“I got cancer in my leg when I was 16, but the doctors were able to save me and keep it from spreading. I got a prosthetic when I was seventeen. It worked great for a long time. But then I got addicted to crack and alcohol and because I neglected my leg it got infected. So I had to undergo another surgery and my leg was really weakened as a result. And then a couple years ago I fell off a motorcycle and I’ve had to use this crutch ever since. . .
"It’s hard, you know, because some days I get really frustrated that I don’t have a car and I live at a relative’s in a makeshift room with inadequate heating, and although I’m a decent mechanic I can’t really do the work because the cold causes me tons of pain and I can’t pay for heating in the garage where I work. And I can’t pay for the medical care I need either because I cancelled my SSI a few years back when I had my own business. I wanted to be responsible, you know, so I cancelled my SSI, thinking I would pay for my medical needs myself. Now I can’t. But then I think of the girl I knew who also got cancer in her leg and how it spread to her lungs and killed her. I’m lucky. I get to go for walks every day. I’m grateful to be alive, man. I’m grateful to God. So in that sense I’m very happy.”
This conversation was edited and condensed for clarity and length.