September 16, 2015 – “In The Checkout Line”
For the past few weeks I’ve been very introspective. Everything has become more “real”, and it’s starting to sink in.
At least a couple of factors have greatly contributed to this reflective period:
- - Locally, our area (Southern Oregon) was very hot (several days of triple digit temperatures) and smokey (several large wildland & forest fires). I was actually getting claustrophobic – not to mention the affect the smoke had on my damaged, weakened lungs. The smoke lingered for nearly 5 weeks – it was like a brown London fog.
- - August 16th marked the one-year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. September 20th will be one year since his memorial service.
My emotions have been just below the surface – “leaking” out at the slightest, seemingly insignificant things…sunsets, sunrises, music, hugging friends & family, spending time with my kids and grandkids, watching a beautiful dance on SYTYCD, etc.
I’ve also noticed some slight changes to my health;
- - I have become more oxygen dependent (thankfully, I have a new portable O2 concentrator and don’t need the tanks anymore!)
- - It’s been more difficult to sing and talk. Songs I used to sing confidently with my band and/or on a worship team I can’t seem to do anymore. I have to pause mid-sentence to catch my breath or to cough. I’ve been coughing more regularly. Even though I’m on a new medication that’s supposed to slow the disease down (there’s no cure), and going to pulmonary rehab (to help my stamina) – I feel like there hasn’t been much, if any, progress. I know my lungs won’t get better, but I was subconsciously wishing they wouldn’t get worse.
- - I’m supposed to be losing weight, but it’s difficult when I can’t really do anything very aerobic or cardiovascular – my lungs can’t handle it. Losing weight will obviously help my health in many ways, but mostly it will help me get on to a lung transplant list sooner. My primary care physician saw my wife the other day (she also works for the hospital) and asked how my weight loss was coming. She said, “slowly”. He told her, “doesn’t Steve realize this is a life & death situation?”
I guess it’s all boiling down to me finally beginning to realize the severity of my situation.
I’M IN THE CHECKOUT LINE!
Even though my lips aren’t blue, and I can still function relatively well considering my disease, it’s still 100% terminal. The only way out of this is a lung transplant – and even then, there’s no guarantee it will work. I would have to be on several meds (anti-rejection) for the rest of my life. Not to mention that SOMEONE WILL HAVE TO DIE for me to continue to live. That will be a huge topic for discussion at a later time!
Everybody has an expiration date…mine might happen to be a little sooner than I expected.
I refuse to be Mr. Doom & Gloom! Even though I’m struggling with reality, I choose to be thankful!
I am thankful to be alive!
I am thankful for an amazing, loving, wife!
I am thankful for all my kids (step kids & in-law kids included!)
I am thankful for my grandkids! (I love being a grandparent!)
I am thankful for my entire family!
I am thankful for my friends!
I am thankful I can still enjoy, play, & write music!
I am thankful I can still work!
I will CHOOSE to be thankful in ALL things! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)