Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Eve Experience

This Journal has sure taken some interesting avenues over the last couple of years! The aspect I love is having the ability to digitally pen my thoughts and experiences and know that at the click of a button a message is broadcast to a wide audience. What a resource this is...

2007 is about to end, and for many this has been a year action packed with adventure of some sort.

I would like to share one such adventure that has been interesting, challenging and sometimes disconcerting. After returning home from Dad's funeral in May everything was going good, until June 22nd. Driving home from the office with Nancy and Tammy I suddenly felt a weird sensation as if I was going to black out. Arriving home, I felt disoriented, dizzy, and fatigued...lay down for a few hours and tried to figure out what had just happened. Tuesday, I still wasn't feeling right, so Nancy made an appointment for me to see the Doctor. I explained what had happened the previous Friday, and he immediately ran an ECG which revealed an irregular pattern. He looked at it for a short while, and then looked at me and said "...I think you have had a heart attack, for your safety I am calling 9-1-1 immediately and sending you off to the ER for further evaluation" ~ I sure was surprised at his urgency. Within minutes I heard sirens blaring, and soon I was on my way to the ER strapped to the gurney. Further tests were done, blood work processed and shortly after I was discharged. Had I experienced a heart attack? According to the ER physician - no. According to my Doctor - yes. This began to play on my mind, and all the while the constant dizziness, nausea and fatigue was not leaving, and I lost an incredible 35lbs!

For the next six weeks, I began to progressively feel worse, losing my appetite, constantly fatigued, and plagued with extreme nausea that kept me in the bathroom constantly. I would go to sleep and barely be able to get out of bed in the morning - being a morning person, this seemed out of the ordinary for me. Nancy and I would arrive at the office, and within 15 minutes I would be laying on the floor at the back of the shop wrapped in a sleeping bag fast asleep for hours at a time. This carried on for a few weeks, until August 15th, 9.30am ~ I stood up from my desk, and felt an incredible heavy sensation across my chest, followed by an extreme lightheaded feeling and immense uncontrolled shaking. It was intense to the point that I told Nancy to call 9-1-1. A second trip to the ER resulted in me spending a week in the intermediate care unit. The symptoms that were being experienced pushed the doctors to run various tests to establish diagnosis. In four days I had 5 MRI scans of my brain, neck, spinal cord, and chest. Attention shifted to my heart, and I underwent a stress test, echocardiogram, carotid ultrasound, nuclear thalium test of the heart and extensive blood work. Everything was coming back negative, apart from the ECG which showed an arrythmia (irregular heart beat), and some lesions that were found in my brain. The Neurologist continued her evaluation and hinted that the two lesions found in my brain were symptomatic of MS (Multiple Scleroris). A further MRI is scheduled in a couple of months.

Attention then shifted to the arrythmia, and after three months of different medications the Cardiologist indicated that medication was not compensating enough to rid my heart of the irregular beating. After running further tests and ECG she accelerated a referral to an Electrophysioligst/Surgeon at Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego. I saw this Specialist on December 7th, and after yet another ECG he took one look at it, and indicated that I was a perfect candidate for a "Cardiac Catheter Ablation". This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where catheters are inserted into the groin - femoral artery, and the neck, these catheters are then moved into the heart through the aorta and a 3D image is generated on a screen. This 3D mapping image locates the arrythmia, and once the surgeon has moved the catheters into the exact position of the faulty electrical passage, an electrical charge is delivered to the area, burning the fault, thus eliminating the problem. The procedure today has a 85% success rate ~ 10 years ago this procedure involved open heart surgery. If you would like to read more about this procedure here is the link: Cardiac Catheter Ablation.

The procedure has been scheduled for Christmas Eve, Monday December 24th! I am checking in to Hospital on Monday morning at 5:30am and the procedure will begin at 7:30am. This is a long procedure and will take as long as 6 hours. I will be monitored for another 6 hours, and will probably be allowed to return home on Christmas Day.

You know, when things like this happen they grab your attention. In my mind I have been concerned and have had a million questions to ask. Why me? How did this come to be? I thought I was healthy? The mind is an amazing tool. It can run wild, or stand still and do nothing. I have discovered that perfect peace lies in the knowledge of knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and that whilst we journey through our mortal lives here, a greater destiny awaits, and many challenges have to be confronted and dealt with ~ the good news is we don't have to do it alone. There is no doubt in my heart and mind that the Lord is in control. It isn't for us to ask why...but can I share with others what the Lord has chosen to do in my life through circumstances that are seemingly beyond my human control? Can what I experience, if I step out and testify ~ help someone else in greater need than I?

I am guessing that many of you will be surprised at this post, and wonder why I haven't said anything earlier. Let me be real for a moment...sometimes we face situations that for a season we have to walk through, we have to navigate them selfishly with the Lord, until His perfect peace is instilled in that perfect moment, and for me that moment is here, and now. So I have the freedom to share my experience with you now. It is much like being one of those little sheep on the ledge awaiting deliverance. And so if you read the previous posts you will discover the method in my madness...I share what I feel is appropriate in "real life experiences", and relate the reality and knowledge of the Lord being our deliverer from life's trials and tribulations.

May this Christmas Day be filled with peace, blessing and love for you all. An update will be posted following my return home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Having a "sheep moment"...?

I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!
Jonah 2:6

Sometimes we have to experience the feeling of death before we can know the freedom of life. In a spiritual sense we have to give up before we can be raised up. When we realize there’s nothing more we can do, then God can intervene and save us. When Jonah gave up the hope of surviving, God intervened and saved him. Jonah had to die to his own desires before he could live.

In the highlands of Scotland, sheep often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they can’t get out of. The grass on these mountains tastes very sweet, and the sheep like it. They will jump down ten or twelve feet to a ledge with a patch of grass, and then they can’t jump back up again. The shepherd hears them bleating in distress. The shepherd may leave them there for days, until they have eaten all the grass and are so faint that they cannot stand. Only then will the shepherd put a rope around the sheep and pull them up out of the jaws of death.

Why doesn’t the shepherd attempt a rescue when the sheep first get into the predicament? The sheep are so foolish and so focused on eating that they would dash away from the shepherd, go over the precipice and destroy themselves.

Such was the case with Jonah. And such is the case with us. Sometimes we need to experience a little bit of death before we can enjoy the abundance of life. The Lord will rescue us the moment we have given up trying, realizing that we can’t liberate ourselves, and cry to him for help.

And at that moment God does something miraculous. He offers a gift - a gift of grace and mercy. Just like salvation came to Jonah, rescue will come to us.

This is such a blessing, knowing that as often we face situations and think there is no escape, the Lord is all the more ready to rescue us in our folly. His grace and mercy are truly everlasting...