Time…Keeps On Ticking…Sometimes.

Around 4:30pm this afternoon…twenty years ago (sounds like the beginning of a Country song)…I gave my kids what I thought could be the last hug ever. The nurses then stole me away to parts unknown within Vanderbilt University Hospital where they prepped me for a bi-lateral lung transplant.

Only by the Grace of God do I offer a reason for my statistical abnormality against the medical establishment’s “mortality rates”. As I told “an old friend” recently, “Fifty percent of the folks who received a lung transplant around the same time I did…they’ve been dead for fifteen years.” (Note: Updated to meet today’s date.)

The ride continues to be a bumpy one. It is full of great times…and to be completely honest…crappy ones.  It’s always my prayer that should I see the sunrise, I recite, “Lord, thank You for another day with my wife, my children, my family, and my friends. Please keep watch over those I love. Thank You for all of the blessings You continue to provide to an undeserving soul. Amen.”

Today is just a tick of the clock…nothing changes.

Due Diligence

I want to offer my apologies for making it somewhat inconvenient to reach my postings. However, based on the hostile nature of certain social media outlets towards people with views not in-step with the BS passed off as “normal”…I wish to avoid cencorship.

What Matters…What Doesn’t.

As I approach an incredible milestone on this path I call “My Life”, I wish to call special attention to friends and family I (rather WE) have lost along the way. One should always appreciate and place their focus on the positive; but never do I want the memory of those I have lost to be forgotten. My focus and awe should fall upon the sheer number of miracles and achievements I have been blessed to witness…both magnificent and heartbreaking.

This upcoming milestone is a statistical achievement only my Maker, God Almighty, could deserve credit and praise for its existence. Though both exciting and amazing on many levels, this achievement pales in comparison to another just a little further down the road. Should God see me through this first milestone (as none of us know the number of our days), please be in prayer that my time on this Earth be extended ever so slightly.

Father, please forgive my ignorance and my arrogance. Father, forgive me for wasting so many of the sunrises You have granted me. Lord, You know my broken heart, my broken soul, and my broken life. You know all of my burdens and all of my pain. You have known me before I was in the womb and You know my eternal existence.

Father, to walk my daughter down the wedding aisle to her waiting bridegroom; if broken mind, and broken body be my lot; as a mere mortal this would make my life complete.

However, never interpret my fight to live and serve my Lord as over should He see me to this place and time I desire. Indeed! Countless memories remain I long to share with my wife, children & grandchildren, family, and friends.

Should God grant me the time, physical capacity, mental fortitude, and spiritual strength…my life compass remains pointed towards a particular birthday. That day…that lofty goal of a proud man…I set as the culmination of all the experiences and yearly anniversaries on borrowed time.. A small tick of the clock for God, over the halfway mark for the man who asked.

So much I still have to witness…experience. All the pieces of my human experience lay in the hands of our Father in Heaven, Christ Jesus.

May God bless you all. May you always treat each day as a precious gift. May you live it with love.


Just A Short Update…

First, I’d like to thank those who are always praying for me. Then, I’d want you to know that back procedure wasn’t my first…and would not have been my last.

The back procedure had to be postponed. Last Sunday I realized I was experiencing what’s called “aspiration pneumonia”. In my situation, the contents of my stomach (acid & food contents) creep back up my esophagus as I sleep. In December 2019, I underwent a surgical procedure on my stomach to prevent this from happening. However, the sutures holding it all in place have broken loose…and thus I have all the acid reflux (GERD) and stomach contents backing up again. I’ll be having that repaired next month I expect.

I’m on antibiotics for the aspiration pneumonia…and they seem to be working. I’ve had to double-down on the Albuterol nebulizer (I despise that thing as the steroids mess with you both mentally & physically). The albuterol helps open up my lungs…reduce wheezing & phlegm build-up.

If I’m “not” completely cleared up by January 2nd/3rd…my local pulmonologist has agreed (something I requested) to perform a bronchoscopy. My doc sends a camera & other tools up my nose…down the back of my throat…and into my lungs. At this point he can have a look around for anything of substantial size and retrieve it. I’m quite sure he would use the opportunity to grab a small sample of my lung tissue for examination by a pathologist (looking for any other signs of rejection I’m not already experiencing. Essentially…it’s calling in “Roto-Rooter” for my lungs.

As I’m improving on the antibiotics, I really don’t expect the bronchoscopy to happen. I will however be seeing the gastroenterologist here soon. He’ll do a similar procedure…but takes the camera & tools down my esophagus and into my stomach checking out the situation.

That’s all for now. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.


Tales From A T-Shirt Collector

In about 6 hours I’ll go under anesthesia again…I can’t offer an accurate count due my lack of keeping count. Around 7:10am, I’m scheduled to undergo what’s called a “Medial Branch Block” or “MBB”. I’ll receive a cocktail of anesthesia drugs injected into the nerves running down my spine to the left and right of the spinal cord. These nerves are the ones that provide the sensation in your spine. For example, if you were lifting a 50 lb. bag of dog food…those nerves would tell you to put it down if the weight was too much to handle.

In my situation, the MBB procedure is just a phase of injections to determine if the locations offer a short period of pain relief along the injection sites. If the MBB injections prove effective…the next phase is called “Radio Frequency Ablation” or “RFA”. The same nerve locations from the MBB will now be heated (well…cooked) in order to prevent pain signals in the target areas from ever reaching the brain.

The MBB/RFA procedures must be repeated about every six months…as the nerves heal and the pain sensation returns.

Today, my new pain management doctor (more on that story later) will be injecting the nerves between levels L3 (lumbar) down to S1 (sacral). If the MBB is successful…sometime between 10~14 days later I’ll go back for the RFA procedure.

All of this work is performed using a fluoroscope…kind of like a real-time X-ray. From the time I walk in the door…until I’m wheeled out to our vehicle…an hour has typically ticked along on the clock.

I’m given a little lidocaine and Propofal via IV for a little nap while I’m having needles stuck into my spine. That part I appreciate dearly. I can’t imagine being able to remain still if I was conscious.

My thoughts are on the blessings I have access to this level of medicine. I’m a very blessed man and husband. If not for the incredible amount of work my wife performs…this incredible pain relief mechanism would never exist. I thank you Heather and my God for these blessings.



How its presence looms large in our lives. Its capacity being that of a wise teacher…for when we fail and even when we succeed. Hindsight offers the opportunity to look back upon our actions (in seasons past or present)…and learn something no matter the situation.

So, you’re asking, what does hindsight have to do with seasons? Well, the seasons I wish to write about exist in two realms.  The first, and most obvious, are the seasons we delineate on our calendars. The second, these are the seasons of our lives. Childhood that leads us into those difficult teenage years. Young ambitious adults transforming (we always hope) into spouses, parents, and yes…leaders and teachers passing along stories of their own seasons. There’s a season for those fortunate souls whose dreams of retirement and daily life on their terms come to fruition. And our final season, with manner and time be damned, exists as one of humanity’s thoroughly inevitable tragedies.

The current calendar season and the season of my life seem to have had a head-on collision. Parts of this collision exists as interesting statistics while another leaves me heart broken.

This season of life and calendar procured the means to remove a friend from my life. If you encountered this friend, you would witness a normal healthy lookin person. Inside however, my friend is in pain (in all manners)…and truly in need of help exceeding anything my seasons of knowledge could ever touch. Guilt now engulfs my soul as I relive the “unsolicited advice” encounters and the explosive reactions they would illicit. My concern for the health of my friend, my self-declared wisdom (hindsight) garnered over many seasons of life, and the unfounded belief my friend respected me as a mentor, convinced me I had the right to offer advice. Contrarily I would drive a wedge between the two of us. Hindsight has since convinced me…my words should have remained inside my mouth…unspoken. This friendship…I had established what I believed a fatherly position, as a source of knowledge and assistance, proved grossly inaccurate. The cliche says, “Time heals all wounds.” I hope and pray this is “Truth” and not simply “Urban Legend.” This division hurts in ways people should never hurt. Not a soul on this planet has the capacity to force someone to seek help in a genuine manner. Your friend, your spouse, your brother, your child…help must forever be their “Honest Acceptance.” Hindsight…I’m no different.

As Easter and Passover approach on our seasonal calendars, I am compelled to offer more “Unsolicited Advice” to illustrate the similarity of “Honest Acceptance” as it held against “Steadfast Denial”. As this season is upon us, I offer Jesus Christ’s declaration, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” In essence, Christians accept we are all sinners, we accept that we are forgiven of our sins and transgressions by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Honest Acceptance”, faith and acceptance of Jesus as our redeemer is the one and only pathway to the Father…God…Heaven. A human can share the story of Jesus, but the “Honest Acceptance” remains with the individual.  Christian missionaries will encounter people who will experience “Honest Acceptance”. The same Christian missionaries will also encounter people who will maintain a “Steadfast Denial” and consider the work of the missionaries “Unsolicited Advice”. There’s my “Unsolicited Advice”…and it’s there for your own interpretation.

Next, without a word to anyone, I allowed March 4, 2021, to come and go as any other day on the calendar.  As I went to bed that evening, I told my wife,  “Today, I have been an orphan for 75% of my life.” No, I don’t live in the past. I have learned so much from the past (hindsight)…and I continue learning something new each day I’m allotted. Yes, I would be a liar to pretend that cold hard statistic didn’t prey upon my mind that day. And…even as I write this post.

Then, just a few hours ago, it was March 20, 2021, and another statistic came to pass. This one is a mixture of joy and sadness. This day marked the 18th year since I received a double-lung transplant. I know the day lacks joy for the family of my donor…I continue to pray they find solace knowing their son’s lungs keep an old man alive. I am forced to acknowledge this statistic as it is miraculous. My life…my existence…continues far from the statistical norm of most lung transplantations. My life, as miraculous as I see, occurs in a body broken and abused (physically, mentally and spiritually). My soul is infected by depression and a host of other mental demons embedded deeply inside me. As I began a new season in my life, the mental demons…medications with horrific side-effects…a continued belief I was indeed useless…the reason for family difficulties…pushed me to rock bottom. This downward spiral continued until I attempted to end the life I had fought so hard to protect. In that not so distant season…I was nothing (useless…needing help…riding the express train to the pit of hell). My suicide attempt was calculated…some part of my geek brain obviously still intact. Two takeaways from this story…I shouldn’t be here…period. My mission hasn’t been completed.

You may find me on my knees…but this is not in posture of defeat…but praying to God…praying my broken body, mind, and soul be granted just a little time. Several new seasons are close at hand…and I pray I’m permitted the joy of being there for all of them. The new seasons are not necessarily mine…but for those I love so much.

— Bill

One Little Word…

It’s been rather quiet around my blog.  That hasn’t been the case for my life.

I’ve recovered from the stomach modifications that I believe I described in this previous posting. It has successfully stopped the GERD (aka acid reflux) problem.  If you recall, I was not only aspirating the stomach acid…but also whatever food contents still in my stomach as I slept.  My research has shown that lung transplant recipients are prone to developing GERD and gastroparesis (slow-emptying digestive system).  The prominent belief remains “we don’t know” or “it might be vagal nerve damage”.  Either way, over sixteen years of dealing with this has taken its toll on my lungs.  Though I’ve been able to toss the antacid drugs away…I’ve added several new medications to help increase the flow of food through my digestive system.  Seems there’s always a tradeoff.

So, are you wondering what the “One Little Word” post title is all about?  Here’s a hint from one of my wife’s favorite book series…

“You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” — Albus Dumbledore

Now, I do have to admit, our humble 2-bedroom condo is by no means “Hogwarts”.  It’s the other part of that quote I’m after…one little word…help.  Experience (also know as being old as dirt) has proven no-one can read my mind.  Therefore, if I’m in need of something, like help, then I must ask. So, I’m asking for help.  I thought I would just include a bullet-list of some of the items that are stealing my joy.

  • Solitude
    • I spend entirely too many days here alone.  Two options exist, invite someone here or go out and meet someone somewhere.
  • Pain
    • Some will never go away.  So can be treated with medications…however, that increases the difficulty found with other bullet points.
    • Activity (as in exercise…or simply moving) is a double-edged sword.  It can increase your mood and it can increase your pain level.
  •  Loss (or things I miss)
    • This could include the first bullet point as solitude and/or silence are the side-effects of so many things I miss…or have loss.  I’m honestly afraid to list all of the things I miss…too many feelings (not mine) would suffer.  So…I abstain…nothing new here.
    • I’ve lost contact with so many of my friends and family.  Yes, the phones and IM’s work both ways.  I remember that as I try to lay down to sleep at night.  I remember all the things “I had planned to do today.”  And that’s the next bullet point.
  • Guilt
    • Yeah.  Is it bedtime?  If so, we can talk about this one.
  • Health
    • Uh huh. About that…
  • Distance/Location
    • This one is ______.
  • Depression
    • Take all the bullet points from above…shove them in a tiny little box until the sides are bulging out…just about to explode.


Just for the record, I see a therapist and a psychiatrist on a regular basis.  So…don’t worry I’m gone off the deep-end.  No, I’m asking for help before I find myself there.  And yes, I know everyone has their burden…and mine pales in comparison to many others here on Earth.  I try my best to be thankful for all that I have…but I still hurt because of the many things I have lost.



Olive Goes Walk-About With An Angel

Heather and I spent about a month between January and February 2015 in Sebring, Florida.  Her father, a Vietnam War Veteran, had acquired Parkinson’s Syndrome from exposure to Agent Orange during his three tours of duty. Heather’s father had reached the end stages of a horrible disease. The time we spent here was to support Heather’s mom (and her Dad as well) as the inevitable played out.

Due to our anticipated “extended stay” in Florida, we brought our Basset hound, Olive, with us so as to keep our expenses at a minimum. Walter, our cat, stayed at home and enjoyed visits from my friend Beth and her sons. There was no shortage of lovin’s for Walter in our absence. Beth and her family made sure of that.

Olive, not content to spend her days enjoying her relatively large playground (aka Heather’s parent’s backyard and covered patio), found an escape route where the fence converged with the neighbors.  I tried at least three or four different “fixes” for that gap…all of which were no match for a dog on a mission.

Several neighbors either put her back inside the fence or held onto her until we returned home for the evening.  However, upon our return one particular afternoon, she was nowhere to be found.  It’s very common for her breed to let their noses lead them astray and incapable of finding their way back home. 

So…Heather and I set out on foot scouring the neighborhood and asking anyone we came across if they had seen a stray Bassett hound. We were getting nothing but “sorry, haven’t seen one” pretty much across the board…that is until I came upon Olive’s angel.  

The following events have no natural explanation.

This first image shows the location of the family home.  Heather took a path in what would be a southwest direction in regards to the image’s alignment.  I took the northeastern direction upon reach Lakeview Drive.


As I began to make my way around the curve of Lakeview Drive visible in the above picture, a gentleman on a bicycle asked if I was looking for a dog.  I indicated that I was…and he then told me, “there’s one down there” (pointing in the direction of a very dense patch of trees and roots and directly to the right of where he had stopped).

This man had stopped at the section of sidewalk where you can see the “guardrail” installed.  As I was approaching where he had stopped, he made no adjustments to his bike, took no water breaks…nothing.  He appeared to be very athletically fit and was not huffing and puffing for air…unlike myself who was sucking the dirt off the road trying to breathe.img_0019

Why did he stop at the very place where Olive had chosen for safety? How on earth was he able to see through those trees, and into a dank root system, and locate a mostly black dog hiding beneath the tree roots? She wasn’t making a noise…therefore he couldn’t have heard her. She was literally “under” these mangrove roots…and invisible to someone who had just stopped and wasn’t making an effort to look for a dog.img_0015

As I reached the area and entered into the trees, I looked back to thank the gentleman…but he was gone.  I’m not talking up the street…I’m talking “gone”…period.  No site of him anywhere. If he truly was an angel, as I’m unquestionably convinced, his job was done once I located our beloved “fur baby”.  No, job is the wrong word…once his miraculous feat was complete…bringing a bit of peace and faith back to a daughter (Heather) already stressed to her limits…he was gone.  Just like that. img_0011

Once I returned to the effort of rescuing Olive from the root system and mud, I then realized why she had chosen this place as a refuge.  She was utterly terrified by the sound of passing cars.  Not having the leash (Heather had it on the other end of our search area), I tried my best to lead her out using her collar. Fail.  Then my silly worn-out self thought I’d try carrying her. Fail.  So, Olive and I took a seat in someone’s driveway as I made a call back to Mom’s home to leave a message where I was sitting and that we needed a ride.   img_0016

It really doesn’t matter whether readers of this post are skeptics or find the work of angels completely plausible. The manner in which Olive was rescued entails an extraordinary number of conditions operating outside what we might call “normal”.img_0022

Last year, Heather and I installed three wrought iron fence sections (from Lowe’s) where Olive “Houdini” Turner had performed her escape tricks. We also made some much needed “tweaking” of the front gate where the landscapers enter the backyard.  The chain-link fence gates have a “handle” on one side of the gate and a U-shaped lift on the other. The pipe in which the “handle” drops into to secure both sides of the dual gate had been run over way too many times by the landscapers, and rained upon for more years than I would are to fathom.  In addition, a rusted piece of steel (once recognized as a lock) had to be removed.  I located the pipe and then used a paddle-bit in my drill (running in reverse) to force all the packed sand out enough to enable the handle a renewed home. To finish the job correctly, the pipe needs to be pulled out of the ground about 2~3 inches.

Yeah…like you really cared about us fixing a gate after I’ve described a supernatural event. Probably lack of sleep or something.


Difficult Goodbyes

My children flew to Florida this past Sunday for my birthday and to hang out for a few days. Seeing those two standing at my door was simply overwhelming. It’s been over a year since I last saw them and gave them huge bear-hugs as they were coming and going from our home.

Drew (my eldest) had to head back on Wednesday evening in order to take care of a customer. He towers over me even more now (as I continue to shrink). I gave him a hug before he headed off to Tampa International…I don’t think he wanted to let go. I know I didn’t. Heather told me she didn’t realize it was a mutual father-son bond that has been somewhat ill for a few years.  He’s grown in so many ways.

I’m currently sitting in one of the procedure rooms at my surgeon’s office (stomach/digestive system surgery). The staples from my recent surgery are gone (thank you!!). I was forced to say goodbye to Lauren from here. Due to time constraints (and unpredictable clinic schedules), Heather left me here and took Lauren to the airport. I just received a message from Heather that she’s heading back this way. Not the way I wanted to see my daughter off. 

Having those kids (yes…I know they’re adults) made my year by coming to visit. It hurts to see them leave. I love and miss them so much. So much about their lives I’m not aware of…prompting the need for more reliable and meaningful conversations. How do I accomplish this? I’m not sure, yet.

Heather took a picture of Drew, Lauren, and myself as we stood out at the end of the Venice Pier. She says my smile in that picture has been missing for a very long time. She was happy to know it still exists. She made a note to let Drew and Lauren both know and understand just how much seeing them (even if for a short period of time) was affecting my life. I hope they know just how much they mean to me…and how much I want and need them in my life.

I think I’m just going to walk out of here. An appointment at 1:15pm for which I showed up thirty minutes early. It’s now 3:18pm and time to leave. My time is valuable as well. For those curious about the update article concerning the abdominal medical procedures that has me here today (for follow-up)…it’s still forthcoming. Editing posts on a cellphone really isn’t the most convenient method.

So many emotions. So many directions. So many unresolved issues. I’ve conquered so many demons in my life…yet daily I facing down an unrelenting army of them. So many memories and events still to be shared. God willing…I’ll be able to post more soon.

Until next time…



Wrap…Wrap…Wrap…Wrap It Up.

Yesterday, Heather and I made another trek to Tampa General Hospital (TGH). This trip was for my Upper GI Endoscopy. This procedure consists of sending a camera down my esophagus then into my stomach, pylorus, and duodenum.

My surgeon noted a moderate amount of residual food in my stomach that is consistent with a gastroparesis diagnosis. The scope was passed through the pylorus (basically the stomach’s emptying valve) and then through the first and second portions of the duodenum. No lesions were found.

The scope was then retracted to the antrum (lower part of the stomach that holds broken down food). My doctor made note of chronic gastritis and the presence of a few “diminutive sessile polyps”. He used endoscopic forceps to grab one of the polyps (biopsy) to be sent for pathological review. So you’re aware…these are usually not a problem. All of the reasons for having stomach polyps fit me to a T. Additionally, my research reveals medications use for acid control (known as proton pump inhibitors) have also been linked to the formation of stomach polyps. Right now, just wait for the pathology report and proceed as planned.

As my surgeon continued the retraction of the scope, he found no lesions in the cardia or fundus, and reported my esophagus was found to be normal. That made me really happy.

Currently, I’m scheduled to have surgery on December 5th. The planned procedures are as follows:

  • Nissen Fundoplication. The left or upper side of my stomach will be wrapped around the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and sutured in place. This creates a one-way valve that puts an end to the contents of my stomach winding up in my lungs. This issue is the cause of one of the two forms of rejection I’m currently experiencing. This form is the Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome (BOS).
  • Hiatal Hernia Prevention. My surgeon will suture my stomach and esophagus so as to prevent the possibility of any future hiatal hernias. This is when your stomach winds up in your diaphragm (organ that makes your lungs breathe in and out).
  • Pyloric Valve Opening. Due to the slow emptying nature of my stomach, the surgeon is going to create a small opening in the pylorus. He’ll suture the pyloric valve so there is a small permanent opening that will permit gastric emptying. This will prevent food from hanging around in my stomach for days at a time.
  • Umbilical Hernia. During my clinic visit with my surgeon, he identified an umbilical hernia of which I hadn’t a clue existed. He’s going to fix that while he’s at it.

The entire surgery is to be performed laparoscopically via about five entry points if he follows the methods used by Heather’s surgeon. And, yes, my wife and I will share similar surgical scars.

All of the above was scheduled and occurred starting on December 5th. And, what’s written above is the way things were supposed occur. Check out a forthcoming update article where I’ll explain the rest of the story.