Hawaii 2010

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

My life with an "incurable" disease

Medicine says I have an incurable disease. I have been living with it for 17 years. I will be 67 in two months. I am also told I can live well with both of my conditions. I have, but not without them creating interesting issues in my approach to life.

I have "atherosclerosis" a heart problem associated with but different from ateriosclerosis. This means my heart muscle and veins are still supple and my heart pumps close to that of a healthy adult my age. This problem followed the diagnosis of adult onset Type II diabetes. As a diabetic I am a fairly conscientious one, my AIC has always stayed just above the diagnosis number. But a genetic issue in my bloodline created a problem that led to the second disease.

In any normal heart a complex system of vein and artery care and repair always goes on in our circulatory system. Any inflammation is repaired by this system. Diabetes keeps inflammation high due to the nature of sugar having sharp edges as it stays too long in our system. The repairs build up and close the walls of the arteries with blockages called plaque.

Tuesday I went through the tenth angiogram, the first three after heart attacks and the last seven after finding oxygenation problems during yearly stress tests. Each time they have ballooned, or stented the affecting clog. I now have 19 of those little suckers. I get a poke in my groin, an hour on the table with a talented cardiologist and his team, a night flat on my back, several days of rest, and a new lease on life.

I return to work and living each day with the need for exercise, healthy food choices, and reducing stress as much as possible.

Each time this happens I face the possibility of bypass surgery...the final frontier of heart disease, and live with the possibility of a plaque collapse heart attack, and a sudden goodbye to this life. Now with 10 of these under my belt and 50 years of learning to live and walk by faith in God I am largely relaxed with the future, and the possibility I may leave earlier and faster than I wish or hope.

I live with my Charismatic friends wondering why that last sincere laying on of hands prayer did not work, and with my beloved who believes if I were a lot less thick around the middle this thing would go away, and my reading into all things metaphysical that tells me I might be able to think and meditate a healing modality, and my hope that if I make it to that bypass table, I will get ten more years, which ought to be long enough to leave thankful and with a longer check list on my personal bucket list.

Oddly, the best thing about living with heart disease is how easy and enjoyable it is to cherish the moment, and life fully in it.  And I will leave you with that, cherish the moments you have to life, love and experience it all. Believe that the end of this life is the entrance into a different but more amazing life....O, and watch your carbs, they turn to sugar!!!

5 comments:

Barbara Blanchard said...

Don, I think you have reached the same conclusions I have. At our age it is a blessing to recognize each and every gift of life, to seize every opportunity for it in its full abundance, and to be at peace about what is to come. I joke that, through medical science, we have lived well and beyond our expiration dates! To live in thanksgiving and with unbounded love is our very best offering in return for this gift. Welcome to the Second Half of Life, as Richard Rohr says! It's a beautiful thing! Love and peace to you, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us how things are with you. Bud and I are gratefully enjoying good health and being in the Northwest for the next few months. Beginning a class next week at church on Christ in the Old Testament which we're looking forward to. Our Sr. Pastor is on sabbatical for the summer but our Assoc. who is a Texan is very good also. Going through Daniel and did Chapter 5 last week which was not an easy one to relate to our culture today not interested in judgement. Our Sr. Pastor dislocated his knee last night playing with his kids in the yard so pray that he can walk his daughter down the aisle this weekend-- his name is Eric.
Our best,
Eden and Bud

Dena said...

Thank you for sharing a snap-shot of your life-challenges, Don. Mine are different, but I recognize both courage and trust.

I've come to real-eyes that life is a sexually-transmuted, fatal condition. With blessings and butt-kickers, (& plot twists!) galore!

I SO *get* the whole "how come the healing-thingie didn't do the healing?!?" dilemma. Damn, but that one is tough to hold.

I'll share with you my own personal "tool" when I start to believe my own thoughts: "Ahhh, I have the *assumption* that I have an incurable disease ... what ELSE is possible?"

The trick is to catch the assumption ... but not to answer that question with the mind ... let Life show it to you.

Here's to the unfathomed possibilities!

Much love -
Dena Lynn <3



MAFDAV said...

Well keep pressing on friend and we'll cherish any moments we can borrow from you.

KC Bob said...

Thanks for sharing Don. Thankful for the way that God uses docs. -Blessings, Bob