Over the past few weeks, several people on Facebook have asked Georgette for an update on my condition. I thought that the best way to deal with the requests would be for me to post an update on Adoration.com, and then Georgette could link to the update on her Prayer Makes the Difference Facebook page.
The surgery on my jaw took place on Monday, November 4, 2019. I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor at the Mayo Clinic on Monday, December 2, 2019, and another follow-up on Friday, January 3, 2020. At the December appointment, a CT Scan of my jaw was taken and the images were sent to the 3D printing department at Mayo Clinic. A 3D model of my jaw was then created.
At my January appointment, the doctor showed me the model of my jaw and explained to me that everything looked good except for my right lower jawbone. During the surgery, the right jawbone fractured in the area next to my wisdom tooth. At that time, my doctor did not know the extent of the fracture because he could not see the vertical part of my jawbone — the part that is located next to my ear and extends up from the lower jawbone.
The CT Scan showed that the fracture was not just isolated to the area around my wisdom tooth but also affected the part of the jaw that extends up to where it attaches to the skull. The doctor showed me on the 3D model that because of the fracture, the right lower jawbone was not properly aligned with the rest of my jaw.
At the top of each of the lower jaw bones is a ball joint that fits into a socket that is attached to the skull. Apparently because of the large fracture, the alignment of my right and left jawbones is off, which has also adversely affected the alignment of my teeth. Because of the misalignment, after the area around my teeth and jaw is completely healed, the doctor is going to have to perform another surgery to adjust the right lower jawbone so that everything lines up properly.
During the surgery, the doctor will have to remove the two plates that are attached to my lower right jawbone, realign the jawbone, and then attach longer plates to the jawbone. The second surgery will not be as traumatic as the initial surgery because the doctor will only have to work on the lower right jawbone. He will not have to do anything with the upper right or left jawbones or the areas around my nose and chin.
The surgery will not be scheduled until mid-summer. If everything goes as planned, after the surgery is finished, I’ll have to spend the night at the hospital, and I’ll be released the next day. I will then have to stay in Rochester, MN, for the remainder of the week so that if there are any complications, I’ll be able to see the doctor right away.
This is probably a lengthier and more detailed explanation than most people would want, but for those people who are curious and have questions about my condition, I wanted to give a thorough explanation of what’s going on with me.
How do I feel about having to go through another surgery? It is my belief that because I did not have any control over the outcome of the initial surgery, or the situation I’m in right now, I can only conclude that the upcoming surgery is all a part of God’s Divine plan for me.
While I don’t like it when God’s plan includes inconvenience and suffering, I refuse to complain or become angry about what lies ahead for me. Why? Because that type of behavior would be an insult to God. He knows what’s best for me and my family, and it would not be appropriate for me to question His plan for me.
Instead of worrying about what I am going to have to go through, I am grateful for everything that God has done for me and is going to continue to do for me. I am also grateful that I have one of the top doctors in the country who is taking care of me at one of the most reputable clinics in the world.
The most common question that I get from people is, “Knowing what you now know and the pain and suffering that you had to endure, would you do it again?” My answer is yes. The quality of my sleep has significantly improved. I used to dread driving any distance more than 20 miles because any time that I drove for a short period of time in a relaxed position, I started to doze off.
When I drove to Mayo Clinic for my recent follow-up appointment, I drove for six hours without a problem. The drive home was the same. While I did start to become tired a couple of times, I was aware that I was getting tired and adjusted the way I was sitting, stopped for gas, or munched on some snacks that I had in the car. Before my surgery, I was never aware that I was becoming tired while I was driving. I would simply doze off and wouldn’t realize that I had fallen asleep until after I woke up.
I am well aware of the fact that most people in the world will never have the opportunity to experience the medical care and expertise that I have been able to experience. I don’t know why God chose me to be one of the 7.8 billion people in the world who would be blessed with the opportunity to receive the care and treatment that I so desperately needed, when hundreds of millions of other people in the world will never have the opportunity to receive the care and treatment they need.
While I feel extremely blessed and grateful for what God has done for me, I do not feel guilty about the fact that I have been blessed with the quality of medical care that most people in the world could only dream about. While I wish that everyone could be as blessed as I am, the fact that they do not have what I have does not make me feel guilty.
It is my firm belief that people should not feel guilty about gifts they have received from others, regardless of whether those gifts came from other people or from God.
While I do not feel guilty about what I have been blessed with, I am very grateful for everything God has done for me and I feel as though I have an obligation to utilize the better quality of life that the surgery has provided me to serve God in a greater way.
I believe that one of the biggest surprises that we are going to experience when we meet God is how all the gifts, talents, abilities, skills, and traits that we take for granted were generously handed to us on a silver platter. Since we tend to take personal credit for whom we are and what we’ve accomplished, we frequently fail to recognize that if we hadn’t been blessed with the gifts God gave us, we would have been no better off than a bum on the street.
In The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30), Jesus passed out talents (money) to three servants. The number of talents that were given to the servants was based upon the abilities of each of those servants. Two of the servants invested and multiplied the talents they were given. For his own selfish reasons, the third servant buried the talent he was given. While our Lord rewarded the two servants who multiplied their talents, He cast the useless servant “into the darkness” where he was destined to experience “wailing and grinding of teeth.”
I’m grateful to God for all the gifts He has given me, including my wife and family, all the people who prayed for my recovery, my office staff who held things together while I was gone, and the medical team that assisted me.
I can’t bury those gifts and let them go to waste. I have to redouble my efforts to serve God in a greater way than I have served Him in the past.
I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life.