God bless you.
As most of you know from news reports over the last few months, the Sun-Times, the
newspaper for which I've worked 37 years, is fighting for its life just as I have been fighting
for my life the last 19 months and sharing my struggles with you in this blog.
If an agreement for its sale is not reached between we union member and a
prospective buyer by early October, there is a chance our bankrupted paper may have to
close down. We're all working hard to save the paper.
Meantime, unless God's healing or a health emergency demands otherwise, I am
tentatively scheduled to undergo a major open-heart surgery Oct. 26 at the University of
Chicago Hospital to have Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam affix a pumping machine to my
heart's left ventricle.
For the last 19 months, I have been praying for God to heal my brain tumor, prostate
cancer and especially my diseased, malfunctioning heart so that I would not have to take
any more pills or have another open-heart operation. I underwent a successful triple-
bypass in 2001 also at UCMC, where Dr. Jeevanandam performed that procedure.
So far, God has not exercised His will to heal me directly and completely.
My brain tumor is benign, and I thank Him dearly for that.
My prostate cancer is in remission after I underwent radiation treatment last year,
and I thank Him dearly for that, too.
But my heart remains my primary concern. While I have refused during the last 15
months to have the pump implanted, my heart has gotten weaker and its increasing
failure to pump blood properly has resulted in the rest of my body part becoming also
weaker and frail.
In the last five months, sisters and brothers, I have lost more than 40 pounds!
I have retarded this deterioration with prayer, consistent exercise, rest, pills and
smart eating. But my best treatment for long-term relief appears to be a new pumping
device called Heartmate II. It is the most efficient, flexible, compact and durable device of
its kind to date.
The pump can sustain me for another five to 10 or more years while my prostate
cancer dissolves to a non-discernible level where I could then be eligible for a heart
transplant if my heart does not get any better.
Having the pump implanted in me will result in me being battery-powered outside my
home and AC-powered within it. But I will not only be alive, the improved blood circulation
it renders will reverse the systematic breakdown of the rest of my body and restore a very
significant amount of strength, vim, vigor and vitality that I have lost.
I want to live and I thank God that He has blessed mankind with prolonged like
through advanced medical technology that's enabling us to recover from health problems
that previously killed us. All our help comes from the Lord. It may come through other
people, through machines, through life experiences, money, nature, medicines, the police,
doctors, lawyers, judges, government, the fire department and whatever else. But all our
help comes originally from the Lord.
While I am fighting for my one physical life, the Sun-Times is a company where the
professional livelihood of some 1,800 workers is at stake. I feel for my fellow employees.
Like me, they all have to eat, too. Most also have families and loved ones to support. And
as badly as I want my physical life saved, I have a greater concern for the professional
lives of all us paper employees. I am not a selfish person. When other hurts, I hurt
because I try hard to be my brother's keeper.
That's why if there is an order in which God will attend to our survival needs, I wish
God would save the life of this great newspaper ahead of me. But like everything else, in
the final analysis, I yield to His will because Jesus taught us redeemed to pray that God's
kingdom come and that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I appreciate the prayers, best wishes and tremendous encouragement you readers
have shared on my behalf and the paper's behalf. That's because people's health and
jobs are closely related in many ways. But notice that despite the uncertainty of our
paper's future,which is cause for many to be despondent and paralyzed with
hopelessness, we staffers come to work everyday and work our best to give Chicago and
the rest of the world the best reporting we can give.
A strong, well-managed and honestly-run newspaper of professional integrity,
courage and honesty is one of the most valuable components of a democratic society. We
hold accountable the powerful and popular people who are supposed to be serving the
public's best interests.
I will shortly go on extended medical leave to prepare my house, my family and my
body for the radical revisions imposed by the pump. I will still blog about my condition,
bad or good, as long as this paper is in business and allows me to blog. It would be a
shame if after sharing my journey and experience al these months that you end up not
being able to know my final outcome in this paper.
God bless you.