Update on Polly

polly gerencser 2018

My wife, Polly, has had a rough spell health-wise over the past eighteen months. AFib. Surgery to fix a bleeding problem. Surgery to fix a deviated septum. A week in the hospital that resulted in an ulcerative colitis diagnosis. In recent months, Polly has been dealing with a painful bladder problem. Last week, she had a cystoscopy at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. The urologist found two problems: a fistula between the colon and bladder, and bladder cancer. Polly has also been fighting a serious bacterial infection, the result of fecal matter entering the bladder. This means taking antibiotics, which, of course, aggravates her ulcerative colitis.

The cancer was unexpected — as in at age sixty hearing the doctor say, congratulations, you’re pregnant! On Thursday, Polly will have surgery to remove the cancer and close off the bladder side of the fistula. Next week, she will have major colorectal surgery to fix the colon side of the fistula. This will likely result in the surgeon removing some of her bowel. He warned us in January that this was a possibility. That “possibility” has now become a reality.

Polly will be off work for several weeks. This will truly test my ability to, as Polly says, “pull money out of my ass.” We’ll endure, and hopefully, Polly will be on the mend and back to “normal” — whatever THAT means — soon. Polly does have short-term disability insurance. There’s a waiting period, and then it pays fifty percent of her base wage for up to six months.

As for me personally, watching Polly suffer has been difficult. So much of our focus over the past twenty years has been on my health problems. Now, Polly’s health struggles are added to our already full plate. At times, I am tempted to ask, “why me,” but I remind myself of what Christopher Hitchens said when asked that question, “why not me?” We are not special or exempt from the struggles that are common to humankind. Polly breezed through life with very few health problems. Ninety-nine percent of our medical expenditures were mine, not hers. That all changed eighteen months ago. All we know to do is to get up each day and face what comes our way. By the grace of Loki, we will persevere to the end. Why? Because that’s just what we do. We don’t know how to live any other way than by putting one foot in front of the other and stumbling forward.

The one good thing that’s happened in all of this is that Polly has lost almost forty pounds! The bad news is that I EAT when I’m stressed, so I know where some of her weight went. Polly hopes to maintain the weight loss, and I hope to get back to not feeling like I need to eat a whole box of Cap’n Crunch.

Your thoughts and well wishes are appreciated. Polly’s surgeries and hospital stays will likely affect my writing schedule. Thank you for your understanding.


About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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  1. przxqgl

    i’m sorry you have to go through this, bruce, and i hope the best for polly. ✊🏽👍🏽‼️

  2. Julie S.

    Wishing Polly all the best thru this major health challenge, and you too Bruce as you navigate thru this storm. Lots of positive vibes headed your way. ++++++++

  3. Becky Wiren

    Wishing only the very best for Polly! I was thinking about her and wondering how she was. And you too, it is so stressful to watch our loved ones suffer.

  4. Rolinka G.

    That’s a lot to have on your plates… wishing Polly and you all the best, or as we say in The Netherlands: sterkte en beterschap!!

  5. Susannah Anderson

    Three surgeries in a row. Plus all the other stressors of medical diagnosis and treatment. Challenging times for both of you. Hopefully, her health will be restored when it’s all done. Courage!

  6. sgl

    I’m sorry for what you are both going through.

    Best wishes for successful treatment of the medical issues and getting Polly back to good health.

  7. GeoffT

    All best wishes to Polly. I’ve suffered this year from colon cancer and been successfully operated. I’m now bouncing back to full health and I’ve every confidence that Polly will do the same.

  8. ObstacleChick

    That’s really a lot to deal with. I wish Polky and you the best in this situation. Hopefully her recovery goes swiftly and easily and she can get back to normal soon after treatment. It sounds like she has a good medical team.

  9. Lydia

    Thinking of you and Polly. I hope her surgery goes well.

  10. Zoe

    Polly, Bruce and family.


  11. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    I’m sorry to hear what has happened to your beloved. I hope everything works out okay.

  12. Maria

    So, so sorry Polly is going through this. I hope she is able to heal well, and not have too much pain.

  13. Scott

    Best wishes to Polly on dealing with the health issues.

  14. Arey

    Hi Bruce.
    Praying to, I don’t know what exactly (I guess the universe), for Polly’s health and the mental health of you and your family.
    If it helps, I had a very similar surgery in 99 and I’m still here and kicking. Rectocele and cystocele repairs included. Very little issues going forwardsave some urinary continence issues. I took that trade-off and did fine. Fingers crossed for Polly. Hugs to both of you.

    From a long time reader with Spaulding, Defiance, Archbold connection. It’s a beautiful place and I miss it.

  15. Steve Ruis

    Sorry to hear about Polly’s problems. I think if there is any proof of the existence of the devil it is, indeed, Cap’n Crunch cereal. Talk about temptation. (Actually this is proof that Satan doesn’t exist because if he did, then surely he would have tempted Jesus with Cap’n Crunch cereal, there in the wilderness.)

    Just to show yet another bizarre aspect of Christianity. Jesus, who is God, was “tempted” by Satan, who Jesus created, with the reward of worldly power? How could God be tempted with power He already had? How could God be tempted, being complete in and of himself, therefore in need of nothing? How could forty days in the wilderness mean anything to a being that can step outside of time and space? Our current interpretations of scripture form a perfectly incoherent claim.

  16. howitis

    Wishing you and Polly the best, Bruce.

  17. Carolk

    I am sorry that Polly is going through this. Best wishes to you both as you go through this time.

  18. glenn wood

    You two are fortunate to have each other. Best wishes to Polly, the cream of the crop.

  19. MJ Lisbeth

    Hi Bruce–I hope everything goes well for Polly–and you. The two of you have been through so much!

  20. maura

    oh polly, i am so sorry you are going through this.

  21. Matt Martin

    Bruce, how dreadful for Polly and you. Be sure that I will keep Polly in my daily anxieties.

  22. Brian Vanderlip

    Bruce and Polly, I hold you in my thoughts. The challenge of getting older sure increases as the birthdays pile on! Get Polly out of the hospital as soon a you can! It’s hard to heal in those places and much better to be at home where Bruce can slave and serve Polly till she is chipper again.

  23. Stephanie Faulkner

    Oh…I am so sorry to see you all go through this. Wishing Polly well in her surgeries. Please keep us updated.

  24. maryg

    sorry to hear of your and polly’s difficulties. sounds like she is getting great care and she’ll come out and be on the mend soon. sending wishes for the best outcome.

  25. Gene Stephens

    Bruce and Polly, I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I just wish the very best for the two of you. If there is anything I can do to help, you have my email address, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

  26. Stephanie

    Sorry to hear of this. Hope the doctors can figure it out and get to her a good place.


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