A fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday to help defray medical costs for County Treasurer Michael Bynum, who lost part of a leg due to the ravages of diabetes.
The Bynum event is at 6 p.m. in the Senior Citizens Building on State Highway 31. A B-B-Q brisket meal will be served for a $10 donation. There’ll be entertainment, plus live and silent auctions.
Bynum is now back at work with a temporary prosthesis. He expects to be fitted with a permanent one in the fall. Doctor bills are $25,000 more than those covered by his insurance, and there are more to come.
“To have diabetes as long as I’ve had it, most people are not living to see their leg removed,” Bynum said. “At the age of 38, I had three heart attacks. I‘ve got a defibrillator, and I’ve got a stint. I’ve been blind in both of my eyes, and had surgery to get my vision back.”
“My life has changed, but I’m not giving up on life,” Bynum said. “The Lord has a reason for me to keep going.”
Bynum has been fighting diabetes for more than 40 years. Things took a bad turn last July when he attended a baseball tournament, and developed a blister.
“We dealt with it as much as we could, but it would not heal,” Bynum said. “They removed a portion of my foot, and after that I thought I was on the road to recovery.”
One day after returning to work, Bynum noticed he was running a fever. Within a week, he was extremely sick. Bynum was presented some options by the doctor, and chose to allow them to remove his leg, up to about six inches below the knee, to be sure they got all of the infection.”
Unfortunately, Bynum said the infection had attached itself to his defibrillator.
“We had to go in and remove the defibrillator and all of the wires,” Bynum said. “In the process of doing that, they felt they were ripping my heart, and had to do open-heart surgery.”
Bynum was down for two months. Every move came with difficulty. Even sitting up required help.
“I stayed in a wheelchair, and had people coming in and out of the house to help with things,” Bynum said. “You don’t realize how many friends you really have to help until you go through something like that. I don’t remember many nights that we’d come home that we had to cook a meal. There was always somebody bringing something.”
Bynum’s wife, Karen, told him that he had always been willing to help people, and now he needed to be willing to allow people to help him. His 16-year-old son, Landon, often missed outings with friends to help lift Michael from the bed.
“Sometimes his friends would show up at the house to help him do what he had to do for me,” Bynum said.
Bynum’s older son, 28-year-old Garen, would leave work in Waco, and drive to Tyler to stay with him in the hospital.
When Bynum came back to work in January, he maneuvered around the Courthouse Annex on a scooter. He set a goal to be walking by Feb. 1, and reached it, enabling him to attend Landon’s first varsity baseball game.”
Bynum’s road to recovery isn’t finished, and some days are better than others. But he hasn’t lost sight of his goals.
“I’m going to stay positive,” Bynum said. “I’m the answer to a lot of people’s prayers.”