All posts by Mark Ivy

I am Mark Ivy, a born and bred Hoosier.
I am father to two wonderful sons, Dave and Kev, of whom I am very proud;
two terrific daughters-in-law, Anna and Hailey; three beautiful granddaughters, Dylan, Alaina and Amelia.

On May 9, 2017, my lung specialist hit me with the news I had maybe six months to live if the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the damage caused by the histoplasmosis described below, ran its normal course. I am now on hospice at home. Content and ready to cross over the river to the other side.

On September 2, 2014, I was diagnosed with disseminated histoplasmosis, a fungal infection, discovered by a biopsy of my larynx.
The infection is fatal if left untreated. For 2 1/2 years I lived under a death sentence being misdiagnosed
with a non-specific bacterial infection which left my right lung a “dried up sponge” and non-functioning.
I was aggressively treated for the infection with antifungals.
The treatment ended October of 2015 and fortunately did not take two years.

I suffer from chronic Horton’s Syndrome. The effects vary widely causing various problems.
Statistically, Horton’s affects only 0.1% of the population. Major depression also attacks me regularly.

A Favor

Have a request for everyone.

I am not asking this morbidly, but rather, let’s say, as a pre-memorial memorial.

Like the old saying: Don’t give me flowers after I am gone, but now that I may enjoy them while I live.

Anyone who wants to share an image with a memory of me with you or just a story that relates to the two of us, please post it at:

Citizen Journalists Live

I will open the site for anyone to share. The post, the memory, will be held for my approval first to keep out spammers.

In addition to post, simply register. Again I will delete any registration that are bogus.

To register:

1. Email/message me your preferred username and password. Remember these are case sensitive.
2. Wait for me to let you know you are setup.
3. Log into the site with username and password you sent me.
4. Click on add new post.
5. Share.

Don’t want to register?

Email or private message me your memory and I will do it for you!

I will NOT edit your sharing.

You will be able to view the pre-memorial memorials by clicking on Mark’s Memories in the left side categories menu.

THANKS!

No truer words

A ‘Day of Infamy’

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese Imperial Navy on the US of A’s naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the Monday after the attack:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

The attack on Pearl Harbor was the oomph that helped push the US into World War II on the side of the Allies. But it was not the only factor, there were many more as well.

Not only did the Japanese launch an attack at Pearl Harbor that peaceful Sunday morning, but that same day attacked Guam, Wake Island, The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Midway.

Eventually General Douglas MacArthur would utter the immortal words, “I shall return,” as he fled The Philippines as the Japanese occupied.

Thousands of American sailors and soldiers lost their lives that sleepy morning. Battleships still lie in rest in the harbor, the watery grave for American lives lost.

In recent years, commemoration of Pearl Harbor Day has seemed to fade. Perhaps in part it can be attributed to the fact that more and more of whom Tom Brokaw called, “The Greatest Generation”, die off. The memory of that tragic day begins to fade as well.

An article detailing 5 myths about Pearl Harbor at TwinCities.com from a few years ago noted:

The attack on Pearl Harbor awoke America from its isolationist slumber and bolstered its charge into the Pacific war, but it did not spur entry into the European war. That happened when Nazi Germany and fascist Italy declared war on the United States on Dec. 11, compelling Roosevelt to respond in kind – thus committing the United States to a world war.

http://twincities.com/opinion/ci_19476298

From the Cornfield, I am hoping those who read this will stop and remember those sailors and soldiers whose lives were lost.

To “The Greatest Generation“, we salute your service, your action and how you kept the world “safe for democracy.”

Homer Powell lost in World War II

They came home: Luther, Herman, Wesley Powell

Miss Me?

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Yes, I  know I have been derelict in my posting today. I do have a reason.

I would say an excuse, but you do know what an excuse is, don’t you?

An excuse is a has-been (ex) wrapped around a pack of lies (spew).

Like that one?

I was feeling so much better yesterday thanks to prayers and the antibiotic, I moved around too much and talked too much yesterday. I wore myself out.

This led to sleeping until 11 o’clock this morning!

Today, I have felt even better. I learned my lesson. I have taken greater care today to not overdo it.

Have a request for everyone. I am not asking this morbidly, but rather, let’s say, as a pre-memorial memorial.

Anyone who wants to share an image with a memory of me with you or just a story that relates to the two of us, please post it at

http://citizenjournalistslive.com

I will open the site for anyone to share. However,the post, the memory will be held for my approval first to keep out spammers. In addition to post, simply register. Again I will delete any registration that are bogus.

I will NOT edit your sharing.

Don’t want to register?

Email or private message me your memory and I will do it for you!

THANKS!

From Mark’s Den in the Cornfield, thinking of you all.

And how is your midweek going?

Frankie (RIP) and Gizmo (RIP) taking care of Daddy

What to Do with President Trump?

Cornfield Polls: What to Do with President Trump?

Looking Back

My favorite personal post since being struck over six years ago by histoplasmosis, the condition, though eradicated, has led and leads me ever closer to an early demise.

From 2012:

As the Year 2012 rushes to an end, and none too quickly, I am struck with a reflective mood. The year has definitely been rocky and filled with far more valleys than I would have wanted or anticipated. But where there are valleys, it means there are also mountains. With mountains, it means there were also “mountain top experiences“. Yes, the Year 2012 was a full mix of ups and downs.

As 2012 rang in, there was the usual midnight toast and kiss, but the minutes were also anxiety ridden. I had lossed over 30 pounds in one month, been running a fever, coughing spells leading to nausea and dry heaves. Iohn and I, however, tried to be optimistic and look forward to 2012 as being a much better year than 2011. How mistaken we were in so many ways.

I slowly began to gain a little weight back when I relapsed and lost 15 pounds in two weeks. This prompted a visit to the doctor’s office, something I am reluctant to do. I finally had no choice. This visit lead to one of my deepest valleys as the doctors were concerned that I either had contracted tuberculosis or developed lung cancer. From the doctor’s office to the hospital and then the surgery ward to have a double bronchoscopy and lung biopsy. I woke in the hospital bed many hours later with three tubes sticking out of my side. I remained hospitalized for a total of 20 days, nearly three weeks.

Mark in the Hospital for Surgery

The surgery, however, did lead to what was probably the highest point and most welcome news of all of the past year. I learned that I would live. I may have to adapt, adjust, make changes, but I was going to live. My condition was not life threatening. There was no TB. There was no cancer. What the doctors discovered was a non-specific bacterial infection of my right lobe which rendered it useless. In the words of my surgeon, my right lung was now nothing more than a “dried up sponge“.

I continue to struggle with the breathing. I am still getting use to having only one lung. But I am alive and cantankerous as ever if not more so.

Then in September came my second most memorable and elation-filled moment. On the 20th of that month, my second granddaughter, Alaina Dee, came into the world. There is little to compare to the joy of the birth of a grandchild other than the birth of your own child. This was a real shining moment in a year of so much darkness.

Alaina Dee and Grandpa

Before Alaina’s birth, was my third-rated mountain top experience of 2012. In June I was honored by CNN‘s iReport community with a Spirit Award for my contributions over the last year. This came as a total shock and surprise. But I am eternally honored and grateful for such a recognition.

CNN iReport Spirit Award

That same month another highlight of the year came with an appearance on CNN Saturday Morning when I was interviewed by Randi Kaye on health care and the Affordable Care Act. This interview came not long before the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. I was later inteviewed by phone by HLN following the Supreme Court decision.

CNN Interview with Randi Kaye

Then there was another high when I was picked to debate the ACA with another iReporter, Egberto Willies, as part of the iReport Debate series. We were debating the pros and cons of the healthcare law with me taking the con side of the argument.

iReport Healthcare Debate


Most of the valleys I have had to go through this year have been in some way or another health related. Adapting to my new life has been rather traumatic at times. But then again one other health concern actually turned into another mountain.

My doctors surmised my lung infection was caused by a genetic condition that began a few years ago which began decaying my teeth and the teeth breaking off. What the doctors believe is that during the night the infection from my mouth and gums would aspirate into my lungs. With help from friends, family and an email to the Governor of Indiana, I was able to get the decaying teeth and tooth stubs pulled and replaced with dentures. Many who follow Inside My Mind and my CNN iReport contributions also traveled with me through both the lung surgery, hospitalization and the dental procedures.

The Dental Journey

While I’ve been battling with the medical and dental issues surrounding my lungs and teeth, my other conditions, cluster headaches and presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (POHS), have also been problematic. There is also the major depression I must battle daily. Good news on the POHS is that it seems to be in hiatus and not progressing at the moment.

Iohn’s roller coaster employment situation has been frustrating for both of us throughout the year. Thankfully as the year comes to an end, he is once more gainfully employed. The financial struggles over the last two years have been draining and at times seemed like it would sink us. But, here we are facing a new year and still holding on, still together after what will be eight years in February.

Continuing to be difficult on me is not being able to see my sons, Dave and Kev; their wives, Anna and Hailey; and my granddaughters, Dylan and Alaina, as much as I would like. Each holiday, while my siblings gather with their children and grandchildren, Iohn and I celebrate alone waiting for that phone call or text or email from the boys.

While the road has been rocky and the future uncertain as we sit on the cusp of 2013, life goes on. Then again the alternative doesn’t seem all that appealing on this snowy winter’s night.

From the Cornfield, life’s ship was never meant to sail only on calm seas going nowhere. Life was meant to toss and roll with the waves becoming stronger and better for riding the surf and appreciating whenever a harbor was reached.

As the song goes, without the rain we would never have the flowers. Or as my Mom once wrote in a poem, you can never climb the mountain unless you go through the valley first.

Happy New Year to one and all. May the coming year find you healthy and may your soul prosper.

For This I Am Grateful

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Life – filled with its ups and downs, the level plains which lie between;

The rain without which there would be no flowers;

The valleys where strength and supplies are found to climb to the mountain tops;

Health – though fraught with issues and concerns with which I must daily battle;

Healthcare – which has resulted in finding the root cause of many of my more serious physical ailments along with a cure for the fatal infection that threatened to kill me;

Eye Care – which provides the expertise to restore my vision rather than allowing me to go blind;

Family – who bring joys and tears, but with whom I could not live without;

Sons – those offspring who carry on and outshine the man who was their sire;

Granddaughters – who are beautiful, bubbly, putting a smile on my face even in the darkest moments with a look;

Daughters-in-Law – who put up with the “Old Man” and don’t fuss too much when their husbands stay in touch;

Mom – who may not always agree with the choices, decisions I make, but is always there to support me as her son;

Dad – who often is on opposite sides from where I stand, but is still there when least expected;

The Other Halves – who have brought love and joy to my parents and been there too many times to count for me;

Siblings – who bring the tussle and tumble at times and the closeness and connectivity that none else can know;

Ex-Wives – without whom I would never have known the joy and love of my two sons;

My Ex-Partner – who put up with me through good, bad, sickness and health for over a decade;

Chooey – who provides companionship, alerts me and loves his “Daddy” unconditionally;

Real Life Acquaintances – who have shown up at my door when unexpected, but at the right moment;

Online Friends – some who have been angels in some of my direst moments over the past few years when I felt I could not carry on;

Our Nation – though battered and torn at times, though enmeshed in family feuds at times, yet still the most free and greatest light of liberty in the world today;

God – for sustaining me thus far and deciding it was not time for me to cross the divide and go home yet.

From the Cornfield, I send out my wish to one and all for a day of reflection, a time with family and friends, a day of peace, love and joy this Thanksgiving Day before the madness of shopping fever takes over, forgetting the reason for the season.

May you find no matter your situation, station in life, health or wealth, there is always something for which to be grateful.

Retro in Vogue

Retro is back in vogue. But, not necessarily in the way you may think that phraseology implies.

The retro here is for retroactive, such as when say a pay raise is retroactive back to a certain date behind us, but were not compensated at the time at the higher rate of enumeration.

Or when lawmakers have found the courts frown on attempts to make a certain crime or punishment retroactive due to the uproar from the public or their own disgust over a situation.

Lawbreakers have the protection of being tried, convicted and sentenced not on some new law or new enlightenment on a given crime based on the law and sentencing applicable at the time of the crime. To do otherwise would be unfair and violation of one’s civil rights under our Constitution.

Yet, we are seeing a rush to judgment today based on new emotions, new thinking, new intolerance or new toleration for those of fame, money or power when it comes to what is and is not acceptable behavior in dating, in relationships, in attempts to woo or otherwise engage with another in some type of sexual contact.

We thought we had hit the mother lode when Bill Cosby was arrested and sent to his fate before a jury of his peers.

How little did we know that a couple of years later, the whole country is suddenly incensed in a manner similar to the villagers rising up with torches and pitch forks to make the world “safe” from Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.

I can readily understand the desire to get a scrupulous pound of flesh for those within the decade who have been weighed and found wanting in the realm of unwelcomed sexual contact. But when we attempt to apply today’s standards to actions decades (plural) old to destroy a person on what at the time (though wrong at the time) was not activity roundly decried, is not right.

Should these, mostly men acting badly and without thought, transgressors be judged on the distant past and all the good negated and their change in thought and action ignored because now it is suicide to act in such a boorish and insensitive way?

Should the guilty be allowed to continue the good, repent for their past sins and move on?

For those who are still guilty, still transgressing, that is a different venue and the current moral standards and laws apply, no doubt about it.

Remember when Jesus and His disciples were confronted by the mob with a woman who had been caught in the throes of adultery? Jesus squat down and wrote in the sand with His finger.

When He spoke, it was soft, yet firm, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

After the crowd sheepishly melted away, Jesus was left with the woman. He asked, “Where are your accusers?”

The woman noted they were gone.

Jesus then said the immortal words, “Neither do I condemn thee…

That’s where most of us stop. But stopping there leaves out the most important part of what Jesus had to say.

The final five words were the key to forgiveness, “Go and sin no more.”

From the Cornfield, what these men did was not right, but we must temper our outrage with wisdom.

For those who have moved on, who have gone their way since their sins and crimes to “sin no more“, should be allowed to apologize, make amends and continue to be a benefit to society.

For those who continue to wallow in the mud and slop of their self-delusion and debauchery, let there be a reckoning.

Salute ~ To Those Who Served

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Tomorrow, we stop and give thanks for all those who have served the nation in uniform, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to ensure that we have the life we so proudly proclaim.

Their sacrifice is honored with each election where not by coup, but by ordinary Americans casting a ballot and choosing those who will lead and represent them. The power and authority of those officials are transferred from one elected official to the next, from the precinct level to the highest office in the land, the Presidency, without the need for troops in the streets because of those who answered the call to duty, honor and service.

The ability to vote, the ability to choose, the ability to speak our minds, the ability to worship or not worship, the ability to write these words without fear, the ability to work, to succeed, to fail, to rise above our circumstances, all of this we owe to those men and women who fought for peace, justice and freedom.

None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to each of our veterans and to those who still serve.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 with the treaty signed ending the “Great War” between the Triple Entente and the Allies, the veterans are now honored each year as Veteran’s Day, though initially Armistice Day.

On a more personal note:

Normandy Award to Luther C. Powell

In those dark days following the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, four brothers from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana lined up at the recruiting office and joined the US Navy. These four brothers went off to save the world for democracy both in the European Theater and in the Pacific.

Homer Powell lost in World War II

Three made it back home at the close of World War II. The one who didn’t return was my Uncle Homer. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.

First Sergeant Jack L. Hollifield

My step-father, a fresh-faced kid from Sullivan County, Indiana didn’t wait to be drafted. He went to the recruiting office and signed up to be a soldier for Uncle Sam. He survived, though wounded once, three tours in Viet Nam. He remained in the US Army to retire after 20 years as an E-8 First Sergeant.

USN veteran Allen Powell

My grandfather’s only son, my uncle, later followed in his father’s footsteps and sailed off on the ocean blue with the Navy. He served around the world, then came home.

Allen's Honorable Discharge

All of these veterans within my own family are now gone, but not forgotten.

AFC Mark after USAF Basic Training

Their service made it possible for me to join the US Air Force in 1976. My time was spent at Grissom AFB, right here in the Cornfield.

It also allowed my step-brother, John Hollifield, a few years later to join the US Army. Unfortunately, we lost him in a drunk driving incident after he did his duty and was home.

US Army vet John Hollifield, victim of a DUI driver

The sacrifice of my grandfather, great-uncles and step-father also allowed all of us to still be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is why I am always appreciative of those who choose to serve in our military. This is why I always have an empathy and a connection to the families left behind to keep the home fires burning to shine the light to lead our service members home.

Each November 11th, we celebrate, not just the veterans of that long ago war that was to be the war to end all wars, but the holiday has evolved to celebrate and to show appreciation for all who have served our great nation and those who continue to serve.

From the Cornfield, veterans, I salute you and thank you!

Crunching Numbers

There is consternation in the chattering class and with the national journalists club members over the low approval number of President Donald Trump. No President in this very early stage of his term has ever had such a low approval percentage.

But does this number mean anything of substance?

The President, as a candidate, had abysmal numbers in the polls. No one, not even the Prez, actually thought he would pull off the upset. No one thought, based on his low approval number, that Queen Hillary Clinton could be prevented from assuming the throne in the Oval Office.

But – the polls did not tell the tale.

And methinks, even now, the polls do not tell the tale on whether the Prez will last or succeed this initial term in office.

The numbers should be of no surprise if we look back at the 2016 election. By nearly 3 million votes, Clinton won the popular vote.

In the Heartland, where Electoral College votes count, Clinton was sank before she could get in the boat.

Here is what happened:

About 139 million Americans, or 60.2% of the voting-eligible population, cast a ballot in November’s elections, according to data compiled by the US Elections Project. That compares with 58.6% of eligible voters who turned out in 2012, but it’s below the 62.2% who turned out to help elect President Barack Obama for the first time in 2008.

The popular vote totals:

Clinton 71 million
Trump 68 million

This was out of 139 million total ballots cast.

Trump scored big in the Heartland amassing 307 Electors. That was pushing close to 40 Electors more than the 270 needed to earn the seat in the Oval Office.

On Meet the Press today, retired distinguished NBC Anchor Tom Brokaw pointed out in a recent trip to the Heartland, he talked to Trump voters. Brokaw noted that some 99% said they would vote for Trump all over again.

In other words, ignore the polls.

It is not about likability.

It is not a beauty pageant.

It is about getting things done.

It’s about hearing someone who “talks like me.”

From the Cornfield, Trump will never get anywhere close to 50%. Let’s put that pipe dream where it belongs – stuffed away in the back of the closet.

The next Presidential Election will be here soon enough. Then we will know what America wants for another four years.

For the overwhelming majority who did not want The Donald in the presidency – sorry, elections are not about getting what you want. For now just deal and wait. The next election will come soon enough.

But remember – the Heartland matters too. It is not just about the Northeast and the West Coast.