Chapter Three, Life Goes OnÖ


  Fooled you. Chapter Two needs a lot more work, and Three through Five are much betterÖ




The exhilaration was short-lived, however. Over the next six weeks, things went downhill. I felt like I was under constant attack by Satan. My lung specialist had placed me on some new medications for asthma; however, I became increasingly short of breath. It was puzzling, but despite my wheezing being under better control than ever, I felt like I was spending all my time at the top of a tall mountain. I also began to experience increasing bouts of coughing up small amounts of blood. I was told by the specialist to come into the hospital for any significant amount of bleeding right away for testing to find out the source of the blood. Meanwhile, we prayed about this often, asking for healing from the Lord, with my always questioning why he didn't respond.

I wasn't going to let this slow me down, so we planned a camping trip for the weekend before Labor Day weekend, when I had to work. We tried to hike down to the lake, and I became increasingly short of breath with each step. I didn't want to alarm my wife, so I said nothing. I hung back far enough that she couldn't hear me huffing and puffing. By the time I got to the lake, I was ready to blow the little pig's house down.

We cut the trip short the next day, and went back to Colorado Springs to take the kids to a movie. As we returned to the car, I began to cough up a large amount of blood. By the time we made it to the emergency room, I was up to six or seven ounces in a paper cup. You know how much blood they take for a donation? Well, I was up to half of that in ten minutes. I was admitted, and scheduled for a bronchoscopy - a test where they fish a fiberoptic scope down into the lungs, to have a look around. Since my wife is an occupational therapist at the hospital that I was in, they agreed to let her remain during the test.

Because of the severity of the bleeding, I was placed in the Intensive Care, where I proceeded to continue to bleed from my lung that night. The next morning was a real blessing. One of the Doctors from my hometown drove 50 miles to visit with me, before seeing patients in his office that morning. We had just had a conflict a few days earlier, and I made my position clear to him in a written letter. I was worried that it might affect our relationship. While his visit didn't bring us to be closer friends, it was nice to know that he cared enough about me to visit that day. To this day, I wish I had cultivated that relationship more.

Then, as he had to leave to get to his office on time, they showed up to prepare me for my test. Let me tell you, the test itself is a piece of cake. They'll snow you with enough drugs to knock out a few memory cells. You'll be awake, and hopefully cooperate with them, but will not remember anything afterwards. But getting ready for it, well ONCE is enough for me - although I've been lucky enough to go through this twice before, back in 1983.

First, they make you breathe in a medication similar to novocaine to numb up the nose, throat and lungs; and they haven't figured out how to make it taste good yet. Then, they go back with a little perfume spray bottle and squirt so much in the back of the throat that it nauseates me just to think of it. If you ever go through this yourself, do yourself a favor and ask them for a little sedation and nausea medication FIRST. I'm sure they thought I was gonna cough up a lung right there.

After that, I don't remember. From what my wife tells me, I was combative much of the time. Lucky doctors. Seems that I started bleeding again during the procedure - and it was a lot. I wanted to cough it up into my cup, but they were down there with the tube, trying to suction up the blood so that they could see where it was coming from. There was blood every where, even across the room. My wife says the doctors handled themselves very professionally. Not one messed on himself. However, they did sweat a little.


Things started to get a little rough, and they called in the surgeon as backup, in case they couldn't stop the bleeding. Finally, the bleeding miraculously stopped after I lost almost another unit of blood. With all the bleeding, my anemia test showed a 10% drop over those two days. The surgeon dropped by later, after I was awake, to tell me that he'd looked at my CAT scan and that there was too much scarring in my chest to solve my bleeding problem with surgery. He gave me fifty-fifty odds of surviving the surgery to remove part or the entire left lung that was bleeding. For that kind of risk, I'd have to go to the University Hospital in Denver.

The next day, my doctor came to visit me. He had a suggestion of a procedure that might solve my problem. It was possible that the bleeding was coming from an abnormal bronchial artery supplying blood to the left lung. There are actually two supplies of blood to the lungs - the pulmonary artery which sends low pressure "blue" blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, and the bronchial artery which delivers high pressure "red" blood to the lungs. They had seen a few cases before, where the bronchial artery forms abnormal connections in the lungs and may cause bleeding.

The solution was to be found in the "Cath Lab", where they go into the artery in the groin and then up into the chest, and find the bronchial artery. Then they go into it and inject a plastic, called PVC, to obstruct the blood vessel. The last person that they had done this to had gone over 3 months without any more bleeding yet. However, there were risks. There was a five to ten percent chance of becoming paralyzed, as the bronchial artery often would come off the same blood vessel that sends blood to the spinal cord.

I was willing and ready to take that risk. I was so excited that they might be able to fix the problem. I called my pastor to come and see me, and to pray with me about this decision. We had become close in the preceding months, and he was helping me to mature in Christ. He arrived, and we prayed for healing, whether by God's hand or the doctor's. I really believe that God can heal anyone he chooses, and had a sincere desire to receive healing. It was the day before I was to go into the cath lab, and we'd just finished praying when it was time for Pastor Scott to leave. He had just left the room, when I coughed up a large old blood clot into the trash.


Suddenly, the weight was lifted from my chest, I could breath more clearly than ever, and I knew something miraculous had happened. It felt like the diaphragm muscle in my left chest was working again, which was paralyzed after a nerve injury in surgery 15 years earlier. Not fully believing, I didn't run from the room leaping and praising God. No, I thought, that only happens in the New Testament. Instead, I went to inspect the trash can, to look for proof I'd just coughed up my last blood clot. It was Gone! I searched again, still gone. A third search, same results. Then, I turned the trashcan upside down on the bed, and sorted through everything. Not a trace remained of the blood. Surely, I thought, if God can remove all traces of the blood clot from the trash, he could fix my lungs!

But, I needed confirmation. I wanted so much to reach Pastor Scott on the cell phone, and ask him what I should do. I enjoyed the feeling of easy breathing as I lay there, but was too scared to believe I could be healed. What should I do about the procedure scheduled for the next day? I began to second-guess God. Do I go ahead with it, and let them do the procedure to show them that everything is normal and I am healed? No, they would only say that they must have missed the abnormal blood vessel, or would assume it was some other problem that I had. Who was that speaking to me, was it Satan, or was it God?

I didn't do anything about it, and I woke up at 4:00AM the next morning, wheezing and short of breathe as usual. I convinced myself that I didn't have enough faith to hold onto a healing for more than 12 hours. This was something that would haunt me for months afterward - God could heal me, but was I still sick because of my lack of faith or because it wasn't his will at that time? What was he trying to work in my life?

A couple of hours later, they came for me. You might think the worst part is the gown. Here you are, in a public place, and they make you put on a gown, back-end hanging out in the wind for all to see. Wrong - it gets worse. The catheter in the bladder takes the cake. Not that it's all that painful or anything, but it is definitely a threat to ones modesty. Here I am with people who know I'm one of the doctors from the hospital seeing me naked. It just didn't sit well with me. This is another time when I'll want to be sedated first if I need to go through that again!


The "cath lab" experience was more memorable than the bronchoscopy. I remember watching the video monitor as they pushed the catheter up the blood vessel in my groin and into my chest. As they filled the catheter with dye that shows up on X-rays, I could see the blood vessels in my chest fill up. Looked okay to me, but then they found it - a large bronchial artery from the high-pressure blood circuit was going to the left lower lobe of the lung, and connecting to the pulmonary artery in the low-pressure blood circuit. This would cause the blood vessels in the lung to burst and bleed under the increased pressure. There was the reason for coughing up blood, although it didn't explain the shortness of breath when my wheezing was clear.

They proceeded to pump a large amount of PVC plastic into the abnormal blood vessel, but it wouldn't stop the blood flow. So they kept pushing in more and more, faster and faster, when whoops. The blood vessel in my chest ruptured, less than one inch from where it exited the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body!

Now, even though I may be a doctor, the cath lab was completely foreign to me, and I wasn't really sure what had just happened. Suddenly, there was a lot of activity and scurrying around. The rest is still a blur. There was a rush to place a small titanium coil into the ruptured blood vessel to obstruct the blood flow before I could bleed to death into my chest. Apparently, these little coils go strait into the catheter, but then when they are pushed out into the blood vessel, they return to their naturally coiled shape and cause a blood clot to block the bleeding blood vessel.

Meanwhile, they had called the surgeon for backup, in case the coil didn't work. That's right, they called the same surgeon who just the day before had told me an operation was too risky. They hoped he wouldn't be necessary. The first coil went in just fine, but the blood vessel was still leaking. But, this gave them time to put a second coil in. Still leaking. A third coil was pushed into place, and the dye injection showed that it had finally stopped bleeding.

It was at this point that they realized that the scaring in my chest must have been containing the bleeding to a small area of the chest, allowing them time to get the three coils into the blood vessel to obstruct it for good. Even today, I suspect that God knew that I would go ahead with the cath lab the next day - that He knew if He healed my scarring that I might have been in grave danger of bleeding to death.

So, they averted the disaster, and looked for any other problems that could be taken care of while I was in the cath lab. They quickly found another abnormal bronchial artery going to the left lung, although much smaller than the first. They were concerned about it branching off of the spinal artery, with several twists and turns after that point. They needed to get far enough into the artery that the PVC wouldn't backwash into the spinal artery and block it off, leaving me paralyzed.

They tried and tried, but could only get the catheter deep into the spinal artery. There was no way that they could get into the bronchial artery to block it off without paralyzing me from the chest down. After 8 hours in the cath lab, they finally had to "call it quits".


After the procedure, I had to endure a high level of constant pain in my chest for weeks, like a mild heart attack. After all, they had blocked off part of the blood supply to the left lung, so a part of the lung was screaming for lack of oxygen. Sounds funny doesn't it? The lungs have all this air, and can't use it for their supply of oxygen. They still need the blood to deliver it. Even worse, I was short of breath all the time, and was tired even after as much as 10-12 hours of sleep. I'd wake up every morning tired, aching and sore, like I had the Flu.

I had just hired a new physician assistant, Debra, to help me see all of my patients until the new doctor could start in four months. Now that I was ill - instead of growing the medical practice as we'd planned, I had to hand over a third of the patient load to Debra, and cut my share of the patient load.

I had to ask myself, what the heck was going on? No sooner had we been through a test to see if we would trust God to pay the bills; now my ability to work enough to earn a living was being taken away. And, our plan to expand was seriously threatened. We knew we had to see more growth in the business to support the new doctor, with only four months left before he started. How could we do that now?


I was devastated. In my eyes, God had failed me. Not only did I feel that I'd lost my healing, but I felt hope for a cure in the future begin to trickle away. I felt I could never learn to live like this. So the quest for answers began again. I began to investigate the faith movement - to seek where I'd gone wrong in my healing.

I read books, and listened to audiotapes, and found there were two "camps". There were those who feel that we are all promised healing along with our Salvation, and those who feel that healing only occurs within God's will. I of course initially chose to side with those who felt that it was guaranteed. I didn't read the bible for myself, to see what it said. I instead listened to the opinions of these "experts". Of course they must have read the passages in the Bible, I thought, and they always had a good quote to support their position. What I didn't suspect, at the time, was that my following teachers who use the Bible out of context would eventually lead me down a road of frustration. However, at the time it was a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I was ready to grasp at anything for some hope.

One night I was reading a book by Sister Breese McKenna, "Miracles Still Happen". Here was a young Irish woman who was smitten by Rheumatoid arthritis, who in midst of her misery went to the Lord with her request for a healing. And she received it after a lengthy wait. Her hands and feet were visibly restored while she sat in her pew during a service in church. This healing didn't occur with a catcher standing behind her, or in a revival meeting, but in response to her private prayers and devotions. She had sought false prophets, and was lead astray, but God spoke to her and set her strait. After that, she became a healer, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This was not a calling she'd asked for. But after much resistance, she finally acknowledged that she couldn't deny God's plan in her life anymore.

I don't believe that she ever tried to teach anyone that it was their lack of faith that resulted in their failed healing. As a matter of fact, she didn't mention at anytime in her book that she failed as a healer to be able to help someone. Maybe what I needed was a proven healer. But, where to find one, that was the question.

And, I thought that maybe I didn't fast and pray enough. As a matter of fact, that was something that I hadn't done at all. Sure, I even recruited others for prayer over my health, but where was the private dialog with God? All I sought was for God to do my will, "Heal me, fix this." Where was the sacrifice and repentance? I'll tell you, it was not till things got a lot worse months later.


It was about 2AM one evening, when I set aside Sister McKenna's book so that I could try to write a poem. It was only a few days before my wife's birthday, and I'd always written her a poem for special occasions like mother's day, valentine's day, or our anniversary. My last poem, Promised Praise came in place of her usual "love poem", and was given to her as an anniversary present. Now, for my wife's birthday present, I began half-heartedly in an attempt to appease God - to appear humble when I don't believe I really was at the time.

But, the words that came out were again from my Lord Jesus again. What I thought were my own wishes from me to Him, were actually instructions from Him to me. But again, I was too blind to see the truth at the time. I wasn't until months later when a friend of mine, Sylvia, suggested that God was speaking to me in my poems. God chooses to speak to us in a variety of ways - our circumstances, through friends, through the bible, or in my case through my poems.



Daily Praise...


Oh Lord God, my strength, you are all that I seek;

You are with me when I rise, every day of the week.


You surround me with comfort, a shield for my soul;

Getting close to you, still, is my number one goal.


Yet often I'm weak, I call on others instead;

Then you remind me you miss me, with a shake of your head.


But prayer comes not easily, from this disciple of yours;

Though it should be done daily, most important of chores.


For you put us on this earth, and allow us to live;

From the fruits of your creation, it's all yours to give.


And take not this lightly, we should remember the source;

Of all of our blessings, as life runs it's course.


So I'll make it a point, to spend time every day;

Hearing you speak to me, in your own special way.


Please help me remember, that Christ died for my sins;

And with your forgiveness, every one of us wins.


To remember what Christ taught me, to give people all;

As I'd have given to me, whether big deed or small.


To remember that the trials, and the tests I endure;

Bring me closer to you God, of that I am sure.


And to remember that tomorrow, and what lies in store;

It's not my sole worry, for you've given me more.


You've given me today, and all that it's brought;

I'm the richest of men, yet not from anything bought.


It's from your love and your sacrifice, your gift to us here;

That the son of our Lord, tells us never to have fear.


For you promised us salvation, on the cross did Christ bow;

Still he stands at our side, yes he walks with us now.


So I sit here and spend time, in my praise of you Lord;

As you dispatch all my enemies, with the stroke of your sword.


Yes you hold Satan back, as he fights for my soul;

For to be there in heaven, at your feet, is my goal.


And still I'm alive here, to bear witness in Christ;

How precious he is, Lord, can never be priced.


And in prayers to you daily, I shall ask not what you give;

But thank you Lord, daily, for the opportunity to live...



Larry S. Ganz (c) September 25, 1998


Oh, this poem said it all!

It's clear why we're here on Earth - to seek God first. From the moment we wake, till we go to bed - "ÖHe will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concernÖ[Matt 6:33].

God often will give us a "wake-up call" when we neglect him. Sure, we need to seek others in Christ for fellowship, but not at the expense of our relationship with God. He wants us to meet with him everyday. Our prayers are how we commune with God - it's our fellowship with him. When we don't pray to God, he is patient and waits for us till the next day, but he misses us. We should live prayerfully; knowing that God is always listening to us. I was never raised as a prayerful child, and it is a way of life that is difficult to pick up later. Until then, it almost seems as if it were a chore, although when I'm training parents in behavior modification I interchange the terms chores with responsibilities. Learning how to pray can seem like hard work, but it is actually our responsibility to engage in conversation with God. Talk with him; tell him your fears, your sorrows, your needs and your praise. When you talk to God, is it a one way conversation, or do you listen for his response? Can you recognize his voice in your life - do you know where it comes from?

I also understand that we live solely by God's Grace. He put us here for his pleasure, and we can't begin to know what we have in store for us. Our perspective on life is too narrow, compared to God's eternal view. Maybe what I was asking for was not within God's will for me at that time. I sometimes believe that I'd self-hypnotized myself into feeling temporarily healed, but I'd like to think that I was indeed given the blessing by God to know what it would feel like to be healed. Some people have accused me of succumbing to Satan's influence, and therefore God's healing couldn't stay in my life. Under their influence, I began to convince myself that God didn't want me to be healed because I didn't deserve it, or because I lacked faith. Now, I realize that God had better things planned for me instead. But, my narrow vision blinded me to the bigger picture.

First of all, the bible tells us that some people are gifted with the power of prophesying and others with the gift of healing or speaking in tongues. Therefore, healing is not guaranteed. My pastor had confided in me that he had long wished that he would be given the power of healing. In the shape that I was in, I wished for that too. Later, I was to recognize that when it came to healing in Jesus' day, what better way to show the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of Christ to win converts? [Mark 2:10-11] Healing is not necessary to strengthen the believers faith, but it is a way to show the might and compassion of God to those who don't. Therefore, for a believer to be healed is solely by the Grace of God. God deserves our thanksgiving daily, regardless of his delivering our good health or not. Just a chance to live for another day to enjoy what He has given us is reason enough to be happy.

I am reminded that we are here on Earth to serve others, not ourselves. My main concerns were still for myself. I had a lot of pride issues with my medical practice. My concerns about possibly losing my business were not as much for my patients or my future partner, but about avoiding the embarrassment of being a public failure. Certainly, I derived a lot of satisfaction from helping my patients, but it was often the praise and thanks that I thrived on. It's what helped me meet a patient in the office at 2:00AM. I enjoyed helping others, but I have to ask if my motives were pure? Are yours? Do you help others and serve them; and if you do, is it for your own self-gratification and pride?

I am reminded once again that trials bring us closer to God, when we stray at heart. Even revered Bible characters went through this. Look at Psalm 119:67 "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word", even King David went through this process of suffering and rediscovering God's word.

God tells us that we should never worry about tomorrow, and who will provide for us. "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing?" [Matt 6:25]

I know that God made the greatest sacrifice of all, giving his only begotten Son for our sins. In the Old Testament, sin was always atoned for by a sacrifice, pure and unblemished. Christ was that sinless sacrificial Lamb of God. In Christ's resurrection, death was conquered, and Jesus stands with us today. Food and Clothing don't matter when we have Jesus. And, he reminds me that the greater battle is over our souls, not over our health. For we all have our healing in the eternal presence of the Lord, when we face him after our death. We die perishable, and will be resurrected imperishable.


I now realize this poem covered all the bases, but it didn't change my behavior in the least. I continued to believe it must be some hidden sin of mine that was the reason for my being denied healing. Since I was still being tormented when I thought I was being faithful to God's wishes, I felt it was futile to continue to seek righteousness. I was missing the point - that no man may achieve eternal life by his own deeds, and that it is through Jesus Christ that we are saved. I was still trying to save myself, and had never completed my relationship with God. Everything was just lip service to that point. I was unable to forgive myself, and therefore could not receive God's forgiveness. I was still living under the curses of Jewish law, which were not written because God thought we could follow every command, but to remind us that we can never perfectly follow it, and that we are all sinners [see gal 2:17 - 21]. As the poems states, it is God who helps fight the cause against Satan, and we will always need to come to Christ to resist sin, not by our own power, but by his. "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy -- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." [Jude 1:24]


Sorry, you'll have to buy the book when it's finished to see how it ends. As of 12/19/1999, I am up to 24 Christian Poems, and they just keep getting better. When I started writing the book, I was up to 15 poems. There seemed to be 3 stages of growth that I had gone through, with 5 poems in each level - so it seemed like a good time to start writing at the end of level three. I am now on Chapter 5, and some of my friends who have proof read it couldn't put the book down!

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