Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

September 11, 2013

RAY MOSCOWITZ: He hangs tough with Alice and Will

Death knocked, he didn't answer -- twice.

His near-fatal events evolved from health problems that afflicted him starting in his early 20s while he worked at the Peru Tribune.

Acid reflux. Ulcers. Gall bladder removal at Dukes in 1997. The surgeon told him, “I don’t think this is the end of your troubles.”

The surgeon was right.

He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in November 1998. That was not surprising. There was a family history of digestive diseases — colitis, diverticulitis.

He was in remission for almost 12 years, but the disease returned with a vengeance in February 2012. He was having dinner with his wife and son in a Michigan City restaurant, enjoying a hamburger, soaked in barbecue sauce, and potato chips. Suddenly his vision blurred. He blacked out.

He regained consciousness a minute or two later on the floor. Soon EMTs were transporting him to a hospital. En route, he passed out again.	“That was the start of a long, grueling journey,” he recalls. “Crohn's … had zeroed in for the kill.”

There have been “two bowel resections and one incisional hernia procedure that stemmed from the second surgery,” he notes.

“If someone had told me then that 2012 would involve eight trips to the hospital and two surgeries, I would have replied, ‘No way. Not me. Not at 42.’ But that's precisely what happened.”

Andrew Tallackson — as popular with people he worked with and people he covered in Miami County as anyone I have seen in some 50 years of journalism — has endured it all with courage, laughter, a religious transformation, a devoted wife and a precocious little boy.

“I suppose I could be depressed by all this, but the thing is, I’m still here,” Tallackson says. “I have amazing family and friends who help me get through it, and I have my faith, which is a constant strength. When people say ‘life is too short to sweat the small stuff,’ I get it.”

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