Monday, July 30, 2007

under consideration

Church yesterday was interesting. Our pastor is challenging us to consider starting our own ministry. Not a church or even necessarily a big thing... just to find something that interests you and where God can work through you.

Some of the things he mentioned were to:

Start with praying about what that thing might be.

Don't get ahead of God in what or how he wants to do this.

Talk with others to get feedback on your idea.

Organize and plan.

Consider the cost of what you are wanting to do... not just the money, even though that is important. But also the time and energy needed to continue the ministry.

So as our pastor is talking yesterday, all I can think is how to bring my quilting into ministry. I know that it's possible to do... there is a great ministry out there already called Prayers and Squares.

Ministry for me would be to start a Prayers and Squares Chapter at my church... if God and I can come to terms with a few things like time and money!

...may there be mercy as I prayerfully consider how to minister.

Friday, July 27, 2007

all better!

Seems like that nasty staph infection in my leg is all gone, so yay!

Freaky MVP episodes will do what they will do... so "whatever!"

I'm feeling pretty darn good after a couple nights of solid and wonderful sleep.

Going to spend the weekend with my sweet husband and just enjoy feeling good.

...may there be mercy and enjoyment in each other.

Monday, July 23, 2007

freaky things

Some days I wonder about this crazy body of mine. It works just well enough to keep me going, but does freaky things periodically. As evidenced by my last few blogs about health issues, now is apparently one of those times.

While my leg has been healing from the staph infection, my doc told me that I had to go back if I was not 100% today. Having residual redness and a little tenderness this morning, that equates not being 100%. Went back and the doc says that while the "blush" color may take a little time to go away, the tenderness requires a few more days of antibiotics. Easy treatment, so that's good.

While I was there, we had a good discussion about all my heart testing and results. My test results show that my heart is doing well. The mitral valve is apparently acting up a little bit, so we'll watch that. It is not even close to a stage requiring surgery... and I really don't want to take medications yet, so he agreed with me to let it be a watch and wait time.

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) can sometimes cycle into play and cycle right back out again. That has happened before, although never before to the level of symptoms as in this go round.

...may there be mercy and this cycle settle back down quickly!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

what's your bra size?

So... I'm guessing you are already wondering why I am asking the bra size question. We'll get to it shortly!

Yesterday I did the first portion of the Sestamibi test. And yes, the exercise portion actually DOES get a person to the seventh level of hell where they inect said person with glow-in-the-dark juice and then make same said person continue exercising for a full minute.

It was not fun and if you know me, you know that I really, really like the fun part and really, really hate the exercise part.

The funniest part of the entire day was walking into the treadmill test room and having the tech ask me my bra size. Yep, they gotta know bra size in order to know how much density the camera has to read before getting to the heart... so I told her it was a negative A and that my bra fits better when worn backward. She cracked up.

The technology for the pictures of the heart is pretty cool. Too bad I couldn't see anything since the screen was directly above my head.

Today I went back for the resting portion of the pictures. Don't eat for 4 hours, go have them inject more glow-in-the-dark juice (this time in the other arm so I now have a matching set of bruises), now I am instructed not only to eat, but to eat fatty food. Okay this part cracked me up royally. Doctor's orders to go eat a hamburger and fries or candy bar or ice cream. Right on!! Can I get this doctor for my regular doc?? Oh... that's why I had to lose 50 pounds before. Never mind. Anyway, apparently the fat makes the glow-in-the-dark juice go to the correct places in the body and avoid others. Interesting stuff.

Don't know anything yet because these guys had really good poker faces. Guess I'll have to wait until next Wednesday for my results.

While I am waiting for those results, I continue to keep my leg propped up everywhere I go. The staph infection is healing, but slowly. It's a pain in the backside to keep it propped up at work, (went back to work yesterday afternoon) but there are folks who are willing to be Step-n-Fetchit for me. And it makes my boss happy that I am there, so that's a good thing.

Now to have this dang thig healed up completely would be way cool.

My doctor put the fear of all things into me when he diagnosed this infection. He actually told me that if things go bad, they will be exceedingly bad. The "least" bad thing is that I could lose my leg. The worst bad thing is that I could end up like my precious big brother and have septicimia and/or endocarditis. The thought of any of those things is truly keeping me on the straight and narrow where this is concerned.

In all of this keeping my leg elevated and not being able to run around like I want to do, I have to admit being grateful for several people.

My co-worker who keeps coming by to see if I need anything picked up and brought to me or delivered to anyone in the office.

My dear friends who have been sending cards and making calls to keep me cheerful.

My lovely father-in-law who runs errands for me.

My sweet husband who has been waiting on me at home.

...may there be mercy for healing and blessings on those who have given me the gift of the sacrifice of service.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

healing takes time

Well... there is definite progress on the healing so far. The 2 spots on my leg have shown significant reduction in size, which tells me that this process of antibiotics and elevation are working.

Of course I want it to work instantaneously!

And I was told early this morning that the sestamibi stress test is still on after all.

So I'm sitting here with no caffeine in my system... no chocolate to comfort me... leg elevated... trying to type on a laptop... backspacing like crazy because of the typos... and wishing the exercise part was done.

Since there is some pain in this leg, I'm really not looking forward to the exercise part tomorrow.

Oh well. Must be done, so it will be.

...may there be mercy and some answers in the next few days.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Sestamibi test gets put on hold while I heal up from a staph infection in my leg. UGH!!!

Currently stuck on the sofa with my leg elevated for the next several days. Big gun antibiotics on board.

Boredom factors likely to be very high, very soon.

...may there be mercy and quick healing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

testing... testing...

Yep, just like I thought, more testing next week. Will be doing a 2-day Exercise Sestamibi test on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

When I called to talk to the Nuclear Medicine folk, they were impressed at how well I could pronounce that Ses-tah-mee-bee word. :-) They were also fun to chat with and calmed my concerns about potential allergic reactions to the dye they will use on me. Having had normal IV contrast dye almost kill me, understandably it is of concern! Thankfully this has no iodine in it and apparently is not an allergy issue.

From what I have been told...

... I get injected with some freaky radioactive dye... eeeuuuuwwwwwww, it's glow in the dark time!!!

... they exercise the living heck out of me... ugh! I truly despise exercise!

... they don't let me eat first... ugh!! I get crabby when I don't get my breakfast!

... they do NOT allow me my coffee or tea or any kind of caffeine for a minimum of 24 hours prior to the test... not even a smidge of chocolate to comfort me in my time of need... YIKES!!! Cruel and unusual punishment!!!

All kidding aside, the reality is that the hardest part for me will be the lack of caffeine. Anticipating a big headache, which is typical for me any time I miss my morning coffee.

Test is fairly straightforward and simple. Show up in non-caffeinated mode, wearing comfy clothing and sneakers, get an IV started, take pictures of the heart, make me do a boatload of ding-dang exercise which I hate, continue that ding-dang exercise until I drop, add more weird stuff into the IV and make me exercise for yet an additional one minute even though I will be past the 7th level of hell by then, stop suddenly without a cool down period and take more pictures of the heart.

After all that, they send me on my merry way (hahahahaha! who's gonna be merry at this point?!) and off I go to work. Feel sorry for my coworkers. Feel very, very sorry for them because I don't think I get to have my coffee at this point... I don't think I get my coffee until after I go back on Thursday. Yep, feel very, very sorry for my coworkers. But at this point I can eat. Thank God for small favors, eh?

Thursday I'll go back and they will take another series of pictures of the heart. Results a week later.

So... are we having fun yet???

...may there be mercy and the crabbies be held at bay.

Friday, July 06, 2007

zero to 165 in no time

Guess I should start with the "I'm okay" part first.

I am okay!!

I've been debating for a few weeks (while feeling really crappy most of that time) whether to write about health issues yet again. The debate continues in my mind, but I've decided to go ahead and write about what's been happening... mostly because this is the easiest way to express my feelings while also updating those who read my blog and pray for me.

So... health... um, yeah.. that thing.

Over the last year, I've been ignoring some symptoms that I probably should not have ignored. But when a person has had chronic illness, she gets tired of doctors blowing her off and attributing symptoms to stress or being mid-40's or whatever because they are busy and don't want to take the time to figure out what is going on.

Oh. The symptoms... pounding and racing heartbeat, pressure in the chest, sometimes accompanied by chest pain, always accompanied by shortness of breath, sometimes ache and/or pain down the arms, sometimes dizziness... yes, I know, all classic symptoms of a heart attack.

Don't ask why I waited so long to get it checked out. I just did. Not one of my best moves, but there it is.

Since the symptoms were becoming more frequent... and more intense... I finally said something to my doctor when I went for my physical in June. Believe me, it got his attention!

He set me up with the Arrythmia Clinic here in town, and a handy little device called a Heart Card which is extremely cool technology.

A patient experiencing "cardiac events" will carry this Heart Card for up to one month. It's the size of a credit card. Carried in your pocket or purse. When I get these events, I place the Heart Card against my skin in the center of my chest and push the "record" button.

BEEP... BEEP... BEEEP... BEEEEEEP... yep, it was kinda loud for the 30 seconds that it recorded. And yes, it was a little, tiny EKG machine that I carried in my pocket. Cool technology!

The Heart Card holds up to 3 event recordings. When you've got a couple, then you call into the Arrythmia Clinic... they push a few buttons to connect the phone with their computer... and I push the "send" button on the Heart Card while holding the phone to the card.

Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep!!! right back into their computer, where they can tell me immediately what's been happening. Waaaaaay cool technology!

The upshot is that I carryed that Heart Card around for about 18 days and got some good recordings... which show that I've got some atrial tachycardia going on. (and that there is a heart in there... I am not the heartless wretch that some might believe!)

From what I've been able to research about atrial tachycardia, that means that from what should be a simple resting heart rate of 60-80 beats per minute, the heart rate shoots up for no good reason... up above 100... and mine shoots up frequently into the range of 145-170 beats per minute. Usually when doing something very simple like putting on my makeup before work... which is not a stressful thing to do!

The events are not horrible, but they are unpleasant and leave me fatigued or exhausted, depending on how high my heart rate goes.

What does all this mean for me?

The obvious is that this means we have to find out what is causing these atrial tachycardia events. In the research I've done so far, one of the major culprits is Mitral Valve Prolapse. (MVP - normally a fairly benign condition that many folk have... the mitral valve in the heart is not functioning exactly as it should, but usually does not cause problems ever)

Yep, we've known for many years that I have MVP. When it was diagnosed years ago, they told me that I could either act like a cardiac patient or I could treat it like a nuisance and get on with enjoying life. I decided to go with the nuisance option. Cut back on caffeine, take antibiotics prior to dental appointments, and get on with enjoying my life.

If the mitral valve is the source of the atrial tachycardia, then it needs to be managed. What I've found so far is that there are about 4 treatment options.

1. Medication
2. Mitral valve repair
3. Mitral valve replacement
4. Pacemaker

Since I've only just turned in the Heart Card yesterday, and my follow up doctor appointment is set for next Wednesday, I don't know what the actual cause is. But I do suspect the mitral valve as the obvious culprit.

There are several potential next steps in determining the cause of the atrial tachycardia. Most likely scenario is an Echocardiogram... an ultrasound of the heart. Had one of those years ago. It was cool to watch my own heart beating on the TV screen in the exam room.

At this point, we wait until Wednesday to find out what the next step will be. I get these events too frequently for them to be ignored completely.

All medical jargon and clinical attitude aside, while I am concerned about my heart... I am not afraid right now. I think that it's because I'm not looking very far into the future and scaring myself with the "what if's".

Mostly because I'm leaning heavily on my Heavenly Father for today's needs only and not looking with fear at tomorrow's unknown.

I've been told by medical professionals that these events are not heart attacks and I trust their knowledge.

I've been told by my Heavenly Father that I can lean on him today and trust him for tomorrow's needs.

I like that plan.

...may there be mercy and peace as we wait.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

still alive

lots happening here... back soon.

...may there be mercy on our days.