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And here we go...

There has not been a whole lot of time between my ending at Minooka Bible Church and my venture into self-employment, continued education, and the next season of life. In such time, so much has occurred that it already feels as though more than two weeks have passed.

Joy and I were guests at Phantom Ranch Bible Camp, speaking on what it means to live Fully Alive in Christ. It was a great series and a fantastic week to speak on Christ's love for both groups. As speakers, Joy and I have a passion for teaching God's Word, as well as for relationship seminars and creative education. Having the opportunity to pour into those passions during this last week was a refreshing reprieve from the beautiful chaos of this last month.

We also had two guests on our Podcast *shameless plug* check it out here! Our first guest was Melissa Zaldivar, an author, and a friend who spoke on her creative journey to writing her first book. Our second guest was Sarah Klos, a visual communication student at Northern Illinois University, and a friend who spoke on breaking the barriers of sexism in the world of design. Both were highlights for me as I continue to expand my knowledge of various artistic crafts through research, education, and interviews. Please check them out if you have the time, it is well worth it.

Now for those keeping track at home, I am two weeks from today (7/25/19) having disc replacement surgery in my neck. I have had a bunch of tests done in preparation for this surgery, and as the days' countdown, I find myself less and less nervous. I had a flexion x-ray, a CT Scan, a chest x-ray, a urine test, a nose swab, blood tests, and a pre-op physical. Funnily enough, my primary care physician tells me I am healthy as a horse comparatively. In two weeks, on August 8, 2019, I will be going under for the surgery.

I've written a little about this in a previous blog post, but I want to be honest for the sake of transparency. I did not want to have surgery of any kind. My biggest worry was having to have surgery when I started dealing with the issues in my neck, arms, and legs in November of 2018.

From the numbness in my fingers and toes to the neck pain, the symptoms have slowly gotten worse over time. When I finally was able to see a neurologist, he said, "You have the neck of a 75-year-old." I was shocked. I knew it was probably going to be bad as was not getting healthier, but this blew me away. How could my neck be so beaten up?

The ship Serenity from Firefly. Originally painted in watercolor by Nick Dertinger. (2018)

The assumption: high school football, a few car accidents, concussions, and more unaccounted for head and neck trauma over the years. The stenosis, bone spurs, growing into my spinal cord, were disrupting the signal to my hands and feet, causing myelopathy, the tingling in my extremities. It has been truly frustrating to deal with, but the response the doctor gave me pushed me to accept my situation.

"If you do nothing, it may be okay. But it may also get worse, and if it does the symptoms become paralysis or death."

So here I am settled into what comes next. I guess what I want is to put it behind me. To have it be over now and move on with what is after. But, growth without trial is not real growth. Iron sharpens iron; strengthened by tempered fire, and so I burn to be stronger. While I wait, I'll look toward what comes next, with hope and excitement.

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