Thursday, May 28, 2009


MAY 28, 2009 3:30 a.m.

It's three-thirty in the morning and I have only been able to sleep for about three hours. The hustle and bustle in my room with blood transfusions that ran too late, chest pain, and thinking about what's coming in a few hours are keeping me awake except when I occasionally doze off with the laptop keyboard still under my fingers.

In a few hours I will be undergoing my fourth Left-sided Heart Cath. You would think that this one would be "routine" by now but it isn't. I've been reminded more than once that I am in worse shape this time going in than the past three times. My kidneys are more fragile, I needed two units of blood at the last minute and frankly Dr. Thelman isn't even sure what he's going to run into once he gets in there.

Dr. Thelman is the wonder boy doctor who got seven stents in back in January. He's in his mid-thirties, definitely the most gorgeous doctor I've ever seen and is truly a genius and the most caring doctor I know in his generation. He's not the cocky young doctor who thinks he knows everything but he is more like the doctor who knows more than most doctors his age and those older but cares more for his patients than his own intelligence. I know I'm in good hands.

But still I'm nervous - and a little tearful. Somehow signing the consent form with all the risks (heart attack, kidney failure, bleeding, etc.) was much more daunting this time.

Maybe it's because this journey has just been much harder than even the doctors thought it would be. The disappointment on Dr. Feingold's face Tuesday when I said I just wasn't feeling as well then as a month ago was very apparent and he didn't hesitate to say it. I've been disappointed too.

Maybe the combination of all my "close calls" since last September have added up in my mind and I wonder if I've used up my "nine lives."

Maybe I'm just tired - and I think for good reason. This whole challenge has been one that I just haven't been able to hide, ignore, deny or plow through. Unlike my other illnesses in the past this one has kept me in bed more than out, in the hospital longer than not, feeling more fragile rather than strong. It's been much harder, if not impossible, to "put on my game face" and that's a huge frustration for someone who hates people know just how sick I really am.

But on the other hand this has been the most remarkable journey because I have survived things I never thought I would. I have more incredible people - friends with more depth, maturity and love than I could have imagined. And somehow I've grown.

Even in my admitted weakest times I have been stronger in these past months than ever in my life. And I truly have no regrets.

Are there things I would rather be doing right now - oh you better believe it. And are there things I hope I still get the chance to do in the months to come - oh yea, many.
But I can honestly say that right now, at this moment in my life there is this strange contentment that until today I really didn't believe I had.

I'm not even sure what has made the difference or how I came to this realization. It might have been the elderly lady in the doctor's waiting room who asked (after watching and hearing about my struggles that day) asked, "How do you stay so upbeat?" Her question so stunned me because I thought I sounded like a whining little girl and yet she saw something in me I hardly saw myself. and as I kept thinking about that and I have heard the nurses response to my struggles in these two days I realize that there really is something different in me. Even saying so makes me feel like I'm being arrogant but that's not what I'm trying to be. But somehow, in the midst of this I am still content and I can't take credit for it, stop it or deny it.

I've had several moments in the past years of nearly leaving this planet and realizing days later that I nearly died without saying good bye. I was looking at some pictures tonight and remembering that more than one were pictures taken just 48 hours before I came close to dying and those pictures were nearly my "last" pictures.

The truth is, I'm no different than anyone else. Every day some father leaves home for work and doesn't come home. Every day a child somewhere loses a mother, a mother loses a daughter, a friend loses a friend. And most have no warning at all. The only difference is that eventually this body of mine will eventually stop "coming back" from that place I've come close to going several times before and I probably know what I will die from.

But still I am content. It's not that I've done everything I thought I would do in this life or that I've finished every project I meant to finish but that I know this is only the beginning - and what a beginning it has been. Next week I will turn 55 and you know there's a lot of people through the years that never thought I'd survive to be 25. But I did and wonderful things have happened during these 55 years.

I know I've said this before but I believe it bears repeating - seize the day friends. Because you never know.

I have a world of the most wonderful, loving brothers, sister, son, daughter-in-love, friends and even people I've never met and just thinking about you all makes me smile, laugh and cry all at the same time.

I certainly hope this is not my final blog. But even if it is I hope these words live on forever. There is but one hope for all of us and that is the reality that there is a God Who is sovereign, loving, all-knowing and Who reigns over absolutely everything and everyone. Therein is my everlasting hope and foundation and the reason for my contentment. I love Him and trust Him completely no matter what happens.

And, I love you - yes, YOU! I really do. Thank you for being a part of my world.

from MY heart,