Graciously, eleven days ago my life was extended (hopefully for decades to come) through the grace of skilled physicians, loving family and friends, confidence in my faithful God, and the minor inconvenience of quintuple bypass surgery.
Eight days later I walked my first uninterrupted mile.
It only took 30 minutes.
Overall, I feel amazingly blessed. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel healthy although my reserves are pretty low so after walking 20-30 minutes I need about two hours before I’m ready for more; but in the grand scheme of things that seems a pittance to pay to be alive and well.
I am sincerely grateful to the Many Many who cared for me and the family during this time. Thank you more than I can express. I began a list naming all one by one, but due to ten days of hospitalization under the influence of morphine and other assorted drugs, my memory is still a bit cloudy. Each day I remember something that I had not remembered the day before. I’m afraid I might accidentally leave someone out who deserves honor and recognition, so in the interest of trying to not miss a single contributor I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. The outpouring of love and amazing acts of kindness will forever live with me. I am humbled by your grace in my life.
Prior to this most recent adventure I never imagined ever having heart issues… (other than from emotional tenderness). In the last few weeks when my symptoms emerged I received previously unknown family history which alerted me to a long line of heart disease on my fathers’ side of the family. Several were stricken in their fifties and died from their first heart attack. I was told in the hospital that for 20% of the population the first symptom of heart disease is death.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Armed with my family history I reached out to friends who practice medicine and it appears in every practical matter they saved my life. I was encouraged to get a stress test ASAP, which I failed in under three minutes. I was sent directly to the hospital for a heart catheterization which I also failed. They discovered seven significant blockages. Surgery had to wait several days to allow some of the medicines used for the heart catheterization to dissipate. Because of the wisdom and kindness of friends and medical professionals I am sitting here less than two weeks after surgery, pouring out my heart – in only a metaphoric way.
So, surviving this mid-life health crisis I naturally find myself seeking to make sense of it all. I believe we are all trying to make sense of the daily-ness of life on a regular basis, but in these big LIFE moments the questions get sharper and deeper and perhaps more profound.
How did this happen?
So God knew this all along?
Why didn’t he alert me sooner?
Am I asking crazy questions?
Do other people feel this way.
Where was God in this?
Where is God in this?
The truth is for me I was amazingly at peace. I had some sense of melancholy and a tiny amount of foreboding sadness, concerned about possibly leaving this life and Kelli and Geoff and Taylor… and many others I love. But overall I was at peace. Kelli and I shared a small sense of pre-surgical worry… Has God set all this up for me to come on home to Him? Just a little worry. Virtually No Fear.
Blessedly, due to the grace of God and highly skilled physicians and caregivers, I came out of surgery much healthier than when I went in. I walked the first day, came home the fourth day and walked a mile within a week.
So I find myself, amazingly healthier than I could have imagined. Happy. At Peace. Thankful. Counting my Blessings. Deeply appreciative of so many who have expressed such love and support.
I don’t have all my questions answered.
I still exist with much mystery. I still wonder about the traditional why me, why this, why now questions. But that’s OK. I actually have believed for a long time we need to be OK living with uncertainty and be at peace with our questions. Maybe someday they will be answered, maybe not. But either way we can choose this day to live at peace, with gratitude and hope.
I’m excited about this new chapter in my life. Sadly, both of my parents died early at age 42. As an only child, orphaned in my teens and twenties, I have lived most of my adult life with an expectation of perhaps not living long past mid-life. I’ve already had 17 years more than each of my parents. Now, with this new plumbing inside me, it appears by faith there should be many more years to come. Because of my parents early deaths I have always lived with an aggressive sense of enjoying every moment. I’ve shared about that with many related to my love of Mardi Gras.On the Daily-Ness of Life & The Joy of Mardi Gras
The sense of living fully each day has overall served me well. I feel as if I have made the most out of my life thus far. I’ve lived in many great and beautiful places: Florida, San Diego, Maui, New Orleans, Dallas and many others. It has been my extraordinary privilege to offer care to countless lives through my call to ministry and via counseling. As manifested through this crisis, many have graciously validated my heart to care for them over the years.
I think we’ve weathered the storm.
I’m excited about the days ahead. It is my desire to encourage you and all those I come in contact with, either face to face, verbally or through my writing.
I choose to Believe.
I believe God is active in the story of our lives.
I posted this great word by Frederick Buechner on My FB page this week:
I took that photo over ten years ago when living in Maui, out on an evening boat ride.
My life has been blessed.
My life is Blessed.
Much of it due to the grace that has been poured into my life by so many.
Please join me on this exciting ride of life as I live with a healthy heart full of gratitude not only now but in the days and years to come.