Medical Update


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Update 01/09/2016 @ 10:20am

I have recovered nicely over the holidays and am beginning to return to normal.  It will still be a month or so before I can return to full activity … such as golf … but that is not a problem since we are now in the midst of winter with the coldest days ahead.  I will be downsizing the garden this year and going forward so that it will be more enjoyable and less like “work.”  Thank you for all of the cards, emails, phone calls and prayers.  They were/are a tremendous encouragement to us.

Update 12/13/2015 @ 8:00am

Well, the recuperation from the abdominal hernia operation did not go as originally planned.  I had been unable to eat much of anything since arriving home on Sunday 12/06.  I had some nausea but not a great deal at first.  Trips to the throne-room were mostly painful and unproductive.  My vital signs were all good adding confusion to the situation.  But I felt miserable.  I actually thought I had a virus unrelated to the surgery.  Wishful thinking I suppose!! After five painful days and nights at home not getting better, I called and went to see my surgeon.    Bottom line … after examination by the surgeon and X-ray confirmation,  I had a kink in my small intestine resulting from the most recent hernia surgery and it had to be dealt with.  So, back to the hospital on Friday 12/11!

My surgeon said some welcome words … No more surgery!  His plan … 1. insert an NG-tube through my nasal passage and into my stomach; 2. pump out my stomach and small intestine as much as possible; 3. use a “small bowel follow-through” procedure with barium to potentially identify and clear the suspected blockage and hopefully straighten out the kink.  To say the least, the terrible part of this whole plan worked out to be the insertion of the NG-tube … end of that discussion.  Multiple X-rays at key points in the procedure over a 24 hour period were taken and analyzed.  By Sunday (12/13/2015) mid-day, the surgeon had determined that the kink had improved enough to restart me on liquids for lunch and solids for dinner.  If I was able to process the solid food properly overnight and into the morning, the kink would be considered clear and the plan would be to release me from the hospital on Monday.

The surgeon and his nurse practioner made their visit early Monday morning to check my status and decided all is well and I am ready to return home and finish my recuperation.  Let’s just PRAISE THE LORD!

Thank your for all of your prayers, cards, calls, visits and encouragement.  Please keep praying for success for my full recovery and particularly for my sweet wife Charlotte as she deals with her whiny husband.

Our God ALLWAYS knows our situation!  Our God ALLWAYS cares!  God is ALLWAYS Faithful!

Jim

Update 12/6/2015 @ 3:15pm 

Home from the hospital to recuperate!

Update 12/5/2015 @ 10:45 pm

The surgery went very well Thursday morning.  The operation was not as complicated as expected.  The surgeon was able to do the necessary work to correct the hernias without having to use the complicated “component separation” method.  I am very thankful to our Lord God Almighty for seeing me through this necessary operation.  I expect to be released from the Hospital tomorrow afternoon, 12/6/2015.  All of your prayers and support are so appreciated.

Update 12/2/2015 @ 1:22 pm

I have had a great year overall.  The replacement of my IDC on April 20, 2015 went smoothly and I recovered quickly with plenty of time to get our garden planted.  We stayed at our mountain home in Mentone most of the summer from May through September.  The harvest was plentiful and we canned and froze enough vegetables to last through the winter.

I am having surgery on December 3, 2015 at 10:30am at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville to repair an abdominal hernia that has developed along the incisions for my two previous colon surgeries.  I will likely be in the hospital for 4-5 days and then recover at home for 3-4 weeks before venturing out again regularly.  The hernia cannot be repaired via arthoscopic surgery.  Instead, the the surgeon will perform what is known as component separation and install a mesh to better support the abdominal wall.  While this is not as major, nor as risky, as my two previous colon operations, it is still major surgery and we appreciate your prayers for a safe operation and a full recovery.  Charlotte is really the one with the load here as she has to take care of her whiny husband.  So please pray for her strength to nurse me back to health.  I plan to provide an update next week.

Our God is faithful!!

Jim

Update 04/20/2015 @ 7:00 pm

The procedure to replace my implanted defibrillator/pacemaker went very well today and we were back home by 4:30 … now I just have to be patient for a few weeks while the incision heals.  I can shower in a couple of days, drive in a week, lift nothing more than 5 pounds for 30 days, begin gardening in two weeks, and will resume golf in about 6-8 weeks.

The new ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) is an updated model that should have a longer battery life and is slightly smaller than the previous one.  The programming has been updated to handle more situations and should last 7-10 years.  The original three wires connecting the implanted device to my heart were still functioning correctly so they were not replaced.  Just as with the previous implanted device, an automated bedside monitor will continue nightly wireless communication with the ICD and automatically report status on a daily basis to a central database and on to my heart clinic.

What a wonderful God we serve!

Update 04/10/2015 @ 8:00 pm

I am a high-risk heart patient with a history of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.  I have had an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) with a self-contained pacemaker for a little over four years.  The device has miraculously saved my life numerous times and for that I am so grateful to God.  The battery that powers my ICD has reached the point that it time to replace the entire device.  This is a rather minor medical procedure performed on an outpatient basis.  The procedure will be performed at Northeast Georgia Medical Center on April 20, 2015.  I expect to be going home late Monday afternoon.  After a brief recovery Charlotte and I will spend most of the spring and summer tending to our raised bed flower and vegetable garden.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  Jim

Medical Update – Recovering from Surgery for a Colectomy Re-Connection

Update 08/13/2014 @ 1:00 pm

Several have asked about my health over the past few weeks.  I am doing great … totally recovered from the colon issues.

I have successfully established relationships with physicians close to our home in Hoschton.  This includes an everyday cardiologist, primary care physician, urologist, chiropractor, ophthalmologist and endocrinologist.  Most of these physicians are within easy reach of our home … many just outside of our neighborhood adjacent to the new hospital that is opening in April, 2015.  Soon I will see a new electrocardiologist located in Gainesville and transfer all ICD (Implanted Cardio Device, aka Defibrilator/Pacemaker) care and support from Emory University Hospital to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.  My ICD will need replacement shortly after the first of the year as the battery is near its end of life.

Blackberry Jam Blackberries 2014 Bread & Butter Pickles

We spent a lot of time at our mountain home this summer and a week in Florida vacationing with our son and daughter in law, Keven and Amy.  I have taken somewhat of a sabbatical from my usual writing practices as I have turned most of my “free” time to tending our garden and preserving the fruits and veggies of the garden for our enjoyment over the next year.  My serious writing will start again soon with release of the ninth article of my series “The Fall of a Godly Nation.”

Update 06/28/2014 @ 5:30 pm

This was a great week!!  I have been released by my surgeon, my surgical wounds are healed, and I had my first appointment with my new primary care physician yesterday.  We returned to our mountain home today and the garden is heavily producing.  I restarted my exercise rehab program on Wednesday at our neighborhood lap pool.  All systems are go!  This is my last medical post for the colon issue. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and your expressions of support.  God is The Great Physician!!

Update 06/26/2014 @ 10:00 pm

Yesterday (June 25) I visited the surgeon who performed the colon reattach surgery on May 1, 2014.  I have a tremendous respect for Dr. Bradley Auffarth of the Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville, Georgia.  This strong Christian physician has a heart for The Lord and donates a significant amount of his skills and time to mission trips into areas of the world that are in significant need of medical care.

Dr. Auffarth has officially released me … 8 weeks following surgery.  Both of my surgical wounds have healed and my digestive system in its new configuration is again functioning near normal for the first time in 8 months!  Praise God for His loving kindness!  How many surgeons have you had that entered into prayer with you before surgery?  This makes my second one!

I immediately started a conditioning program after the visit to the doctor by going to our community lap pool and “paddled” through 6 laps in about 15 minutes.  You have to start somewhere and this low impact exercise seemed like the right thing to do.  Today I increased the distance to 12 laps in 30 minutes with a little more vigor … but just a little.  I will gradually increase the aerobic level of the exercise  over the next few months.

Tomorrow both Charlotte and I go to a new Primary Care physician whose office is located just outside of our neighborhood.  We can actually drive our golf cart to the office.  We have waited for about three months for this appointment and trust that it will work out that it will be the start of a good and lasting relationship.  More tomorrow after the visit.

Update 06/15/2014 @ 8:30 am

I am getting better each day.  My surgical wound has now completely healed!  And the stoma (the place where the bag was attached for 6 months) is now the size of the end of my little finger and only 3/8 of an inch deep.  God created our body in such an amazing fashion!  We heal at His pace.  He created us that way.  We are His special creation … He made us in His image.

My digestive system has now settled back into an almost normal routine.  I return to the surgeon for what I know will be my last visit in two weeks.

Thank you so much for all of your emails, notes, cards, calls and words of encouragement.  You are so appreciated.

Update 06/02/2014 @ 6:00 pm

As mentioned yesterday, I am again “playing” in our Raised Bed Vegetable and Flower Garden.  I am still in the process of recovery, but can do a few things slowly early in the morning and late in the evening … in the cool of the day … no lifting, pulling, etc. … mostly grooming and trimming.

I took pictures of the garden shortly after it was planted on April 25 and again on June 1 so I could do side by side comparisons of the growth progress.  Click on this link to view the start of the 2014 Fruits & Veggies pages in the Jim & Charlotte’s Garden section of our blog.

Posting the “selfie” will have to wait until I get cleaned up!

Update 06/01/2014 @ 1:00 pm

We arrived at our Mountain House and Raised Bed Garden yesterday afternoon.  Everything is so green and has grown so much since we were last here in late April before my May 1 reconnect surgery.   I am feeling good … not yet normal, but so much better.  We are so happy to be here!  The small plants we planted in April have grown nicely.  We have tomatoes, pole beans, squash, red potatoes, granex onions (Vidalias if they were from the soils of Toombs county Georgia), dill, cucumbers, a few watermelons and cantaloupes.  We missed the main strawberry harvest, but will have fun with the ever bearing ones that will come in over the rest of the summer.  The grape vines, apple trees, blueberry bushes and thornless blackberries are loaded with immature fruit.  The plum trees will have a very light harvest due to a late frost that killed most of the blooms.  Our two fig bushes succumbed to the cold temperatures, unable to survive extended temperatures below  5 degrees.  However, new life is springing forth from the roots and I will try to be patient before replacing them. They had produced so well for the past 5 years.

The therapy of the garden will hasten my physical recovery.  I can’t express with words how happy I am that God has allowed us to return here once again.  Thank you Lord for your healing!

Pictures of the garden’s progress and maybe even a selfie will be posted soon!

Update 05/30/2014 @ 9:30 pm

The appointment with the surgeon went as expected today and we are off to our Mountain House tomorrow!  The surgical wounds are still healing but are progressing nicely.  The surgeon expects the wounds to completely close within the next two weeks.  I am feeling much better and am anxious to see and play with our garden … no significant effort for at least a few more weeks.  Thank you so much for all of your prayers.

Update 05/28/2014 @ 6:00 am

This morning I am so thankful for the healing of God. This Psalm of praise is my joy today … and I hope that it will be yours as well.

Psalm 95 – Let Us Sing Songs of Praise 1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

I am feeling so much better day by day.  I am certain the surgeon will be pleased with my progress when I visit him on Friday.  Unless I am really missing something, we are off to our Mountain House and our Raised Bed Gardens on Saturday, May 31, one month after the reconnection surgery!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Charlotte and I.

Update 05/21/2014 @ 7:00 pm

My checkup with the surgeon on Monday went well.  The surgical wound still has a way to go to heal … this is the same thing that happened after the first surgery in December, 2013.  The wound where the incision was has healed nicely except for the bottom 1/3 which still has a deep “hole” that is healing from the bottom up and hopefully will close on its own after another month or so.  For now, Charlotte treats it twice a day keeping it as clean as possible so that there is little to no chance for infection to take hold.  The “stoma” wound (the place where the colostomy bag was attached) is healing nicely with no issues.  I will see the surgeon again on Friday, 5/31, to check on the progress of the healing of the incision.

Today I went to my every day cardiologist in Braselton to check on the condition of my heart.  Everything checked out nicely and my next visit to him is scheduled for 3 months down the road in August.  It is an absolute blessing that my heart has behaved so well during this last surgery and recovery.

"Selfie" 2014-05-21

“Selfie” 2014-05-21

I am still fairly weak from the surgery, but have been cleared to start a walking program again to rebuild my strength.  I don’t have much of an appetite yet and in some ways that is good.  Since March of 2013 I have lost a total of 53 pounds … most due to a concerted effort to eat better and exercise within the reason of my limitations and some due to the surgery.  Here’s a “selfie” of me as of today.

I am still experiencing some pelvic pain as my internal digestive and waste system adjusts to the new situation.  My sleep has improved but still has a ways to go.  But all in all, I am very pleased with my progress to date and am paying attention to the doctors who all tell me that I am doing well and to be patient with words similar to this … “this kind of major surgery takes a while to heal and don’t forget, you have had two such major surgeries within six months!”

Update 05/18/2014 @ 7:00 pm

I wrote an article related to my current medical condition that you can read at this link:  Contemplate God’s Sovereignty.  I am making much better progress over the last couple of days and go the surgeon for a checkup tomorrow 5/19/2014.  With everything that has been taking place with regard to the colon, my heart has behaved and my ICD (Implanted Cardio Defibrillator) has managed my heart perfectly through this crisis.  I have an appointment with my everyday cardiologist on Wednesday morning.  By next Sunday I should be on the downhill for recovery and able to return to Mentone.

Update 05/13/2014 @ 7:00 pm

The trip to the urologist today was worth its weight in gold as the doctor found everything in order from a urological standpoint.  The colon doctor cleared me yesterday.  This is such wonderful news and a true blessing from God.  The continued pain is simply a byproduct the operation now only twelve days ago and my body is continuing to heal from that trauma.  So for now, rest, drink lots of water, eat regular meals, walk and build back my strength.  Our goal is to be on the Mountain in our garden by June 1.  I have someone taking care of it for me until we can get there.  Here are a few photos of the planting we did before the operation.  Thank you for your continued prayers and the love that you have expressed in so, so many ways … the visits, phone calls, cards, emails, facebook posts, etc.  They are helping me pass the time nicely and the urge to return to my writing is growing daily … just tough to sit in one spot long enough to be a productive writer.

2014 Apr 20 Flowers 2014 Apr 20 Veggies

Update 05/12/2014 @ 6:00 pm

Today Charlotte took me to see the surgeon that performed the colon reconnect for the first surgery follow-up.  As with the previous surgery, the surgical wound is healing more slowly than desired so the doctor removed the staples, opened the wound and Charlotte will treat it daily at home for the next 3-4 weeks or until it heals.  The stoma wound is recovering nicely and is 4-5 weeks from closing on its own.  The great news is that I have been cleared to take a shower!  That has been nearly impossible since returning home and the warm water is going to feel so good on my body.  Thank God for small things!!

I am having some urinary difficulty resulting from the surgery and will see the specialist that participated in the surgery tomorrow at 2:45.  I am making progress with the recovery though a little slower than I would like.  …. more after tomorrow’s doctor visit.

Update 05/09/2014 @ 9:00pm

My colon reconnect surgery took place as scheduled on Thursday 5/1/14 @ 6:30am and everything went according to plans.  I came home from the hospital rather quickly, late afternoon Monday, 5/5 as the basic goals for release had all been met.  I was anxious to go home as I was exhausted from the lack of sleep.  You know how the overnight care is in a hospital … they are in and out once or twice an hour doing something like taking your vitals, giving you a shot, adjusting your IV, filling up the ice water, conducting a survey of some sort (haha!), etc.

At home I progressed fairly well from Monday afternoon through Tuesday and into early Wednesday … expected amount of pain acceptable, temperature less than 101, waste being processed through the reconnected colon, etc.  But progress has been quite difficult over the last 36 hours  … not due to any one specific cause … more like the combination of several byproducts of the surgery. It is not very pleasant to describe in simple non-graphic details the problems, so let’s just leave it to the imagination. Just about every bodily function is out of kilter … especially those related to the digestive system!  After all, they did open up my belly again. I am continuing to take heavy pain medication every 4 hours around the clock and am visiting my throne more times than I care to mention.  We have spoken with the doctor and his nurse a couple of times for guidance and it appears that nothing really major is at fault.  So we are continuing the prescribed  course of treatment for the weekend with a follow-up visit planned with the surgeon in his office on Monday afternoon.  By then we should know much more about my status and I will post another update.. Thank you for all of you prayers and continued encouragement, particularly from our new found friends at Shorter University, Blackshear Place Baptist Church, our new neighborhood “The Village at Deaton Creek” and our longtime friends from Pine Lake Baptist Church in Stone Mountain.. My blog site has been quiet over the past couple of weeks.  I just haven’t felt like sitting at a keyboard for any period of time.  I will return to my usual writing as soon as I am physically able. Update 04/29/2014 @ 1:00pm

A number of people have asked me about the details for my upcoming Colon Reconnect surgery.  It will take place at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NEGM) located in Gainesville, Georgia on May 1, 2014 at 7:30am.  The primary surgeon is Dr. Bradley R. Auffarth, MD, F.A.C.S. with the Longstreet Clinic.  I am so impressed with Dr. Auffarth.  He is a Christian and freely speaks about his faith.  He regularly makes mission trips and will be spending two weeks serving in Kenya from May 13-27.

My sigmoid colon was removed on December 1, 2013 by Dr. Priscilla Strom, MD, F.A.C.S.    This resulted from a perforated colon caused by a previously unknown case of diverticulitis.  So this surgery is for the reconnect only.  Dr. Strom is also a Christian and will be assisting during this surgery.  (Thank you Lord for such fine surgeons!)

I found the pictures below to be helpful in explaining the surgical process.  They were included in a presentation provided by the University of Chicago.  You can view the full online presentation here University of Chicago Medicine presentation.  The pictures below will give you a better idea the removal and reconnection process.  They were prepared by Emmi Solutions, LLC.

©2013, Emmi Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

Bradley R. Auffarth

(M.D., F.A.C.S.)

Bradley R. Auffarth

(M.D., F.A.C.S.)

colectomy_body

O  Colectomy Reconnect

I have peace about the surgery and fully expect everything to go well.  I will be back to normal in a month or so.  Thank you for your continued encouragement and prayers.  Please remember my wonderful wife Charlotte as she AGAIN shoulders the extra load for our family while I recuperate.  We are anxious to get back to our raised bed garden located on Lookout Mountain.

If you would like to view and/or download a pdf file containing the entire article published by Emmi Solutions, LLC, please click this link.

Update 04/18/2014 @ 2:00pm

The news on the medical front continues to be very good.  This morning I had the scheduled diagnostic colonoscopy at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) in Gainesville, Georgia.  Bottom line, my colon is in good shape for reconnection surgery and it is now scheduled for early Thursday morning, May 1 at NGMC!   Charlotte and I are so happy with this outcome and praise God for His goodness and loving kindness toward us.  He is most certainly a magnificent God and worthy to be praised.

I will be in the hospital for 7-9 days and home recuperating for about a month.

The planned time frame will allow us to make a visit to our Mountain House next week and if the weather permits plant a few vegetables and flowers in our raised bed garden (click this link).  Once I have regained my strength from the surgery we plan to return to the mountain for the remainder of the growing and harvesting season.

Happy Face FlowerOur warm thanks to all of our family, friends and followers for your prayers and your encouraging cards, emails, calls and messages.  Please continue to keep us on your prayer list.  I will post my next update a few days after the surgery.

Jim D.

Update 04/16/2014 @ 2:00pm The diagnostic colonoscopy is scheduled for early Friday morning, April 18, 2014 on an outpatient basis at NE Georgia Medical Center.  Assuming all is well, then a date for the reconnect surgery will be scheduled.  I will post another update this weekend. Update 02/18/2014 @ 11:00am

Several of my friends and relatives have prompted me to post and update on my medical condition … so here goes.

The surgical wound from the colostomy has completely healed.  I have started a three-day-a-week heart rehab program to improve the functioning of my heart and generally strengthen my body overall.  So far I am one week into the program at the Northeast Georgia Heart Rehabilitation facility in Gainesville, Georgia.  They have full-time professionals that deal with heart patients every day including a doctor, nurses, exercise specialists and even a nutritionist.

Each participant in the program wears a heart monitor during a one-hour long exercise program that is continuously monitored at a central station to insure no-one is getting into trouble.  They also take your blood pressure during and after exercise and record all of the results in your electronic chart.

The physical routine includes time on standard exercise equipment like treadmills, recumbent devices, steppers, etc.  We also do some relatively calm exercises with dumbbells and cool down with a series of stretching actions.

I will remain in the normal eight-week program for a period of three weeks minimum and afterward move to our neighborhood exercise facility which has even more equipment and a resident full-time personal trainer available.  I have my own wrist-mounted personal blood pressure and pulse monitor that I can substitute for the monitoring when I am on my own.

Funny thing about Medicare … they will not cover my rehab program since my heart problems are not vascular but electrical related!  My doctor and all of the staff at the rehab facility think this is ridiculous, but that is the rule (can’t wait to see how ObamaCare … and not your doctor … gets to decide what your treatment should be).  As a result of the non-coverage, I am a self-pay patient and the cost is considerable without the insurance coverage ($233 per visit … of which I have negotiated a 40% discount which is still considerably more than Medicare pays for the services).  That is the reason for the three-week stint.  It will cost nothing in my neighborhood except when I engage the trainer as use of our fancy gym is included in our monthly homeowner fees.

I am venturing out more and more.  I drove myself to and from rehab yesterday and will do that going forward.  This is an important step in my full recovery.

Going forward the plan is to do a diagnostic colonoscopy in April to insure that the colon is healing properly and has no additional issues to solve before scheduling the re-sectioning surgery … likely to occur in July.  This is a good and conservative time-table that will give me adequate time to regain my strength and plant a summer garden, though it will definitely be smaller this year.  We won’t be doing as much freezing and canning this year, but there is always next year.

Through all of this, Charlotte has been a JEWEL!  She has listened to me complain about my minor inconveniences (even whine at times) with nothing but encouragement.  She has faced every obstacle with optimism and has been a constant inspiration to me.  I love you with all my heart Charlotte!  Thank you God for putting us together more than 50 years ago.

Please keep us on your prayer list over these next months.  I plan to post again after the colonoscopy in April assuming all is well in the interim.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I invite you to view my current series of articles on The Fall of A Godly Nation at the links below.  I think you will find the parallels between Israel/Judah and the U.S.A. to be striking!

Update 01/14/2014 @ 10:00pm

First of all, I am happy to report that I am recovering nicely from the colectomy I had in early December.  I am regaining my strength and am now very comfortable dealing with the colostomy.  The surgical wound is nearly healed … give it another 7-10 days before it is fully closed.  I am driving short distances but Charlotte is still doing most of the driving.  And I am already looking forward to the time 3-5 months from now when my colon will be re-sectioned in another operation if the remaining portion of my colon is healthy enough to do so.

On the heart side of things I had an appointment last week with my electro cardiologist heart specialist at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.  This was a followup visit for one that I missed in December when I was in the hospital.  At this visit the heart clinic technicians downloaded all of the stored monitoring information for the past 90 days from my ICD (Implanted Cardiovascular Defibrillator).  Analysis of the info showed that I experienced an unusually high number of PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and a couple of mild V-Tach incidents since my last readout in early November.  Unfortunately, this just confirmed what I already knew in my mind’s eye as I had been experiencing  rhythm issues and tiredness almost everyday.

It appears that the liquid diet I was on during most of my hospital stay after the sigmoid colectomy messed with my chemical balance (electrolytes and such) and further complicated my already erratic heart rhythm. A November Echo Cardiogram revealed that my heart EF (ejection fraction, normal is 50-60% for someone my age) has significantly decreased from 50% to 25% over the past six months.  At the lowest point on previous Echos my EF had not dipped below 35% and I had rebuilt it to the 50% level after my ventricular ablation.  In the past, My ICD device, medication and regular activity (gardening, etc.) helped me rebuild my EF.  By most measures an EF of 25% means I am classified as being in heart failure.

I now have an additional everyday cardiologist, quite near our new home, who did his residency at Emory along with my Emory electrocardiologist.  This is thrilling to me and an answer to prayer.  God brought this about, without question!  Also, the head of the electrocardiology program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville also did his training at Emory and is well thought of in the field.  He will be available to me if an emergency arises and I am unable to get to Emory.  I will be in good hands with these three gifted gentlemen in the days ahead.

Soon I will be starting a three-day per week rehab program designed to build my heart function, general stamina and my EF.  I am excited about this opportunity as professionals will be overseeing my activity and helping me get back to normal activity.

We continue to seek your prayers.  Keep us on your list.  I will update this page when I know something worth sharing.

Update 12/31/2013 @ 9:20pm

Today we visited with my surgeon who was very pleased with my healing progress.  I go back in a month.  By then the surgical wound should be completely healed.  Charlotte has done an amazing job treating the wound twice a day and will continue to do so until it closes completely. I have been cleared to travel so we are going to our Mountain House on New Year’s Day to make sure all is well for the winter and to get some needed rest. If all continues to go well I will be a good candidate for the resection (re-attaching) of my colon in 3-6 months.  In the interim, I will gradually resume normal activities including driving. I will post another update when I see my surgeon again in a month unless something is worthy to report. We can’t thank our family and friends enough for all your prayers, phone calls, visits and encouragement.  And most of all, we thank God for placing His healing hand on me. I am celebrating New Year’s Eve at home in my easy chair watching Duke make Texas A & M and Johnny Manziel look silly With Duke leading 38-17!  Looks like Duke is for real.  If you haven’t already done so click the link to view our animated New Year’s Card.  Happy New Year! (Note — at the end of the game Johnny Football didn’t look so silly as he led A&M to a comeback victory.) Update 12/25/2013 @ 9:00pm Today has been a wonderful day!  Our son’s family (Keven, Amy, Mason, Ashlyn and Josh) came for lunch and spent the entire afternoon with us.  We exchanged gifts and enjoyed each other’s company for hours.  This was the best medicine I could have received. I continue to gain strength and am healing nicely. Update:  Monday Night, 12/23/2013   The last two days have been really good.  I no longer need the Home Healthcare nurse.  Charlotte is doing a great job, just like she has had years of nurse training.  The surgical wound continues to improve each day.  I feel more like myself and am sleeping better. We are looking forward to our immediate family spending the afternoon with us on Christmas day.  I return to the surgeon on December 31 for a check-up.  If all goes well, then Charlotte will drive us to our Mountain Home for a few days to make sure everything is winterized.  We usually touch base there 4-5 times during the winter and have not been able to do so this year. We appreciate your continued prayers and thank you for all of your cards and other contacts.  They have really lifted our spirits. Look for my Christmas article that will be released on Christmas Day:  “God Came Down To Our Place.”  The article is already in place if you want an early read.  I think you will find it worth the read. Update:  Saturday Night, 12/21/2013 I continue to improve a bit each day from my Colectomy and am managing the Colostomy bag better each day.  My surgical wound is healing slowly and the surgeon told me on Tuesday of this week that it would be about six weeks before the wound fully heals.  I am not driving nor doing anything that requires lifting.  The really good news is that today I was able to attend our annual Christmas party with the Lowery family at our niece and nephew’s home in Cobb County without incident. Charlotte’s family is close-knit and really love each other.  This was the best therapy I could have received and I am grateful for the opportunity. Charlotte is the one that is having to work OVERTIME to perform all of her usual tasks, attend to mine as well, and serve as my in-house nurse.  I don’t see how I could do this on my own.  I love her with all of my heart and am so grateful that she is so willing go give of herself.  Please pray for her over the coming months … and keep me in your prayers as well. A sincere thank you to all of you who have sent cards, made phone calls and have continued to pray for us.  God is the Master Healer.  We so appreciate those who are our prayer partners. Update:  Sunday Night, 12/8/2013 I am home from the hospital and adjusting to the new routine as I regain my strength after the surgery.  I have received dozens of cards and thank all of you for sending along your encouragement.  Charlotte has provided such loving support to me during this ordeal and over the last 3+ years of health issues.  Hopefully my writing days have returned as our move is over and I will have to stick close to home for some time yet. ___________________________________________________________ When a : (colon) is not a colon – First Published:  12/7/2013 Good morning family, friends and prayer partners.  Since I last communicated directly with you I have experienced a perforated colon and now have a colostomy. Early Saturday morning after Thanksgiving just after midnight I started to experience gas and pain beyond normal and it did not let up.  I got Charlotte up about 3am and told her something was not right. As the pain increased, Charlotte drove me to the emergency room at North Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, near our new home in Hoschton, where a CT scan determined I had a case of diverticulitis and a perforated colon and would likely need surgery.  That was a shock for this patient who was already experiencing additional electrical issues with my heart only recently. Trying to avoid the what would ultimately become the inevitable, the surgeon in charge began a heavy regimen of antibiotics, encouraging the perforation to close on its own.  After a couple of days it was determined the diverticulitis and perforated colon were getting worse and surgery would be required.  So mid-day Monday the surgery took place, removing approximately 8 inches of my colon and leaving me with a colostomy bag that I will hopefully have for about six months … it might be necessary I keep it permanently … only time and healing will tell.  The rest of the week has been spent managing the pain and learning how to deal with my new situation. The attending surgeons, physicians, nurses and techs have all been wonderful.  Each has been under a heavy load and has  been so available.  God knew what He was doing when He relocated us this new area.  I never had a question about the move! If everything on the inside heals as planned, an additional surgery will be necessary in six months or so to re-connect the sections of the colon.  Hopefully that will be able to take place. Please pray for us as Charlotte once again has to assume more of the daily family duties and attend to me for a while.  Pray that all will continue to go well and that I will be able to go home soon.  Your prayers have been felt already. The good news about all of this … I have been able to share the message of Jesus with so many I would have never encountered.  I am not quite up to phone calls and visits as of yet, but emails and Facebook comments of encouragement are welcome.  Many thanks to those who have already done so. Ah, Lord God, thou has made the Heavens and the earth by Thy Great Power.  Ah, Lord God, thou has made the Heavens and the earth by thine outstretched arm.  Nothing is Too difficult for Thee!! Blessings, Jim Davenport

3 Responses to Medical Update

  1. bwebbjr says:

    Awesome news Jim … Praise the Lord!

    Bernie

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  2. bwebbjr says:

    Jim I have found great encouragement in this Scripture: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 (NASB) To me, the five key words in this passage are faith, peace, exult, perseverance and hope … may you experience the depths of all five as you travel this leg of your life’s journey! Love you brother! Bernie

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