When you were growing up we always said our prayers before bed. The most significant part was saying what we were thankful for that day as well as bringing to mind who was important in our lives. I don’t know about you but with me if I don’t re-member the good that has come my way then that good starts to fade like muscles not used. Maybe it actually is one of the explanations for miracles…the belief more and more that love and good come from a well of gratitude within us and if we don’t bring that bucket up from deep within, our thirst won’t be quenched during times of drought.
Let’s be conscious with our love for one another by making sure in our private time we recall our thanks for whatever we can. Recently, I have not been as deliberate as I once was with this. I notice that when I do though that it is hard for me to doubt the presence of love in my life as is evidence in what has happened to me with Roni and so many others. And I am much more attentive to seeing others when in need.
This is a compilation of entries from August through December 2019
My last posts were two poems that gave an energetic place for the suffering and dying experiences to have shape. This opened up something in my experience, my more creative side, in my writing. I like what I got some inkling for. I saw the value it has of putting into words what is very difficult to understand in other ways. Many artists touch this place in their drawings or sculpture or music or poetry.
I also talked about the latest ERCP, prayer and Clare. As quick follow up to my August 2019, Univ of Washington transplant evaluations and consultations, blood tests has returned to healthy normal ranges. They were allowing me to lower my dosages on rejection meds again on my advocacy for that. I still hold on to the notion that my body can fully accept and transform this liver into ME thereby removing the need to fight rejection which would eliminate the rejection meds. I also would love to have the peripheral neuropathy lessen in my hands and feet. I also have been observing that my blood pressure has been increasing over time getting into the 150+/90+ area, sometimes higher. It is one of the side effects of the meds. So now I am in the mode of discovery to find out whether I can lessen this effect through natural means. I will be starting a program of nutritional supplements to throw a good amount of extra support into my cardiovascular system. I also, have been changing my inner awareness/thoughts to open more doors to balance this drug effect. One of the more significant inspirations along these lines has come from a book, Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani (I am in the process of writing a book review/commentary about it, mostly as a writing practice). She experienced a near death experience/NDE as she was about to pass away from a 4 year journey with terminal cancer. In that short journey out of her body and down the tunnel of connection, if it’s fair to use her as a template, we apparently all pass through this type experience to the other side, she experienced herself as a pure, magnificent spirit, free of all conflict in her mind and body! Guess what? Upon return back, the cancer disappeared not to her surprise but to everyone else’s. This experience of pure magnificence is what I am making steps towards…without having to die first. I do know from experience what it feels like to be in my body AND free of my body at the same time. Commonly we experience this when our brain is in theta wave which is a wavelength we pass through going into and out of sleep, also in some meditative states and perhaps in some drug induced states from cannabis and psychedelics. I believe that the difference maker is in the area of intention as far as launching a prolonged healing of disease. I’ve learned that there are only about 3500 cases of documented NDEs and brain waves are not measured with these experiences that I know of. So bottom line…I’m in process. We’ll see how it comes out.
I do blood test pretty regularly and the last one (Sept 29) showed that my liver enzymes are rising again. UW thinks it is the lowering of my meds that is driving it. I’m not so sure yet. We are in another process of raising them again. My followup blood work (Oct 11) now shows the enzymes rising at an alarming rate yet again even with the raise in medication dosages. Again, as has been my intuition, it is not rejection but stent failure/obstruction. I am scheduled for another ERCP on Friday, Nov 1. Please send your prayers to Dr. Balmadrid for his continued stealth and steady hand in another discovery and stent replacement.
I DID NOT SEND THIS UPDATE THEN. I THOUGHT I’D WAIT TIL AFTER TO REPORT THE USUAL GOOD NEWS AFTER NOVEMBER 1st. TO BE CONTINUED…
In the weeks prior to heading to Seattle for the Nov. 1 ERCP, I continued to decline to the point where when I got on the plane to fly there that morning I hadn’t slept in 3 days, had a low grade fever, the bilirubin had built up in my system to a high degree causing constant itching, my urine had been agent orange color for weeks and feeling like I was peeing out fire. The procedure went very well as usual and with Clare at my side, all the better. The procedure was a late morning one on that Friday. I was released in the mid afternoon. Clare accompanied me to my usual UW guest accommodations where I planned on resting/sleeping overnight so that I could return Saturday. However, by 10pm that night, I broke into a very high fever, chills and within an hour was vomiting. We were forced to go the ER where we spent the night me going through scans and blood tests, etc., talking to various docs, hooked up to a boatload of antibiotics and fever reducers, hydration drips while my dear Clare without a place to rest herself eventually curled up on the floor and apparently fell asleep. I was admitted to the hospital in the early morning Saturday being finally told that the way forward was unknown and of uncertain duration. Clare had to cancel my flight back not knowing when I would be able to go. Clare was unprepared physically and emotionally to handle all this uncertainty and opened up to me about it. It was a challenging morning. She needed support. Serendipitously, Pam, a dear friend from Boise felt compelled to just get on a plane to be here for me and Clare. This knowledge came as much needed support for Clare and by that afternoon Pam was there too. Around that same time, my fever broke and I was able to fall asleep later in the evening after Clare arranged a mobile massage therapist to make the first ever visit to see a patient in this hospital. Having slept all night for the first time in days, I was in very good spirits on Sunday morning. Clare also made many calls to friends and family over that time to keep at least some people apprised of the situation. I was informed that I would be released later that afternoon. Clare had some vital regenerative soul work to do that evening, Pam accompanied me back to the guest house for even more sleep. We all met for a traditional and celebratory breakfast at Portage Bay, a most sumptuous restaurant in the U district. One of Clare’s dear friends took Pam and I to the airport and I was in my own bed later on Monday. I began a slower but steady recovery with only great thanks to so many friends and prayers and doctors and nurses and Christ and those wonderful invisible cohorts that guide and support not only my life but all our lives whether we know it or not.
I’ve been given another goal of trying to make it with the current stents for 5 months and take it from there.
I sit here two days before Thanksgiving breathing in the sweetness of life and the radiance of God surrounding all of us…and within me…
And now again, in mid December fully engaged in a life still unfolding with meaning and new purposes. This is my life journey and I accept as much as I am able. Back to work with being a sports official in the evenings, a rideshare driver whenever the spirit moves me, and now after a month of online chiropractic continuing educational course work, I’ve have relicensed myself as of Monday, December 9! I am planning on finding a way to be of service to others again in the healing arts in 2020.
Much love to all who follow…and many who don’t! Thank you, thank you.
December 13, 2019
The healthcare world is going down a troubling road…’modern’ medicine is walking down a sympathetic nervous system like path that cannot bring us as a society into balance and health. So much is a crisis. So much is fear-based. We are continuously looking for what’s wrong instead of what’s right. It seems the only options given are take a drug, take another test, or let’s do surgery. Yet every drug is oppositional to ‘letting the body’ figure out how to resolve a dilemma. Every drug disturbs healthy function which basically means ‘you will have side effects’. The facts are that every drug puts the natural systems into a defensive reaction. Allopathy (the term for modern medicine) means ‘allo’/anti, pathology/disease put together means anti-disease after all. We are participating in a system that is not for something, it is against something.
(All of us in the health care delivery system learned in our basic physiology classes about the central nervous system (CNS). This is divided into two systems: the parasympathetic side which in simplistic terms is the part that takes care of ‘rest and digest’ activities., and the sympathetic side that is our fight or flight system that should only be used for actual threats to our life. Only when the parasympathetic system dominates is there the potential and ability for healing and therefor health.)
This ‘anti’ mentality is pervading not only our personal lives but so much of our society and the world order even. We are more and more taking a combative approach to our natural world. It is driven by ignorance of basic science. Ignorance of how systems work. It is not that the knowledge is not out there. We are just not using it.
We are seeing this mentality promote attitudinal behaviors of greed breed survival approaches, pride brings self-centeredness instead of cooperativeness, and envy promotes class behaviors.
On the flip side where does gratitude in our daily lives live? Where does sharing live? (Our society gives less/donates less than in previous times.)
Even more troubling, where has trust gone?Where has trust in ourselves and our body gone?
TERMINAL…in the depths
A life being discarded,
apparently preparing to be recycled,
tossed into a painful uncertain sea,
death an unknown door in the distance
The edges all fade
into a grey, half light.
There are no sunrises, sunsets,
no brisk clear air,
just a body bag breathing.
Time…confined to the next breath.
The mind…fusses in irrelevance,
dull, grasping, unfocused,
The body…appalling, naked,
without purpose or meaning,
in a searing, writhing stew,
infantile and helpless.
The heart…trickles energy,
reaches, longs to touch
the other or be touched
by friend, nurse, daughter, my God.
and somehow find a sweetness,
Time…still confined to the next breath and
why in God’s name, get another?…
Even tho I had no real relief from my suffering for another couple months until I had my first ERCP from John Martin in late Jan/2011, I endured better. From that moment on I began to find it in me to go to bible study meetings with my sister’s church group. At the end they would pray for me and I would pray with them. That community along with several other prayer communities added much appreciated power for me to meet each new day and more importantly each night…for nights were always the hardest. 7/11/19
Day after day,
Week after week,
Month after month,
With only my body bag holding on
To a mere thread of frayed connection
To an invisible source.
Only able to sleep
I don’t know how…
Probably at sheer exhaustion
For an hour in a day,
Unable to find the least comfort in temperature
My skin erupting like bubbling lava
I yell out
Sometimes in anger
Usually in piteous moan
What could I have possibly done
What could my father have possibly done
To deserve this fate?
My voice more and more
Fills an empty chamber,
Eventually speaking not a word.
God can’t be listening
I have lost most everything
But this one breath.
I seem so close to an end,
I have let go so completely
that it clearly seems
That a final one
Was a vexing choice
And in the vexing place
transformed to so sweet a spot.
and in that so sweet a spot,
I stood in a threshold
With suffering behind me
And I know not what before me.
There was a peace waiting
And I choose to take another breath
and another until
I don’t choose anymore
Whatever came came.
Meaning incredibly returned.
There was no fight
Only a sweet act of will.
It didn’t matter one way or the other.
Every year, like a bird in migration, I find my way back to the beginning of that new life of mine. I still find myself standing dumbstruck over what has happened in this ‘little life of mine’. Dumbstruck, crying in appreciation and joy that that same crazy God has me here yet.
I just returned from the annual revisit with its updated evaluations at the University of Washington transplant center where so much additional medical intervention occurs and has occurred. The anxiety within me this year before going in for my 22nd ERCP (that resurrection procedure at the altar of death and life) was higher than usual. That is not saying that it’s ever been very high, for I’ve ‘learned’ that my life for the better part of a decade has not been in my hands or control. I will continue to say that surrender has been my ‘go-to’ mode. When I’ve stood on the precipice as often as I have the trip down seems to look not so far down anymore. But it is still a pretty good leap. There is a part I play in the surrender now that I think of it. First, is to acknowledge the anxiety to myself and a few chosen ones closer to me now. Whew…I said it. Then the spirit of this whole mystery tour kicks in and many, many of the people who have ‘been there for me’ start coming into view from the pictures all over my apartment to writings and lists of them all over my apartment to finding them on the street, phone, email. They surround me like a host of angels watching my life on interactive TV, clicking on ‘like’, ‘sad’, ‘stupid’, ‘praying for you’, ‘love’, ‘again?’, ‘ignore’, ‘skip’ icons/actions. Nonetheless, it is magically true to reality. I love them, connect with some, then as in moments like this, send out an update to as many as I know. A special love bolt goes out to Roni, that special one who knows what it takes to stand on that precipice with me!
Thanks for everything! The journey continues.
This time, at the last minute, the morning I was to start the drive (8/6/19), a dear friend, Steve Tornga decided to join me in the trip as a co-driver and companion on the 10 hr. trip and some of the schlepping about. The ERCP went even more smoothly and exceptionally than expected. It took Dr. Balmadrid only an hour to complete the stent replacement with only 8.3 minutes of fluoroscopy (radiation)…half of what has been normal. My recovery was my absolute best too. I felt great the next day walking all around downtown Seattle with Steve while pushing those nasty anesthesia drugs out of my system in such a pleasant way. For those who believe that prayer makes a difference…I have asked those close to me to pray for Dr. Balmadrid’s focus and guidance of his hands and experience as the main focus of intent. It is so evident that that happened. He, himself seemed surprised at how easily it went! And by way of follow up, I won’t be going back for the next replacement for 5 months (as opposed to 3-4). He says with the number of these procedures, I am in rarefied position in the number and success of the procedure worldwide. So, it seems that I now have 5 months to get my act together. Hep Me?! Please Hep Me?
I jest but I really do need ‘hep’. These last few months has challenged my ability to sustain even a functional relationship with a few once key players in my life. I am at a loss to find a way. Apparently, even though I view most of my relationships as at least functional and most, greatly fulfilling, I must have a great shadow following me with them as we can’t seem to find even kindness to guide us. Distance grows. My heart is heavy and resigned. Prayer and my finding a guide to hep me is required. If you are willing, please pray with a picture something like…, put us all in an opaque bubble in which God and desire can shed light where light needs to be shined growing love at any level. Thank you.
My rideshare (Uber/Lyft) experiences are getting quite intense of late. Suicidal passengers, needy and those in some crisis or another keep stepping into my car for our opportunity to connect for the few minutes we travel together. Unconditional regard is about all I have to offer. There is no way of doing follow up.
My writing is moving forward. I will be posting a few of my recent poems. They are essentially right on but know that they will get a few rewrites over time, I’m certain. They can only be understood in the context of the commentary that accompanies them. I hope they can carry something that has been difficult for me to express in any other way.
Clare has returned from her ALG/Adventure Learning Grant year in Australia and Ireland a few days ago. She will be joining me here for a few days as we download that experience as best as we can and begin preparing for her final year at Western Washington University/Fairhaven Honors College. I think all young people need some good unconditional regard from us ‘olders’…and some money. Pray for us on both counts. 🙂 Can’t wait to see her.
This last year has been the first at the onset of my seventh decade! For that I am very blessed and send my blessings to you on your adventure learning experiences!
Please send along any comments, questions, advice. I do eventually get back on this site or otherwise as appropriate.
Some edited parts of a post I made just before transplant in 2014. They are about Roni follow.
“Somehow, details and stories later but God has graced me with more that adequate energy and mental capacity to see this through. I said today that I have yet to be this busy since going to graduate school in chiropractic when I was in my late 20’s! I will need a transplant and recovery just to have a vacation. And Roni left me a message recently that said, ” you know, Pat, that this is one of those RARE times in life where one focuses on the outcome and not the process.” Amen.
Details: I leave this Sunday, August 17 by plane to Chicago to meet up with Roni at the airport from her travel from Tucson. We may be picked up by one of her cousins (a wonder worker) and schlepped to a hotel near the hospital to be ready to arrive at 6:45am for tests and ‘a bunch of things’ that will prep us. Tuesday is a light day except that we will get out to the apartment and try to make it a little home-like, stay in it one night, love each other (not in that way…this is not a novel) and be with each other in a way where I know someone that I am in a room with is the person who is willing to lay down their life for me the next day. Try that on for size. In my opinion, she is giving me the biggest act of love anyone could give another!!! Then I live the rest of my life with a part of her inside me providing me healthy, new function so I can be me, love more, pray more, be there more when my kids might need or want me.”
Thanks again, Roni dear!