. I made a plan that I could carry out unassisted, but before I would execute my plan, I knew I had to make my wife understand my decision. She was such a sweet person and definitely would have blamed herself. I knew I couldn’t do that to her. I thought because she saw my daily struggle, she would be sympathetic. Boy was I wrong. After a long conversation and some tearful chastisement, we came to the agreement that I would not give up until all avenues were exhausted to find some answers to this illness.
It took several more years before I was finally diagnosed and it happened by pure accident. Because I was unable to work, I decided I needed something constructive to do with my time and was looking into ways of making money. I felt an enormous amount of guilt for not being able to contribute financially. While I was unable to do anything remotely physical, I had a pretty solid background with computers. I had worked several years as a webmaster in the mid 90s. So I started scouring the internet for ideas and ended up reading about a writer in the UK that was making a living writing. In his blog, he was discussing his illness and how it prevented him from working which led him to become a writer. As I read his description of his illness, I was floored that his symptoms were nearly identical to my own. I brought this to the attention of my physician who sent me to some specialists in Denver for a battery of tests and I was finally given a name to what had been plaquing me for years; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. It was such a weird combination of emotions as I was elated to have a name to put to this horrible thing, but dismayed that little was known and there was no known cure or treatment. At the very least, I thought it would alleviate some of the shame people were making me feel because, if medicine recognized it, so should they.
Things improved somewhat after getting a diagnosis. At least some of my symptoms were being treated and I learned how to cope better. I began writing in earnest and finished 2 fantasy books of a trilogy. Guardians of the Grove, and Daughter of the Forest. It was nice to feel accomplishment again despite the daily struggle to get by. I had trouble performing tasks for my basic necessities, but my wife was very supportive and did a lot to help me on a daily basis. I don’t think I could have survived without her help. It certainly wasn’t the life I envisioned for myself, but there was enough quality in it to keep me moving forward.
Several years after my ME diagnosis, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was only 47 at the time. It really felt like I was cursed at this point. Between ME and the cancer, I was an emotional wreck. These two illnesses robbed me of my ability to become the person I was raised to be. I was raised in that traditional Midwest home where the “man” was to be the breadwinner and work hard for his family, the protector, and all that John Wayne sort of mentality. I didn’t talk about my pain, my illness, the struggles I had, all of it was endured silently. My wife of course knew, she was there and could see it first hand, but that wasn’t true for everyone else. When I was able to be around family and friends, I was always at my best, because that is the only time I was capable of leaving our home. When I was asked how I was feeling, it was always met with a smile and some pleasantry. This is how I was raised. You simply didn’t burden others with your personal tribulations and as a man I wasn’t allowed to show weakness. I remember when I was seven years old, I cut open my hand and had to get seven stitches. I was rewarded with money afterwards because I “took it like a man” and didn’t cry.
Now, I have cancer and faced with some tough decisions. Unbeknownst to me, my wife’s family began to openly question our relationship as I was a drain on their daughter. Now, these people are not mean spirited or malicious, they had genuine concern for the welfare of their daughter, sibling, niece etc. I can’t fault them for their concern. It’s not like I hadn’t raised the same questions with myself. I often thought my wife deserved more than I could offer. My wife however, wasn’t responsive to this, but she also has severe co-dependency with her family. She wants to make sure they are happy with her and approve of her. The enormous amount of pressure they put on her, eventually wore her down and they talked her into leaving me and file for divorce. This was happening while I was in the hospital undergoing surgery to save my life. To them, I simply wasn’t living up to my duty as a man in our society.
I often wondered if I hadn’t clung to those same beliefs, and spoke up about the numerous problems I was going through if it would have made a difference in their minds. I of course have no way of answering that question, but I have become a little more open about discussing my illness. I am not very good at it, but I do endeavor to be honest about my ailment. The expectation that as a man of my generation, I am to suffer in silence and manage to be a provider and protector no matter the personal cost is an unrealistic view. When I was going to college, I tended bar at a local pub. It was mostly retired factory workers who spent their whole lives being providers. Every last one of them were miserable wrecks drinking the days among strangers waiting to die. It was a sad realization and when I became ill, I realized I was trying to be one of them. It’s a hard thing to come to terms with when you realize much of what you’ve been taught is a fallacy.
Once I was able to find Facebook forums discussing ME, I almost never saw men among the posters. We were silent visitors lurking among the group trying to find some glimmer of hope for treatment options. It is a difficult struggle for many men to overcome our socialization and reach out for help. It is somewhat opposite for women, who are often deemed to have mental issues. That they are somehow fragile, emotional, and susceptible to delusions. These biases have kept thousands of suffering patients from getting proper care. But this is often the case for many diseases. It wasn’t that different for patients in the early days of Multiple Sclerosis or even AIDS. Social biases caused many to suffer unfairly. This is why I joined ME International so I could help educate people with the science and numerous studies concerning ME in hope that we could get beyond the bias and move our understanding of ME forward.
My philosophy in life is rather simple. I don’t fight the current to be in a place I think I am supposed to be, but rather look for happiness where life takes me. So, once everything settled down from my cancer, I ended up packing up and moving to live in the Pacific Northwest. It has awoken that same sensation I felt when I first moved to Colorado. It’s a place where I can feel alive even with this disease. Getting outdoors more often and implementing new diet regimens has increased my ability to function. I am nowhere near the days of backpacking 20 miles over mountainous terrain, but I can manage some short trips if I plan them well and allow recovery time. I often overdo things and end up on my back for days or weeks, but I am living life. When I built my first home, I put a stained-glass kit in the window of my front door that read, “May you live all the days of your life”. That is what I do. I have taken up photography to share all this beauty surrounding me. Every year I make a Calendar of my traveling pictures and give them to loved ones for Christmas. I am able to work a part time job because they allow me to work when I am capable. It feels nice to earn something even if a small amount. I volunteer on the board of ME International to give back to other ME patients and I stay far away from any family stress. I wake up and have my antioxidant shake and listen to some meditation and be thankful for the life I live. While it isn’t the life I thought I was going to be living, I have found a place where some happiness can exist, and that is enough.
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:20
Hi, there, and thanks for joining us once again on unstoppable mindset. I’m your host, Mike Hingson. And I wish you a pleasant day, wherever you happen to be. Today, we get to talk with James Davis. And he has got a great story to tell a challenging story at times. But I think a very inspirational story. He has been through a lot. He’s helped a lot of people. And I met him through accessiBe. In fact, he has been working with our nonprofit partner, Sheldon Lewis, who we got to interview on the podcast, gosh, a long time ago now. And so Sheldon suggested that we should chat we have and James agreed to come on the podcast. So James, welcome to unstoppable mindset.
James Davis 02:09
Thank you glad to be here.
Michael Hingson 02:11
Well, we’re really pleased and honored that you were able to join us. So tell us a little bit about you growing up, I love to start that way and just kind of let people talk about their, their world growing up. And I know you had a pretty big challenge. So I’ll leave it to you.
James Davis 02:26
Well, I was born in East St. Louis, and I grew up in our area around St. Louis most of my life and some of the Midwest boy and moved around a lot didn’t stay in any particular place for any length of time. And yeah, it’s a mom went through several marriages. And so you know, I had some challenges with that. And yeah,
Michael Hingson 02:56
what what year were you born?
James Davis 02:58
Michael Hingson 03:00
Okay, well, I beat you by a few years. I was born in Chicago in 1950. So, Midwest also, I moved to California when I was five. But my wife constantly told me no matter what, you weren’t here for your first five years, so you’re not a native.
James Davis 03:18
I did live in California for a couple years when I was apparently from about 18 months old to about two and a half, three years old. Something like that. My mom said in Santa Barbara. Oh,
Michael Hingson 03:30
well, that’s a great place to live. Yeah. And
James Davis 03:33
it’s actually my earliest memory because I remember my dad pulling alongside this rocky area next to a beach. And he wanted to show me so she grabbed a flashlight, it was getting dark. And we went down to the beach and he looked underneath these rocks and pulled out a little crab. And which I thought was just great, you know? And suddenly he said watch this. And he carried me back up to the car and proceeded to scare my mother and my older sister half to death with this crab and that’s my earliest memory in life. And it’s probably also where I get my honor a sense of humor as well.
Michael Hingson 04:16
Well, no, no one recency humor isn’t isn’t is the big problem. But that was kind of cruel to do but what happened to the crab?
James Davis 04:26
He put it back and then we’ll Okay. Remember, it was just a little rock crab or something? Yeah.
Michael Hingson 04:32
Yeah. Well, you So you moved around a fair amount, obviously and so on. And eventually you? You went high school and went to college and all that.
James Davis 04:42
Yes. So I Well, my dad died when I was 16. He was killed in a bar. And then so for about a year or so there I was in just self destruct mode and dropped Go to school. And then my mom got with a guy that was an alcoholic. So I ended up leaving home. And I think I was about 16. When that happened, almost 17. So kind of lived on the streets for a while. And then my mom came to me and said, you know, let’s move to Colorado because he was wanting to get away from this guy. And so I agreed, and yeah, and that’s that moved sort of changed my life at that point. And I got back into school and finished high school and went on to college.
Michael Hingson 05:36
What did you major in?
James Davis 05:40
I ended up majoring in history, which is a little ironic because I hated history in high school. But what I realized was what I hated about history in high school was It was always my football coaches that were teaching the history and they didn’t care much about history, there was no passion. They were all about the football. And so yeah, so when I got to college, you know, the professor’s you know, they were passionate about it. And I realized what a fascinating topic it was in. Yeah, so I just fell in love with history.
Michael Hingson 06:17
You just made me think of the fact that a couple of days ago, we interviewed musician Kenny Aronoff and Kenny was and is a drummer, and grew up not really excited about rock, playing in classical orchestras and so on, and then decided he didn’t really like classical nearly as much as rock and more modern music. And, and so he, he switched and has been extremely successful. But I hear what you’re saying, you know, sometimes our attitudes changed in one way or another. So you like history today?
James Davis 06:53
Well, yeah, love history. Favorite is Bronze Age. So ancient history.
Michael Hingson 06:59
Now, why do you like the Bronze Age?
James Davis 07:03
You know, it’s, it’s one civilization was really sort of coming into its own, you know. And, and I find that very fascinating. It was a big melting pot, especially in the Mediterranean region. And so what really got me into it was how religion, how they adopted each other’s deities and to each other’s regions, and it just sort of CO opted them. And it’s just a very fascinating development to me, you know, how that came about?
Michael Hingson 07:38
Then Christianity came along and sort of messed up the whole deity thing a little bit.
James Davis 07:45
Yeah, a monkey wrench in there, for sure. Well, you
Michael Hingson 07:47
know, on the other hand, we do progress. And there’s value in doing that, and growing and recognizing, hopefully, what God’s about. But that’s, that’s, of course, another whole story. So what did you do after college?
James Davis 08:02
So I did start teaching history at some high schools out there. In Colorado, I was living in Colorado at the time. And because of what happened in my youth, I was really wanting to go to these at risk youth centers, you know, like Job Corps, and there was a place called our five where I also graduated from, and I started working there with them as well. And so yeah, that’s what I just started teaching. I just loved it.
Michael Hingson 08:40
Yeah. It’s, it’s extremely rewarding. And I’ve always been of the opinion that teachers never get paid or rewarded nearly enough for the work that they do. So I have a secondary teaching credential, but jobs took me in other directions. So I haven’t taught professionally as it were. But I think that, you know, in a lot of ways I’ve always been teaching, so I appreciate what you’re saying. So how long did you teach? Or do you still
James Davis 09:11
know I forced retirement so to speak, in 2009, I was having I had been having for several years, some problems, some health problems, and I wasn’t sure what was going on. And it really sort of came to head around 2009 And I just the brain fog that I was experienced was so severe, that I really could have I was struggling to keep dates and times names in my head. And so it wasn’t good for me to be a teacher in my mind because I wasn’t able to present the material properly to the students. At least that’s what I was thinking in my head and then it’s probably true so so I just quit and and then I You know, I struggled for a couple years and depression and all of that trying to figure out I thought I was dying. I mean, I, I was so sick that, you know, I couldn’t even get out of bed some days. And I’ve never knew any sort of illness that would do this. And doctors have no idea I go to them every few months trying to figure this out. And there was nothing. So yeah, so I just put me into a really deep depression.
Michael Hingson 10:27
What happened? Well,
James Davis 10:31
you know, I was the biggest part of my depression was twofold, one, chronic pain. And the chronic illness itself was very hard to deal with on a daily basis. And then the other thing was, is not been able to contribute to our household, a wife, and, you know, the kids that kids are old enough to move out at that point, but I was, just wasn’t in a good place. And I just couldn’t see a path forward. And plus, you know, think that I want to die anytime anyway, because I was so sick, that I decided to take on myself to do it myself. So I made a plan. And I was going to, just in the suffering of all this and let my wife move on. And, but I knew I couldn’t do it without talking that over with her first because she is such a sensitive person that she would have thought that it was her fault that I did this. And I just couldn’t do that to her. So I sat her down, I thought she would be sympathetic, cuz she knew how sick I was. She wasn’t very sympathetic. She was actually quite mad at me. And so anyway, we talked and she made me promise not to do anything until we exhausted all of the medical avenues that we could. And so that started me on another journey of trying to figure out what was wrong with me. And
Michael Hingson 12:01
that sounds like it took a while to really figure out.
James Davis 12:06
Yeah, I wasn’t diagnosed until 2013. And it didn’t happen by accident. I was trying to figure out what I could do to bring some income into our house. Because I knew I couldn’t do anything physical. But you know, I had some pretty good computer skills. And you know, I had my education. So I was like, just scouring the internet trying to find something I could do, you know, as I’m able to do it. And I ran across this blog from a young man in Great Britain, or the UK. And as I was reading it, he was talking about how he had become a writer because of his illness. And I thought this is promising. And then he started going through all the problems that he was suffering. And I was just going down and reading this, every single one of the things that he was talking about that he had, I had except for like, one out of like, 15 symptoms. And I was like, wow, that can’t be a coincidence. So it took that information, you know, and he said he had me and I took all this to my doctor. And I said, What do you think, is like, I don’t know, I have never heard of it. So he sent me to Denver University Hospital, and I went over there. And they did a battery of tests and sent me back and said, I had my LG conceptual immediate mellitus. And that that was the turning point for me, I guess.
Michael Hingson 13:38
So what is me?
James Davis 13:39
Good question. You know, they don’t know for sure. I mean, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of things that they know about it, but they don’t know the actual costs for certain. In my case, it’s believed that it was from the Epstein Barr Virus that triggered a post viral thing which happens to a lot of people, some people’s, it’s one of the herpes simplex viruses, and but it seems to be a post viral illness. not that different from long COVID symptoms are very similar. You know, they’ve also, with all this research they’ve been doing, they’ve just also discovered that Epstein Barr Virus is also associated with multiple sclerosis. And there might be a connection with that disease as well, which has a similar set of symptoms. So to me, and you know, this is just my personal view. It seems to be some sort of post viral illness. And if it’s not treated early, caught early and treated early. I don’t haven’t heard of anybody actually recovering from it. If they hadn’t caught it early, but you know, it causes severe fatigue with it. hauled penny or Pam, sometimes it’s a post exhaustion, malaise or post exhaust. So I’m horrible with these acronyms. Yeah. It’s an exhaustion from anything. It doesn’t have to be physical, it could be stress causes exhaustion. And that’s one of the key things, chronic pain, muscle pain, joint pain causes a problems with the endocrine system. So our immune system slightly off, T cells don’t function quite well. The mitochondria does it produce the right energy, that’s one of the big things that they’re trying to figure out. So there’s a lot of little things and it’s just basically a complete system. Everything in your system is off, not by a whole lot, the buy enough to make everything feel horrible.
Michael Hingson 15:56
So once they diagnosed that in you, what were they able to do? Or what were you able to do about it?
James Davis 16:04
So there is no treatment, per se, there’s, there’s so there’s no cure, there’s, there’s not a whole lot they can do except treat symptoms. So, you know, I was put on some pain pills for the chronic pain, and, you know, and then I started, I developed diabetes in that process, because, you know, my endocrine system was stressed. And so, you know, treated me for that. So they just treat you for the symptoms that you have. And then, but then I started doing my own research. And because you know, my doctor, he admitted he knew nothing about the disease, but he was willing to try anything. So I do I appreciated that. And so I got on the internet started searching and, and I bumped into some forums on Facebook that had information. So what I started to do was some anti antioxidants. So I do a morning antioxidant shake, you know, with my green tea, and some Reishi Mushrooms and stuff and, and I put all that together. And that’s how I start my day is trying to get the anti inflammatories into my body. So that’s been a big help and make sure the other biggest thing that is getting rest, because sleep deprivation can be a really serious problem for people with me. So those two things really changed the quality of my life.
Michael Hingson 17:33
So I assume you still though do experience chronic pain and so on? Or are you able to deal with most of it?
James Davis 17:43
Yeah, the chronic pain thing has been troublesome because of the opioids Of course. So I’ve been taking them in for shoot 12 years or more, and actually more 14 years. So at one point, when I went to my doctor, I said, you know, he kept bumping up my dosage, and I was at 10 milligrams. And so you know, it’s, it’s, I don’t want to keep going down that path because that the efficacy is going to fade. And I don’t want to keep taking more of this medicine. So he sent me to a neurologist. And the neurologist started me on three different pain pills that I would rotate every three weeks. So it was the Vikatan equivalent oxy, and I forget what the third one was. And so I was doing that I did that for a very brief time, I realized that I was getting dependent on it in a way that was very unhealthy. And so I took myself off of it. And from that point on I realized I had to manage it myself. So what I’ve learned over the years so I don’t end up getting an addiction problem is I just take the minimal amount that I need just to get through the really rough patches. So I only take all my pain gets above a five and in no other time I never take it more than two or three days at a time. So so I’ve had to manage that aspect of it quite a bit.
Michael Hingson 19:19
Have you have you found any kind of natural remedies or not necessarily Western medicine kinds of things that help or have you looked into any of that?
James Davis 19:30
I have you know, I took I’ve tried marijuana both ingestion and smoking and it just wasn’t effective for me and a lot of people it does help but for me it didn’t you know it it was made me sleepy. So it just made me non functional. And you know, they tried me on some stuff like Lyrica and Gabapentin which Aren’t opioid based but the Lyrica ended up making me horribly violent. It’s just the weirdest thing because I’m a very passive kind of person. And, and I remember the day I sort of just had this epiphany of what was going on, as I was sitting there watching some television, I had this large dog who was, you know, tall, about 90 pounds and, and whenever he wanted to go to the bathroom, he would block up and lay his head on my lap. And when he did that, I just had this urge to strike at him. And I love my pet, I would never hit my pet. And that freaked me out. And I realized that it was the medicine, so I had to get off of that, and it was helping some. And so that was a benefit. But the side effects were just too much. Trying to take some of the other stuff I’ve tried. Magnesium helps a lot with with my cramping, muscle cramps, and some of the muscle pain. So I do some magnesium. But I can’t take any of the B vitamins, I have this weird thing that when I take certain vitamins, it causes a really bad brain fog to occur. And I’m not sure why that’s not that common. It’s just something weird with me, I guess. So I’ve been very limited by try stuff all the time, I’ve got a whole cabinet over there of supplements and stuff that I try.
Michael Hingson 21:29
Well, but through all of it, you, you obviously didn’t go off and execute the plan that you are going to execute. And I bet your wife is pretty happy about that.
James Davis 21:40
Yes, yes, you know, we ended up moving out to the Pacific Northwest, we live in Washington now. And that has been a bit of a game changer for me, it’s I feel revitalized. It’s new area. It’s beautiful here that the country is just gorgeous. And so whenever I’m able, we take these little trips, you know, an hour here a couple hours here and just check out new parks and whatever, you know, beaches and all these beautiful locations. And that led me getting back into photography, I was in photography, when I was really young, I lived with a photographer for a while. And so I got back into photography and, and having that creative outlet has been wonderful, especially for countering depression. Because along with the depression from this illness, you know, I was, for my entire life, I’ve had seasonal affective disorder. So in the wintertime, it gets really brutal for me. And that photography, and those creative outlets I’ve found, and some, you know, some lights, some of those daylight stuff, I use all of those techniques. And that keeps me in a better place.
Michael Hingson 22:58
So are you are you still married? Is all that working out? Or?
James Davis 23:03
Yeah, I still still with my wife, and it’s great. Yeah, she’s a manager at apartment complex. And they’ve allowed me to work part time, you know, 1015 hours a week, just doing some maintenance stuff, like I take care of their security cameras for more computer tech stuff. And so yes, I’m able to contribute a little something to, to our little home here.
Michael Hingson 23:31
Well, you know, the, the thing that comes to mind is clearly in some senses, you’re different, right? You have what people would classify, and I assume that you would, would also agree it’s classified as a disability. And as I tell people disability does not mean lack of ability. It’s a characteristic. And I’ve made the case on this podcast many times that not one single person on this planet is without a disability. The problem for most people is their light dependent and you don’t do well when it gets dark. Some of us don’t have that problem. But you know, you you are different. How does that affect both how you look at yourself or how people treat you what kind of biases and stuff do you encounter because you do have chronic pain and, and the things that you have?
James Davis 24:27
You know, I think the most difficult part of having m e is people only see you when you’re when you have the energy and ability to get out and about. So they’re only seeing you at your very best. They don’t see you. When you come home and you’re in bed for three days afterwards, right there. They don’t experience that part of your life. So there’s this tendency of people believing that there’s nothing wrong with you. And I know when me first started Being diagnosed. More broadly, it was mostly women, I think somewhere around 70% or more people diagnosed with the illness is women. And so there was a tendency to treat woman women as that it was all in her head, you know, we have this, especially, you know, 40 years ago is, is very prevalent in the medical community, if they couldn’t diagnose something that it had to be mental mental issue. That’s what that’s been a huge problem there. And then for me, I know, the men that have me, I just recently, like, a year or two ago, joined a men’s forum on Facebook. And it really hit home how isolated men become, because, you know, especially men of my age, you know, we’re taught that you’re supposed to be the provider for your family, you know, and you have to be the protector and all of these things, you have that social construct, and you can’t live up to that having me it’s just impossible. And that, I think that shame that I felt over that was the worst emotional aspect of this disease is this shame that I felt. And then you know, of course, everybody’s not being very sympathetic towards you, because they’re only seeing at your best. So, you know, it’s just just a bad place to be. So I’ve learned to not be so silent about it being more open about my illness. Because of that people understand that. Yeah, I am sick, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Michael Hingson 26:45
And you learned not to be so hard on yourself. Yes, yes. It’s really part of the issue.
James Davis 26:53
It is definitely in ours. I was brought up watching John Wayne movies, and that’s the kind of man I was supposed to be, you know, you get a job at the steel mill, you know, and you raise a family go to church on Sundays, and that’s your life. And I was just too curious. And yeah, it just wasn’t the thing for me. So.
Michael Hingson 27:19
So you, you deal with it?
James Davis 27:21
Yeah, yeah, you just you find a path forward and then move along.
Michael Hingson 27:25
And it is about learning. And it’s always about education. And a lot of times when we find that we’re not feeling very positive. If we don’t grow, and we don’t learn, we never figure out ways to deal with it. And that sends us down a spiral that isn’t good, either.
James Davis 27:44
Michael Hingson 27:46
so you talked about photography. So do you do photography now professionally, or anything like that? Or what do you do in that regard?
James Davis 27:55
Yeah, I do it in the classification that they call an enthusiast. So I don’t typically make money on it. But I do have some decent equipment. That $5,000 of photography equipment that professionals I mean, the guys that do this professionally, they have 50 100 grand in equipment, it’s really expensive way out of my budget. It’s taken me five years to build up what I’ve got. So yeah, I do that. And the nice thing that I do with that is because when we have family and friends that come out and visit us, you know, I take visit, I take pictures of their visit and all the places that we go to, and then for Christmas, every year, we make these little books through Shutterfly, you know, I just create these books and send it to them as a Christmas present to thank them as more of a thank you for their visit, and little memory. And then I also do calendars that we send all of our, our families, my wife’s family, my family, so do you ever
Michael Hingson 28:58
sell any of it? Or is it all just basically for fun and to help you and reward you?
James Davis 29:06
It’s been more as a fun thing to do. And, and for me, you know, it’s personal enjoyment and that creative outlet. But, you know, I have several family members saying that I should try to make money at it. And I guess I want to look into it. I just haven’t at this point because it’s just, it’s just been, you know, it’s something I enjoy doing. It’s like, if you enjoy walking on the beach, you don’t just walk on the beach. So I joined started registered photography, right. So
Michael Hingson 29:38
similar interests that you mentioned a little bit about the fact that you like to write and so on, tell me more about that if you would.
James Davis 29:46
So, in college, I started writing in b&n poetry clubs, and ended up on literary magazines of both college So I want to. And so that really sort of stir my desire to write, you can’t really make money at poetry. Do be honest, I’m not that great at poetry. I just love doing it as a personal exercise expungement motions and that sort of thing. But I ended up trying my hand at writing novels, and I did have written two novels to date. And I’m currently working on the third of a trilogy. So, and my favorite genre has always been, I think one of my first books that I ever read was The Hobbit. I love fantasy genres. So. So I wrote some fantasy books. But thing that I did differently was I used my history background, especially with my love of Minoan culture, as part of my world build worldbuilding. So I have these these matriarchal cultures in my book that that, that i is the focus of the book. And so it’s yeah, it’s, it’s, that’s been really fun and rewarding.
Michael Hingson 31:11
Have you so you publish them? I assume? Did you do it yourself? Or do you have a publisher
James Davis 31:16
self published? Just, yeah, I don’t really promote myself, have a really hard time promoting myself on anything. I’m just not a salesperson at all.
Michael Hingson 31:27
Well, you know, what, if people liked the books, there’s probably some value in it. Are you selling some, you know,
James Davis 31:34
a get these little trickle sales. So I get, you know, like, one, two, probably, maybe 10 or 12 books sell a year, something like that, you know, not a lot, but just kind of trickles in? Well, everybody has reviewed it and loved it. So
Michael Hingson 31:52
well, there’s a message there somewhere, I would think,
James Davis 31:55
yeah, yeah, I think they’re good books. Well,
Michael Hingson 31:58
and obviously, if you’ve had good reviews, somebody else does. So maybe, maybe you’ll get some visibility because of our podcasts, because we certainly will be glad to feature the book covers and so on as part of what we do, which is, which is, which is great. Love to do that. So when will your next one be finished?
James Davis 32:20
You know, so hard, because the brain fog that I get from the enemy is very prohibitive to writing creatively. So, you know, and so I can’t say for sure, you know, I was hoping to actually have it done last year. So, you know, it’d be nice if I could have it done by next summer, but there’s no guarantee of that.
Michael Hingson 32:43
When was your first one published?
James Davis 32:46
My first one was published in 2014. I think then my second one I published in 2017. So it’s taken me about four years to write a book. So I’m a little overdue for my third book.
Michael Hingson 33:00
There you go. What was the name of the first one?
James Davis 33:03
Guardians of the grove? The boatman Chronicles,
Michael Hingson 33:07
Guardians of the Grove, gr O. V. Okay. And what was the second one?
James Davis 33:12
Daughter of the forest?
Michael Hingson 33:15
Okay. And the third one, we’ll have to wait till it comes out.
James Davis 33:19
Yeah, I haven’t got a name for that yet. Because currently to see how the story unfolds?
Michael Hingson 33:25
Well, that’s actually an interesting topic. Because a lot of times I find in talking to writers, especially when they’re dealing with fiction, sometimes you never know where the book is gonna take you the characters take over. And it becomes a, perhaps a whole different thing than what you originally thought, but at the same time, it becomes a better thing than maybe what you thought.
James Davis 33:48
Yeah. I mean, I had my core characters, my first thing I did was I sat down with my core characters, like four main characters, and I, and I mapped them out what kind of personality they were going to have. And then the next thing I did was kind of build by my mythos of the of the world. So what was the religions? What’s the politics and all of this? So when I was done with a world building, that’s when I started writing. And you do realize that the structure that you gave that character in the beginning really dictates if you’re doing it organically, at least really dictates how they progress in the story. And things that you thought were going to work actually don’t work and you got to shift gears, and that I didn’t mind that it’s actually been kind of a rewarding thing to experience X. I didn’t know that was and I’m not sure if all writers experienced that. But that’s certainly been the case for me.
Michael Hingson 34:48
Well, and you know, it’s, it’s fun. I have not written fiction. I’ve written two books so far. And we just submitted a draft of a third one But it’s been nonfiction I haven’t figured out how to do for me fiction yet, and I had just haven’t come up with it. So maybe one of these days that will happen, because I think there’s, I love fiction because in reality fiction a lot of times is really an author speaking to us about their ideas and their attitudes and so on. And they use a fictional setting, but the reality is, it still is something that can teach us a whole lot.
James Davis 35:30
Yeah, yeah, I think if you got strong characters, that’s definitely the case. One of the things that really sort of had this character who was a mother, who, whose husband gets killed early on, and, and I wasn’t gonna plan on doing a therapy, it was just more of a catalyst for my book. But, you know, the feedback that I get got from that first book, everybody loves her character. So I had to rewrite her to continue her story arc through the whole series, because she was so loved so well. So those things happen as well.
Michael Hingson 36:05
Again, a message, isn’t it? Which is, which is cool. Well, I know I’m excited to hear about the new one when it comes and I will have to go hunt down the the first two. You’ve published them as Kindle books, have you created audio versions, by any chance?
James Davis 36:21
There’s an audio version of the first book. I was haven’t got an audio version of the second book. I was going to use the same woman that did the first book, but I have lost the ability to get in touch with her. So I’ve got to find somebody to do that part for me to door.
Michael Hingson 36:40
So is that first one on Audible? Yes, it is. Okay, great. Well, that’s, I will go hunted down. Yeah. And I hope that you’re able to, to get the second one done in an audio format as well, that will be fun. You don’t want to leave people hanging, you know?
James Davis 37:00
Yeah, no, that’s everything I read. They said, You know, if you’re doing a trilogy, like I’m doing, you don’t really have good sales until you finished it, because nobody wants to start a series and ended up like, you know, like George Martin right now, where everybody has been waiting for, you know, over a decade for the book, you know, it’s so good. So hopefully, I’ll get them all out and get them all in audio here soon.
Michael Hingson 37:24
Yeah. Well, George Martin had several books out. And of course, he also was fortunate to have a TV series come out of it, too.
James Davis 37:32
Oh, yeah. He’s amazing. Writer. So lots of respect there.
Michael Hingson 37:36
Yeah. So I love people with imaginations. I, I’ve been a Harry Potter fan. And I would love to see JK Rowling do something to continue that although I don’t know that she will. But you know, the original seven books. And then there was a play, which I think wasn’t really as imaginative as the the first seven. Of course, she’s also written under another name to publish some detective stories. And she’s clearly a good writer.
James Davis 38:05
Yeah, yeah. She’s got an amazing story. Yeah, I love her work.
Michael Hingson 38:10
Yeah. And she’s very creative. And she does good mysteries. So when I can’t figure out a mystery, and we get to the end, and I really didn’t figure it out. I love that.
James Davis 38:22
Yeah, that’s hard to do these days.
Michael Hingson 38:25
It is. A lot of times, I’m able to figure it out before the end, when you’re dealing with a mystery, but a good mystery is a puzzle. And yeah, maybe you can figure it out. So I in some, I enjoy figuring out because it really tests my brain, but then the ones where I don’t figure it out. I can’t say that I can complain about that. Because obviously, they did a good job. As long as when I go back and look at it afterward, I can see that the clues were really there to get it. Right. I just didn’t, you know, they they hidden and didn’t, I won’t say hid them. But they put them in so well that you don’t necessarily see it, which is
James Davis 39:05
subtle. What I really irritates me about other authors is when they take a character and they to advance the plot, they make the character do something that’s out of character. Yeah. Without a catalyst. Right. You know, when somebody’s a very passive person, and, you know, something tragic happens and they they become more aggressive, right? That’s fine. But if nothing happens, they just all of a sudden become aggressive, then there’s no reason for that. Except you’re trying to make the plot move your characters follow the plot instead of your characters driving the plot. Are you Yeah.
Michael Hingson 39:45
Are you trying to do it to sell? Yeah, and do you think you got to do that and good character analysis and good character development? I would, I would think, tell you not to just go off and change a character unless you Something as you said, as a catalyst that makes it happen.
James Davis 40:03
Yeah. The other thing that seems to be very big these days is love triangles. And I really get annoyed with those. Yeah, some of them are done really well, and I enjoy them. But most of their doubt are gag. They just seem to be forced. And it’s just trying to create drama where it doesn’t need to be. Oh, whether
Michael Hingson 40:20
I would call it a love triangle. Have you ever read any of the Stephanie Plum series Janet Ivanovic?
James Davis 40:26
I have not.
Michael Hingson 40:28
Stephanie Plum is a well she became a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey. They’re funny mysteries. They’re really clever. And she has a guy that she’s involved with. But then she’s also working with another almost superhero type bounty hunter Ranger who likes her as well. It’s not really a love triangle, but it’s really fun to to watch the byplay between all of these three of them. And there have now been 29 Stephanie Plum books and they’re absolutely hilarious. So if you want an escape, you should go read Stephanie Plum the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Ivana, which they’re really fun. It’s definitely plum. That’s her character. The first book is called one for the money. And the second is to for the dough. And it goes from there. They’re they’re really funny. And she’s kept it very well.
James Davis 41:26
Yeah, one of my first humorous books that I’ve read was Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Yes. An old college buddy turned me on to that. And yeah, that was just hilarious. I just love the irreverent humor.
Michael Hingson 41:39
Do not abuse a mouse
James Davis 41:44
that never ever read. Island. Oh, yes, Robert. Yeah, I don’t think he would go over today very well. I mean, his stuff was pretty, pretty cutting edge for the time.
Michael Hingson 41:55
My favorite science fiction books still is the Moon is a Harsh Mistress by him. I think it’s the most imaginative book he wrote. I like it better than Stranger in a Strange Land. It’s always been my favorite book since I first read it soon after it came out. And I didn’t even realize at the time, all about it. But I’ve read it a lot. And I absolutely enjoy it. It’s one of my favorite books. Well, it’s my favorite books, my favorite science fiction book.
James Davis 42:24
I always enjoy the fact cow in some of his books. He liked to kill off all the lawyers in the revolutions that he had always found that a little amusing.
Michael Hingson 42:35
Well, you know what the problem is, they keep coming back. It’s cool. Well, so. So what do you do today, with your life and all that.
James Davis 42:50
Just basically, the photography, the little bit of work I do around here around the apartment complex. And, you know, we like to travel when I’m able, you know, that’s the big thing. We’ve got a big map, down in the entryway into our apartment, and it’s got all these little pins in it from all the different places we visited in Washington and Oregon. And so filling that map in has been my major endeavor these days.
Michael Hingson 43:20
What’s the favorite place that you visited here or elsewhere in the world?
James Davis 43:24
My favorite place in the whole world was probably new cranes in Ireland. That was phenomenal. That was really, really the main house. Oh. So it’s a it’s a giant tomb was dome shaped tomb. And you get this really narrow entrance into it into this big rock chamber. So you get these huge monolithic rocks that have drawings on them and stuff and work your way in the inside, there’s like these three separate chambers. And, of course, we don’t really know exactly what the culture what all this meant culturally to the time because you know, we’re talking 1000s of years ago. And, but it’s perfectly aligned with the winter solstice. So the light on the shortest day of the year, shines directly into the back of the tomb, and reflects into those three little chambers in there. And going in there, and just sort of seeing all that in realizing that people from the Stone Age built this huge, huge structure. And it was just amazing. You know, it was It predates the pyramids, so.
Michael Hingson 44:39
So have you ever happened to be there on December 21?
James Davis 44:42
No, I guess it’s very, very difficult to get to get a place in there on that date, because it’s very tiny to get in. Probably 20 People at the most could fit in there.
Michael Hingson 44:55
Well, of course one has to ask since you’ve been to Ireland and so on, did you kiss The Blarney Stone.
James Davis 45:01
I went to the Blarney Stone, but I’m such a germaphobe there was no way I was guessing.
Michael Hingson 45:06
I hear you I had been to Ireland. I did not kiss the Blarney Stone either. Nope, not gonna do that too. Too risky. I understand you have to be somewhat of a contortionist to do it anyway.
James Davis 45:17
Yeah. Can’t have to lean down and stick your head into a hole or something.
Michael Hingson 45:24
I don’t need that. That’s okay. No, I think they’re, they’re more important things to do. I loved Ireland. I very much enjoyed our two weeks there. I was there. Oh, gosh, it’s been since 2003. I was there to do some speaking for Irish guide dogs. And that’s the same year I was there. It was very enjoyable time. I loved it. And had had haggis pie while I was in Ireland. And enjoyed it. But I liked Ireland.
James Davis 45:56
We were planning our because I had been with my now wife for about five years, already six years maybe. And her family really wanted some sort of traditional structure in our lives as like, okay, let’s just go get married. But I don’t want to have to deal with inviting family. So we decided to have a trip to Ireland get married in Ireland and do a honeymoon in Ireland. But you can’t do that in Ireland. Because you got to be living in the county for 30 days prior to getting married. It’s part of their laws. And so then I called England, you know, the England section of UK and I said, Can we do that? They’re like, No, there was like 20 days there. So then I called Scotland and called the town in Inverness, Scotland. They were like, yeah, just come on over just have two witnesses get married same day, didn’t have any problems with it. So that’s what happens. We flew in to Manchester, did a beeline to Scotland got married and then took a cut went over to Belfast and did our two weeks in Ireland.
Michael Hingson 47:08
We, I did a number of speeches over there, we actually had some interactions with Waterford I have a statue of it’s actually a double statue was supposed to be a person and a dog but they only had dogs at the time. But I have this this whole very sophisticated platform that has two dogs facing each other. And then literally in print and in Braille it says as one Mike and Roselle, who, of course, was always the dog who was with me in the World Trade Center. And it’s nice Waterford Crystal thing, which is really pretty cool. Wow, that is nice. Now that Irish guide dogs people were very kind about that and in all in setting that up. So it was wonderful to do that. I’ve not been to Scotland and I’ve not been to England, but I have been Ireland so but I’ve been to New Zealand. I love New Zealand.
James Davis 48:02
You know, we we thought about taking a trip to New Zealand. But after taking the trip to the UK, I realized that long plane flights do not agree with me for you know, like that was really kind of Miami was just starting to come on. So I wasn’t really bad yet. But I was bi that was really rough on my body. So I haven’t been on flights yet.
Michael Hingson 48:30
Now I understand that you work with an organization me International?
James Davis 48:34
Yes. When I one of the forums that I got hooked up with on the internet was me International, and a few others, a men’s forum and in the advocacy is one of them. So anyway, so I got hooked up with them and and talking to one of the ladies on there, and she was helping me out with some vitamin supplements and whatnot. Colleen and yeah, and one thing led to another and they’re like, well, you should join the board if you want. And so I joined the board and became a board member, probably eight months ago or something like that now.
Michael Hingson 49:11
So So what do you do with them now.
James Davis 49:14
So a sitting member of the board, and probably in January, there’s going to be new officer positions, I’ll probably fill in the role of the vice president that time. And then the other thing that I do form is maintain their website. I just recently did an upgrade to the website and updated it.
Michael Hingson 49:38
And that, of course is how you got connected with accessibe as I understand it.
James Davis 49:43
Yes. So we knew we wanted to have an app on there that helps people navigate the site because you know, one of the things with me people is they tend to be very sensitive to bright colors. And so we were looking at how to manage that. I mean the site it’s selfies very pale. You know, it’s very subtle colors. But everybody’s a little bit different. So we wanted to have an application that would handle that. And one of our board members from Australia, she recommended that I looked into accessiBe being called accessibe. And they turned me on to talking to Sheldon. And yeah, and that turned out to be a great conversation. And we had been going with accessibe ever since cars have been working out. Good so far. I mean, everybody’s been very happy with the site. Very happy with the accessibe program. Yeah, no complaints. It’s all been positive so far.
Michael Hingson 50:45
Have you? Well, do you put videos and other things like that on the website?
James Davis 50:52
There are a few videos. They’re more just information. More than just visual, right? It’s just more of there are a few of them more about the history of the disease and how it’s progressed over the years that our understanding of the disease?
Michael Hingson 51:12
Have you looked into working with accessibe to address the issue of either having audio descriptions of the video parts that aren’t necessarily discussed about or for deaf and hard of hearing people anything regarding closed captioning or captioning of the the word so that people who can’t hear it can also then at least read the text?
James Davis 51:37
You know, I don’t? I haven’t personally, but maybe Colleen or David might have done it because David’s been talking to Sheldon too. But no, I have not. And they’re the ones that put the video together. So I’m not really sure if that’s in the progress or not definitely worth
James Davis 51:55
Me international.org Yes, yeah.
Michael Hingson 51:55
looking at, because accessibe has a whole department and a whole group of people under what you would find on the accessibe website called Access flow, that can help with the things that the artificial intelligent widget itself doesn’t do. So it would be good to really try to be inclusive with that stuff is if the opportunity is there. I don’t know anything about how all that works, in terms of costs for a nonprofit. And you know, you bring up a good point that me international isn’t me international.org?
Michael Hingson 52:32
So the the cost for using accessibe isn’t there. And I don’t know how it works for the access flow stuff. But it would be worth exploring that to be sure to get the other inclusive parts up to make the website fully available.
James Davis 52:49
Yeah, one of the things that we’re working with right now is trying to get the different apps to make sure they’re friendly with one another. Also, because we’re International, trying to get the website translated. So we got a translation app. And it’s not been as friendly as accessibe’s, trying to get all that stuff worked out at the moment. But you know, it’s, it’s having me, I can’t devote 40 hours a week to this, I have to do it all for five hours here and there. And you know, whenever I can, so
Michael Hingson 53:17
yeah, well, I, you know, I suggest you explore that with Sheldon let him do some of the heavy lifting to help but he can get you in touch with the right people to explore that. But the whole idea is to make the website inclusive and nowadays is becoming more of a relevant thing to try to make websites work for everyone. And of course, for for us who happen to have a disability as we know, even the CDC says 25% of all Americans have some sort of disability. So making the website available to 25% more people is always a good thing.
James Davis 53:58
Michael Hingson 54:01
And, you know, there are a lot of opportunities. Well, I hope that it all works out. It’s really exciting to you know, to hear that you’re, you’re doing a lot already to make it usable and accessible. So what does me international me international do? Exactly.
James Davis 54:20
The main thrust of their mission is to educate because you know, there’s been so much misunderstanding and misinformation about me that you know, including the name like it was chronic fatigue at one time there’s even this non lethal aids and there’s all been all these weird names attached to it over the years. And you know, in chronic fatigue syndrome is still sort of around even though it doesn’t really define what’s going on because you can have chronic fatigue from any number of things you know, heart disease, cancer, etc. So, you know, that’s very frowned upon and in a community. So trying to get all of that parsed out or people can understand it understand the disease in a way that makes sense to everybody, and to educate even the medical community, because there’s not a lot in the textbooks yet about these illnesses. Now, I hope that’s going to change since COVID, because now we’re having a lot of post viral illnesses crop up from COVID. And I think the attitude in the in the medical community is starting to shift in a more positive way. And they’re understanding these things a little bit better. So I’m hoping this dynamic will change. And that’s really what we’re trying to help move along.
Michael Hingson 55:46
What have you learned? Or what would you counsel people on who may have me or some sort of chronic illness like this? Because clearly, you’ve experienced it you thought it through? And what what kind of coaching would you give to people today? What have you learned about yourself,
James Davis 56:06
you know, the main thing is, is to not be overwhelmed by the depression, because when you realize that you have an incurable illness, and it impacts your life in a very drastic and profound way. You’re not going to be the person who was before you this illness, you know, I used to hike, cross mountains in the Grand Canyon, you know, backpacked all over the place, I can never do that again. And I realized that, but I might be able to go down to the park and hike around the pond for a day and then come home and rest for a couple of days, right? You just got to learn to live with it the best way, the best life you think he can, when he come to that realization, I think that really helps with a depression because, you know, I read a statistic once that people within me were 400%, more likely to commit suicide than the national average, is extremely high. And that overcoming that within these people that would be, you know, that would be the big thing for me is to let people know that there is hope out there, there are things you can do to improve your life. You may not have the life that you thought you were going to have. But you can have a life and enjoy your life. That would be my my major thing that I want to get across.
Michael Hingson 57:29
I think that is as good a message as a body can have, you know, we grow up thinking we’re going to do things and so many times it doesn’t that doesn’t necessarily go exactly the way we planned. But it also doesn’t mean that you’re not living at least as enriched a life as you had planned. And you may find that it’s a whole lot better than than you thought.
James Davis 57:51
Yeah, there’s, you can find meaning in life, it doesn’t have to be the one that you thought you’re gonna have for sure.
Michael Hingson 57:59
Well, James, I want to thank you for, for being here and inspiring us and giving us good life lessons. Because I think it’s important that we we do that. And clearly, you have learned to move forward. And that you continue to, to do things with your life. And I’m looking forward to hearing about the third book coming out and you’ll have to come back and tell us about that when it when it comes out. And well, you are absolutely welcome. Make no mistake about it. So we’d love to have you come back. But really appreciate you being here. And thank you for using excessive be and just all the things that you’re doing to contribute to life because you are making a difference. And I hope that the things that you talked about today will help some other people who may be listening to unstoppable mindset,
James Davis 58:47
too. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Michael Hingson 58:50
Well, I want to thank you for listening to us today. I would love to hear from you. I’d love to get your thoughts. Feel free to email me at Michaehi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or, you can go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson H i n g s o n.com/podcast. Or wherever you’re listening to or watching the podcast today, please give us a five star review. We really appreciate your reviews and we appreciate your comments. So wherever you are, I love to hear from you and appreciate all the things that you give us in the way of thoughts. And James for you and for you who are listening out there if you know of anyone else who we ought to have on unstoppable mindset. I would really appreciate you letting me know and we’ll we’ll interact with anyone that you suggest and see what we can do. But James one last time thank you very much for being here and for helping us show people they can be more unstoppable than they think they can take you
Michael Hingson 59:57
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.