Gosh it is hard to believe a new year has started! Looking at my blog I am embarrassed I have gone so long since posting. So, no, I have not made a New Year’s Resolution to post more frequently, but I really do want to try to. I want to try some different kinds of writing, and your brutally honest critique is welcomed and needed. So hang in there with me friends!
It is New Year’s Day. A year ago today I was admitted to the hospital in Gulf Breeze for acute pancreatitis, caused by a medication I was on. Having had pancreatitis one other time, ten years ago, I knew it was back as far back as November of 2022. The pain was intense but I had a special Thanksgiving to celebrate at our middle child’s newly rebuilt and remodeled home on the coast of Mississippi, then I had the silent retreat my last several posts were about, and I needed that in such a visceral way I just couldn’t skip it. Of course, then it was time for the rest of Advent, then Christmas and New Year’s so I figured I would just tough it out until that was all over with. I did have blood work before Christmas (2022) that confirmed it was pancreatitis, so Jennifer and I knew what eventually would happen. We went to the ER on January 1st, 2023, after church, where I was admitted for a week.
Basically the only treatment for an acute bout is to be hospitalized for IV fluids and pain management. You cannot eat or drink ANYTHING, as it would cause the pancreas to act up, and mine was angry. I wasn’t a lot better when I left but wanted to get back to church and not miss a Sunday. So I did. By early February I was no better, so another week in the hospital was the ticket.
Since then I have had multiple scans, scopes and the like. Had to make a major change to some medications and deal with a lot of gastro issues, which occasionally affected how much time I could spend at the church during the week. Slowly my labs and symptoms improved over the summer, through it all I lost 45 pounds, the rapidness of the initial loss was concerning of course. I have two cysts on my pancreas but they are very small and have not grown any, we just have to keep an eye on them.
My family has been incredibly supportive through all this year of medical issues. I am forever grateful to have their care and love and prayers, and blessed by their unique gifts and offerings of sacrificial love – and I am also grateful for the prayers of many of the St. Simon’s family and others whom I have known throughout my life.
The last 12 months saw a lot of milestones. In December of 2022 I celebrated the 20th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Man, that triggered a LOT of memories. In June I turned 65 (how is that possible), and in September, Jennifer and I celebrated our 40th anniversary with a two week cruise! On the way to our cruise we stopped at a friend’s home in Palm Beach where 3 priests I attended seminary with and spouses put together an amazing and moving celebration for Jennifer and I, where we renewed our marriage vows in the chapel of Bethesda by the Sea. Thank you so much Tim and Bryna, Todd, and Bill and Sue! I am so happy to be reconnected with seminary friends, to be honest it’s hard to have friends in this “business” and I treasure my seminary buddies and others along the way.
Happy New Year everyone! May 2024 be filled with good health, laughter, and joy in Christ. I hope to write again soon!