A New Year a New Me?

I have mixed emotions about the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. On the one hand I am going to miss several of the wonderful experiences that I had this past year. Looking back our family has definitely been blessed with more than we ever deserved.

Several of the highlights of the past 12 months have something to do with baseball and in particular the Arizona Diamondbacks, which is to be expected if you know me at all. Rather than recount everything that happened last year I have written it in our Family Newsletter that normally goes out with our Christmas cards which were somehow lost (I’m still claiming they are either in the pantry that needs to be cleaned or aliens abducted them and are now probing the cards for some scientific experiment).

Despite trying to say positive and optimistic about the past year there were some things I would just as soon try to forget some of the events we endured. As I stop to ponder the problems I’m left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude not because of the pain or suffering but for the humility these trials have taught me. In nearly every instance the problem or trial I’ve endured has resulted in more blessings.

While it was difficult to see Ashley and Eli’s marriage end and there were countless phone calls and trips to Utah to deal with the aftermath there was a hidden silver lining. Ashley and Lily have now moved back to Arizona and are currently living with us. When our kids were little I was so involved in my career that I was not around nearly as much as I should have been. Now I have been given a Mulligan to learn from that. Now I have the opportunity to be around every day and engage with Lily and watch everything she learns.

When 2011 started it did so under very uncertain terms. Starting in December 2010 I went through a series of surgeries. First my gallbladder was removed that was to help with a lot of the problems I was having with my health. During tests leading up to that though the doctors uncovered several other “areas of concern”.

During a chest X-ray doctors found an irregular mass in my chest that they cannot account for. I’ve seen several specialists and the mass to date continues to baffle the medical community. It is in such a place that it is impossible to remove or do a biopsy without potentially impacting my heart. It’s always fun when you’re told you have a mystery mass in your chest that may or may not be a problem and that the only treatment process seems to be to regularly do chest X-rays to monitor if it is moving or growing.

If that was not troublesome enough, tests also suggested that I might have prostate cancer. This of course led to additional tests and was finally given a clean bill of health at least in that area. These tests though led to other tests and a year ago I went in for exploratory surgery for possible pancreatic cancer.

It’s funny how different your outlook on life is when they start using the “C” word. More tests and more surgical procedures and the doctor came back with the diagnosis that what they found was “pre-cancerous”. I’m not exactly sure what “pre-cancerous” means. I thought the answer was a simple yes or no but that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case.

I had always been under the impression that Medicine was kind of an exact science but the more deeply I get involved I realize that it’s a lot like playing the lottery but doctors get paid more and my odds of winning are greater for the lottery.

Despite all the uncertainty and being poked and prodded more than one of the Kardashian sisters I’m trying to relax and find the humor in all of this. That’s easier said than done at times. You try to come up with an appropriate comeback while wearing a hospital gown bent over a table with banjo music playing on the doctor’s office speakers.

Trina has begun going to the doctors with me. At first I thought it was because she wanted to see the hospital gown but she quickly denied that. No, she wanted to hear first hand what the doctor was saying. It’s not that she didn’t trust me. Ok, it’s exactly that she didn’t trust me to tell her what the doctor said.

During one visit as we were either going over the fielding statistics for the Arizona Diamondbacks infield or my blood work from the latest tests the doctor explained that I was overweight. It’s funny how they phrase it. It’s not, “Oh man you are seriously fat!” It’s a little more subtle than that. They use phrases like, “According to the levels you have a fatty liver.”

It’s kind of sneaky really. My response was, “ok doc so how much exercise do you think we should make my liver do so it gets back in shape and loses a few pounds?” This is met with some kind of blank stare followed by an explanation that its me who has to lose the pounds and that the liver just sits there.

So as a result Trina came away with the solution that I need to change my eating habits and lose some weight. And since it is New Years this is perfect since I will have plenty of company with other beached whales who’s liver is requiring them to drop a few pounds and a few hamburgers.

Just so we are all clear, this sucks. I like sitting on the couch and watching the MLB Network while eating Lucky Charms. My wife, my doctor, and that traitor my liver seems to think it’s time to change. So I have been given one New Years resolution, reduce my weight.

I figured that since this is my first attempt at dieting it might be fun to document the process. After all, if my liver and me end up getting into an argument I at least want everyone to know my side of the story.


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