Daily Archives: January 27, 2010

New Feature: Early Me

Back when I was a teenager, I had the idea to write a book called A Hundred and Some Essays on Faith, compiling my various writings on religion and morality, both for school assignments and home thoughts. Basically, it was my blog before blogging existed.

I’m working on a project right now where developing a book of apologetics/systematic philosophy with the working title _How to Become a Catholic, Even if You Don’t Want To_. I figured I could save time by culling through my established writings and excerpting/editing them where appropriate. Listening to “Bein’ Green” in the car this evening reminded me of one of English 101 hits, for which I used that title. Thus, I got the idea of going through the documents files I’ve collected since 1992 (some files containing writings older than that, which I transcribed in MS Write when I got my first 386) and posting many of them here.

Pray with me: Novena to St. Blaise, Day 1

Praying for the intercession of St. Blaise for Allie, and my neck, and all physicians, particularly Allie’s pediatrician Dr. Albert and ophthalmologist Dr. Wilson and my brother Joe:

Novena to St. Blaise

Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Prayer in honor of St. Blaise
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invocation of St. Blaise
St. BLASE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God’s grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.


My LORD and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.

I’m scared

I’m really scared. Saw the neurologist today, and it was the waste of time I feared it would be.

He gave me the old, “Your brain aneurysm is not big enough to cause the symptoms you’re having,” even though the aneurysm in the artery, ectasia in the vein and tortuosity in the carotid artery all explain my symptoms. Said he didn’t think it was big enough to require surgery (yet, again, that’s from a year-old angiogram).

Confirmed that there’s no known medication to prevent growth of a brain aneurysm, focused on a few scattered items (such as my fatigue) and insisted I was just depressed, and insisted on giving me a bipolar drug (though it’s a drug also used to treat migraines and seizures). But my big thing is wanting something that’s *not* going to leave me dead tired. My new BP my cardiologit prescribed takes away a lot of my symptoms but leaves me exhausted.

It’s hard enough dealing with an aortic aneurysm where you’re talking about centimeters, and even millimeters. Heck, I’ve always worried that those precious millimeters were too small.

Now, I’ve got this tiny little, difficult to detect, 80% diagnosed-only-after-they rupture thing in my head, and not to mention this tortuous carotid artery that can also cause the headaches and numbness I’ve been experiencing, and the fact that carotid artery dissection is more likely to happen in men in their thirties. . . . .

I’m just scared.

I’ve been having these TIA-like spells since 2003 or 2004. At first, I was taking the “maybe it’s just stress” or “maybe it’s just fatigue” view myself. I tried different things while occasionally mentioning them to doctors. Went to Hopkins in 04 to see what they had to say.

Had some tests done in 05 and 06. Found the spells more likely in the evenings, when tired, when stressed or when I’d just eaten a big meal. Thus, the correlating factor was blood pressure. Blood pressure too high? Migraines, chest pain, TIAs. Blood pressure too low? Fatigue, fluttery feeling in chest, migraine. Blood pressure in between? OK.

Moved back to SC. Got into see Dr. Stavrou, my cardiologist since 1989 save 4 years in VA, and he concurred with my self-diagnosis but was going on the “hard to detect by test anyway,” so we’d just work with BP medicine and coumadin.

Angiogram in February found the brain aneurysm and, in a way, gave me piece of mind that I wasn’t “just nuts.” Stavrou’s learned over the years not to question my judgement.

Even the primary care were concurring with me on it, and referred me to the neurologist just to find out about treatments. And then he comes in with the whole, “You’re just nuts” thing.

Mary suggested, “Maybe he just figures there’s nothing they can do, so he might as well put you on happy pills till you die?”

So, through all of this, I’ve been fairly stoic about it, or tried to see the positive side, taken the humorous side, or just matter-of-fact.

Now I’m just scared.

Nothing more guaranteed to make me depressed than a doctor telling me I’m depressed.

I was really hoping I’d have an option other than brain surgery, that there was some drug that could prevent the aneurysm from bursting and actually make me feel better.

Yes, I trust God. I try to, at least. Yes, I offer it up.
And I darn well know He’s in control of the situation: I know fully well God can take me whenever He wants to. But He also guided me to this vocation and this family, and now I have responsibility over them.
And I know if I die I’ll be more powerful and more able to watch over them than ever.

But God wouldn’t send us these challenges if they didn’t challenge us, and this is a challenge.

So, Johns Hopkins it is.

In the meantime, I’m scared.