Saturday, July 26, 2014

From A Baby To Now

The Countdown To My Surgery On Monday Morning, July 28, 2014

Trying To Grow Old Gracefully:

For some one that will be turning 74 in September my mind tells me I am not that old but my body quickly reminds me oh yes you are. LOL

On Monday I will be having my second back surgery. I had major back surgery in 2011. The pain before that surgery was excruciating. The pain was from Spinal Stenosis. I am not having that kind of pain this time but the stenosis is coming back again so I decided to go ahead and have the surgery before it gets back to where it was before.

Before my first surgery the surgeon asked me questions about my past as far as activities I had participated in the past. I told him I had played just about all sports and played them hard. I told him I had rode ATV's, wave runners, horses, probably lifted things the wrong way over the years etc. He asked me if I had it to do over would I do anything different. I told him NO as I had too much fun to look back and complain about it now. As I am getting older I've become more kind to myself and less critical of myself.

I have had too many family and friends leave this world too soon before they understood the great freedom of aging.

My thought is I can't stop from growing older but I can delay growing up and that is what I try to do. That's one reason I try to spend so much time with Carter & Griffin as I can, they help keep me young. I also try to avoid negative people as much as I can because they will drag you down. I try to hang out with crazy people as much as I can, for me that is pretty easy as most of my family and friends are crazy. LOL

I am some times a little forgetful but there are things in my past I want to forget any way. Actually I tell myself I drive the bad things out of my mind to leave more room for the good memories.

Has my heart been broken? Of course many times. How can your heart not be broken when you have lost as many family and wonderful friends as I have. How could I not have been heart broken that after being in bad health his entire adult life my Dad passed away when I was 12 years old.

My wife passed away also after a lot of health problems at the age of 55. My daughter had a major stroke at the age of 45. One year after Joan and I were married her beautiful daughter Janet was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve, 2002.

These are just a few of the times my heart has been broken. But you know what when I look back over my life I realize that even with all that the ups in my life far out number the downs. And for that I am very grateful.

Dear family and friends the advice I would like to give you and I only wish I had started doing it a lot sooner in my life is to dwell more on the good things you have experienced and a lot less on the bad things.

If you have a family and friends that love you, if you have reasonably good health yet, if you have laughed a lot more in your life than you have cried, then count your blessings.

As I grow older I actually find it easier to be positive, you get to a point where you don't care what other people think of you. I don't berate myself nearly as much as I use to, I think I have earned the right to be wrong once in awhile. LOL

When I look in the mirror I am often taken aback by that old person that is looking back at me. LOL

The secret is and it is not easy to do is not to agonize over your problems to long.

When I go to the pool or the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and I see the jet set giving me those pitying glances, I just laugh to myself and say you are going to be like this if you are lucky enough to live this long.

I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here I will not waste time thinking what could have been or worrying what will be. And if I feel like it I will eat dessert every day. LOL

Notice I use a lot of LOL's when I write. that's what we need to do, the motto I try to live by is:


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Little Update On My Medical Report, Back Surgery

 In 2007 I was experiencing a lot of pain in my back. My Primary Doctor sent me to a Doctor that specialized in pain. After a series of tests, X-Rays, and MRI's they diagnosed me with Spinal Stenosis. He told me before they would even consider back surgery there is something they always try first. They would do what they called an Epidermal Injection first. He said if need be they could do three of them. The first one worked and I was virtually pain free.
He recommended I start going to the fitness center and start exercising. I did and started slowly and after awhile I was pain free. Things were going great until about November of 2010. Then all of a sudden the back pain reoccurred. I went back to the pain Doctor who helped me the first time. This time after three Epidermal Injections the pain was not improving.
They could only do three of those treatments. When the pain was actually getting worse my Primary Doctor recommended I see a back surgeon. I told him I had heard so many horror stories about back surgeries that I would only do that as a last resort. The pain just kept getting worse so I told Joan I think I am at the last resort.
The back surgeon compared the MRI's from 2007 with the new ones he had me go for. He said the reason the Epidermal didn't work was because my condition had gotten much worse.
I had the surgery in April 2011 and the pain went away almost instantly.
Awhile after the surgery the pain was gone but I started having some tingling in my legs from the knees down. I talked to my Primary Doctor about it, and he sent me to a Neurologist. After a series of tests he told me I had Neuropathy. Neuropathy can present many differing symptoms, including numbness, pain, weakness and loss of balance. It is an abnormal and usually a degenerative state of the nervous system or nerves.
At first I didn't want to believe it, I thought it was too much of a coincidence that it started so soon after my back surgery.
My Primary Doctor after reviewing every thing, he said Joe you do have neuropathy. I said what is the worst case scenario. He said, I just know that you have been on Google and read every thing there is to know about Neuropathy, he said you probably know more about it than I do.
So he said from your research you know that it as an progressive thing. He said the best case scenario is that yours will be a slow progressor.
Fast forward to 2014 I went to the surgeon for a three year follow up. I told him my back bothers me a little bit but my legs are getting weaker.
He had me do X-Rays and an MRI and sent me for a follow up visit with a Neurologist. Today I went to get the scoop on all the tests. He had the results from the Neurologist and the X-Rays and the MRI.
He said the Stenosis is coming back some and it could start giving me pain again. And it along with the Neuropathy my legs could get worse, He said surgery for the Stenosis is what he would recommend.
I didn't hesitate I said lets do it. I told him I have a nine year old and a five year old grandchildren and if it can slow down my deterioration so I can remain as active with them as I can I am willing to take the chance.
Teach me, O God to be patient with myself. As I grow older and discover I cannot do as many things as I used to, help me to accept the changes happening to me. Amen
So now I will see if I can follow my own advice that I have been giving to all of you, which is get up every day Thank God I am here for another day and make the best of each day.
If you see or hear me whining give me a good swift kick you know where,
When I look at my Dear Daughter Martha, my little problem is miniscule to what she has to go through every day of her life.
I have had a lot of set backs in my life but one thing I know for sure is that I have packed more living into my almost 74 years than a lot of people could pack into a hundred years. LOL
If you want to say a little prayer for me that my condition will continue to go slow , please do that but don't spend time worrying about me as I am doing fine.
Sending lots of love and best wishes to all of My Dear Family And Friends.
My pre-admission Surgical Visit is scheduled for July 21, and my surgery is set for July 28 barring any changes .

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What A Difference Carter And Griffin Have Made In My Life.

What A Difference They Have Made In My Life:

Just since the first of the year through Facebook and the Remember When Sites I am on I have reconnected with so many people that knew me and my daughter Martha.

I write about and post pictures all the time about Carter & Griffin. Actually I brag about them a lot. LOL I refer to them as our Grandchildren. One thing a lot of the people have said to me is, I didn't know Martha had any children.

I decided to update my BLOG for those of you that don't know the story about Carter & Griffin.

Years ago there was a country song written by and performed by Ronnie Milsap called what a difference you have made in my life. It was a song he wrote as a tribute to his wife but I have borrowed some of his words to covey what a difference Carter & Griffin have made in my life.

What a difference you've made in my life,

You're my sunshine day and night,

Oh what a difference you've made in my life,

What a change you have made in my heart.

Oh what a change you have made in my heart

You gave love a new meaning,

So I joined in the singing,

That's why I wanna spread the news.

As most of you know I don't have any biological grandchildren. Martha and Jimmy got custody of Jessica when she was about six years old, she is now 31 years old. When I met Joan her grandson Christopher was about 3 years old. At that age children know you are not really their grandfather. A year after Joan and I were married in 2001 Christopher's Mom Janet was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve, 2002. Since then he has lived in Apopka, Florida with his Dad so not a lot of contact with him over the years.

So I figured I was never going to know the feeling of being a Grandpa. I would tell my family and friends who were grandparents it didn't really bother me, I would say things like I don't have patience with kids anyway so I probably wouldn't be a good grandpa anyway. But deep down I was envious of family and friends that had grandchildren.

Joan's youngest daughter married Brett and lo and behold Carter was born on February 1, 2005. I was there about a half hour after he was born. After he was cleaned up and it became my turn to hold him I felt like a grandpa and I just knew we were going to bond. Barb asked me what I wanted Carter to call me, I said instead of being called grandpa I would like to be called Papa. So I became Papa to a little guy who made such a drastic change in my life. Lucky for me we did bond from the beginning and have continued a great relationship. We had great times together, going to the park, going to McDonald's, playing baseball, soccer and games together and he loved for me to read to him. Once in awhile he would go to work with me on my part time job a lot. He started going with me when he first started walking. He was so young I had to take diapers with me and change him during the day. If he didn't come to work with me people would ask me when are you bringing Carter again.

One time a lot of the family was meeting at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I was outside waiting for him to come with his Mom and Dad. I was on one side of the street and he was on the other side, when the traffic cleared he pulled loose from his Mommy and came running across the street yelling Papa, Papa, and jumped into my arms, with tears running down my cheeks I looked up and said now I know for sure there is a God. LOL That also assured me I was a Papa for sure.

When Barb found out she was pregnant with Griffin she said Joe I know you have so much love for Carter is there room in your heart and mind for another little boy. I told her I didn't think that would be a problem. LOL

When Griffin was born in 2009 he was premature, the first time I saw him he was in an incubator with wires and probes hooked up to him every where. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out crying. He had to stay in the hospital and Mommy had to go home with out him, hardest thing she ever had to do she said.

Well you can see from the pictures I post he is doing great now.

One time I told Joan I wish they had been in my life when I was a little younger, but now I know the timing was perfect, being retired I have not missed hardly any of their games, their school activities, birthday's etc. As always God knew what he was doing.

One day at my part time job a group of us were talking about the movie" The Bucket List " that had just came out. I was asked what I still had in my bucket list. For those of you that never seen the movie it was about a list you wanted to do before you died. I told them I had been so lucky in my life, great family, great friends, traveled a lot, seen a lot, done a lot so my bucket list didn't have too many more things in it.

I said I just want to live long enough to make enough of an impression on Carter & Griffin that when they get old enough to realize I was not their biologial Papa that it won't make any difference to them, and if I am lucky enough to get to Heaven and one day I am looking down and some one asks them about their Papa that they will say my Papa was a cool guy, that would make my bucket list complete.