Meet Lubomyr Tryciecky; Dido, I called him. (Dido being the Ukrainian word for Grandfather.) He was a very adventurous man, who lived a very rewarding life. Growing up, I knew little about the man he truly was; not due to misinformation, but more to the fact that there was too much to know. Dido’s story could be a book all by itself. His life resembled a mystery novel, and his legacy resembles a mighty river, constantly flowing, growing, expanding, and carrying new knowledge for all to learn.
There was not one part of my Dido that was not completely unique to him. From his distinctly deep, powerful, Ukrainian accented voice, to his always perfectly wild mustache, everything was unique. He had that kind of personality that you just wanted to talk to. His stories brought adventure into my childhood, and the pride he took into every sentence that came out of his mouth was inspiring. When he talked to me, he called me his little Kozak. This made me happy because I knew Kozaks were the rebellious tough guys of Ukraine; they were a symbol of everything big, bold, and strong. To be called a Kozak in Ukraine is a grand compliment, and so I always knew how special he thought I was.
My Dido was a very patriotic man; he loved his country, both of them. In 1932, Dido was born in the country of Ukraine, he lived there until Russian and German oppression entered the country. At this point Dido became a displaced person and was living in a DP camp in Regensburg, Germany. In 1950, he, his Brother and Mother immigrated here to America, and settled in Philadelphia. They started a new life in America, full of promise and opportunity. He lived out his life here in the United States to the fullest extent. In 1953 while residing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina he became a naturalized citizen. At this point he was already enlisted in the United States Military. He served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, and many other non-active duty missions He was a counterintelligence agent in Military Intelligence and Interrogation, which was in those days, was like being a 007. This was the kind of job that no one could know about in detail. Even when he was not in active duty, this job sent him on many missions throughout the world. Most of these missions he never told us about, and we will never know. He was fluent in 7 different European languages. All this being said, he was a big Ukrainian tough guy with a bushy mustache that you certainly did not want to mess with.
Time went on, and he grew older. His time in the military was for a long time completed after 39 and a half years of service, and he now was a retired vet living with my family. We all lived together, and everything was going perfect. Then, Dido developed an aneurysm in the thoracic region. An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. This is very dangerous and if under too much pressure it could burst. At this time I was just starting preschool, and preschool children do not have the best reputation for cleanliness. So if I was to bring home a cough or the cold, and if Dido caught it, the pressure from the cough could cause his aneurysm to burst. We could not let that happen. So Dido moved out of our house, and he moved to South Carolina with my Uncle. This aneurysm began to leak, so he had to go into emergency surgery to get it removed. The doctors informed my Mother and Uncle that Dido had a less than 5% chance of living through the surgery. We were all devastated, and we prepared ourselves for the worst, but the worst did not happen. Dido lived, but the surgery left him paralyzed from his armpit down. He would now have to live the rest of his days in a bed, or in his wheelchair, but this did not stop him from loving his life. My Dido was an adventure seeker, a risk taker, and a life lover. Nothing was going to stop him from doing what he loved, and that was living. For the next 10 years Dido lived on, going in and out of the hospital for various different reasons. No matter how many challenges life threw at him, my Dido kept going- he never gave up, ever.
One of the challenges of being paralyzed were bed sores. Bed sores were nasty infections that prolonged constant pressure on the skin. This, when left untreated can cause large sores. The way to prevent this from happening, especially to paralyzed individuals, is to roll the body every once in a while to ensure that no one spot on the body is experiencing too much pressure. So that being said, in October of 2012, Dido was placed back in the hospital. While he was there, he developed bed sores on both of his legs. These sores grew so big, that they basically shut off all blood flow and they caused another emergency surgery to amputate both of his legs above the knee. Dido was not expected to pull through this surgery either, but he did. He continued to fight.
His constant perseverance serves as a major inspiration in everything I do in my life. My Dido taught me the importance of never giving up, the importance of family, and the importance of life. The importance of life is one that we often overlook. Not many realize the potential that just one life has, or how much a life can change over something like an amputated limb. This is the basis on which Just for Nubs was founded.
Our goal is to heighten amputee awareness; to change the life of amputees, one life at a time.