Rob – My A-1 Antitrypsin Survival and Grandfather’s WW2 Never Quit Stories

I have a two part never quit story. The first, more important one is about my grandfather and the second is mine. But before I start that I wanted to thank you for bringing Tim Ballard onto the show, I’ve been waiting for that. He is one of my greatest living heroes along with my grandfather. Most of my other current heroes are Navy Seals because of the value I place on integrity, honor, love of country and people and standing up for a cause. A true hero makes you want to do more, to raise your own standards because of the standards he has. Tim does that and more.
On to my first never quit story which is short because my grandpa does not want to speak about it. My grandpa was in the army for World War 2. He was on the ground in Japan when during a battle he was bayoneted in the back and left for dead. His buddies hid him in leaves and said they would be back for him as they had to continue the fight. My grandpa, the tough SOB that he is survived and was rescued 3 days later. He also developed gangrene in his leg but fought through it and did not lose his leg. Since then he has raised 3 wonderful children (including my Mom). He has taught me so much, and I admire the hell out of him. To show you how tough he is, a few years back when he was in his 70’s he went to get the mail when a car hit him and he flew about twenty feet. He broke a couple of bones but never quit, soon he was out in his shop welding again. He is my ultimate hero.
My story is not as dramatic but I consider interesting and it will never end until my death. I was in the Navy (I come from a military family—my Dad and Uncles all served and I am a descendent of Omar Bradley) and I had just gotten back from a submarine patrol. I woke up and felt weak and my shoulder hurt. I was traveling home for Thanksgiving so I decided to see the corpsman first. He told me I was fine and I probably just had a cold. So I flew to California and felt like I was going to die. I could barely breath and was very weak. I couldn’t even lift my arm to push the help button. I landed and felt a little better. I didn’t want to worry my Mom so I didn’t say anything. A few days later I flew home and the same thing happened. I went back to the corpsman and he sent me to the hospital for xrays. There I was thrown on to the gurney and rushed to the operating room. My lung had collapsed and I was told I was lucky to be alive after the plane trip. I was then discharged medically and during testing at the VA, I was told I had alpha-1 antitrypsin disease. I asked what that meant and he told me it was a death sentence, there was no cure and it would develop from asthma like symptoms to emphysema like symptoms and then death. After a day or two feeling down, I decided I didn’t like that answer so I started researching. I found a variety of herbs and health products to help and a year later I went back and they were shocked to discover I did not have the disease any longer. Of course they did not accept my herb use as a solution. I told them it was either that or a miracle from God. They didn’t like that either. Today, 20 years later, I have only half the lung function of a normal person (due to the damage already done) but I am doing OCR’s and placing in the top third. I refuse to let it control me.
Thank you for what you do and continually inspiring me.
God Bless,
Rob Nelson

Author: Rob