Dear Parish of St Paul, 

Jodi and I send you much love! And I send thanks for all of you who have reached out with visits, flowers, gifts, and cards and other forms of encouragement (and even whiskey! ). But most of all I am grateful for your prayers and your faithfulness to Jesus while I’m recovering from spinal surgery. I thought some of you might want a quick update on how things are going, so here it is! 

Yesterday I had my 6 week (and first) post-op appointment with the surgeon and we went over the surgery and the x-ray of my spine from yesterday. I am extremely grateful to God to say that, as far as the surgeon is concerned, the surgery could not have gone better and my recovery to this point is “excellent” and is exactly “on track.” On my side, while I am still in some pain, the “old pain” is gone and the pain I am currently dealing with is related to the surgical procedure and the requisite healing process. As mentioned in my last update, the surgery was a “Lumber Decompression and Fusion” of L4-S1 and a Laminectomy. Basically what that means is that they fused my bottom two vertebrae to my tailbone and cut away a piece of the bone around a nerve that was being pinched. They used artificial bone to make a bridge, and, what I was not clear on previous to this visit, they put in 6 screws to hold everything together until the bone finishes forming (“ossifying”). This explains some of my discomfort I’ve been feeling, as the screws, the surgeon explained, currently take the brunt of the strain on my low back. But the surgeon is pleased that bone is starting to form. At this point I need to take it easy so that the screws continue to hold well until the bone finishes forming. But I am able to start exercising a little bit now – as long as I don’t twist or stretch the low back too much and don’t lift anything heavy. The entire process of healing will take a full year, but at this point I am on track to resume my parish duties as initially expected. My next appointment with the surgeon will be in late-May/June. 

The great news – and answers to prayer – in all this is that: (1) the surgery went as well as it could have and it dealt with the issues I was experiencing, (2) I am healing well and on schedule, and (3) there is a promise of full recovery (meaning all pain would be gone). Your continued prayers for healing and patience are greatly appreciated – and if you can, please include Jodi who, on top of caring for me, has her own health issues to contend with. Gratefully, her pain is reduced and the doctor does not think her situation is serious. But please pray that she will be able to see a specialist and get a clear treatment plan. And finally, as I sign off, I just want to say that you are all in my prayers daily as well! 

With much love and prayer,