First things first, the surgery went “fantastic”. Speaking with the doctor immediately after the surgery, he confirmed that she actually had a ruptured disk (which caused all the pain), a herniated disk, and a bone spur. He was confident that the procedure would quickly resolve Beatty’s pain in her arm and back, and optimistic that the numbness/tingling down her arm and hand would disappear. Spending the night with her in the hospital, she confirmed, aside from the back and neck pain from the procedure itself, her arm pain and numbness/tingling are no more! The surgery was a huge success.
Next, since Beatty is otherwise indisposed, I asked her if I could fill in as a “guest blogger” for a day or two. I figured since I have a front-row seat to Beatty’s blog, it’d be okay to give my perspective.
Confronted with recent events, Beatty and I took the opportunity to reflect a little more on our lives. Sure, thousands of surgeries happen daily worldwide, but the vast majority of time, it’s to somebody else. Once in a while, though, your number is called, and it becomes your turn to go under the knife. To some people, it’s really not a big deal; to others, (and I fall into this category), it gives a moment to pause and reflect…on life…and death.
It’s in this dichotomy; I do admit that I find comfort in the trivial world of sports. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the San Francisco 49ers and San Antonio Spurs. And anyone who follows sports knows how agonizingly and excruciatingly cruel the past few years have been for both the Niners and the Spurs. Both teams have come heartbreakingly close to winning their championships, only to lose in the end.
And yet, I remind myself – it’s all a matter of perspective. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to have the incredible success that both teams have experienced? Sure, they’ve come up ever so short on the brightest of stages, but isn’t being one of the best good enough? Or must we win it all – to be declared the champion – to be called a success? What’s your definition of success?
Then there’s this perspective: I remind myself that I’m only a fan (a pretty big fan as Beatty would attest). And, it’s only a game. Because for those who come across life and death on a daily basis: patients battling disease, the doctors and nurses who work with them, policemen, firemen, our nation’s Armed Forces, that inspire us all.
The Spurs played for another chance at a championship just a few days ago. Call it redemption or a mission from last year’s gut-wrenching loss…call it whatever you want. Simply said, they destroyed the Miami Heat in historic fashion. Many called their performance “epic”. As a Spurs fan, it was beautiful to watch as the team came together selflessly.
It’s been said that in the Spurs’ locker room, is the Stonecutter’s Creed, which translates remarkably well in life.
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know that it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
When you toil so painstakingly – in life, with your family or your friends, in your careers, spiritually - don’t lose sight; keep toiling away; keep at it. The toils are not in vain; the effort will be worth it.
It’s so easy to feel the victim. It’s easy to complain. Why do I have to get back/neck surgery? It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. And it’s easy to make excuses. Simply put, it’s much easier to take the easy way out. BUT…
As much as we can attest that life is incredibly challenging and demanding, continue to stay the course. Stay true to yourself. Stay true to your values, to your faith and your loved ones. Continue striking the stone…
To the doctors, nurses, and the entire medical staff, Thank You. My sincerest appreciation for all that you do daily, and for taking care of my wife. To our family and friends, my deepest heartfelt thanks for your continued love, support, prayers, fellowship, and friendship. To our four children, I give you all that I am. And finally, to my wife, the heaven-sent angel who took my breath away a long time ago, I adore you and am eternally yours. Best wishes for a speedy, healthy, happy, and blessed recovery.