Dark side comics

Moments during my journey

I had the pleasure of presenting to another group of amazing young warriors this past week. This time I got to discuss leadership and shlichut (acting as an emissary) with two teams from Duvdevan (Cherries) at the Commando Training Facility and School.

These young men are about to face the most difficult weeks of their training. They are working to achieve a dream – to be declared combat active as members of one of the most elite units in the Israeli Defense Forces.

I was given the opportunity to tell them my story. About how I chose to join the military as a Lone Soldier. How I chose to join Maglan (another of the Commando Brigade units) and about how I got hurt.

Along the way, I got to use my story to teach.

I got to educate them about #leadership and #command. How these two are opposite sides of the same coin and must work together to create the framework for successful teambuilding. I went in depth about how leadership isn’t the rank on your shoulder, but the ability to get others to follow you and act as emissaries to create vision.
You can check out my website to learn more. https://www.drdleitner.com/about/


Had the pleasure of giving another talk at the IDF School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders.

Apparently, the education officers at the base have been passing around my contact info. 😁

Thank you to the 17th Battalion "Golan Lions" support staff for hosting me. You guys were great!

Once again got to discuss how I went from being a #lonesoldier to a #crpswarrior. And, of course, I have to include a bit of #leadership, #followership, #situationalleadership, and #teambuilding as a part of the underlying message.

Looking forward to the next time I have this opportunity.


Therapy Days...

They suck and are so important all at the same time.

That is all.

Not gonna let this win


Oh how I wish the students could see through the lens of my experience.

That they could know how 20+ years and a ton of pain down the line I can see how their cognitive biases and preconceived notions are harming their ability to learn, adapt, and engage new material.

How their biases are impacting their choices - for good and for bad.

I wish I had the energy to bring even more of myself to the classroom. To show them the depth of understanding that comes with a heavy dose of truth bombs and hard hits.

And it isn't that I don't bring as much of myself as I can.

But the underlying currents of pain make every classroom adventure another reason to maintain a defensive posture. Each lesson is another drain on my energy levels.

And I'm tired.

But I still try to bring them to a point where they see their true selves. And I try to show them deep truths about human nature.

But recently I'm finding that I'm barely scratching the surface. I'm lucky to get a meh at times, if you know what I mean.

And as I'm overwhelmed by pain, I find I'm gauging the worth of expending valuable energy points to continue drilling home ideas they shrug it off as "old man" talk.

So it feels like I'm throwing duds instead of heavy hitting explosions.

I care deeply about my students and their future success. It is part of how I was raised. My mother, who would have been 71 earlier this month, was an educator par-excellance. And I strive to emulate her example of what it means to build a relationship with my students.

And I hope that my teaching will impact them far beyond the classroom experience.

But it is hard with this pain.

And it is hard when they are not open to the possibility that there are truths about human nature that we need to learn if we are to adapt and grow.

I'm trying to prepare them for the adversity of life while they are still safe in the nest.

I guess that's a hard truth I need to accept. No matter how much I try to teach, ultimately experience will be their true teacher...

I can only hope the skills they learn in my classroom help them adapt to their ever-changing reality.


"I can feel my IQ leaking out of my ears..."

It's been one of those periods. University is on winter break. The TV makes me feel like I'm losing brain cells. Social media is even worse. Even the academic works I've been reading have gotten so repetitive as to have reached the point of diminishing returns.

My body doesn't help either. I'm so tired of dealing with pain that my brain just doesn't want to keep going.

My brain is drained and my body is beat.

What can someone do when they feel.like this?

Most people will tell you "self-care." Take some time for yourself and recharge.

But I don't think that's the answer. I think the only way to get past this is to find the right challenges and set new objectives.

Instead of menial mental distraction I need to find something that engages my mental facilities and pushes me to use my body in a good way.

Shooting does that. But I can't sped my days at the range (though I would love to).

So does helping people - whether through volunteering or by working with people to improve their leadership and strategic understanding.

I'm glad second semester is starting soon. I'm looking forward to reengaging with the students and guiding their growth.

But it's not enough.

I need something new. Something that will really bring out the best of me.

Got any ideas?

H/T to the wif for the fun quote.


People like me hear a lot about self-care. Dealing with chronic pain seems like a never ending attempt to create space to recoup lost energy and hit points before we plunge down the wicked spiral of exhaustion points.

We hear about how important it is to take time to regroup and recharge when we feel like life has demanded more than we can give (or hopefully before we reach the point that life makes this demand).

I read an interesting article about self-care recently. It basically called BS (that's bad science for those who don't know) on the whole concept.

You know why?

Because there is always a price to pay for doing what needs to get done. How much, and who pays depends.

When someone takes time for self-care they are relying on others to carry extra weight and responsibility. Just like a route march in the military, when one person doesn't pull their weight others have to step up and carry the extra burden.

Self-care is no different.

When one partner takes time away for self-care another person now carries the full weight and responsibility of keeping the family unit functioning. When a team member takes time for R&R they are relying on their teammates to hold the fort until they get back.

You cannot take time for self-care without the support of those around you.

So, is it really self-care if others are supporting you and giving you the space to focus on yourself? On your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?

Or is it something else. Something deeper and far more precious?

I believe it is.

It is trust and love and caring for the other. It is sacrificing so that another might live a better, fuller, more fulfilling and happy life.

Does that mean people shouldn't take the to recharge and recuperate?

Of course not.

But we should acknowledge the price of our self-care. And the people expending their energy and their lifeblood for our self-care.

And we need to dig deep to consider for whom we are prepared to give of ourselves. For our partners, families, friends, coworkers?

Because that is the price of self-care. The giving of self so others can care for themselves.



That is often how I and others describe the pain of CRPS.

This does not do justice to the level of scorching pain I experience every minute of every day. It barely scratches the surface.

But I won't let CRPS stop me.

I am a #crpswarrior

Welcome to my world.

No way to put out the fire.

So I learn and relearn how to act strategically and tactically. To engage reality as it is, not as I wish it to be.

So that I can create my world to the best of my ability

So I choose how to prioritize my objectives and the goals I persue based on my limited resources and the doctrinal beliefs that define what is truly important - family, friends, students, and my health.

And I do this while acknowledging risk and engaging opportunity to the best of my ability.

What are you doing in the face of your challenges?


Over and over again.

My body feels like it's breaking inside.

The pain.

Locked in and forever ripping at me.

My legs burn and cramp.

It projects to my back.

Lying down hurts.

Sitting is a strain.

My legs are a drain.

My back is in pain.

My shoulders are screaming.

My mind it is dreaming.

Of a time when the pain.

Won't come back again.

My body is breaking.

The HP it is taking.

I've got nothing left.

This is energy theft.

And I don't want you to see.

What's going on here with me.

My insides are breaking.

People think that I'm faking.

Thats what they've said.

That it's all in my head.

And there have been many times I wished I was dead.

And other times I was way over my head.

I'm breaking inside.

I just want to hide.

But I'm sharing here.

To get over my fear.

So you know.

And can see.

What's up with me.

I'm breaking inside.

The pain's amplified.

I know that I've tried.

My nerves are all fried.

They say take it in stride.

All the times I have cried.

And the tears I have dried.

I'm breaking inside.

Sometimes there are no words.

Not enough that my legs are going crazy.
Or that my arms are overworked.

Now my lower back is joining the party.

Having trouble sitting and transferring to my chair.

I'm hoping it's just something like a pulled muscle.

Maybe a pinched nerve.

Hope it's not something with my spine.

Praying it isn't CRPS spreading.

And I am worried the #CRPS is spreading. My right thigh has been much more actively painful than in the past. My back feels like an extension of that. My left thigh has had tingling.

Scary stuff.

I will survive this.

And come out stronger for it.


No pain no gain.
Sure sure.

Therapy Day again and I'm already at 8 out of 10 on a pain scale. Down a bunch of hit points and still dealing with an exhaustion point.

Does it matter?


Going in. Doin my 1K plus relaxed shallow diving to calm the squall raging in my body.

Will it help? Doesn't matter. It isn't about the gain or the pain.

It needs to be done. And I said I would do it.



Worth every hit point and exhaustion point! Makers for Heroes is worth this pain.
Helping my friends is worth this pain and so much more.

And yes there were significant hit points lost when someone accidentally knocked a table over near my legs. As I rolled around on the different surfaces. After my chair got bumped unexpected.

Each led to significant damage. Each bump leading to grinding teeth and holding in the pain. Slurred words with a smile and reassurance that my reaction - my legs spasming and curling up are all normal.

Normal but so abnormal all at the same time.

And every action added to my Exhaustion Points. By mid-day I was already rolling ability checks with disadvantage. After the video tour I was down two EP and was moving at half speed.

Every bump and jolting bounce (filming the tour, helping with pictures, problem solving, and just being my normal pain in the tush) was another drain on my available energy.

Every encounter meant further energy used. Every interaction a potential source of pain with more hit points lost. And further EP drain leading to disadvantages in my attack and saving rolls.

And I was done for by the time I got home.

I was easily at 3 EP with a real possibility that my HP was going to get halved if I kept going.

And then, at the end of the day, I got the best kind of call.

A friend wanted my thoughts on a time sensitive strategic opportunity. Hit points, exhaustion points, and all the ramifications thereof cannot complete with this cherry on top.

And the wif and I agree - it is worth it. That giving and helping others is one of the best uses of our energy and time. No matter the cost to self.

So today is a recovery day. I'm guarding my hit points like treasured gems. Limiting my energy use to recover Exhaustion Points. Laying down more than normal despite the whirlwind of Shabbat preparation goes on down the hall.

And it is worth it.

Giving of myself so that others can have a better life and succeed beyond their wildest dreams is worth this pain and so much more!

I would and will do it again in a heartbeat.

This is my #CRPS life.


Makers for Heroes 2021 has some amazing partners! Each one helps to make this day possible.

They send teams, help with supplies, and let their employees spend time volunteering for IDF disabled vets.

These organizations, in addition to the hundreds of people taking time from work to make life better for my IDF vet brothers and sisters, help to make Makers for Heroes an amazing experience.

#corporatevolunteering at its best!

Beware deep water ahead...

I do what I have to do, and I do it knowing, KNOWING, that it hurts.

Therapy Day is one of those things. No amount of mental prep will stop the pain experience. Nothing to do but grit my teeth, put on a smile, and eat pain.

Trying to walk with crutches in chest deep water is agony beyond measure. Every movement ignites another nerve and sends shockwaves through my body.


But water, the pool, these are my element. I may not be a pisces, but I'm definitely a 🐟.

But now this element is one of my major pain points during the week. And I know it is essential that I face this pain head on. Accept that it is inevitable. And make it mine.

But how? How can I do that?

One of my favorite things to do either before or after therapy is shallow water free diving - spending time holding my breath underwater in the deep end of the pool (maxed out at 3:35 so far).

In the deep end I find a point of equilibrium where I'm suspended between the ground and the air above, stretched out, almost in the natural standing position, without having my feet on the ground.

No movement or splashing. Static in the deep water.

And I do this in search of tranquility despite the ridiculous amounts of scorching pain throbbing in my legs.

The calm. The peace. The quiet. These are rare in a world of constant shocks to my system and the beeps, blings, and bangs that are part of life beyond the water.

Don't get me wrong the #pewpewlife is one I adore. But this time underwater is a moment of silence so deep as I find myself listening to my heart beat.

And willing my heart to slow and find peace is soothing.

Reminds me of moments with a sniper rifle and the calm that comes just before pulling the trigger.

#CRPS may keep me in a constant state of fight or flight - seeking to protect my legs from even the slightest touch - but once I'm already deep in the pain of therapy, literally in deep water, there is little I can do but seek the point of complete ataraxia. A state of freedom from the emotions and anxiety that are part and parcel to this pain.

So I find myself in this deep water. Seeking my center. My core being.


Yesterday was fantastic. I got to Uni and was able to teach.

I came home wiped, in pain, and feeling energized all at the same time.

More on that in a separate post.

Today. Today is not a good day.

Late last night my legs started throwing me for a loop.

And today I had a medical board exam to determine how many hours of assistance I can have per day.

Trying to explain why I need someone with me all the time - that I have no way of knowing when or how much help I need at any given moment, to people who do not live in my body or see how my days can change at the drop of a hat (or a drop of water splashing on my legs) - is stressful and FRUSTRATING.

They ask stuff like:

"Give me a rundown of a typical day."



These exams terrify me because of my absolute dependency on the defense department for aid.

And the need to expose myself to physical and emotional pain is beyond draining. It is torture - even when they don't touch my legs at all...

Because they CANNOT understand what it is like to live life with ever changing, excruciating burning pain.

But more than that - they get to decide how much help I need. And in doing so they will impact how active I am as a father, husband, friend, and teacher.

Their decision will delineate the limits of my false sense of independence. The feeling that, as long as I have an aid with me, I'm not a burden and don't need to ask for help from friends and family.

And I hate that there are times, many, when I need to ask for assistance from those around me.

And I appreciate every person who steps in to help.

But you see, I agree with my friend @rw_higgins:

"Good or Bad, your situation is yours. Those that assist you are charitable. They assist within their means and sometime to their own detriment. This is their choice."

And I cannot stand - literally - cannot stand that I find myself needing that charity. That I'm so dependent on others.

So while I own my situation, my ability to manage this disability depends on assistance that is out of my control.

And it sucks.


21st century pre-semester preparation requires effect driven objectives.

What do I want the students to experience, no matter if we are in the classroom or meeting online? What parts of the course can I make easily accessible and present online, so precious classroom time is saved for discussion and in-depth understanding?

The debate between what I want for my students, what resources I use, and the limits on what I CAN do is the essence of the resource-doctrine divide.

Once I was able to prioritize the desired effects I found myself deep in the tactical. Maneuvering to change my reality.

In order to fulfill my primary objectives - engaged learning and personal engagement with the students, I've had to go rogue and move beyond Zoom, as well as make significant advances in how I present the material.

Which led me to the techno-tactical.

I've had to hack a sound studio in my home office, learning about audio and it's impact the on streaming video, piecemeal together lighting as cheaply as possible, and more.

I also figured out how to connect my old DSLR camera so that I'm not a blob on screen. Learned all about streaming programs like OBS with addons. And I am working to connect midi programs, streaming software, and PowerPoint so students feel like they are watching a smooth production..

Oh, and then I've had to find time with less noise in the house to record some of the course to be used for the online learning sections.

I've also had to relearn video editing software that KEEPS CHANGING and wait for painfully slow internet to upload the VERY short clips I've created.

All while deep diving into the updated online learning system from the University, so that the hybrid coursework will be interactive and not boooooooriiiiing.....

And I'm doing this so that when (not if but when) we have to go back to distance learning the students will remain engaged with interesting online interactions.

All that while keeping up with the literature and updating the course material...

I've learned a bunch of new skills ina whole new field.

And yes I'm exhausted though the semester hasn't even started yet.

So worth it!

Many people erroneously believe that, once set, vision is eternal.

But we know that vision must adapt over time or get destroyed by the rising tide of contesting ideas.

As I get ready to examine my vision for self, family, and community, I'm grateful that vision is not set in stone. That our destiny is mutable. That our choices matter.

I look forward to exploring and seeking out new possibilities. New information and ways of thinking that will impact how I see myself, my relationships, my world.

I'm grateful I have the opportunity to improve myself and challenge myself to do better.

I'm prepared to accept that parts of last year's vision are no longer relevant. And that destiny is a combination of self-actualization and trusting that circumstances will create opportunity.

I'm prepared to face the challenges life will throw my way. That may delay vision or throw it off track for awhile. With the full belief that every topsy turvy turn on this rollercoaster called life is for the best - even when it feels like it is for the worst.

#crps sucks. But it will not destroy my life. I am stronger than this pain.

I will persevere and find meaning and purpose to my days despite this pain.

In my most important relationships with family and friends. With God. And with myself.

I will do better.

Here's to new beginnings.

Shana Tova.


I don't want you to see it.

I hold it in tight.

The pain.

And holding it in is a physical and mental endeavor of epic proportions.

But my vision of how I want you to experience me does not include this pain.

And then I hear...

"You don't look sick."

"Besides the chair you look fine."

"So your in pain, huh? Doesn't show."

Well, you can't see it.

Because I won't let you.

Not when we're in person.

Letting it out, even a little, means I've let out too much.

But when (not if, when) I need help, what will you think? If I haven't shared the pain, then how can you possibly know the depth of my need.

How will you know how to help?

And once the pain finds a crack in the armor, it seeps out into everything. Leading to more cracks in the facade I want you to see.

And if I share this pain - let you see how it intrudes in every aspect of my life - then


when you see it

What will you think?

Who will you see?

How will you respond?

How will it change how you see me?

That fear is pervasive for people with chronic pain. That letting others see our pain will negatively impact our relationships.

That it will forever change how people relate to us. People who we love. People who we respect. People from whom we want love and respect.

But letting it out is such a relief.

To body.

To mind.

I believe there has to be a balance.

But that balance changes from person to person, from minute to minute.

One moment it is safe to share. The next it is overwhelming. One minute the respect shines through, the next a pity comment seems to wipe it away.

Or someone finds it hard to accept or believe, because, well because you haven't shared the details before now...Or your looking fine right now.

And so it feels like we are walking a tightrope on a unicycle while carrying an elephant. Holding in the pain, trying to balance, and trying to keep ourselves moving forwards with our eyes on the platform ahead.

Until everything goes splat.

And when it does. Will you be there to help pick up the pieces? Without judgement but with love and respect?

Will you?


Who's the idiot rolling down the street in the wheelchair?



Oh, thank you for asking.

Should I roll on the sidewalk or the steet?

It is a question I face every time I leave the house to roll around my neighborhood.

I know what you're thinking.

Why would you consider rolling on the street? You are low down in the chair. Hard to see. You could get hit. It's dangerous.

Yes it is. But the sidewalk is made of interlocking bricks that are super bumpy. They cause extreme shaking that rocks my legs with scorching pain as each bump and jolt ignites the shortest fuse to my brain.

You know that quesy feeling from excessive turbulence? Yeah, that feeling. It joins in as each jarring vibration sends my body into overdrive.

Using accelerometers, research has shown that manual wheelchair whole-body vibration (WBV) levels are similar to people driving heavy machinery without a suspension seat and that, "the harmful effects of WBV can be negated
by an 8-hour rest period." While "cumulative
exposure to WBV could result in secondary injuries."

So, in D&D terms, I need a long rest to negate the hit points spent on travelling over rough terrain or face severe exhaustion points.

Well that sucks!

Are there solutions? The Softwheels help with the rear seat area (somewhat). I don't yet have a solution for the legrest.

Which means my legs bear the brunt of the irregular bouncing of the dislodged bricks and other rough terrain - including the very important tactile paving that marks the crosswalks ramps.

More often than not I find my legs dangling down off the legrest to avoid the jarring. And I do mean find, as if they have minds of their own...

So, the asphalt is better, most of the time. Not great but better. At least on the street I have more room to maneuver and seek out smoother terrain.

Do I like using the street? No.

But life is full of decisions based on techno-tactical experience. Sometimes all options are fraught with danger and you just have to choose, take a chance, and trust that you will get home safe.

This is how we roll.


Someone must have told the wif I said that 🍪🍪🍪 help get through grief...

Have a great weekend!