God bless you.
I thank God for blessing me to return to work full time for the first time since going on
sick leave five months ago after being diagnosed with end-stage congestive heart failure,
brain cancer and prostate cancer.
In late March, my heart was so weakened and damaged that Dr. Valluvan
Jeevanandam and his staff of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists at the University
of Chicago Medical Center concluded, after extensive tests, that I needed a heart
transplant to assure me of long-term survival. Nobody ever gave a specific timetable.
But one insider said I needed serious heart surgery involving the implantation of a heart
pump to assure me of living longer than a year.
But when tests qualifying me for heart transplantation revealed cancerous tumors
in my brain and my prostate, I was quickly disqualified from candidacy for heart
I then prayed to God for complete healing from all three illnesses and started this
blog to chronicle the process. My first good news was the determination that the tumor
on the pituitary gland of my brain was benign.
Thank you Jesus!!!
My second good news came when Dr. Allen Anderson, a UCMC cardiologist,
prescribed new medicine to my already crowded medicine menu that relieved me of
the shortness of breath, chronic fatigue and ghastly cough that drove me to the
emergency room in the first place in late March. Those symptoms remain suppressed.
Thank you Jesus!!!!
My third good news came when the prostate cancer was ruled early-stage and
localized. So on May 21, I underwent a radiation treatment called brachytherapy, where
Dr. Brian Moran implanted micro radioactive seeds into my prostate to attack the two
tumors that had been discovered by UCMC urologist Dr. Glenn Gerber.
Since then, I had had scattered writing assignments, as my health permitted, while
spending most of my time and energy undergoing treatment and praying and working for
complete recovery. To you regular readers of my blog, your prayers and encouraging
responses to this blog have provided invaluable encouragement to me. And my
struggles and progress have provided encouragement for others.
My prostate cancer has yet to be totally dissolved. My latest PSA was 2.43. My
goal remains to be declared cancer-free, which means having a non-detectable PSA or
something darn close to it. Painful incontinence issues associated with the prostate
cancer treatment also persist.
Complicating the exercise therapy for my heart are back and legs pains that have
yet to be fully diagnosed and treated effectively. But I am healthy enough to return to
work and I am easing back into the grind because a weak heart won't allow me to do
so any faster.
My first week was successful and enlightening. It reminded me that my heart is still
weak and I must take my time walking from Point A to Point B and also take care not to
take on too much stress and tension.
Steps are one of my main enemies. I can't scale too many too fast because of the
weak heart. And I can't stand too long in lines before back pains force me to sit or bend
over. Nobody said that comeback would be quick and easy. But this is the way my
comeback has started and I'm just glad to be alive and have a reasonable portion of
health and strength to work again.
My best moment of the work week was when my editor Stu Courtney gave me a
great assignment to report on the adoption of a baby girl by 77-year-old Ernie Banks,
former Hall of Fame Cub superstar, and his 52-year-old wife of 11 years, Elizabeth.
Our superb columnist Stella Foster first broke the exclusive and I got the first
interview with the jubilant Liz. She was all gum drops, jelly beans and lolly pops over
her first baby, Alyna Olivia Banks, who weighed in at seven pounds, seven ounces and
20 inches at birth.
If a couple this old is willing to take on the responsibility of adopting a child,
surely younger couples with more energy should be inspired to do the same. But what
Ernie and Liz teach us is that you can never be too old to be a loving, caring, sharing
parent. I'd rather see a baby in their tempered, tender care than in the tempestuous,
chaotic, dangerous care of a younger couple unable to provide love, peace, safety and
In the care of kids, affection trumps age every time.
One of the main reasons our society is so troubled today is because there are not
enough loving parents. That's why what Ernie and Liz are doing is not really that
unusual anyway because more and more children are being raised by their grandparents
and even great grandparents anyway. So I thank God for the likes of Ernie and Liz and
I hope there are more and more like them every day until every child is being cared for by
loving mother and father.
God bless you.