Medical Update: Version 4.5b

Last time we talked about my maladies, I told you the good news that they were not able to find any cancerous cells in the mass in my chest. My wife and I collectively Kip'd. 

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Since then I've met with my family practitioner who, in cooperation with my endocrinologist, has tried to balance the thyroid medication. They cannot do the surgery I need until my thyroid issue is handled. Currently, my medications aren't balanced enough. How do we know? I still exhibit many of the symptoms of Graves' disease; sweating, shaking in the hands, and irritability to name a few. Part of the reason why I haven't been around many people is because I have become a cynical curmudgeon in my spare time. Perhaps I've always had this untapped potential, but it has really shown its face brightly over the last month or so. I'm living at the intersection of Walt Kowalski from Gran Torino [without the racial anger complexities] and Michael Bolton [with the great displeasure for office equipment] from Office Space. This is the look that my kids have gotten a bit too often over the last week or so:

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But, there's hope for all of us in the Loucks house. My thyroid should be balanced soon and I'll be back to being a bit more like my usual self. Happy, jovial, and only ever-so-slightly cynical. 

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Most people probably wouldn't think of me as any form of cynic, but I feel it and it needs to get better. If nothing else, post-surgery I won't have a scientific and medical explanation for my curmudgeon-like tendencies and cynicism outside of me just not being a very good man. I'm a work in progress.

We met with a surgical oncologist today to talk about my upcoming surgery for brochopulmonary sequestration. We've been on such a high from the news about the cancer that we had not thought much about the inevitable surgery. I knew it'd be an invasive operation, but I didn't think it'd necessarily be overly technical. As the doctor was telling us more about what will happen to make sure that my lung doesn't collapse and how the pain will be excruciating afterward and that I should expect a 7-day stay in the hospital and that they won't know how much of my lung they need to remove until they actually get in my chest, my disposition started to change. Excuse me, sir, can we go back to the part about me not having cancer? That's my favorite part. 

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We have an appointment with the head of thoracic surgery at the Indiana University Medical Hospital in Indianapolis in early September.  If all goes as I have planned (which nothing has yet), I will be having surgery in Indianapolis in mid-September (so all my Indy friends get ready for the party in my hospital room that will surely take place while I'm on my epidural.) I'll be in the hospital for a week and can expect a 4-6 week recovery. If the surgery goes well, I should breathe better than I ever have in my life (this is a congenital issue that has been with me my whole life). But though it's been with me, mooching off my lung capacity for almost 32 years, it's time to evict this failure of lung tissue. You've been put on notice, Carl the Tissue-Failing-Failure-of-Tissue. 

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So as not to confuse the dozens of readers of this blog, I am in a good place. I'm tremendously happy to have spent so much time with my family the last month. They may be ready for my return to work, but I'm not ready for a departure from them yet. Next week I will be preaching a message at State Street. The first message I've preached in over a month. I can't tell you how excited I am for that to take place. I'll be preaching about making a statement about love and stability in the future of our community.

Finally, speaking of love and stability, I feel the need to show some appreciation to one of my best friends, David Cramer. David has been a friend of mine for 10+ years. He's a doctoral student in moral theology at Baylor University. He's also my own personal favorite theologian. When Dave found out I was sick, he asked some of my favorite theologians to send me a note of encouragement. And, they did! Every time I go to the mail and see a letter from an astute theologian:

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I've got really great friends, Dave being one of them. I'm also a part of a caring and tremendously gracious church community who has given me time to heal. They bless me beyond belief. And, to top it off, I've got the best family who doesn't stay angry at me even though I've been a bit too Clint Eastwood-y lately. Christ has been constantly reminding me that I am blessed. May I learn to be such a blessing to others in the future.