Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm Back...Sorta

The surgery took about an hour, which is pretty long for a single procedure as I understand it. The technical name for having a testicle removed is an orchiectomy. I was so nervous they'd cut off the wrong one that I took a Sharpie marker to my leg and left instructions for the surgeon. Apparently this is common practice nowadays as around 5% of surgical excisions remove the wrong thing. Thankfully that didn't happen in my case, though the anesthesiologist said I came close to waking up a few times. They've got a really cool electrode rig that fits over your head like a paper crown that tells the doctors when your brainwaves begin to change, which typically indicates one rising to conscioussness in an anesthatized patient. If I hadn't mentioned my resistance to medications to the doctor in passing he wouldn't have taken that precaution, so it's important to be honest with the surgeon, no matter how small or insignificant something may seem.

Rather than simply cut open the scrotum, an orchiectomy involves making an incision horizontally along the top of the pelvis and then cutting through the connective tissue until the surgeon reaches the genitals. The upside to this is that they can remove the lymph nodes along the way for further testing. If it is malignant cancer it travels along the lymph nodes first and foremost. The downside to this procedure is that they had to cut through most of my groin muscle. If you've ever experienced the pain of straining or pulling your groin, think how much it must hurt to have the darn thing severed.

I was bedbound for the first couple days, unable to move for fear of twisting at the waist. Thankfully I was able to move to the couch for Christmas morning to be with the family as they unwrapped presents. I never know what to get them, but I really enjoy wrapping presents and seeing them admire the packaging. There are only ever so many things that could be inside, and since it was a lean year we all had a pretty good idea of what we were getting, but there's just something about seeing those nicely wrapped presents under the tree on Christmas morning. There is a feeling of spontenaity, a sense that the little glittering packages could contain anything at all. It makes the experience exciting and unique. The downside to this is that once Christmas Morning is over, the moment that you've looked forward to for Lord knows how many months is over. It brings on feelings of ennui. Needless to say I was on heavy painkillers for the whole experience, as anyone who knows me would guess by the presence of that temporary moment of optimism back there.

I'm trying to get things back to normal, but I won't receive the pathologist's report until Monday. Meaning I don't know whether or not I need to go back for diagnostics to find the cancer if it's one of the kind that's likely to have spread. This combined with the extreme fatigue from the surgery as well as the muddling effects of my pain medications means I'm not good for much.

The fatigue should've passed by now, meaning it's possible that it's resulting from the thyroid problem I've suspected for the last few months. Of course I won't know for sure until I go back to the health department and repeat this whole process, which could take up to 6 months, provided of course the cancer has indeed been taken care of.

My contracters have been kind enough to allow me a few days to recuperate, but they will expect me back on the job by Monday as well. The fatigue and mental fog I'm experiencing is very distressing as I'm not sure I'll be able to make my deadlines with my head full of cotton. In the meantime I'm trying to get my hand back in by polishing up a few short stories for online magazine publication and generally living a life of quiet desperation. I'll try to muddle through as best I can, but it's frustrating I can't seem to catch a break. Thanks for the feedback and show of support all.


Joilene said...

John, thanks for visiting the other day, at my blog. I do have lots of questions, in spite of the ones that have been answered by reading some of your older posts, but they will come in good time. I hope you were encouraged by your visit. Indirectly, I'm trying to drive traffic to your blog, as I think many of your martial arts and self defense posts are inspiring, and that you deserve to have more people get to know you and come click on your ads).

I have told a few people about you directly, and they took, by and large, my own opinion about you for their own. If they have not visited, they will be, shortly.

I'm especially glad to hear you got to spend Christmas with your family, and in a somewhat coherant state. I was praying you would receive encouragement this way.

My own extended family was able to get together, and I spent an extra day with Mom, helping her decorate beforehand. It was good to see the younger cousins and all, though my sister (who lives out of state) was not able to make it with her large family. My husband and I are still having trouble with one relative, who thinks she ought to run the show, and insists on getting the children gifts with innapropriate motifs, but, barring this, it was a joyful celebration.

May the peace of the Living God become yours, and may you become His.

Heather said...

Dear John,

What an opening, huh?, but my daughter, Joilene, introduced you to me a while back, and I have followed some of the happenings in your life with interest. (And have prayed for you at times too.) At any rate, this message is really in response to the account of your early growing-up years, and is a story of one particular part of life in this house, one of a number of incidents which, though years in the past, were a part of our present.
The man's name was Eric, and he lived in, or at least worked in, this house. We began to became acquainted with a part of his story, though we did not know that was what it was, when the kids were small. In the room where the three girls slept there appeared at times on one wall a red dust which looked like brick dust. I saw this dust myself, and washed it off the wall on more than one occasion. For many years we (meaning Joilene, my oldest daughter, and myself) had no real understanding of where this dust came from, though we knew it was not a natural occurence. Finally. not many years ago now,when both these daughters were grown, they began to catch glimpses of what had happened. As they began to see the story, they shared it with me, and I also was brought into the process of receiving more and more of the story. (Please understand that we know the Lord was telling us what we needed to know.) Here it is in what is probably the short form:

Eric, as I mentioned before, worked in this house; he was one of the laborers, in fact, who helped to build parts of it. Eric had a buddy named Roland who also worked on the house, and one day they had a fight. They fought over a girl named Marla, who was Eric's sister, and Roland's secret wife. It seems that Eric did not think Roland a suitable husband for his sister, though Roland was his friend, and in a rage that Roland had dared to marry Marla without the family's consent, he threw a brick at him and killed him, and yes, it was this brick dust that kept showing up on that blue wall. Though we cannot now see evidence of it, we know what the Lord showed us--Eric threw Roland's body down into the space that would be under the stairs, and hid it there. We are sure his bones remain there still, though they were long ago covered up not only by Eric's shovel, but by the sand that continually blows in this country.
Eric and Roland had fought, also, over some money that Eric won in a bet on a horserace. He brought the money to this house, hid it in one of the attics by means of a trapdoor, and left it there for a time. Unbeknownst to Eric, Roland had observed the hiding of the money, and when he and Marla thought to get away somewhere together, they stole it for their future needs.
For years after he had died (we do not know what years he was here), Eric walked the upper hallway of our home. My husband heard his footsteps when he was a boy, but attributed the sound to the creaking and shifting of an old house. Often Barry described how the "steps" (as he thought of them) began at one end of the hallway and continued to the other, and I heard these steps many times too after Barry and I moved here with our first two children. There were many things here to contend with--a spirit who guarded the stairs and often tried to intimidate me as I started up them, spirits that were more prevalent in the fall of every year, others in a closet in the east room upstairs--and the often-heard footsteps seemed more innocuous than many of the other things, so I paid them small attention.
After the girls and I becamse aware of Eric as a person, however, we worked at understanding, through our conversations with the Lord, what significance his story had for us, and we worked at bringing more and more peace to a home that was too often full of unhealthy spiritual activity. I saw Eric one night when Joilene and I were praying in the east room. He leaned against the doorframe to the west room--I could see his tall and lanky form--and, if memory serves me correctly, we prayed for his removal. (We have recorded many of our prayer times in notebooks, but I do not have access to that one right now. Joilene may have a correction to make.) From that night on, we heard his footsteps no more, but it became apparent on another night some months further on that Eric was still not at rest. We sensed his presence again, saw something of him, and understood that we needed to tell him that he could not pay for his crime against Roland, but that Jesus, God's Son, had already paid. We felt led by the Lord to remind Eric that he had accepted this payment for himself while he still lived (the only time to accept it), and we urged him to lay his burden down and receive the rest the Lord had for him. He did, and we have not seen nor heard from him since.
Can I explain all of this? No. The standard thought among Bible-believing Christians is that all spirits are either good or bad angels (the Lord tells us clearly in His Word that evil spirits are fallen angels), and that there is no such thing as a person walking the earth after he is dead. And yet here it is--we have encountered not only Eric, but Roland, Marla, and others from the past. And yes, we have encountered and battled against plenty of spirits such as you described, the one that you saw in your childhood home.
No, I cannot explain it all. However, there is One Who sees the beginning from the end, Who knows every being who has ever lived or will ever live, and Who cares about each one. He rules over all, and He teaches and works according to His own purposes.

Goodbye for now,

Christa said...

Love the pictures you find!
Glad you did not wake up during the surgery, and am praying that you will be able to focus on Monday.

John Albers said...

I'm happy to make all of your acquaintances and am flattered that you’ve all taken the time to look through my work. I realize that at times it can be a little extreme, downright bi-polar, as I tend to write it in the heat of the moment.

Heather. I am much interested by your account and grateful that you have shared the experience with me.

Joilenne. As you’re no doubt aware by the state of this blog, there aren’t many areas of my life or questions put to me that I will demure from. By all means, feel free to ask what you will.