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A Note From Bruce

note from bruce

I have received a number of emails and messages of late from people wondering if I am okay. They have noticed my writing volume has reduced, and this is usually a sign that something’s up in my life. 

Polly had major abdominal surgery on June 30. This surgery, five hours in length, reconnected her bowel to her rectum. You may remember that in January 2019, Polly landed in the hospital with ulcerative colitis. In August of that year, she had to have emergency surgery to fix a fistula that developed between her colon and bladder. This left her with a colostomy bag. The latest surgery reconnected her plumbing. To put it bluntly, she’s back to shitting normally now.

Polly is doing well, and after six weeks off of work, she will return to her job on August 11.

I am scheduled to have surgery on August 10. Yes, boys and girls, it never seems to end at our house. I will have my gallbladder removed. I have had a gallbladder problem for years, but the pain would wax and wane. A few months ago, the pain moved in and decided to stay. Just what I needed, more pain, right? My primary care doctor warned me that I had reached a point where I had to have my gallbladder removed. Not doing so could cause serious, life-threatening problems. So, surgery it is.

Late last year, I had to have a large cyst in my chest aspirated (drained). Three months later, I had the have the cyst aspirated again. And . . . you guessed it, my third breast cyst has returned. Getting someone to drain the cyst has proved problematic. Thanks, COVID-19. (The last time it was aspirated, the radiologist removed 360cc – about 12 ounces — of fluid.) I have yet another ultrasound scheduled for this week. Hopefully, this will jump-start the process. The cyst is in a place where, as it grows, it pushes on a nerve bundle that affects the functionality of my right arm. This is not something I can ignore.  That is if I want to continue to use my right arm.

Finally, I am in the throws of a bout of depression — deep, dark depression. Driven by my health problems (and Polly’s), the non-stop bullshit emanating from the White House, and COVID-19, I am finding it increasingly difficult to stay on top of my to-do list, including writing for this blog. This, of course, as a Type A workaholic, only makes my depression worse. 

All of this shall pass, or I will. 🙂 Now you know the rest of the story. I appreciate your concerns. Better days lie ahead, just not today. I will continue to foist my writing on the world, but it may not be in the volume readers have become accustomed to. I hope you will understand.


Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, a social worker/addiction counselor once told me, “Your recovery tells you what it needs..”

    You have no need to apologize for posting less frequently. You have given us so much already. Thank you.

  2. Avatar

    I’m sorry to hear of your struggles, Bruce. Glad that Polly is doing better but it never rains but pours? I hope your surgery goes well. Please let us know when you are home at least (when you can, if you can). Peace.

  3. Avatar
    Scottcger Strain

    My god Bruce I am so sorry. I know that black dog well. It too waxes and wanes but always inflicts pain. Your friend Scott Strain.

  4. Avatar
    Michael Mock

    I’m glad Polly is… wait for it… finally shitting pretty again. I’m sorry your cyst is acting up, and your gallbladder has decided to torture you, and that it’s so much harder to get the help you need for it. And I’m sorry that 2020 is such a horrible, depressing pile of bullshit. For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think anybody is coping well with this absolute hellscape of a year; I know I’m not. And reacting badly when one political party seems determined… not just to take their ball and go home, but to burn down the playground behind them as well, if they don’t get their way… well, there’s no moral failing in that. Everything sucks, and we’re all going to be affected by that; there is no shame in acknowledging it.

    Take care of yourself, and Polly, and any of the kids who’ll still let you; but mainly, offer yourself as much slack (and forgiveness) as you can manage, because this shit is genuinely rough.

  5. Avatar
    Heather R

    Bruce, I’ll keep it short and sweet. I, too, have been through the blackest of depression many, many times and I hurt when I see others in that place. I wish you a speedy path out of it my fellow traveler.

  6. Avatar

    Best wishes Bruce, both to you and to Polly. Life can be a bitch but I reckon it’s always better than the alternative.

  7. Avatar

    Bruce, I am sorry that you are going through all this. It’s good to hear that Polly is doing better, and hopefully you will be on the road to recovery soon. 2020 just sucks. If there were a deity, he/she/it should be fired this year for gross mismanagement. I wish you better days soon.

  8. Avatar

    Thinking of you and yours. No prayers as they really are silly. Just thoughts that the pressure is lifted, you return to as well as can be expected health, and any lost details are remembered in time to do good.

    Been a while since I commented here but I see you on the book of faces. The journey is never boring – or is that the whole glass half full philosophy? Good luck with your medical care. And thanks for the good news on Polly. I appreciate you bunches.

  9. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    As I looked at this post again, I realized how much Polly has been part of this blog, even if she hasn’t written a post.

    I hope she recovers well, and that you get a break for a change!

  10. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    So much to deal with Bruce & Polly. Ditto everything Michael Mock said.

    During our front porch talks this summer I have shared with Biker Dude that I realize I’m worse with my depression. I find the U.S. issues traumatizing and I’m a Canadian. 🙁 I’m just on the cusp of recovering my own gallbladder/bowel flare up. One of these days I might finally have to consent as well to the removal of my gallbladder. I’m glad to hear of Polly’s recovery.

    Be gentle with yourself my friend. Sending you & Polly love and compassion.

  11. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    I think of you everyday and am thankful.
    There’s a giddy-good scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou, where a crucial decision about who is boss among the three escapees has to be made. John Turturro votes for himself and George Clooney does the same so it is left to Tim Blake Nelson (Delmar) to break the tie for the win and Delmar simply grins wide and says with southern gusto, “I’m wit you fellas…” Well, I’m with you and Polly, Bruce and this Odyssey ain’t done till its done.
    Depression takes its toll in my family, most of it undiagnosed because GOD. But it needs acknowledging and I thank you for doing that too and keeping on with the struggle.

  12. Avatar
    Angela Graham

    We are all thinking of you and Polly and wish you both speedy recoveries both physical and mental. Please take care. We need you!!

  13. Avatar

    Bruce, I think you and Polly are long overdue for a run of good health. May all go well for both of you in the medical realm.

  14. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Wow ! I’m so sorry you and Polly have to deal with this medical stuff. And depression on top of it. So many people are ‘up against it’, and man, I get it. I’m a homeless activist, greatly distressed by the corruption that infests both the city halls and homeless agencies alike. Of course the Whote House encourages such behavior. Not on this post, but major scandals have erupted over bribes, directed funds for affordable housing, and yes, organized religion is part of the problem. Surgery is always hard to deal with, one has to steel themselves to face that, even when you want to have it done. What a grind. We all are rooting for you and Polly,for your speedy recovery. I want to state here to any Christian’s or fundamentalists reading these posts, that this site isn’t anti-Christian, it’s anti-abuse, calling attention to the problems and flakes who cause them. You should be glad this site exists. See it as keeping said creed honest. I never knew of most of those exposed until I started to read it. Every day !

  15. Avatar

    glad to hear polly is farther along on the road to recovery. wishing you both a speedy recovery. sorry you are going thru all this. just know we’re all rooting for you. thanks for all you have done and we understand you having to slow down for a while. i enjoy reading reposts or just going back and reading some of your series. take care and we hope to hear from you soon.

  16. Avatar

    had my gallbladder removed during winter break in my senior year of college. The stone, just one, was about an inch and half by inch.

    I think I was the last person in the US that had the old open surgery with the 7″ scar on my belly. Few things hurt more than that gallbladder pain. The only thing that came close was a thunderclap headache I had thanks to exercise.

    Best wishes.

  17. Avatar
    dale m

    Okay big guy. Call it a day. A well earned day. You’re not responsible for all of us. You’ve done more than your fair share. Your carpet bombing of evangelical BS has been a stupendous success. We’ve been given enough ammunition to carry to last a lifetime because of you. Enough already! Take a break! You’ve lit the fuse. U don’t have to follow it right to it’s detonation point. So blog once a week. Not every day. We got your back.

  18. Avatar
    amy b

    🤗 no prayers from me, but my thoughts are with you. I know about mental health problems firsthand–I’ve had them all my life–but combined with physical problems, AND the health problems of a loved one, seems overwhelming in my mind. My best to both of you.

  19. Avatar
    Charles S. Oaxpatu

    Hi Bruce. I am happy to hear that Polly is almost completely well, although it has been a long, difficult, and frightening journey to get there. It would be for anyone.

    One of my uncle uncles let his gall bladder go to that bad place your doctor is warning you about. Gangrene set up in his gall bladder, and he almost died from it. Your doctor is offering good advice.

    If you are having trouble with getting your fistula drained, you might try an alternative doctor with hospital privileges in a different geographic area. Down here in the American South, COVID-19 patients are being referred to other (often faraway) hospitals that have an available ICU bed that is open. It might work to try the same approach to getting your drainage done.

    Regardless, I wish you the very best!!!

    • Avatar
      Charles S. Oaxpatu

      P.S. The clinical depression. I had the same problem you are having a couple of weeks ago. It is my understanding that the offices of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists all over the nation are overrun with people who have the same problem—and President Trump is the primary cited cause. It’s not just you Bruce. It is any kind of person that has a caring and loving heart for hurting people—and any sane person who plainly sees how all the crap could be made better so easily—and even they could do it if given a chance.

      It just drives people crazy trying to figure out why Trump will not and cannot do the same things any bright high school kid could figure out and implement. My now retired clinical psychologist had a specific term he used for behavior like Trump’s behavior. That term is “Crazy-Making Behavior.” It is a real psychological phenomenon, and Trump is acting it out every day to the detriment of the American people and our country—-and passing the utter toxicity of it all on to ordinary people and not-so-ordinary people all over our country.

      This bullshit has got to stop, and all of us have an opportunity to stop it on November 3, 2020 at the voting booth. If we do not stop this dead in its tracks soon, we ain’t gonna have a country left that is worth living in. “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin” is written on the wall fpr President Trump, and the time to take this bastard down comes in just 11 weeks. I think even most of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate are beginning to regret voting against impeachment, especially now that many of them are in danger of not being re-elected in a few weeks.

      You know what Jesus said about sowing and reaping. They Republicans about to reap the whirlwind—especially if they do not cooperate in giving the American people another generous economic stimulus and unemployment insurance package. If they fail there, on November 3rd, it will be curtains for numerous U.S. Senate Republicans who are playing the role of “obstructors” against the well-being of the American people rather than the role of compassionate helpers.

      Some days I just want to scream!!!

  20. Avatar

    So sorry to read about the cascade of shoe droppings. Sometimes all one can do is take a deep breath and hold on. And find some good music to listen to in the process.

    Glad Polly is recuperating well. Sending all the best in regard to your upcoming surgery and that you can get that cist aspirated. And get some relief. The deep, dark depression…I know you’ve been through throes before…my heart goes out to you…

    I have a ritual of burning incense these days and will light some for you and Polly.

    Thanks for sharing. You’ll be in my thoughts.

    Love, strength, and peace…

  21. Avatar
    Davie from Glasgow

    Sorry to hear of your health troubles. Whatever happens this year or in the future this site is a rare legacy to leave to the world. It’s the corner of the internet I come back to again and again when I need my faith in humankind boosted a wee bit.

  22. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    I too have disability and chronic pain, though not nearly as severe as yours, and I’ve gone through the process of having gut plumbing rerouted to a stoma (colostomy) and then put back together nine months later. These things aren’t fun at all, and they can be real downers. I was pointed to some guided meditations that help me feel compassion for myself, and help me accept the situation and carry on. I encourage everyone to at least check them out. Look under the heading “MSC Core Meditations” at A “”).

  23. Avatar

    I’m so glad to hear Polly is doing well. Take care of yourself, Bruce. Sometimes, when things pile up, something has to give, and if you need a long break, so be it. Take a long break from the news. The world will go on. Your health is more important.

  24. Avatar

    Best wishes to you and Polly, Bruce. Do what you both need to do for yourselves. We can wait. I’m very glad that Polly is recovering well, and wish you a successful gall bladder removal, drained cyst, and a speedy, uneventful healing. We’ll be here when you want to come back. Take all the time you both need (and everything that Michael Mock said better than I could about 2020).

  25. Avatar

    I’m glad to hear Polly is doing much better. Now it’s your turn, I guess, to get better. I’ll be thinking about you and your surgery on the 10th.

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