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Hearts Need To Change

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

We implement and change laws daily, but until hearts are changed we will be stuck in this horrific and senseless rut. Unfortunately, It seems to be a part of human nature – either biological or socially ingrained- to seek people, cultures and ideologies to hate. Here’s a fact some obviously have not comprehended: you can feel good about yourself without hating someone else. One doesn’t have to project his or her conflicted personal issues upon anyone else to feel acceptance or vindication. Go against the grain today. When you find yourself having negative thoughts about others or yourselves, replace those thoughts with love and encouragement. Speak peace to yourselves so you may freely give it to others. Think you don’t have anything to be encouraged about? You woke up today. That is a gift many people did not receive this morning. And it is start. A start for you to make the changes within yourself that will prevent future mass murders, be they in a gay nightclub in Orlando, a church in South Carolina, a movie theater in Aurora, CO, outside an abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, CO or during an office party in San Bernardino, CA.

Foolishness in God’s Sight

Cross

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” 1 Corinthians 3:19

In the wake of the deadly tornadoes that decimated Moore, OK, a popular comedian and noted atheist mocked those who prayed for the tornado victims and challenged people to actually do something for the ravaged community. Many people expressed similar sentiments, questioning the usefulness and power of prayer. In their minds, why pray to an entity that allowed such a tragedy to happen in the first place? To them, it just didn’t make sense.

I’m glad I live in a country that embraces free will and the right express one’s opinion. In the spirit of exercising this basic right, I will say that, as a Christian, I find this type of thinking foolish and dangerous. To me, prayer and belief in God gives one the strength to withstand life’s inevitable storms. Belief in God does not mean you will not face worldly tragedies or disappointments. Belief in God helps you react to such circumstances with the hope, knowledge and comfort that He is with you and will see you through according to His will. That, in itself, seems to be the biggest hurdle many face in their faith- God’s will versus our will. When God’s will supersedes our will – which it always does – one’s faith can become rattled especially if there isn’t a full understanding of Scripture. Those with no faith place their hopes within themselves or upon other people. The problem with this is man’s abilities are limited; placing one’s faith in him will leave one empty. The man of faith prostrates himself before the Lord and receives the comfort and answers that give him the strength to accept and persevere. God’s power and mercies are limitless. He does not leave us, even when we are facing unspeaking hardships, pain and losses.

Praying to God is doing something. For it is during these moments that we receive instructions placed upon our hearts, not to be seen and praised by men but to please God. Doing something may be more than donating to a charitable organization. One may be prompted to also give their time, spiritual gifts or talents to help rebuild lives and communities up close rather than from afar.

That makes sense.

My Experience With Lumbar Spinal Surgery – Microdiscectomy

The StayWell Company, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2000 www.krames.com

Note: The following article is based on my personal experience with lumber spinal surgery. I am not a doctor or medical professional and cannot dispense medical advice. Please consult your physician if you are experiencing lower back pain to discuss treatment and/or pain management.

I had a microdiscectomy. Actually, I had a laminotomy (the removal of a portion the lamina – the bone at the back of the spinal canal), a laminectomy (the removal of the entire lamina) and a microdiskectomy (the removal of a portion of a damaged disk. A microdiscectomy is less invasive than a classic discectomy. The surgeon uses a microscope to perform the procedure).

The StayWell Company 2003, 2004, 2010, www.krames.com

Prior to the surgery date, I searched the Internet for articles and visited medical discussion boards for “real-life” experiences with this type of procedure. To me, any type surgery is serious – especially if anesthesia is involved – and I was nervous. Most of the articles provided clinical statistics filled with optimistic recovery and success rates. Most of the posts on the discussion boards, however, gave a very negative review of the procedure. I was feeling less and less sure of my decision to have lumbar surgery when I came across a post that put things in perspective. The poster noted that people who had successful surgery were less likely to post comments than those who had a negative experience. Why? They were out doing other things because they were now pain-free.

Very good point. I decided then that if my surgery were successful, I would post an article to this blog that offered an alternative view of the procedure.

After eight weeks, I feel confident enough to declare my surgery a success.

Here’s the Readers Digest version of why I elected to have the microdiscectomy: I had a herniated disc that pushed against nerve roots in my spine and caused foot drop. I could not move the toes on my left foot. The top of my foot, ankle and areas on my calf were completely numb. I had to walk with the assistance of a cane. Not good. The surgery was to reverse the nerve damage.

The surgery itself wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be. I am grateful for the visits I received from the OR nurse, EMG specialist, two anesthesiologists and my orthopedic surgeon. I was calmed as each person described his or her function in OR. The procedure began at 7 am. I was given a sedative in my IV as I was being wheeled to the OR. There, the OR nurse placed a mask over my nose and mouth and instructed me to breathe deeply. I was out after the second deep breath. A breathing tube was inserted and I was placed on my stomach after the anesthesia had taken affect. The procedure lasted about an hour (or so I was told), but I didn’t awaken from the anesthesia until around 10 am.

I was up and walking – with assistance from a staff physical therapist- about five hours after the surgery. The PT showed me the proper way to walk and climb stairs. I received morphine for pain later that evening which made me extremely nauseated so I refused future injections and relied on prescription medication to manage the pain. My hospital stay was overnight; I was home by noon the next day. I needed someone with me for a few days following the surgery. Thankfully, my mom made the sacrifice.

My recovery so far has been excellent. The incision is healing nicely. My surgeon recommended walking as the primary form of exercise. I walked around my neighborhood, beginning with walking halfway down my street and venturing further each day. I was off the prescription medication after a week. I’ve had two visits with my surgeon since the surgery with another one scheduled for early next week. The surgery did not completely reverse the nerve damage; I was informed it could take up to a year for complete reversal. However, the mobility and sensation in my foot have improved dramatically. I do not need the cane anymore. I can move my toes and the numbness is almost gone. I would say my foot is 90% back to normal. Bending and lifting are restricted. Sitting for long periods was difficult at first, but became more tolerable as time progressed. My surgeon advised me to not sit for hours on end, so I make sure to stand up and walk around frequently at home and at work. Speaking of work, I was out of the office on medical leave for about two and half weeks.

Again, this is my personal experience. Overall, I was in good health before the surgery and still am. I have not experienced any of the excruciating pain I had prior to surgery. No back spasms or pain down my leg. I am back to a normal routine (with the exception of bending or lifting). Having a microdiscectomy is a decision I have not yet regretted.

May the Lord continue to bless and keep you.