Seven Years Ago Today I Nearly Died

Hello world,

It’s been a little over a year since I last posted on the blog. Two hundred and eighty-seven posts in the last seven plus years…but just one in the last year.

Seven years ago today at approximately 6:00 am I coded. I had brain surgery on Feb. 12, 2009 to remove the massive AVM in the left frontal lobe of my brain. The surgery was a success by neurosurgeon standards as the AVM no longer exists. But post surgery I was initially unable to move the right side of my body or speak a word. Scary stuff!

Two weeks later on February 26, 2009 I coded and if not for my wife Karla I surely would have died. She was in the rehab room with me when I coded. I don’t remember much at all from the night, just a nagging back pain.

The department heads from Cardiology, Neurology, and Vascular collaborated and soon discovered that there was a massive blood clot  in my heart and many more in my lungs. So they did the only thing they could do and performed emergency open heart surgery…a procedure that is rarely performed. The doctors did not expect me to live, but they gave it their best shot.

And with the skillful precision of Dr. Sundt’s scalpel and the prayers of thousands of you (There were 5,794 hits on the blog that day alone) I made it through the second major surgery in just two weeks, and would end up spending a total of 46 days at the Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Marys.

They were truly life altering, seismic shifting days in the life of our family…and yes we still feel the repercussions even today more than seven years removed. It was a very costly season for this family of seven, and by this I do not mean the $550,000 this whole venture cost the insurance company. That was a mere pittance compared to the greater tolls this did take and would eventually take on our entire family, and me losing my job (in July, 2013) as the pastor of the church I had served for nearly 18 years.

For the past two and a half years we have been attending a church in West Des Moines where we have connected with kind hearted people in a very profound way. We are experiencing true Christian community in a way that we had previously not known. We have all grown as we continue to heal.

Six months ago I completed the book I have written concerning the last six-plus years of our lives. The preliminary title is “When Your Mess Becomes Your Message.” As it sits now it is 200 plus pages long in a single spaced 12 point font in a Word document which would probably translate to 600 plus pages. So we are now going to begin the process of seeking out a publisher who might be interested. And if that doesn’t pan out then we will self publish the story.

Oh yes one more thing, earlier this evening Karla and I also submitted our official entry in the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.”  We have been talking about this for two years. We love the show and this would be a great time to run it together as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage this December.

There is just one letter difference between the Amazing Race and Amazing Grace. Our lives are both. In addition if we should be selected from the tens of thousands of applicants and win the millions dollar prize that would be twice what Karla would have received from my life insurance policy had I died seven years ago this very day.

This morning we awoke to a text message that said a friend of ours had died after a long bout with cancer. I had just visited with him nine days earlier. And now he is with Jesus, as will all of those who have truly trusted in Christ alone for salvation. I almost got to heaven seven years ago today. Jeb is already there.







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