Sitting against a tree last Sunday on the Detroit River.
I felt like I was just tasered yesterday when the vascular surgeon told me there's nothing they could do for my clogged arteries in my neck, one is fully blocked and the other is less than 50 percent, he said. My wife Gladys was sitting next to me in the exam room when he told me that my hope for getting blood to my brain and to my eyes would be centered around a blood thinner that could probably clean out our kitchen sink.
A CLARIFICATION: The doctor pointed out that with the right carotid being less than 50 percent blocked that the Plavix blood thinner that he prescribed can be effective. There are apparently other sources of blood supply to the brain too. It's serious, but not dire.
Since learning that I have clogged carotids, I had been researching surgeries to unclog them. YouTube is filled with all kinds of video showing the amazing procedure where the carotid is cut open and the blockage is tweezed out. But, the doctor said that experience has shown that when one of the arteries is blocked 100 percent that the risks are too high. Strokes and death can easily be the result.
One last hope is an imaging test that can determine whether there's even a trickle of blood through the artery that's completely blocked. He said, the odds are against that happening.
So, what are my thoughts about this as I celebrate one whole week of being 72 years old? The words bucket list come to mind. Going forward, I need to be extra picky about what I do and think. At various points in my life, I felt more freedom to ignore doing certain things. And, right now, I'm carefully going through my list of what's important to me and what's not.
Let me emphasize that no one has said I'm on the verge of needing to cut the grass of my cemetery plot and no one has said I'm in imminent danger of having a stroke or a heart attack. But, I know the realities of what I'm dealing with as I move forward in my glaucoma and cornea journey.
As I'm moving ahead with all this and as I watch episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond for the umpteenth time, I'm trying to pay attention to what's important to me.
Christian songwriter and singer Matt Redmond has a song 10,000 Reasons. It's about giving praise and thanks to God at all stages of life from birth to old age and to death. I know that I've surpassed 10,000 reasons by many times. My wife, my kids, their spouses and my grandkids. My memory bank is filled with reasons.
God has blessed me greatly and I know it, even though I might not always show it. The Bible is always in my pocket and I open it throughout the day. Today, I'm asking for His help in giving my anxiety to him. I want him to carry it and I know he will. It's a promise that I'm betting my life on.
"May your will be done Lord."