I got injured on the 4th of January,2009 during operation "Cast Lead", being a platoon sergeant in Golani. A mortar landed approximately 10 meters away from us (or so I was told in a debriefing done later), causing a large number of casualties, me included. I remember the shouts & cries of everyone around me, the big mess, the friends carrying me on a stretcher, the fear I won't be able to walk again, and the fact that I insisted that my soldiers would be evacuated first by helicoptor, and I would be evacuated last. To this day I am glad the values I had didn't disappear when things got rough. Was put on a stretcher and strapped to top of buggy while watching the rockets overheard. Still can't see fireworks without having a PTSD reaction.
At the hospital, an X-Ray revealed I had a metal shard in my right hip. I remember I was happy to realize it hit only tissue and not something more substantial. At the end, it meant that I was like a baby – I have to learn to walk again, but it will happen at the end. One of the doctors who were in charge of me asked if I wanted to remove the shard. "if we operate, there is a 50% chance you get handicapped because the shard is close to nerves in your legs.
During surgery, we may hit a nerve" he said. "And what if you don't operate?" I asked him. "If we don’t operate, you may live normally to the age of 120 but there is also a chance the shard will move tomorrow, a year or 30 years from now, hit the nerve and make you handicapped". He still walks and even ran a marathon. Demanded he be allowed to go back and do reserve duty. In 2015, during reserves the shrapnel moved and hit a nerve. It sent electric shocks throughout his body. They operated to fix that they touched another nerve. He now has chronic, terrible pain in his leg. Doctors in NY came up with a way to help soften that by placing an electric shock machine, like a pacemaker, at the bottom of his spine. 24/7 it sends out electrical shocks that soften the impact of the pain. Did social work with handicapped kids for years. Now a teacher. Married with two kids.
Elyasaf was tattooed on October 25, 2018 by Alessandro Capozzi at the Haifa Museum of Art.
“In the last few days, I've been having more pains than usual, mainly because the cold weather and the impact it has on the sharpnel I have in my leg.
Surprisingly (or not), every time I look at my tattoo, the pain starts to decrease.Every time I look at it, I remember the hard times I had and the fact that today I am much better and I'm on my way to full recovery (hopefully). In addition, the fact that someone volunteered to come to a different country just to help someone he doesn't even know, is so beautiful and so moving that it's immediately make me smile and feel better.
I'm so glad I've met such an incredible organization and such an amazing people.