Friday, December 28, 2007

Chris Hodapp Needs Our Prayers

Many men talk of change or talk of writing or talk about doing this or that and Brother Chris Hodapp has been a big part of the progressive Masonic landscape. He has worked in building Lodge Vitruvian, traveled and written of his experiences for Masons and for the uninformed providing a nice balanced approach, he does lots of speaking engagements and otherwise motivates members of the Craft.

Now he has found himself in need of our thought and prayers. Brother Chris is hospitalized with his lungs filling with fluid and a growth found behind his thyroid.

Please keep him in your thoughts.

You can likely find updates to his condition at:


Theron Dunn said...

excellent post. Here is what Br. Chris had to say in an open email to his brothers:

Friends, family, interested bystanders, and bill collectors,

I hate to do this as an impersonal email, on the one hand, because it's so, well, impersonal. On the other hand, it is also efficient, so I only have to type this once instead of explaining it with three dozen phone calls.

For those who don't know, I was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve because of extreme shortness of breath. I'll say. It seems that my lungs were filling up to the brim with fluid, which was preventing me from insignificant things like sleeping and inhaling. The MedCheck 'service-while-u-wait" doctor was so concerned that he actually threw me in his own car and drove me to the hospital.

I spent four days in the Indiana Heart Hospital while the Christmas Week "D-Team" tried to figure out what was wrong with me. Here's a cautionary message - never plan your life-threatening medical emergency for the week of Christmas and New Years. You get the doctors who all drew the short straw. At the end of all of this, it was determined that I MIGHT have had congestive heart failure that resulted in a weak heart unable to keep the crap pumped out of my lungs.

But then there was something else. The CT scans and ultrasound tests revealed two seemingly unconnected, unidentified blobs - one around my throat in my neck, the other under my sternum where nothing is supposed to be. Which brings us back to holiday week and a dearth of personnel. I won't bore you with the botched tests and other screw ups that have resulted in absolutely no useful information. Meanwhile, my preadolescent oncologist, Dr. Pablo Mengele, keeps reiterating that it's possible that whatever it is, it might NOT be cancer, really. Maybe. Not. But there are over 300 kinds of cancers and it MIGHT be one. He of course wandered in to my room in his $500 Armani suit while my entire family was here and blurted this out with as much tact as Xerxes invading Greece. It could be a thyroid gone berserk. It could be my lymph nodes. It could be a benign blob of virus. It could be a little-known organ called the thymus that works while you are an infant, but is supposed to shut down almost immediately after your birth – sometimes they get it in their heads to start growing again. It could be nothing, or it could be something. And so that's the limbo I am in right now.

Of course, being a heart hospital, they took a look at my blood sugar levels that were sky-high (possibly the glucose drip had something to do with this? Or an enlarged thyroid? Or four-alarm panic attacks?). They're worried about my sugars being up, while I'm a little more concerned about this plastic vomit-sized thing growing in my chest and the big, terrifying cancer word. When my foot falls off, I'll get excited over diabetes, but in the meantime, I want somebody to tell me what this internal invader is.

The only thing that made the hospital stay tolerable was a wonderful nursing staff, and that they allowed both Alice and the dog to stay with me all the time.

I came home Friday and have spent the last few days resting and trying to put as much of it out of my mind as possible. I'm still settling in with all of this medicine and self-measurement I'm supposed to be doing, along with a massive change in my diet (so far, I've lost 12 pounds on the scare the **xx** out of you diet). Tomorrow is New Years, then I have doctor appointments all week as the real doctors all come home from their Aruba vacations. And presumably in another week to ten days, I'll have a better clue about my two unidentified floating blobs (UFBs). I will say that every doctor who took a look at the scans, then back at me seemed astonished that I show no external signs of rapid weight loss or other types of physical effects from a great big internal cancer. Maybe it's a dumb hope to cling to, but it's mine and I'm clinging right now. Again, it could turn out to be nothing, or next to nothing.

Anyhow, this is why we haven't been in much contact with any of you over the holidays, why there's no New Years Party, and why we're not much for talking on the phone for a while. It hasn't made things like book deadlines go away, and we'll have those done this week, but events that were vitally important a week ago have been sent to the back of the line. We're not ignoring any of you, but we're a little preoccupied. Nothing discovered is going to be solved quickly, I'm afraid, so we're adjusting our lives to accommodate these new landmines in life's path while we wait for someone to at least tell me what I'm fighting.

This doesn't mean I'm resigning from anything, canceling any travel or speaking events, shirking deadlines or anything else. It just means that the questions far outnumber the answers right now. Just trying to keep you posted.

Like so many others who have tread this kind of path before me, please don't feel compelled to call us – the mere act of having to repeat the same events over and over make it that much harder to put out of our minds while we wait for the medical community to mosey back into town. Many, many thanks to the people literally from all over the world (!) who have sent me messages. And to our closest friends, please know that we appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers, good wishes, and the occasional dirty joke. I'll update all of you when I know something.

In the meantime, stay well, have a great New Year's, and go get a checkup in January.

Love to all,

The Relevant Mason said...

Thank you for the update Brother Theron