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10 Years...and I'm Still Here (Part 1)

DAY ONE: Friday, April 5, 2013

It's a day I desperately want to forget, but one that still haunts me to this day. A day that would stretch and warp until, before I knew it, ten years had passed.

Before that day, I was convinced I was invincible. Don't we all when we are young? It never occurred to me that the health issues that plagued my family were part of me, too. Those defects, genes, whatever you want to call them, were festering within my own body and the signs, although slight, were there. I ignored them. Instead of maintaining my body in a healthy way, I waited until it broke to fix it, and it was almost too late.

I awoke from my slumber like any other morning. Showered, dressed, ate breakfast, drove to work—all happening as usual. What I didn't realize was that for months or years prior, something sinister had been brewing inside of me. Like a sinister creature from your deepest nightmare, something unseen began its transformation.

I'd always been passionate about food, and enjoyed cooking it as much as eating it. As a cook, I'd always been taught the importance of disposing of grease properly. Grease builds up in your pipes over time and eventually clogs them so badly that waste has nowhere to run and can lead to overflows. It's a lesson I should have applied to my own body long ago.

Like a clogged drain, the years of processed foods and nutritional neglect had taken their toll on my body. Grease coated the inside of my veins like glue, clogging them until the life-giving flow of oxygen was hindered from reaching its vital destination. With each day, more and more plaque accrued in my blood vessels while I remained oblivious to this impending catastrophe.

All it took was one Friday in 2013 for the years of neglect to come crashing down on me. Unbeknownst to me at the time, both sides of my family were cursed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease—all working together to deprive my heart of life-giving oxygen. My body had become nothing but a ticking time bomb. It's funny how the Lord works, and in this situation, looking back at it all these years later, I believe it was the Lord giving me a wake-up call. What's finnier...I asked for it.

During the early months of 2012, I began writing the manuscript for my first publication, a memoir called I Am Nobody. My intention in writing my life story wasn't because my life is any more special than any other life. In fact, I hold no celebrity status—not then and certainly not now and I am anything but special to anyone outside my little sphere of influence. No, my reasons behind writing it was to connect with people and let them know that we are nothing without Christ in our lives—but with Him, we have value.

However, just as accepting Christ into our hearts changes us, so do other events in our life. I call them Life-Changers. We all experience those moments during our lifetime: the sudden passing of a loved one, the loss of a family pet, our first car, the first time tasting raw honeysuckle—all of these Life-Changers impact us more than we realise and make us think differently about life. Sadly, these life-changers can be either positive or negative, but in any case, we'll never be the same again.

This is what I wanted to convey in my book—the fact that we change and that the events in our life help us turn those changes into a positive or negative impact. It's up to us to choose. So, the book is basically about all the moments in my life that prompted changes within myself. I wanted to record them in the hopes that someone might be able to relate to my story.

The end of 2012 rapidly approached, yet I found myself stranded at a dead-end with my book. No matter how hard I tried, I felt as though the ending was missing something—some keystone that could tie everything together and leave an everlasting impression on the reader.

In this early version, the book ended with two miracles I'd witnessed. While seeing these changed me, the biggest changes came to the two individuals it happened to. In other words, while I was a secondary participant to what I witnessed, neither event impacted me in a way that justified the conclusion of this portion of my story.

So what did I do? I prayed. I asked God to give me a conclusion to the book that would be worthy—something to tug at the reader's heart-strings.

Little did I know that his answer to my prayer would be quite literal.

That Friday work-morning, like the beginning of the day, went by normally. Several of us used Friday lunches as an excuse to get out of the office and go out to eat—that Friday was no different. One of our favorite haunts was a local Mexican food place just up the road. I ordered a quesadilla with an extra side of sour cream and while I could tell nothing was out of the ordinary then, within a couple of hours, I had a mental certainty that the sour cream was spoiled.

My stomach was in knots, and the beginnings of a migraine gnawed at the inside of my head. Within an hour of arriving back to work after lunch, I had no choice but to rush home, desperate for my peaceful, dark bedroom to make it through the pain without throwing up. After sleeping most of the afternoon, I woke up feeling better, but not completely refreshed.

I was captain for a mixed team, and on that particular weekend, we had a tournament scheduled. Still, I was well enough to go outside and practice tennis with my mixed teammates. The last thing we needed was for me to get sick and be unable to play. Practice went well and besides feeling tired and drained, at least the pain in my head had abated, even if the stomach pain hadn't. In fact, what I thought was heartburn in the upper area of my stomach began to sharpen.

Throughout the night and early Saturday morning, the heartburn almost dissipated completely. Good thing, too...I was scheduled to play our first match the next morning.

It would be a tennis match that would profoundly change me forever... be continued in: 10 Years...and I'm Still Here (Part II)

About the Author

Christopher J. Thomasson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1972. At the age of two, his family permanently settled in the piney woods of East Texas. He discovered a love for reading and writing at a very young age and until the mid-2010's he only ever wrote for himself, his family, and his closest friends.

He currently lives in Smith County, Texas with his beautiful wife Debra. They have two children, Camron and Megan; and four grandchildren; Braydon, Cheyenne, Brooklynn, and Wyatt Christopher.

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