God bless you.
I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Allen Anderson, on Thursday at the University of Chicago
Medical Center. My wife, Joyce, accompanied me.
"I am pleasantly surprised," Dr. Anderson said, after carefully listening to my heart
through his stethoscope, and after his nurse had given him my blood pressure reading of
98 over 68. "You're doing better than you were earlier this year when you were here in the
hospital (March 12-17). Obviously, you are doing a better job of taking care of yourself. I
can't see any reason why you shouldn't be able continue the way you are indefinitely and
stay on your present medications."
And as for that death sentence, when he and other doctors felt my chances of
living out the year were slim if I did not have a Heartmate II ILVAD pump implanted
to replace my defective and failing left ventricle in pumping blood throughout my body?
"We can't really say how long you can live without that pump," Dr. Anderson said.
"Your heart is still weak and the pump will still help you tremendously. But we don't like to
give out any numbers regarding how long you can do without it."
Well, no way will I give myself any credit for any improvement or for the fact I at
least haven't gotten worse. My wife deserves some of the credit for doing her best to try
to take care of me. She is my primary caregiver. I also have to give credit to you prayer
partners, who have been touching and agreeing with me on the desires of my heart for
a total healing of my end-staged congestive heart failure, my prostate cancer and my
brain tumor, which has been ruled benign. This healing journey is 13 months old now.
But the real credit, the thanksgiving and the glory belongs to my Lord. On my own,
I am not even worthy to still be alive today if my life was based on moral merit or on my
eating right, exercising everyday, losing excess weight and keeping my mind stayed on
My sicknesses have exposed primal weaknesses and desperation in me. I have
been occasionally harassed by a mild fear of dying. But it is very, very mild because my
soul is anchored in the Lord. My desire to live is far, far stronger than my fear of dying.
And my desire to live has been tremendously rejuvenated by God through His grace,
through the stripes of our crucified Christ, through the power of God's Holy Ghost and
through the love of my wife and others.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not yet totally healed. My heart is still weak. It is not
pumping my blood efficiently at all. My mitral valve is still defective. My left ventricle is
still grossly enlarged or dilated. I still get shortness of breath if I exert myself too much
physically. I still have a very sore lower back problem that prohibits me from walking or
standing more than a few minutes without pain despite my having received two
epidural cortisone shots within the last five weeks.
Occasional mental fatigue resulted in my having my first auto accident in about 30
years three weeks ago. I was dozing in rush hour traffic on I-294 south and rear-
ended another motorist resulting in thousands of dollars of damages. But thank God
that nobody was injured.
I am still deeply depressed over my middle daughter, Noelle, a single mother and
a devout Christian, losing her job and facing the prospect of losing her home, taking her
son Caleb out of a private Christian school and moving in with us when her unemployment
runs out if she can't find another suitable job soon.
The Chicago Sun-Times, for which I have worked 37 years, has declared
bankruptcy and we employees have taken a nine percent pay cut and agreed to take
eight days off without pay to avoid additional layoffs and to help our paper survive these
turbulent, tough times of our nation's woefully ailing economy. i the process, a lot of
good people were released into the growing multitude of the unemployed.
But thank God that I'm still holding on.
Thank God that my wife and I still have our jobs after seeing so many co-workers
and loved ones lose theirs.
Thank God that we still have some decent health insurance.
Thank God that we still have a home to live in, cars to drive, food to eat and clothes
Thank God that we still have a reasonable portion of functional, enjoyable health,
despite some aches and pains and serious sicknesses.
Thank God that we still have sense enough to say "Thank you, Jesus!!" because
if it had not been for the Lord on our side, where would I be? Where would you be?
Where would we be?
Most of all, thank God for Jesus!!!
And right now, I'm still on life support in terms of depending upon God's grace and
leaning on the everlasting arm of Christ Jesus.
Just because I got a good report Thursday and just because that medical death
sentence has been retrieved does not guarantee me that I will still live out this year, this
month, this week, this day or this hour.
Is anybody listening to me out there?
Can any of you declare unequivocally that you will survive this very day regardless
of how young you are, how strong you are, how good you feel or how great a report
your doctor gives you?
No, you can not. So-called healthy folk still drop dead of instant heart attacks after
allegedly never having been sick a day in their lives. Or we could die at the hands of
other humans or through some accident or natural catastrophe.
So, again, I want to take this time to say "Thank you, Jesus," and say it in front of
the world. All that I have and the best that I have ever been and ever hope to be, I owe
it all to my Jesus. He died for me on Calvary. He shed His blood as a remission for my
sins. And because I believe His gospel, I am redeemed in my spirit even though I am
dying in my flesh, as we all are, day in and day out.
I'm just glad that I have life beyond this life and a home beyond this home. I am so
glad that I know Jesus as my savior. I am so glad at how He has preserved the
Sun-Times down through the years, where we went to owner to owner and naysayers
counted us down and out again and again and again. I thank God for good people to
work for and good people to work with.
I pray that God blesses you one and all, my dear readers. I pray for the rest of you
who are hurting in some way or another. Times are going to get far tougher in our nation
than they already are because of bad leadership in the past and continued political
corruption to this very day. Good, hard-working, innocent people are going to be
destroyed economically. And many of us who have are going to have to share with the
Meantime, I just thank God that I'm still alive and that I have the blessed assurance,
like Job, that I know that I know that I know that MY REDEEMER LIVETH!!!!
I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH!!!!
And I thank God that I'm still alive to scream it to the highest heavens to anybody
who cares to know.
God bless you.