Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Let's Have a Drink!

....I wrote this almost two years ago but never posted it online. With today's procedure looming and while I'm fasting and drinking water, I thought what the hell let's throw it out there in the cyberworld. So from late in 2010 I wrote the following comments and I'll comment and give an update on the back side....

Hi, I’m Ralph’s pancreas.

These last six months have been an interesting journey. The last two months have been hell. Worrying and trying not to worry. What is this annoying organ and what is it doing to my body? In addition, the one question everyone asks at least once in their life, why me?

I've been thinking about my history of drinking and how it has put me in this medical situation.  But I got intrigued with all the parts and how they worked. Here is what we know as of today: I have pancreatitis. I have the beginnings of a hiatal hernia. I have a cyst, neocyst, neoplast, a noid or whatever they want to call it in the duct work to my pancreas but it appears to not be blocking any functionality. No stints, for now, they don't work and can lead to other complications. The one thing I heard loud and clear, you have to stop drinking alcohol. And I drank a lot. A LOT!

My doctor has told me for years to stop drinking. I guess I should have heeded that message when the blood pressure issues started. But I didn’t. I felt great. Let us have a drink. I thought of high blood pressure as an emotional reaction. I am calm. I’m laid back. Few things upset me and if they do, I tend to let it roll down my back. I’m not vengeful but I never forget. Let’s have a drink.

Many times I felt that my issues were petty and not of global importance. People around me were dealing with cancer, blood disease, tumors, divorce, adultery, raising children, unemployment, foreclosure, and even death. Where do I fit in? Or do I? I grew to understand from others who were writing and blogging about their personal tribulations. The failures and successes that wove through their stories intrigued and inspired me.

Since July 25 of 2010, I have had NO alcohol in my system. No beer, no wine and no (gulp) bourbon or any liquor. Wait, I did have a bourbon ball at Christmas time. God it was good. But no beverages.  For me, I think, that is impressive. Every day was a holiday, let’s celebrate, its happy hour somewhere. Good morning drinks that has fruit juice so they are healthy. Beer goes with anything and bourbon is the blood of the gods. Wine just nudges you to Point B from Point A. I didn’t need it. I wanted it. I liked it. Robert Downey Jr. said it best when he said that he had the barrel of the gun in his mouth and he liked the taste of the metal.

But being over 50 and you do the math and for over half of this life a drink was is my hand. Can I drink again? Will ask the doctor. Will I drink again? Will ask myself. I quit cold turkey. No help and no support. The first week was easy because I was in the hospital playing the morphine button. The rest of the time has been a social issue. Time of day, people I was around and or the situation. I went to a wedding where 200+ people were drinking including minors and I thought if I can get through this evening, I can get through any occasion. I did and no 12-step program was involved.
 “It is not I who become addicted, it is my body.”
But we make choices, things are set in place, is there a wild card? So again we wait, watch the symptoms and do another MRI. There's no magical pill or surgery only adjustments.

I am thankful for what I have. Who I am. For my wife, family and friends. And I'm thankful for the things I touch and those that touch me.

........So today June 6, 2012. The cyst has more than doubled in size in the past two years. Pancreatic attacks have increased with frequency and more pain. Sometimes putting me down for a day or two. Today they go down the throat, again, to do an endoscopic ultra-sound and biopsy on the cyst that sits at the head of my pancreas. They don't want to remove the cyst because in most cases it aggravates the pancreatitis and leads to other problems. I was told a year ago it was not cancerous. I hope that is still true. I sure could go for a big breakfast right now but I'll wait and drink my water and dream of bacon.  See you on the flip side with some good news. I hope and pray.


  1. Good vibes and well wishes for you my friend! I am so proud of you and I truly pray that today the Dr's have heeling hands and that your pain goes away forever!

  2. What an amazing story! Not many people dare to be truthful to even themselves. Your story is so genuine and inspiring! Wishing you a speedy recovery and good health. Best wishes!

    1. I just read this today. Thank you. Still alive and alcohol free!