The first time I laid eyes on this picture of NO LESS A THOROUGHBRED, chills flashed through me. It is a magnificent tribute to America's veterans! But NO LESS A THOROUGHBRED is far more than a piece of art...it is an arresting reminder that the value of our wounded veterans is by no means deminished by their injuries.
Hardly a day that goes by anymore that we are not reminded of the huge personal sacrifices of our American Veterans. Wheelchairs. Missing arms. Missing legs. Scar tissue from massive burns. Some veterans adjust to these sacrifices better than others. But because of their physical injuries and scars, we vividly see their struggle. Our veterans' can-do spirits, their improvise, adapt, and overcome mindsets propel them on through life. As citizens we are inspired and awestruck by our veterans' courage and strength, and we gain a better understanding of the real price of our freedoms and liberty. This is what helps us keep our veterans sacrifices and injuries in our minds.
While we are keeping veterans visible injuries in mind, we must also keep the invisable injuries in mind. Seldom will we find a veteran with a visible injury that isn't dealing with an invisible one as well. Post Traumatic Stress. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. Survivor guilt. Post Traumatic Epilepsy. Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures. For the most part, we have heard of these invisable wounds. However, most of us have probably not heard about those last two mentioned: Post Traumatic Epilepsy and Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures.
Post Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE) is a seizure disorder caused by a brain injury. While a person does not have to be a veteran to develop PTE, veterans have a significantly higher risk due to the nature of their every day duties and/or combat. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The greater the severity of the TBI, the greater the risk of developing PTE. In some veterans with TBI, they are more likely to develop PTE than they are of flipping a coin, calling it heads, and getting it right.
Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES) can develop in veterans (and others) who have developed Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD). These seizures are called non-epileptic because there is no disruption of the individual's normal brain waves. Although PNES are not inherently life-threatening like epileptic seizures are, they still present a risk of great bodily injury depending on when and where they occur.
It is just as important to keep injuries in mind that are injuries of the mind because whether the injury is visible, invisible, or both...the injured veteran is NO LESS A THOROUGHBRED!