Back To The ER?

Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the thin, saclike tissue surrounding the heart (pericardium). Pericarditis often causes sharp chest pain. The chest pain occurs when the irritated layers of the pericardium rub against each other. Pericarditis is usually mild and goes away without treatment.

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I found out yesterday that .8% of people who have cardiac ablations for irregular heart rhythms develop pericarditis. Guess who developed it. If you guessed me, you would be correct. The fact that I developed something that only .8% of people develop makes me think I should buy a lottery ticket. 🙂

The pain was intense, so off to the ER I went. The nurses were wonderful. One nurse felt I should stay overnight because she saw my discomfort but the doctor’s orders were for me to go home.

I had worship music in my spirit and prayed while I was alone in the room. Yes Jesus is always with us even in the Emergency Room.

They gave me medicine to take and it started helping. I managed to sleep last night.

Hopefully there won’t be anymore surprises for a while. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Shows He Is With Us Through Others-Surgery Update

I had my outpatient surgery yesterday and there were a few nice surprises. God showed me he was with me through others. I checked in 5am all blurry eyed and a short time later had my first surprise.

I found out Friday that one of my colleague’s mother is a nurse at the hospital. I joked with her to tell her mom to give me ice cream. The nurse who came out to bring to the waiting area to bring me to the prep area started off by asking me what kind of ice cream I wanted. She is my colleague’s mom. That started my day off with a laugh and a smile. she took great care of me.

The next one was the anesthesiologist who prepped me. I did not recognize him at first because of his mask, big glasses, and cap, He is a friend from church. It was reassuring to chat with him while he prepped me.

Jesus definitely showed he was with me through others!!!

Everything went well and I was back home about 2:30pm. That was followed by a four hour nap. Naps are part of my recovery plan, personal one not doctor’s guidelines. 🙂

I have proof cheeseburgers, fries and ice cream are healthy. I asked for them for my lunch and the hospital have me two cheeseburgers-no bun, fries and a chocolate ice cream for lunch. Therefore they must be healthy. Completely logical in my mind.

Thank you to all who prayed for me.

Surgery Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the day I will have my ablation procedure. I will check in at 5am and the procedure will happen at about 8am. It is outpatient and I should return home about noon. The procedure involves threading a catheter through an artery to the heart to burn a spot in my heart. It is supposed to stop the heart flutter I developed.

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I was not planning on taking time off from my afternoon and evening classes, but the director of the college’s ESL program encouraged me to take Monday and Tuesday off. Hopefully I won’t get bored. 🙂

I will bring my laptop bag with me with my Chromebook and iPad mini inside just in case they decide to keep me overnight. I am convinced that if I do not bring them with me, they will keep me overnight and if I do they won’t. So I will bring them with me. I am certain there is a cause effect thing in play.

So off to church this morning and then the coffee shop to meet a friend in a whirlwind of activity the day before. I am confidant Jesus will bring me through it.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Peace of God in a Crazy Day

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity with doctor stuff. The day started off with an MRI my rheumatologist wanted me to have with check in time for it at 7am. To put that in perspective, I usually wake up at 7:30 🙂 MRI machines are loud even with the earplugs in, but it was no big deal.

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Then I stopped at the school where my morning class is to do a few things. Mondays I do not teach. It is the day that we have a speaker come to share with the moms through a translator. I was there for a few hours.

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Then the big one my appointment with a cardio electro physiologist about an ablation. It looks to be a simple procedure. I will have the ablation next Monday with a check in time of 5am.

After a refreshing nap, it was time for conversation practice with a Brazilian friend.. She lived in my city for one year several years ago. She is back in Brazil, so we meet in Zoom. Yesterday I met her boyfriend while we were talking. We do entrecambio-exchange- speaking in English and also some Portugues.

The day capped off with teaching my online class for the college.

What was the common theme that wove all of that together? Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 says:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Throughout the day there was a calm in my spirit because of Jesus. Starting a day with an MRI could be an unsettling experience, but the peace of God was with me. Seeing a cardio doctor could be unsettling, but the peace of God was with me. The peace of God was with me because of Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- It Is Well by Kristene DiMarco

Seven years ago I began the experience of what I call being a pinball patient going from doctor to doctor to try to find out what was wrong. At that time, I came across this video by Kristene DiMarco-It Is Well. Since that time, I have listened to it every day and some days more than once, some days several times.

I have shared it before, but felt it would be good to share it again today. Today is a double doctor day for me. I have an MRI this morning with check in at 7am. The MRI is to determine if I have ankylosing spondylitis which is an arthritis that is in the spine. Then at 1pm I have an appointment with an cardiac electro physiologist which is a doctor who does ablations. I need one to correct my heart rhythm.

So I will start my morning, way too early, by listening to It Is Well and praying. It is a video that has blessed me, so I am sharing it in hopes it blesses you as well.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Unexpected Test This Morning

I had planned a different post for today but one phone call changed that. My cardiologist wants me to have a test before the ablation procedure. The hospital called to schedule the test. The woman I talked with suggested having it this morning, so at 9:30 off I go.

Getting to the heart of the issue, sorry couldn’t resist the pun, we are all on a temporary basis in this life. The urgent issue is whether we are reconciled with God. Have we come to Jesus?

The verse of the day on Bible Gateway yesterday was fitting. I had read it before the phone call. It was from John 14:1-3:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Jesus has a place for me in heaven already because of his grace, not because of me.

I am confident I will be around for a while longer in this life and that Jesus has much for me to do yet, but knowing Jesus has a place for us is most comforting when life throws the unexpected at us.As I thought about that truth, I remembered a song from long ago called Mansion Builder after the phone call. I am sharing it today.

My post I had planned on for today will wait for tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Question for My Doctor

Last Friday afternoon, I had a appointment with my cardiologist. I found out I was back in what he called heart flutter rhythm, which means I will have a minor procedure done in the coming weeks. It was not exactly the kind of news one wants to receive two days before Christmas, but at least as my cardiologist said, it is the best problem to have with the heart because it is easy to fix.

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My appointment finished in time for me to make it to the Ukrainian church to teach English for refugees. We had a good time together My plan was to go home after the class, but I found out that the children and youth of my friends in my class were singing in a Christmas program that evening, so I stayed to listen. It was a blessing to listen to them sing especially considering their children had just fled the war with them only a month or months ago.

Back to my appointment and a question I had when he told me I would need a procedure. My first question was about recovery time. I told him, “my concern about recovery time is how long it will take because I am helping Ukrainian refugees and need to know how long I would be away from them.” My concern was more about my Ukrainian friends and friends from other countries than it was about me. I was relieved when he told me I would be back to work a few days after the procedure.

Anytime I find out something medical that is one of my first thoughts. How will this affect the people Jesus has called me to serve?

Living with chronic illness has meant needing to make adjustments. Some are easy such as letting my friends from other countries know about my need to gluten free foods. Some are a hassle for me personally but do not affect them such as which day I inject my once a week medication knowing the next day will be low energy day for me. That has been my reality for many years. That is why one of my first questions was how long will the recovery time be.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When We Struggle in Life-Doubt

Terri of diaryofaquadraplegic.com shared a post yesterday-God with Us. In her post she shared about her recent health struggles. We commented back and forth a little about doubt, which prompted my post today.

When we are weakened by a health struggle or a severe trial, we can tend to get down on ourselves for having doubt. It does not help when we hear things like doubt is the opposite of faith. As someone who has lived with chronic illness for thirty years and has had my own shares of struggles, I want to share a few reflections that I find encouraging.

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When John the Baptist was in jail and knew he faced execution by King Herod for calling King Herod out on his sin, he sent word to Jesus. John wanted reassurance. He sent word to Jesus in Matthew 11:2-3:

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

John was in a dire situation. He has was jail and knew he would soon die. He had doubt and wanted to be reassured. He had spent quite a bit of time calling people to repent to be ready for the kingdom. John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God and as the one whose sandals he was not fit to tie. John is the one who because of his testimony, some of his own disciples went to follow Jesus and yet in his dire situation John want reassurance.

How did Jesus respond? Did he rebuke John for doubt? Did he give a an empty cliche?

Jesus responded by giving John the proof that would strengthen John in his faith in Matthew 11:

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

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When we struggle because of illness, a terrible trial, it is what we do with our doubt that matters not whether we have doubt. If we look to Jesus within our doubt, within our suffering, he responds as our Sympathetic High Priest just as he did for John the Baptist. Jesus knew the situation John was in and gave John what he needed. We do well to remember the words of Hebrews 4:14-16:

 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When we struggle, when we doubt, when we are overwhelmed, let us come to Jesus to receive grace and mercy in our time of need.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Tug of War of Living with Chronic Illness

Living with a chronic illness means experiencing the ups and downs of it sometimes in one day. I can be fairly okay one day and the next day is a struggle. Add to that the fact that my personality is such that I do not want to give into it and do not want let it hold me back and the result is the pull of two sides one being accept it and adjust and the other being no way I will overcome it.

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Case in point is the temporary parking placard my doctor wanted me to have so I can use handicapped parking when needed. Upon receiving it, it sat there in my car not being used at all for two months. I know the stores I go to and the times to go, so the parking spot next to the handicapped spot is empty.

But last week in the midst of a flare up that caused me to have pain shooting down both legs from my back, I finally used it. I parked in a handicapped spot feeling defeated by doing so.

Since the first autoimmune problem hit in 1993, I have lived with a theme of I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. When someone would suggest perhaps I could not do something, I would stand on that verse from Philippians 4. Jesus has blessed me with eleven mission trips to other countries since 1997 for one example of Christ giving me strength.

Add in the fact that I tend to have an adventuresome spirit and it kind of complicates things even more. We had a large snow in parts of my state, but my city won’t have much. I was kind of hoping we would just so I could see how my small SUV does in the snow. As I work on finishing my book Jesus Understands Trauma, my hope is to travel to Brazil and Mexico to speak in churches.

But then there is that placard to handicapped parking that is in my car that I finally used last week. That is the push/pull of the two sides of me. This leaves me thinking it would be good to have Jesus return soon.

Such is life with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Nurses-Wonderful Nurses

Several months ago I shared a post I Love Nurses. My recent hospital stay a few weeks ago highlighted for me why I love nurses. They are awesome.

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My nurses were the ones who took time to explain things for me step by step including the cardioversion I had. They were the ones who checked on me frequently. They were the ones who listened to my concerns. They were the ones who brought me chocolate ice cream.

The three nurses I had were also the ones who laughed at my jokes. Perhaps only to humor me. 🙂

Nurses help me feel calm. Doctors make my blood pressure go up.

Whenever I go a doctor, I enjoy talking with the nurses as they go over my medications and reason for my appointment.

So this short post of mine is a shout out to nurses. You are awesome. As a person who lives with chronic illnesses, my appreciation for nurses is high.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.