Since my last post a whole lot of living has happened! I am so grateful. For those who have been following this ride, to feel this good (and I’m not saying I’m perfect) and for this long!…it wouldn’t take very much to push me to tears.
I couldn’t explain so much in any great detail so let me more or less list some highlights. You can comment or call me if you wish more depth.
The stent replacement ERCP last November has been holding up and giving me as good of health and function as I think I can expect which is fantastic all things considered. Still have the hand/arm neuropathy and some smaller issues but this is great! The weather is beginning to turn and I’m on my bike occasionally, playing some very active table tennis, working out more, etc.
What once was uncertainty and not being able to predict how the day might be is turning into a schedule that is starting to fill in. I have a part time job as an usher a few evenings a week. Minimum wages suck but I am grateful. Apparently no one would hire me because I was overqualified, my resume didn’t make normal sense for most employers or maybe they were saying to themselves, “why is this type of guy looking for this type of work?” Who knows? But I’ve never had to work not doing my calling for 35+ yrs.
So to shorten this:
*I’ve slowly discovered that I am even more capable of going back to my calling as a doctor and physician again. I’m getting relicensed after dropping it for the last two years! I plan on going back to my office and opening sometime in March. This journey has ‘retooled’ me in ways unpredicted. More on that later.
*My daughter seems to be thriving in college! I’ll see her again at spring break. My step-son has moved back to Boise from years in foreign lands and experiences. It is really fine having him so close again!
*I committed to starting a memoir and signed up for a memoir workshop at our local writer’s literary center, the Log Cabin. Enclosed below is my first attempt at a preface. I’ll take no editing comments but am happy to hear your general like/silence feedback. 🙂
*The next stent replacement procedure is scheduled for March 21 in Seattle. If the current one holds up til then, I’ll be very encouraged about the year ahead!
*My spiritual life and community is and has been enriching on so many levels. Praise the Lord! I’d encourage anyone to read, Love Wins by Rob Bell.
*It has not all been a bed of daisies though. One of my sisters, Pamela, took her life on Dec 31. She has struggled with her life being taken away from her over a very long time and she felt she could not bear anymore suffering. Our other sister, Joni and I went to Florida to take care of her affairs after her body was discovered two weeks later. I don’t choose to go into what it was like for us then. But we believe and trust she is in a much more wonderful state now.
Preface for Memoir
The idea for writing a book didn’t come from me. It came
from many people who witnessed parts of the journey I was on. It
came along somewhere when the stack of medical records reached
several inches deep.
I find myself wondering why I just used the
word ‘deep’? I could have used the word ‘high’ yet ‘deep’ flowed
onto the page without the least hesitation. Maybe it’s because
upon reflection on the times I’m going to share with you, the
essence of deep flowed through every cell of my body for a very,
very long time. Deep took over my body as a disease, broke
through and had it’s way with every part of my life. My mind and
emotions were just along for the ride.
Deep is a simple, straightforward word but right in thinking about this ordeal
I get images of open wells or pits or caverns. Childhood images of darkness and places
that are dangerous where you are not supposed to play.. Curiously eery
places. It’s dark down there. You can’t see the bottom. It’s a long way
down. Feelings of fear and the unknown. When you are on the
edge of a long way down don’t you feel like you are going to fall in? What about
that crazy, exciting feeling of dropping something over the edge?
When I was a boy and later as a man I experienced being in caves, being
on the edge of cliffs. Once in Hawaii on the island of Maui I went up to the
top of Mt. Haleakala, the great former volcano. There is a vast crater at the
top. I’m standing at what seems like the top of the whole world in the middle
of the Pacific Ocean looking down into what was formerly a smoldering
ocean itself of fire and lava. And by the way, just across a short expanse of
water is a real, live, active volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii that I visited
days ago. Hot, creeping lava was coming down the beautiful landscape, over
roads and finally into the ocean! Slowly growing the island by making a new,
black sand beach.
From the top of the world the crater was very deep looking down into it. I heard tell that
there were lava tubes beneath the surface that you could hike to. Not something very
many people do apparently. You have to be committed to want to go there. I heard tell
that there were lava tubes beneath the surface that you could enter. So I hiked in. It
quickly turned into not only a physical but an emotional journey. The further I hiked down
the more the entire world I had ever known disappeared. When I landed on the surface of
the crater it was an imagined moonscape. I couldn’t see living things anymore. I had
never been to a place anything like this. It grew more and more into an emotional
experience. I began my decent into a lava tube. It became dark, very dark, darker than the
darkest dark I ever didn’t see. It is not like the dark of the night without stars with eyes
closed kinda dark. It’s darker! I turned on a headlamp to guide me. It wasn’t easy walking.
As I walked, and one could hardly call it walking, more like scrambling , I could see dark
passages going off in mysterious directions. The tube I was in was big, larger than I
expected. Taller and wider than two or three people standing on shoulders. I went maybe
100 yards in. The distance seemed…forever. It was silent. Silent like the darkness was
dark. The spooky factor dialed up the deeper and further I went…and then I turned off my
headlamp. That’s when I decided to welcome whatever was going to come, take me,
use me at that moment, in that place, deep in mother earth. When I turned off the
light the darkness I spoke about rushed in full tilt followed by the silence. A
p(P)resence engulfed me. I can say the f-word here, ‘fear’… it says it all. I didn’t move. I
don’t know why or how but it wasn’t quiet anymore. First, that sense of fear brought
images and subtle sensations, maybe sounds even, of hell…of fire and boiling lava that
seemed might start flowing any minute from which way, I’d never know.
I wanted to run as fast as I could to get out of there…but that’s irrational, so I sat there
until the intense fear began to subside.
My breath returned. Then the silence returned. I felt I was in a giant womb…but
that part of the story is for later when it’s not deep anymore.