Thursday, February 27, 2014

Depression, Mending and Finding the Blessings

A friend asked me the other day about how I was doing and how my state of mind was... Was I "depressed"...

I guess I am blessed to say that I've never succumbed to depression. Regardless of why people get depressed, whether from brain chemistry, biological factors, hormones, DNA or life events, I have been fortunate to have never experienced it.

While I've met people who have struggled with depression their entire lives and truly need medication to cope, I always wondered, "Why not me?" When I was going through divorce and feared losing my children, I was scared, but never got depressed. When the economy tanked and I lost my business, my home, my car... when my second wife left... still, no depression.

I've always wondered if my lack of depression was due to my perspective on life. Now that I have...
  • Lost 1/2 of my tongue
  • Have a huge crazy looking scar on my forearm that everyone think looks like a giant sperm
  • Had my neck permanently disfigured from the removal of my lymph nodes
  • Have a tongue that screams with pain from most foods
  • Found out that I have dozens of permanent titanium clips embedded into my throat from surgery
  • Lost my resonant radio voice in exchange for a voice that makes me feel less confident in how others perceive me
  • Went from having a strong, muscular physique to being a skinny lightweight, having lost 60lbs because of all of my cancer treatment
  • Been unable to sleep more than a few hours without waking up in excruciating pain from a dry tongue from loss of my salivary gland function...
You would think I would be depressed. Geez... even I think I should be depressed, right? When my friend asked about depression, I told her that I have never been depressed before because of how I see my situation. I am never angry about what has happened nor do I feel self pity. Don't get me wrong... I really wish this hadn't happened to me, but I wouldn't want my worst enemy to have to deal with this either... so, as I've said before, "Why not me?"

What have I gained from tragedy? I am now:
  • No longer dealing with borderline diabetes and my blood sugar levels are completely normal
  • At a healthy weight and my heart is less stressed with my new body size
  • Living with blood pressure that is actually low 
  • Not in a house I cannot afford
  • Not driving a car worth less than I owe
  • Completely loved by my three beautiful, intelligent daughters 
  • Blessed to have found healing between my girl's mother and myself and am able to demonstrate true forgiveness with her as an example to others
  • Forced to slow down and contemplate life while I take time to write my next book and learn to paint
  • Most importantly, I AM ALIVE
I really am blessed.  The good news is that I am mending. Where just a few weeks ago, my immune system was shot, compromised because of the ravages of chemo and radiation therapies, my white blood cell count is now in the normal range, showing that I can once again fight off disease and other life-threatening illnesses. 

For now, I am "taking one day at a time"... currently writing my book entitled, It Cost Me A Million Dollars To Write This Book: The Insiders Guide to Business Marketing. After I finish that, I will begin writing about this journey I've been on, drawing much from the blogs I've written so far.

I would have never chosen this journey if it was offered to me at any price, but the journey has transformed me.

Thank you for sharing in this catharsis with me. Thank you for sharing in this transformation of my heart and soul, and standing beside me as I process all that has been thrown at me. I cannot tell all of you how much your love, encouragement and support has meant to me. You have truly blessed me. Thank you.

~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Giving Credit To God Vs. Science and Medicine

It has been a difficult process being laid-up at home recovering. If you know me, you will know I don't do "down time" well unless I am on the beaches of a tropical island somewhere on a bed of white sand with a tropical drink in my hand... but I am not.

I have been wondering what to write about this past week. Wondering what I could possibly share when nothing is really happening. When your assignment from your physician is to stay quiet, the ideas for blog posts are along the lines of "watching a pot boil" or "watching paint dry." Not much to really write about.

I received a question from someone regarding an October blog post last night and I realized that my question had been answered. This is what I was to write about this week... The question comes from someone named "Nic"..

"I accidentally stumbled on your blog by accident, when reading an article on the news regarding mesh squares being sewn to women's tongues to aid in losing weight. Upon further information, looking through photos - your 'new' tongue came up, and I was intrigued. 

I read some of your blog, and am wondering how you give so much credit to a 'god' over science & medicine, which had enabled you to be where you are today. Can you please explain why you have such faith in a deity that offers no help or aid in your skin grafts, medicines, radiation therapy - the list goes on. 

If you were to only 'pray' yourself well, do you think you would be where you are now, without medical intervention?

I am not disrespecting you, I just would like an honest, unbiased non-bible related answer. 

Thank you & all the best."

I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog, Nic. Those are great questions.

You are asking me for an “unbiased non-bible related answer”, but you are also asking me to respond to a question about “god” vs. science and medicine… I can’t really do that, as the two are intertwined for me. Please forgive me in advance for interweaving my answer.

I have to go back to questions you haven’t asked to answer the questions that you have asked. The biggest question is usually asked is something like “how can you believe in a ‘god’ especially with all of the horrible things that happen on this earth… a ‘loving’ god wouldn’t allow for such atrocities to happen…”

The answer comes down to the fallacy of a child saying “ I exist because I do… no parents were involved. I don’t believe in parents, especially parents that would allow for me to fall off of my bicycle or be bullied on the playground at school. I exist because of science, not parents.”  Our perspective on this earth is immersive… we see the trees, but we cannot see the forest, let alone the many forests, mountains, lakes and oceans… we see what we see due to our limited perspective.

Nic, I believe in an all-powerful, loving God who sent his Son, Jesus, to be sacrificed for my sins. It was a one-time forgiveness and it is done. I believe that God gives humans free will, which means there are the results of that free will, both good and bad, all around us on this earth. That free will brings about art, love, beauty, acts of kindness, education and the discoveries of the capabilities of scientific truths regarding how this earth and our bodies work. Science explains gravity, but scientists didn’t create gravity. I didn’t need a scientist to invent my ability to fall out of a 40ft. tree when I was a kid, but scientific discovery can explain why I fell down versus up. If I plant a seed in the earth and add water, I didn’t “invent” germination and the subsequent growth of that seed, but I can study the amazing facets of reality that are unique to this planet, which allows for the process to take place.  Taking the branch of one tree and splicing it into another tree takes experimentation and discovery. Scientists discover which unique properties of our earth are present, but they do not create the universal capabilities inherent in our earth. But I really haven not answered your questions…

The truth is, I believe in science and the product of science, which is medicine. I am thankful for the doctors and scientists that have researched and found that cutting out half of my tongue is a way to fight the disease of tongue cancer. I am also thankful that some imaginative physician tried taking someone’s forearm tissue and it’s related arteries, veins and nerves and “spliced it” into someone’s tongue to help create a mass that replicated the tongue’s original shape. Believing in science and the amazing features that are unique to our world and/or universe has no bearing on my belief in God. It actually reinforces my belief in God. He created the process of life and it’s inherent ingredients to support life…. Scientists discovered the properties of life and how to experiment in the playground of those properties. Science allows for women who were barren to be able to deliver a beautiful baby… science did not create the DNA that scientists are experimenting with… scientists only are playing with the building blocks that they discovered as existing beneath the lenses of the microscopes that other scientists “created”, which were based on the model of the human eyeball’s lenses.

Nic, you asked “why you have such faith in a deity that offers no help or aid in your skin grafts, medicines, radiation therapy…” I would say that your question assumes that my God offers no aid, yet He created the very substrate in which science is able to use in efforts to send me on my way to heal and recover. Science does not guarantee my healing. Science only gives me options to potentially delay my eventual death. If you read my previous blog posts, you will see that I’ve actually addressed this issue in part. I will die. From cancer? Possibly. From a car accident? Maybe. Heart disease? Statistically plausible. All science can do is take the mechanisms it has discovered and use the body’s inherent abilities to find its way to recovery.

The same Creator that made life and aided a seed’s ability to germinate aided in the ability of my tongue to accept the graft of my forearm tissue. Just because God uses human’s to be His hands does not mean that He is not behind the result of what healing comes next.

God ultimately holds my every breath in His hands. When my time has come, I will move on from this life. I will not blame science for my eventual death anymore than I will give it credit for the life that I have lived.

I hope that helps answer your questions, Nic. God bless you in your quest for truth.


To all of my supporters, readers and friends, thank you for your continued prayers as I am continually on the mend.

~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

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