Just over a year ago I described How God Gets Control of Our Game, concluding, “I believe our best response to the many challenges of life is to reflect the everlasting forgiveness of our own sins and love one another. And when we stumble, once again, trust that God will get control of our game!”
At that time our immediate family was facing a crisis, one that has been very difficult to process emotionally. Through faith and a little help from Al-Anon, we gained a new footing in life. We also determined that surrendering to the inevitable passing on of sinful behavior from generation to generation is not an appropriate response. So we press on, in faith, towards the ultimate goal of our calling as individuals and a married couple in Christ Jesus.
When I retired at the end of 2013 I was listening carefully for a calling to reDeploy my giftedness, the purpose for which God made me. I had several ideas of what this might look like. As it turned out, being the best possible father to our oldest son and grandfather to our granddaughters was the reason we moved to Novato, CA. That might seem obvious. But the process by which we arrive here was rather convoluted. Clearly God had a reason for relocating us.
Our son is getting a divorce. He moved in with us in March of 2014, and his two daughters spend half their time living with us. It has been a joy and blessing to provide time and support to our family, and to forego any other significant endeavors during this time of transition.
On July 20 last year, my friend Woody and I enjoyed a great, 5-mile hike in Moraga. The pace was rigorous, and I felt chest pains during the steeper inclines. It felt similar to pain I experienced five months earlier that was ruled non-threatening after a nuclear stress test. I finished the hike and didn’t think too much about it.
On July 23, Lisa and I were doing some chores around the house. I took a break to rest, and the chest pains returned. I called my doctor to inquire about possibly adjusting a prescription. I was quickly reminded that a cardiologist has a very predictable response when you mention chest pain. Long story short, Lisa drove me to the ER at Marin General Hospital. Nothing of significance showed up in the ensuing EKG, so I spent the night and was wheeled into the Cath Lab Thursday morning. The plan was to do an angiogram to get a good look at my heart, and perhaps implant another stent or two. During the process the cardiologist determined that there was blockage in a tricky area near the two stents that were implanted a year ago, and that bypass surgery was the best short- and long-term solution.
Unfortunately, I was given a high dose of Effient, an anti-platelet medicine, in advance of the angiogram. So I had to remain in the hospital to wait out the dissipation of Effient in my system before I could have surgery.
I had triple coronary bypass grafts on July 30. Fortunately, given my relatively young age for this procedure, inpatient recovery progressed nicely. It generally takes 5-7 days post-surgery to get released from the hospital. I was able to be transferred out of the ICU in less than 24 hours, and then released in just four total days post-op on August 3.
Our children and closest friends provided great support to Lisa and me, both during my time in the hospital and post-surgery. I am grateful for the fact that we have survived and thrived in the midst of life’s many challenges, and to have had the seemingly untimely opportunity to purposefully thank my wife and children for their love and support. We grew closer together, particularly during the waiting period between diagnosis and surgery.
Physical recovery post-surgery is arduous. While the doctors and staff at Marin General Hospital did an excellent job of preparing me for how I would feel physically, there were several annoying complications I hadn’t anticipated. At the insistence of my wife and daughter I engaged in a short period of rehabilitation workouts, and walked daily, gradually building my physical strength. Woody came to Novato nearly every Monday to walk with me. I “declared myself” a survivor by hiking to the top of Lassen Peak on Columbus Day weekend. The future looked much brighter to me after I was able to make this climb.
Yet mental recovery was more difficult. I couldn’t maintain enough concentration to read a book for eight months. Nor could I stay focused long enough to write anything meaningful, thus the long period of absence from posting on reDeploying!
I started as an Executive Advisor to one of the co-founders of Amor Ministries in March of last year. In October I started a similar, pro-bono Executive Coaching role with a leader at Bay Area Rescue Mission. Working with these two men…on behalf of these two ministries…is very rewarding. I am grateful to have these opportunities to begin the journey of reDeploying.
A lot has transpired in my life during this past year. To celebrate a “second chance”, I decided to pursue an item on my bucket list by riding my Harley around the perimeter of the country. It will take thirty-three days to cover roughly 11,500 miles. I am looking forward to this adventure, and particularly what or whomever God puts in my path along the way. I’ll be writing about this journey on this site. I hope you will enjoy living this trip vicariously.