Certainly THAT Was A Bad Day Right?

Days after surgery with Abe

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That was definitely the most painful day of my life.  I feel like I keep saying that.  Do I keep saying that?  Well, if so, it’s because it’s true.  I was on a multi-month long escalator of pain that kept getting worse.   Words cannot do justice to the pain I felt that day.  Even trying to recount the experience I can’t bring myself back to fully recall the feelings.  It was the most horrific, frightening, painful thing I can imagine and thankfully I can’t even get myself fully back there in memory.  I don’t wish that kind of pain or that kind of day on anyone.

But then again, maybe I do?

Not because I would ever wish harm on someone.  But because of this reality: even though that was by a huge magnitude the most painful and challenging day of my life, I did not consider it to be a bad day.

In fact, I was deeply convinced that day, and I still am today, that something amazing was bound to come out of the trial I faced.  I had made up my mind there is no such thing as a bad day.  And nothing changed that.  I knew from all the previous tests and struggles, that no matter what pain came, even if it produced death, I wouldn’t choose to consider it bad for me.  I simply had no good reason to believe that anything bad could happen to me.  And I highly encourage you to believe the same.  Because that belief has produced immense amounts of joy and peace for me, and continues to do so.   I think it does require an eternal perspective however; a belief in God, or at minimum the eternal nature of our souls.  Because if you believe death is the end of everything, then it is likely to be a challenge to see any good in it.

But that was not a bad day.  A hard day?  You bet!  The hardest I could ever recall.  But bad?  Emphatically NO!!  And I’m here to tell you and anyone who will listen, that There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Day!   Unless you decide that everything is against you… then there can be no such thing as a good day.  The choice is one hundred percent up to you.  As for me, well, obviously you know what I choose.

Just look at all the good that came from the events of that day!  I can choose to see the day as bad because I lost my colon and I will never get it back in this life.  Or I can choose to see it as good because that surgeon saved my life that day and allowed me to continue living for another day, and being with my family, and having the potential of experiencing more joy on this mortal journey.  I can choose to view the pain I experienced as bad for me, because it was so uncomfortable, annoying, discouraging, frightening, etc, etc.  Or I can choose to see it as good for me, because now I have lived through an experience that will enable me to love and serve others in ways that were not even possible before.  The pain is the absolutely necessary catalyst for me to experience the joy and fulfillment in this life that I truly want.  Therefore, there is no bad day!

But since we are thick skulled humans, apparently we all still need more proof.

 

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The next morning I felt extreme hunger, and all I could eat was ‘grape juice cocktail’ and chicken broth.  Better than nothing I sipped it down with gratitude.  It did little to satisfy my physical hunger, but my soul felt so good it hardly mattered.  All day on Sunday I sipped on juice cocktail and broth and reveled at being alive and out of massive pain.   The painkillers seemed to be doing their duty wonderfully, supposedly my problem had been resolved.

Nan wrote this on facebook that day:

Days after surgery with Abe

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October 28, 2012

Today I am feeling grateful. Grateful that Aaron’s life was spared. Grateful for a brilliant surgeon and alert, kind nurses watching over Aaron as he recovers from major surgery. Grateful for local friends and my church family who are supporting and serving us daily. Grateful for all the prayers and thoughts from loved ones. Thank you.

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With visits from family and friends, and massively reduced pain, that Sunday was full of peace, hope, and optimism.  The stark contrast to the prior 48 hours certainly enhanced how amazing it felt.  Here’s a facebook post I made that day:

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October 28, 2012

I have so much to be grateful for right now.

This smile may seem pretty weak still, but after yesterday it is the biggest smile ever.

Yesterday I went through more intense pain than ever before in my life, to the point where I literally didn’t know if my body could survive it. After many hours of the intense pain I found myself asking the nurses/doctors if I was going to die. I desperately did not want to die, but not knowing what death felt like, I was totally unsure. I didn’t know if at any moment something would just rupture and kill me. It was that intense and that painful, and it was moving from my penis, to my bladder, to my intestines. 

Between 3am-9am I was screaming or moaning in pain for more than half that time, probably 4 hours of it. I felt that at anytime, parts of my insides would just burst open, the pressure was so intense. My throat was totally parched and I couldn’t have water. I had to demand that the slow motion nurses get me a catheter because my bladder was full and wouldn’t release. During a short phase of relief that I had, they actually suggested sending me home since they didn’t know what was wrong…ridiculous as there was clearly something MAJORLY wrong. I was going nowhere without an answer.

Finally a doctor came in and required a CT scan…which forced me to prepare for an hour by drinking a ton of contrast liquid, which then caused another death feeling exploding bladder reaction.

Somehow, I have no idea still how, I survived the ensuing diarrhea explosions and continued piercing bursting bladder, and they got me to the CT scan which quickly revealed perforated bowels and the need to operate fast.

Within 90 minutes I was begging for the anesthesia so that I could be free from pain finally. I knew in talking with the doctor he would likely need to remove my colon and also this was my only option to live and also heal from the crazy disease which had overrun me so suddenly.

And that is what they did. It seems to be a successful surgery. Half of my colon apparently had the thickness and consistency of water according to the surgeon, just dead and crumbling when he touched it.

Most painful day of my life. After surgery, a whole new host of surgery pains ensued. 

But it was a very good day indeed. 

Doctors are confident they fixed my issue and I will actually resume a normal life again now after recovering from the surgery.

And I am so grateful now to feel 90% better today than yesterday.

And I am so grateful to have such a bright hope of resuming my life once again, only now so much better off for having passed through this amazing challenge.

I am so thankful to God for giving me more life. I definitely do not feel ready to die, and I am so excited at the hope that it looks like I will be able to resume being the husband and father I was, and being there fully for my family again.

Of course I’ve got a little recovery to make. (may take me a bit longer to gain back the 40 pounds and energy lost). But the path looks so much shorter today now that I know the problems have actually been removed. 

So here’s hoping for a quick, smooth recovery!

Thank you all for your continued prayers!

I am in awe at life. Life is truly amazing.

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Life IS Truly Amazing.

But the ‘quick and smooth’ parts of the recovery were not meant to be it turns out.

The next morning, October 29th, they allowed me to have a little bit of solid food.  I thought I was making amazingly fast progress.  I had some cream of wheat and yogurt in the morning.  But within just a few hours, my stomach started cramping.  I began feeling miserable.  About that time Nan and my son Abe came in to visit.  Abe would normally have been in school, but had refused to go lately with fits and temper tantrums.  His behavior threatened to cut the last emotional thread Nan was dangling by.

The spark that had been slowly eating away at the fuse, touching powder in a grand explosion two days prior, was about to reach a second pile of explosives…