Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Good Health Report

I am very happy to report that I am doing very well in my recovery. This morning, I had my remaining stay sutures removed from my midsection. This past week, it felt like I was wearing three tightly wrapped belts on my abdomen. With the pressure released, I find myself more mobile and pain-free. I still have to restrict my movements, but I'm encouraged to begin exercising again. I'll start out with limited yoga movements.

My diet can return to normal, with the exception of corn. I'll ease my way back to a solid diet again and I'll respect my body. I intend to take everything slowly, but to be a little more active as well.

I'm thankful I am alive. I'm thankful for the surgical team that brought me back to good health. All is good. All is very good. And, I thank everyone who prayed for me, especially the presence of Ignatius, Peter, Xavier, and Pedro. They looked over me well.


  1. I'm glad that things are going well for you, John. I also admire the way that you have been able to share your health issues. I am never quite sure how much I should tell people about what is going on with me, medically.

    1. Thanks, Beth. It is delicate to share medical information. Some people are curiosity seekers; others are terrifically concerned; others just want to know you are doing well. I want to share my spirit and mood without being too graphic or clinical. I can see why HIPPA laws are in effect, yet I want to continue to be pastoral as I write from my illness. It is so funny how many people have asked me for prayers for themselves or others when I was at my lowest point of good health. It actually helped me get better.

    2. I have some big things coming up - gamma knife radiation for metastatic brain tumors (my 3rd time for gamma knife) as well as replacement of a hip that was damaged by radiation 3 years ago and is no longer working. The hardest part to share is my fear. Mostly I think people want to hear good news, that I'm getting better, that the treatment worked! I admire the way you were able to share your fear and your uncertainty without trying to dress it up with optimism.

    3. O, Beth, I'm sorry to hear of your upcoming surgeries. It sounds so serious, especially as it is your third time. The hip replacement does not sound fun either. Yes, fear is hard to share and people do not want to come near it. People want to know that someone is getting healthy. They do not want to look at someone's suffering because it is too much to hold. Blessings on your medical care staff as they ready you for the upcoming procedures. Allow God to simply hold you.

  2. Thank you for: "Allow God to simply hold you", John. I had been musing over them.

    In my past experience that "allowing" has been as much an effort at control as one of abandon. I didn’t know how to “let God hold me”. I only know how to direct the journey, or think that I was doing such a thing. Even the "allowing" was an act of will for me.

    This past weekend I was attending Mass with my 91 year old mother-in-law at Blessed Sacrament Church in New Rochelle NY. (The coincidence of the name of the church didn't occur to me until later.) For quite a few days I had been in a place of seeing how everything that I found wrong with everyone and everything else was in myself as well and was getting discouraged. Because of the acoustics of the church or my bad hearing or the accent of the priest, I couldn't understand well what was being said. And then, from somewhere(?) I heard the words “this is my body, eat it; I am the bread of life”, and that opened a door somewhere in my soul to the knowing that I really don't have to DO anything. I don't even have to fix myself.

    For now it is still a vague and faint insight, but breakthrough nonetheless.

    So thank you for those 6 words: Allow God to simply hold you.

    I go for a brain MRI on Friday of this week to determine better the nature and size of the new tumors in my brain, and what can be done about it.

    1. O, please, let God hold you. Right now, we are reading about the Exodus in our First Readings. God wants to deliver us from our sufferings and the exile that comes with its isolating tendencies. Even today's Gospel is very consoling (Matthew 28: Come to me all who are weary and whose load is heavy.)

      Allowing ourselves to be held means to give up control. It is not easy, but when we consent to trust God, we sense God's presence. Surrender to God's will is not easy until we've done it once or twice. Then we learn to trust God.

      I know it is often difficult to do, but finding the good even in challenging situations helps us heal. Life has never been fair, but it is far easier for us to go along with the good moments than to focus on those negative qualities where we can be discerning or critical. Positive regard heals us and brings us out of our exile.

      There's nothing about you that needs to be changed. You don't have to do anything. Just allow God to cherish you for who you are and to name those areas where God has specially blessed you today. With God, it is all about the now.

      I will pray for you at mass in another hour or so as you ready for your brain MRI tomorrow.

  3. Do let me know the outcome of yesterday's MRI, please.

    1. Thanks for asking, John. The MRI shows 3 lesions, 2 of which were there 2 months ago, 1 is new. They are all still small (<1cm), but larger than they were on the last MRI (May 2015). I have been monitored with brain MRIs every 2 or 3 months for the last 2 years, after a 3.5cm tumor of metastatic cancer had to be removed surgically.

      I will probably have gamma knife radiation to these 3 spots next Tuesday. This is my 3rd gamma knife, but my doctor hasn't confirmed this yet.

      In the meantime a Pet Scan shows metastatic disease underlying my hip which is damaged by radiation. I am scheduled for hip replacement on August 3rd.

      It's all a little overwhelming. I'm thinking of starting a blog like you, to find the beauties and blessing of each day and sharing them.

      Thank you again for your prayers.

    2. Thanks for your update, Beth. At least you are getting data from these tests, which show you the paths you can take. Does it give you some assurance to take the mystery out of the waiting? I'll pray for you before and on Tuesday as you have your 3rd gamma knife treatment.

      We can call in the Jesuit heavy hitters for your surgeries. Ignatius on the 31st and Peter Faber on the 2nd. Faber, the first priest, will be your pastoral companion and will bring you through the surgery.

      One day at a time. One step at a time.

      The blog can be a great way to keep people up to date.

      Many blessings and much goodness to you.

    3. I really want those Jesuit heavy hitters! :-) I'm counting on Peter Faber!

    4. Also - I just started a blog to keep you, and others, up to date without having to write things over and over again. I'm not sure at all how it will go.


    5. Stay with Peter Faber. This is the first year that his anniversary will be commemorated as a saint on August 2nd.