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I’m Tired . . .

My vision is increasingly blurred. Short distances, long distances, it matters not. I stopped wearing my glasses months ago. I’ve been to the eye doctor twice in the past month. She’s been my doctor for years. Yet, she doesn’t understand my health problems. This is the doctor who showed how clueless she was when she told me that the “cure” for fibromyalgia is removing my amalgam (mercury) fillings. Her source? Her aunt, who had fibromyalgia, was miraculously cured after having her amalgam fillings replaced with resin fillings.

On my first visit last month, I told her that I was recently diagnosed with gastroparesis — an incurable disease. She had the same level of understanding about this disease as she did fibromyalgia. No big deal. She not a medical doctor, a neurologist, or a gastroenterologist. It would be nice if she educated herself on gastroparesis and fibromyalgia, but she’s busy, and these diseases aren’t health problems she typically deals with. However, when attempting to explain why I’m having blurry vision and my prescription has dramatically changed, she suggested that these things could be caused by, you guessed it, the gastroparesis and fibromyalgia she knows nothing about.

What astounded me most was when she told me that she hoped I got better soon. I am used to such well-wishing by non-medical professionals. People feel the need to say “something,” so they send good thoughts my way or tell me they hope I will be better soon. However, when I’m paying doctors good money to provide me competent, educated care, I expect honesty, not meaningless well-wishing.

I’m sick, I’m tired, and I’m tired of being sick and tired.

I love Polly.

I love my six children and their spouses.

I love my thirteen grandchildren.

I love my friends.

I love watching the birds at our feeders.

I love watching wildlife stop by at night, eating whatever food scraps we have put out for them.

I love watching the feral cats frequent our yard, eating the food we put in the “cat” house for them.

I love writing for this blog.

I’ve even grown to love some of you.

Yet, no matter how much I love others and want to live another day for their sake, I’m increasingly tired. There’s no hope of better days — just better bad days. A good day is one when I don’t throw up.

Every day, and I mean EVERY day, is a struggle. The pain, nausea, and debility, never go away. There’s no “better” tomorrow for me. No miraculous healing forthcoming. I’m a pragmatist, a realist. I see things as they are, not as I wish them to be. Maybe I’ll live a year or two or even ten years. Maybe not. Maybe I will die of “natural” causes or maybe I will die by my own hand. Or maybe, I will trip over the damn cat and break my neck on the way to bathroom.

Love is what sustains me. Today, that is enough.

But, I’m tired . . .

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

32 Comments

  1. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, it breaks my heart to know how much you’re suffering. Although I have never met you, I can say that you have been a beautiful presence in my life.

    If I were in your neighborhood, you would have my shoulder–with a pillow on it.

  2. Avatar
    Sage

    It sucks when life puts you in a bad place where you can only find ways to endure. It is good that you have those people and things you love. Buddhists have one thing right, live in the present moment and make the most of that moment (ok, that might be Sage’s worldly twist to a Buddhist concept). From far away, it appears you do that in your life. This blog is an example of how you educate and stand as an ally with other people. Certainly I have learned a lot from you and others on this blog, which is due to your effort.

    Sending virtual hugs to you.

  3. Avatar
    dale m.

    Life is not crap. But it can sure hurl a lot your way. If a pain stricken atheist like you cannot be brought down by evangelicals, then the writing is on their wall. They will fall. It’s like taking a sledge hammer to the Berlin Wall. You had a pretty good swing at it. You cracked it. It’s really up to the rest of us to finally pull that thing down.

    Thank you comrade. For everything.

  4. Avatar
    William

    Bruce I feel for you. I wish there wasn’t such pain with you and the world. Please accept my apology if my words are clumsy. Thank you for continuing to write your blog.

  5. Avatar
    Obstaclechick

    Thank you, Bruce, we love you too. If magic were real, I would use it to make your pain go away. If Christianity or any other religion/magic were real, I would use it for you. Unfortunately, we here at your blog know that crap doesn’t work. Enjoy the things you enjoy, and we’ll understand if someday it’s all too much for you. Know that we love you.

  6. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Sending you a gush of love and heartache for your condition, Bruce, from the hills of B.C. This morning, hanging some more hummingbird hootch, I had the world stop for a moment as a male fluttered in to feed only a foot or so from my nose. I could feel the disturbance of air from his wing rotation and he stared at me, first with one eye, then the other, then straight on. It was the kind of wow that idoesn’t find words and is just a motionless sigh, the globe stopping there for a jot of time, the he and I on a ladder, in the air. You’d have loved that moment. He stuck his tongue out at me, tiny thing thinner than a baby hair and I could see a miniscule drop of nectar from the feeder on its tip. Then he dropped a six o’clock dive and vanished.
    Thank-you for continuing here Bruce. When the black-and-whites come to jag at you and tell you what you are now or never were, how you didn’t really get saved or do it right etc. ad nauseum (and it seems too much to bear) just look outside and tell your friends on this blog about all the colors of the world in your backyard, how life is soo sooo not black-and-white. You write so well. Thank-you for all your work.

  7. Avatar
    Kel

    Dear Bruce,

    I’ve been following your blog for a few years, but this is my first comment. I’m really really sorry that you’re hurting. I just want to say that I’m grateful for your work.

    You writings have helped me tremendously. Raised in an Evangelical/Calvinist background and suffering from the intense self-hatred and self-doubt that come with it, I find your writings perfectly encapsulate my frustration with (Evangelical) Christianity. I also love the stories you tell about Polly and your family, about the churches you pastored, about the people you know. You have such a talent for writing, and a witty sense of humour, too!

    I might not be an atheist – although I’ve moved far far away from my past zealotry – but I would definitely prefer your company over that of many callous Christians.
    Thank you, thank you Bruce.

  8. Avatar
    Troy

    It is important not to take well wishing literally. Your level of pain is beyond the ken of most people (including me), so it is reasonable they don’t know what to say.
    You’re right about not knowing how much time you have left, so I’ll take the opportunity now to say you’re one of my heroes, but even heroes pass away. In fact I’m at the age where my heroes are beginning to fade. It almost feels like I’m a metaphorical lemming on a cliff thinking whoa I’m next.
    As for me, if I knew I didn’t have much time left, rather than the courage fight against whatever terminal disease, well I’m not that courageous and I’m a pragmatist to boot, so I won’t fight but if I have the ability I’d like to do the 88 temple of the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan. Many of the elderly Japanese make it their final journey.

  9. Avatar
    Sheila Farrell Fierro

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for giving us an inside look at Evangelical ministers. Thank you for fighting the good fight and trying to make this planet a better place for our children and grandchildren. Thank you for pushing forward in spite of all of the pain. I will be forever grateful that I found your blog, I have learned much. I hope to read more, but more so, I want relief for you.

  10. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Good morning, I feel real terrible, knowing how things are for you health wise. I’m a survivor of lousy medical care myself, malpractice even. My latest HMO since Obamacare forces me to go to the med.groups in my region. Airheads like this eye doctor can be exasperating because they don’t listen to their patients ! Very discouraging at times, I know, having been there. Stress being the killer it is– I beg of you, have Polly contact your doctor, and get a referral to another eye specialist !! I’m no expert, but it sounds like LASIK should have been discussed. I’d have it done, if I could recuperate somewhere. That and other procedures I’ve had to put off. No doubt that experience wore you out. If you weren’t tired out by that you wouldn’t be human. ..That said, I want you to know that I love your blog, for how your lyrical style brings to life your personal life and experiences over the years ! First thing I do when up is look for your latest posting each morning. Your site is a great, safe place for those of us traumatized by U.S. Christianity. It helps to know I’m not alone, a malcontent who imagined it all. During the almost three years I’ve stopped by here daily, I’ve grown very fond of you and yours ! It takes major and heroic effort to do what you do. I can’t imagine life without you and your loved ones you speak of so eloquently. When I lost my closest companion I was so grateful you are here. That even unleashed some scary things in me from my Tengerist past. I NEVER wanted Bart Erhman to be right, as much as I have since that terrible,muggy July afternoon !! Reading your blog has a calming effect on me. And so, many virtual hugs from myself to you and your family. Being loved and loving others, it IS priceless ! Good morning, Polly. I hope you and Bruce will find a better eye specialist than this one, who drives Bruce nuts ! She ought to have known that both diabetes and thyroid antibodies can mess with one’s eyesight. Hypothyroidism, Hashimotos’ Disease, go undetected in most blood tests, unless one is looking to find TPO’s. These are the antibodies I have. I begged different doctors for years to have me tested for those, but because my regular blood test came in ” normal” they missed it completely. I don’t want this to happen to you ! Thyroid eye issues, dryness,etc. It often goes with fibromyalgia because immune disorders have multiple times. My stupid, conservative doctor didn’t bother to tell me about the serious complications coming with this genetic horror. I looked it all up online. If I listened to HER alone, I’d be dead by now. I’ve come close to slugging her a few times, wisely dumped her before I did, and I’m a quiet, easygoing person( usually). I looked up ” why are American doctors so horrible,?” and quite a lot of info comes up. We are near the ladder’ s bottom in quality of care, but with expense, at the very top. Explains and confirms a lot. I hope there’s a way out of this treatment maze for you and Polly soon ! Take care. Until next time……………

  11. Avatar
    Clifton Tipton

    Your “doctor” sounds useless. She isn’t a medical doctor, neurologist or gastroenterologist. What is she exactly?
    I’m sorry you’re going through these things.
    I’ve been HIV+ since the 80s, had two successive liver transplants in 2016, plus lots of otherpainful ailments. I’m feeling great now because of medical doctors and specialists.
    I love and identify very much with your experiences and your writing. I hope you’ll see a real doctor.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I have a cadre of doctors I see. I’m hard to please, so if a doctor passes the cut, he/she should feel lucky. 😂😂 Really love my primary care doctor, dermatologist, and gastroenterologist. This woman is doctor of optometry. She’s quite good at what she does, except when she pontificates on issues for which she has no training. Ordered a pair of reading glasses from Zenni Optical. Hopefully, this will fix the blurry vision. If not, I plan to get an ophthalmologist referral from my primary care doctor.

      I’m tired of doctoring, tired of specialists, tired of spending thousands of dollars every year on medical bills. But, I want to live … so there’s no time for tired. 😂😂

      • Avatar
        Emersonian

        It’s none of my business…. but yeah, if she thinks gastrointestinal disease and blurry vision are somehow related, you need a new eye doctor.

  12. Avatar
    BJW

    I’m so sorry, Bruce. I started to cry a little reading this. You’ve done a lot of good by exposing lies and cult-like behavior.

    I also really admire how much of a fighter you are. Even if you stop fighting, you’ve been an inspiration.

  13. Avatar
    thatotherjean

    I’m sorry that your health is such a mess, Bruce, and that your pain level is so high. Ignore your eye doctor, please. If she isn’t an ophthalmologist, she isn’t an MD; and if she is, neither guts nor nerves is her specialty.

    I understand being tired of doctors. I see several, more than too often, for arthritis, high blood pressure, gout, etc., etc., and take handfuls of pills, including opioids, several times a day. If I don’t, I hurt like that place with the lake of fire, and can’t walk more than a few feet. So I do what I’m told, and it helps–sometimes.

    I can’t hope that you’ll get well, obviously–but I can hope that you and your doctors find something that can help you feel better. Despite your Evangelical critics, you have a multitude of friends and well-wishers on this blog. Remember us, please, and accept our love for you, and our appreciation for what you do.

  14. Avatar
    Van

    Bruce, could well be cataracts. Go to an ophthalmologist. Get a referral from your GP if necessary. All optometrists fix is refraction.

    Speaking as a 59 y.o.male who has had 6 eye surgeries in the last 18 months, including two cataract surgeries, and number 7 coming up next month.

    Not a dr, can’t remember last time I stayed at a Holiday Inn, but have gotten more than my fair share of experience with eye issues recently.

  15. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Van–Great point. Only an opthamologist can diagnose and, if possible, treat–or recommend surgeries for–the sorts of vision issues Bruce mentions.

    Around 1975, my grandmother had laser surgery for her cataracts. Back then, it was still an experimental procedure. Her opthamologist all but said that it would be a “last ditch” effort to save her sight, and couldn’t guarantee success. The good news: It worked. The better news: The procedure has improved greatly. So have other treatments.

    By the way, my grandmother’s cataracts were related to her diabetes. I’m not a doctor of any kind, but as far as I know, diabetes doesn’t have any apparent relationship to fibromyalgia or gastroparesis.

  16. Avatar
    missimontana

    I am so sorry to hear of your suffering. All we can do is take one day at a time. I have learned much from you, and would miss you if you were gone. Take care of yourself.

  17. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    Hi Bruce,

    Both my optometrist and gastroenterologist watch my eyes due to my inflammatory bowel disease. There is a percentage of people with chronic inflammatory conditions as well as other autoimmune disorders who have problems with their eyes.

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      That’s true ! Immune disorders do affect the eyes, not just diabetes. There’s Sjogrens’ Syndrome ( dry eyes) and others that cause blurry vision, among other things. Hypothyroidism is a major cause, and my lousy doctors never warned me at all. I had to go online to find out about complications with immune issues, like LiveWell.com.

  18. Avatar
    Sarah Leitner

    Bruce

    I’d love to come up to Ohio and just be. Just sit snd be together. Better yet I really wish I knew a way to help you. I have been so tempted to give you my “solutions” but that’s not what is needed here. I really wish I could take away the pain. Stay strong Sarah

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Thanks! “Solutions” aren’t helpful. People are well-intentioned, but I am tired of unsolicited medical advice. I told my editor to remind me to not mention my health in future posts. I appreciate the support, but not the “I know how to fix what ails you” comments. I have a team of doctors and twenty-five years of personal knowledge about my medical conditions. Besides, according to one person, my blurred vision is caused by the vaccine. Never mind the fact, my vision problems predate me getting vaccinated. She’s a fucking idiot. I bring this upon myself by writing posts such as this one. I really should know better by now.

      I do, however, appreciate your concern.

      • Avatar
        Sarah

        For whatever it’s worth, I had migraines for 25 years. Took multiple changes over several years to get rid of them. It’s seldom simple. While many have said “it’s diabetes” etc, you and your doctors are smart enough to have figured it out if it was that simple. I loved how you talked at the end about love

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