Hello Friends and Family. Koert here.
I will be walking 28 miles in one day to raise money for brain tumor research, a cause close to home. My journey is set for the early morning of May 23rd and will begin at Folsom Lake Dam to Old Town Sacramento. I anticipate this walk will take 9-10 hours, God willing. I plan to devote those hours to honor and pray for those diagnosed with brain tumors, people like me.
Today I am asking you to give from your heart, to those less fortunate – to people like me and you. Whether it be $1 a mile, or a gift of $5…anything can help, and will help a person in their darkest need.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Your gift will go directly to the American Acoustic Neuroma Association (ANA). ANA’s vision is to continually improve the lives of Acoustic Neuroma patients and their families through communication, support, innovation and partnerships with the medical community.
Here's a little background on my story:
In October of 2018 after much deliberation and prayer, I made a life changing decision to sell out of my partnership and renew my focus on my wife, children, extended family and friends. In addition, I renewed my commitment to personal health which included making time for a comprehensive physical.
Several years ago, I began to feel fullness in my ear followed by increased hearing loss. As I was marching towards my late 40’s, I attributed this hearing loss to the aging process, and the numerous flights I was jumping on and off.
After several medical visits, and two days before Thanksgiving, I received a call that the MRI indicated a larger mass (or he called it… an anomaly) behind my left ear. At that time, he shared it had the initial appearance of a vestibular schwannoma “acoustic neuroma.” and action needed to be taken to remove this mass as soon as possible. The treatment would require an involved surgery with associated risks.
Needless to say, this rocked our world and while managing the multitude of emotions that surge when one hears this news, my wife (my rock and strength) stayed focus on the challenge at hand and quickly set up consults with 3 separate leading neuro surgeons from reputable hospitals. After careful deliberation, we made the decision to have my tumor (measured 2.8 cm) removed by Dr. Theodosopolous/ Dr. Chen from the University of California San Francisco on March 6, 2019.. The procedure lasted nearly 10 hours followed by my first visit to an ICU unit. And, praise the Lord, the tumor was benign.
I am currently 7 weeks post-op and on the path to recovery and have accepted my new normal. My new normal, although we keep praying otherwise, will likely include total hearing loss in my left ear and numbness where the incision was made to effectively access the tumor. I have found by maintaining a sense of humor and perspective that there are advantages to that fate. For instance, I have experienced deeper sleep as I have always slept on my right side and have a built-in ear plug and now have a medical excuse for selective hearing :).
In the days leading up to my surgery, I made two commitments:
(1). The tumor and all that it entailed would not define me and be put to use in a platform that helps others who are less fortunate.
(2). I committed to taking that daily extra step forward that created discomfort knowing that it would accelerate my healing process. This was further enforced when I was issued a walking cane prior to being discharged from the hospital. My reliance to move forward depended on this aluminum stick and the close supervision of others to prevent a fall. What started out as one step turned into several steps which turned into tenths of a mile, then 1 mile, then several miles and last week with the help of family and friends who have supported me, I walked 15 miles in one day.
Above all else, I am thankful to God and others that have invested the time into cultivating my faith over the years preparing me for this moment. In the sea of countless doubts and fears one experiences when faced with life’s challenging circumstances, I have found that God is ever present and faithful to His word and promises. The night before surgery when my fears were at their highest, I heard a sermon by Pastor Rick where he talked about God’s presence in Valleys. He want on to talk about shadows appearing larger than they actually are and how light is required for shadows to exist. Have found that His light is ever present. I believe God still has His work cut out in continuing to grow me, but I am grateful for the lessons learned over the past 6 months and look forward to helping others who may be faced with their own life challenges which fuels growth within and for the people who love us most.
Romans 5: 3-5 - - - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.