Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers
This post is going to be an extremely personal post, more personal than I am comfortable with,but a post which must be written because if America’s Watchtower suddenly goes dark at the end of the month I do not want people to wonder what happened to me. I think I owe the regular readers of America’s Watchtower at least this much because I have come to consider you all dear friends and I love you all. I know it sounds sappy but I am full of emotion so please bear with me because I have been blogging for several months with a heavy weight on my shoulders and now is the time to get it all off my chest because while my fate is uncertain my burden has been lifted.
If you missed my post entitled “Seize the day and never let it go because life is precious” I suggest you read it before continuing because it was intended to be a prelude to this post. If you did read that post I would ask you to revisit it before you continue because I was writing from behind the veil but today I am going to lift the veil and tell all.
Once you have checked out that post we can continue.
Whew, here goes:
Back in May, shortly after my 49th birthday, I awoke to find that my vision was not quite right, I had what I can best describe as a cloudy area in the peripheral of my vision. Naturally I did what most people do nowadays and I self-diagnosed myself using Google. Google convinced my that I had a detached retina and that I should seek immediate medical attention or I could lose sight in my eye. Would that it were…
I woke up Lauri and told her I needed to go to the doctor and I told her what I was experiencing. Despite a heart condition, which I will go into later, I have not been to the doctor in years so this naturally took her by surprise and alarmed her so she called my primary care physician that morning. My primary care physician told me to go to the emergency room because this was not something to ignore and they would be able to help me more than she could so I left work for my first visit to the emergency room.
They ran some tests and sent me to an ophthalmologist who determined I had a blockage in a small vein in my eye. When I told him that I was born with aortic stenosis and had heart surgery when I was five he ordered some follow-up tests to ensure that my arteries were okay because if the arteries in my neck were blocked it could lead to a stroke if unattended.
During my follow-up visit with the ophthalmologist he took my blood pressure and determined that it was very high…hospitalization high. He sent me back to the emergency room for a second visit and I was admitted. I actually did a couple of blog posts from my hospital bed back in May.
I was put on a low sodium diet and medication, which has brought my blood pressure down, and the good news is that my arteries are fine, there is no sign of narrowing of any kind anywhere. With the phen375 pill review still fresh in my mind I can say that I have great hope.
However, during my first visit to the emergency room they did a CAT scan on my brain to make sure there was not anything there that was causing my vision problem and there was not. But there was an incidental finding which needed to be followed up on. There was something on my brain that should not be there.
I went to see a brain surgeon and it turns out that I have a mass in the fourth ventricle of my brain, it is benign but because there is a blood vessel attached to it this means it is growing. He informed me that while I have no symptoms because I am still young this needs to come out before it become a problem. The longer I wait the more dangerous the surgery becomes.
The good news is, if you can consider anything like this to be good news–besides the fact this mass is benign–is the fact that this mass is not attached to my brain–it is kind of floating there in my brain, the fourth ventricle is actually a liquid-filled cavity in the brain. I was told that if you have to have brain surgery that this is the safest brain surgery a person could have and the success rate is 95%. He told me that I was lucky because it could be much worse but I do not feel lucky at all…
This is where my story gets very personal and this is a topic I have always avoided on America’s Watchtower because I believe all Americans have the right to believe or not believe whatever they want to believe or not believe when it comes to religion but I am going to bare my soul and tell you what I now believe because this in an integral part of my story.
While the surgery has a 95% success rate that 5% chance is what I have focused on for months and it has had me rethinking everything I have believed for so long. It might seem strange to somebody who has not gone through something like this that I focused so heavily on such a minuscule number but inside the thought of my own mortality began to creep into my head and consume me. In my “Seize the Day” post I mentioned that people have a way of hiding what they are going through on the inside due to pressures they feel from outside and I was talking about myself.
In my time of need I began to look toward the God I had shunned so long ago due, in part, to my misgivings with the Catholic Church after the scandal and cover up. I could not get passed the hypocrisy of the leaders in the church who taught me right from wrong. This probably is more an indictment on me than on the church but since I left the Catholic church I have been through various stages of belief and non-belief over the course of my life: from outright atheism in the beginning, to agnosticism, to deism. I think I covered all the bases at one point or another as I searched for the truth all the while keeping it to myself. But the one conclusion I eventually came to, even before this happened, was that all of this did not happen by accident, it couldn’t have. But where does that leave me and where do I go from here?
I realize now that while my misgivings with the Catholic church were real that was just an excuse and I misplaced my anger. And yes, to be honest, it was anger and resentment I felt for so long when it came to the church and some of the people who taught me right from wrong. I still feel that anger when I think about it but I am working on it.
I wracked my brain in private trying to find the answers to the many questions I have had for so long but I could not get to where I needed to be on my own and I realized I needed professional help. But I was embarrassed to ask for it because I felt intimidated and was afraid my questions would appear naive to a person well-versed on the subject.
On the outside I kept up the appearance that everything was okay because I wanted to be strong for my family, I did not want to let them down and I did not want them to worry about me, but honestly on the inside I was falling apart and I knew it. This was a new feeling for me because, despite what people might think of me due to the tone of most of my blog posts, I am a very happy person and I am an optimist…probably too optimistic at times.
When Lauri and I went away for our anniversary in September I finally told her what I was going through on the inside and admitted that I wanted, and needed, to talk to her pastor to get my mind in the right place. Admittedly it took a few drinks for me to finally get the courage to tell her what I was going through on the inside but it was a great relief and I meant what I said even though I needed a little artificial coaxing to finally come clean.
Lauri is a woman of great strength and faith and while I know she wanted me to return to the church she never pushed me but I know she prayed for me. She has been my inspiration over the years, and she knows that I have struggled with this for years–but only to a point; I never told her everything I was going through over the years because I did not want to disappoint her because I love her more than anything else in this world. She is my best friend, my soulmate, my inspiration, and my life and I have been blessed with her love despite all my faults.
After finally telling her everything she told her pastor–David Thomas–what I was going through and he told her to have me email him to set up a meeting. I had met Pastor Thomas on several occasions and I respected him deeply, but still there was this self-doubt and I did not email him for over a week–but I finally did.
On September 30th I finally met with Pastor Thomas and I wish I had found the courage to do so earlier. I told him that I felt selfish for only seeking God because of my problem while ignoring Him for so many years when times were good, I could not rectify this in my mind because I felt like a hypocrite, and he gave me an answer that was so simple that I could not see it on my own because I had complicated it in my mind: he told me that if I had an argument with one of my sons and he left the household only to return days, months, or even years later that I would not stand at the door in anger, I would welcome him back with open arms because I would be happy he came home. He told me that is how God feels about us only his love for us is even greater than the love I have for my boys.
That really hit home with me because of the love I have for my boys and I accepted Jesus into my heart that night–I was the one coming home. That meeting was on a Wednesday night and on Friday I felt an inner-peace that I had not had since the beginning of this long journey, an inner-peace I still feel today, because I realized that everything was going to be okay no matter what happens. My burden was lifted but my battle continues…
However, I still had one lingering question which I did not ask Pastor Thomas about: if, as I was taught, the Catholic Church is the one true church how can I justify going to another branch of Christianity just because it suits my needs better?
Pastor Thomas gave me the homework assignment to read the Gospel of John and it is almost as if he knew what I was thinking because I found that answer early on in two verses–when Jesus threw the money-changers out of the Temple and when he met the woman at the well. These two versus basically state that it is not the building that matters it is the belief, what is inside, that matters.
I want to state to all my readers now that I am a Christian and if I am permitted more time on this earth I intend to try to live up to the expectation to the best of my ability but I understand that nobody is perfect and at times I will fail. We all fail…
My surgeon is an expert on this particular surgery and he actually has given many lectures on this very problem all across the nation so I am in the best hands I could be in, both physically and mentally if you catch my drift. He told myself and Lauri when we met with him that we needed to trust him for a few hours and I do, but I have put my ultimate trust in a power much higher than he.
I love my family and I am not ready to leave them yet my fate is not in my hands. Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers as we go through this. My surgery is set for October 28th and I am finally at peace with my decision but I am still scared.
I had a pre-op exam on Thursday and I passed with flying colors so the final decision has been made. I was informed by the head of anesthesiology that while she did not know for sure, my surgeon might decide to keep me sedated until the following morning because of the nature of the surgery. He might decide it is best to allow me to stay under so as not to place undo burden on my head because of the trauma of the surgery, it would allow me to rest peacefully as I recover.
When I do wake up I will be in ICU instead of a normal post-op room so I have no idea when I will finally be able to inform you guys about my condition. If I do not post for a few days it does not necessarily mean the worst has happened but I hope that I will not leave you in suspense and I hope Lauri will be able to update you on my condition in the comment section of this post, but she is going to be busy letting family know what is going on. If all goes well I have an open thread idea, complete with song, ready to go that I believe is very fitting after all I have told you tonight. I am really looking forward to this post, I hope I am able to deliver it!
Thank you so much for listening, as I said above, I love you all and the friendships I have made here at America’s Watchtower. I consider you all to be my extended family.