In response to my posting below, people have asked what my secret is. They want to emulate it, of course.
Well, only an idiot would prescribe what you should do with your life. I only know what is the explanation for mine. There are three explanations.
(1) My wife Marci. Raised in Cavite, near Manila, in the Philippines, she is easily the most extraordinary woman I have ever met. Now in her fifties, she is compassion itself, super aware of what other people are feeling, able to divine their needs before they ask, a trained nurse (or nurse's assistant), with the most generous heart imaginable. Smart as a whip, she was trained in finance and banking at a University in the Philippines, former staff for United Airlines, a million dollar saleswoman each year for 14 years at Nordstroms (where we first met). She has hovered over me during this spinal disorder, and has created the most beautiful healing environment here in our home that one could ever imagine, with love, a thousand kisses, beauty everywhere around me, sunlight, flowers, music, and beautiful food. I would not be where I am today, if it were not for her. Period.
(2) My nature. I have an iron will, for which I can claim no credit. It is my genetic inheritance from my Daddy and Mom. For example, after drinking Coke daily ever since I was 20, three to six cans a day, I cut it out, cold, on September 1st. I also cut out all the sugar-laden prepared foods that I was accustomed to all my life, and now eat mostly a vegetarian diet. My favorites: lima beans, asparagus, beets, potatoes, beans, squash, etc. When I occasionally eat meat, now, it is always lamb—don't care much for the taste of beef any more. As for fish, sole, salmon, tuna sashimi, prawns, etc.
(3) The Good Lord. I am a man of strong faith, always have been, and I believe a Great Immense Intelligence created us, loves us, and watches over us. The prayers of hundreds of people have risen, for me, during this health crisis, and I believe it has made a tremendous difference. I can sometimes actually feel His healing power. My favorite (Christian) anthem is by Mendelssohn: "He watching over Israel, slumbers not nor sleeps."
Nice; so I'm guessing' it's okay for me to go take a nap.
SPEAKING OF HEALTHY LIVING CHANGES......
When I suffered my spinal injury in Europe last August, I vowed that my first aim would be to lose the weight that was weighing so heavily on my spine. I went on a low carbs, high fat diet and lost 40 lbs. since then. I went from 265 lbs. to 225 lbs. These contrasting pictures of me here were taken August 2014 (left hand pic) and February 2015. My back is now healing dramatically. And I'm smiling a lot (unlike the right hand pic)! I'm not the man I used to be.
In more ways than one. I've lost a lot (of weight), but I've gained even more (in rethinking my life, reordering my regimen, with more meditation and reflection). Yay!
But if they had instead said, "Would you like to be guaranteed losing 40 pounds in one month, but at the cost of great physical pain and agony?" I would have replied, "Can I have twenty four hours to get back to you, about this?"
Well, anyway, that turned out to be the deal. Scroll forward to today, and I have lost 40 lbs. (I now weigh 229 lbs.) AND, yes, pretty-persistent pain has also characterized this period of time in my life, though of course the two are not so transparently connected. (Except that, as the pounds have dropped away (on my chosen diet) the pressure on my spinal cord has lessened, as has the pain.
So, in retrospect, had I been offered that bargain, I would have taken it. The Lady AND the tiger. Each new day now softly brings "Hello lady." And "Bye bye tiger. Stop your growling."
Not to mention, "Thank you God." And, "Marci, you are a wonder (though I always knew that!)."
September 25, 2014
The subject is pain. It is Thursday, September 25th. The pain, which began August 30th, is ongoing. My body, since then, has been examined "every which way to Sunday". Conclusion from x-rays and such: a strong spine, above normal for a man my age (87). Source of the pain: inflammation in the sacral region. Cause: misalignment. Prognosis: complete healing. How soon: ah, there's the mystery. Who can say? To quote Ronald Glasser, M.D.: "the body is the hero." It will do what it does best: diagnose, correct, heal. It just takes its time.
Every day, there's a little improvement, due to so many people's prayers, due to Marci's tender loving care, plus my workout three times a week with a really extraordinary man: Stephen Milligan: 20 years a paramedic; 20 years after that, as what he is today: a chiropractor. He blends the healing arts. He lives five hours north of here (by auto). Comes down every week to work in the next town over, from here, helping heal me and others.
In observing how the body heals, I have noticed two modes, metaphorically, The Desert. and Oases. mode 1: the desert. intense, sometimes agonizing pain, when I walk or lie down. mode 2: oases from all that, much lower level of pain, especially when I sit. Times in the desert slowly grow shorter. The oases grow slowly longer.
Can't do much work; so have been watching Ken Burns' fascinating PBS series on The Roosevelts. Watching how FDR dealt with the onset of polio at age 39, and yet rose above it, brings me to the edge of tears. What courage that man had! My pain will be brief. His was lifelong.
I come back, in my daily meditations to all the psalms I know by heart, all the hymns that echo down th corridors of my mind, all the Bible verses I can repeat by the hour: the theme is simple.
We are not called to always live a happy life. We are called to always lead a victorious life, conquering, overcoming, all the obstacles and challenges life puts in our way. And then to turn, in empathy, to help all those who face similar experiences. I will never look at a person in pain the same way again. Now I know.