A couple weeks ago I wrote about our daughter, Rachel. You can read that blog by clicking on this link. I talked about how Rachel has been experiencing sudden changes in her heart rate and about the struggles we were facing in trying to assess what his going on. I also mentioned that we would be taking her to a pediatric cardiologist in St Louis, Mo to learn more information. I realized that some readers may have read that blog and wondered about what has happened since. I am happy to say that things are looking good so far.
Last Wednesday we took Rachel to a pediatric cardiologist who works for Children’s Hospital in St Louis. We were extremely nervous to say the least. They ran an EKG and then had us wait for the doctor. When the doctor came in she asked us to explain our story. She wanted to know why we had brought Rachel to her. We were not certain what she meant because it was as if she really didn’t know why we were there. My wife, Julie, began explaining that our daughter’s heart was racing one day while she was sitting and she came and said, “Mommy, my hear is beeping.” Julie chuckled and said, “I know she meant to say ‘beating.’” The doctor stopped Julie and replied, “No, she meant beeping.” She then opened the door and asked the nurse to get a looping heart monitor. Julie and I continued filling the doctor in on the rest of the story.
After we finished the doctor pulled out the charts from when Rachel had previously worn a 24 hour heart monitor. She explained that she was confused as to why we had come in because there were no abnormalities on the readout from the heart monitor. This confused us because our pediatrician had informed us that there were several episodes on the same results. The doctor explained that there were some peaks but they were consistent with Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia. This is a naturally occurring variation due to breathing. She said that our explanation of what had been taking place did make her think that there is something else going on. She said that the main clue was that Rachel said, “My heart is beeping.” She explained that children of different genders, ethnicities and ages will often use the word ‘beeping’ to communicate a heart abnormality. They know something is out of whack and for some reason that change in their hearts feels like a beep.
The doctor explained that she does think something is going on, but she assured us that it is not a life threatening condition. She informed us that it might be a condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia or SVT. She drew a chart out for us and explained that it is a condition where the heart suddenly speeds up. She explained that it is often due to an extra valve and that the valve can cause the heart to circulate the blood rapidly at times.
She told us that this condition is not life threatening. She then told us that once it is diagnosed, we will have three options: do nothing, put Rachel on mediation or have a minor procedure done to correct the problem. To properly diagnose the condition, the doctor put Rachel on a looping monitor for 30 days. Whenever she has an episode we are to push a record button and then send a signal to the doctor’s office by phone.
This is really all we know at this point, but I will do my best to keep my readers informed of any updates later on. Have a blessed day.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
I wrote today’s blog entry yesterday and planned to not pen anything new today. I feel, however, as though I NEED to write today. This isn’t going to be my normal cleaned up and well written blog. It’s going to be rough around the edges and raw.
I have been going through a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs lately. As many people know I published my first book and that has brought much excitement to our family. We also recently took our first family trip to Disney World and created wonderful memories. I’ve had so many emotional highs lately that I forgot what it feels like to be down.
Welcome to planet earth. Just like the roller coasters as Disney, life has highs and lows.
When we returned from Disney we focused our attention on our daughter, Rachel. Rachel is a five-year-old who is full of life and always overflowing with energy. We have two children, Caleb – age eight – and Rachel. Caleb is the oldest and often reminds Rachel of that fact. She has always been unwilling to accept that she is younger and it’s almost as though her determination to be like her older brother has propelled her to grow at a fast rate. Our children are three years apart, however, when we run into parents of twins, they almost always ask if our children are twins. Rachel is almost the same height as her older brother and they have the same blonde hair. We always chuckle a little and then explain that they are three years apart but Rachel is tall for her age.
Prior to our Disney vacation, Rachel complained about her heart racing. We took it very seriously because she had not been playing when it happened. She stayed a week with my parents – my mother is a nurse – and it happened again. We made plans to call our pediatrician after returning from vacation. Rachel never complained about her heart while at Disney so I am not sure if it didn’t race while on the trip or if she was just having too much fun to notice. After we returned, it happened again. My wife, Julie, promptly called the pediatrician and they had her bring Rachel in that day. The doctor listened to Rachel’s heart beat and informed Julie that it was irregular even at a resting beat. He said it was no reason to be alarmed but we needed to have her wear a heart monitor to get a better diagnosis. She wore the monitor, the results were sent to Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis. Yesterday our pediatrician informed us that there are irregularities in Rachel’s heartbeat and that we need to take her to Cardinal Glennon to see a pediatric cardiologist.
This has been a stressful process to say the least. I sheltered you from all the details that added to the drama, but please know that it has not been an easy process. We are currently at a place where we wrestle with the obscurity of what we really know. This may be a small complication and may even disappear. Not knowing what we are up against is frustrating to say the least. In the midst of all our struggles, there has been comfort. God has given us strength and comfort and he has also put others in our lives to help us through this situation. We are discovering a bounty of friends, family and even strangers who have faced similar trials. We had a god-daughter who has been on a heart monitor in the past and she is now a teenager who lives an active, fulfilling life. We have friends who either personally have experienced issues with their hearts or who have close family that has been through a similar situation. We have been told about heart murmurs, holes in hearts, and supraventricular tachycardia. We have also talked with other friends who have children that have faced other medical difficulties. Many people have indicated that they are praying for us. It has been a crazy experience.
I do have faith in God and I believe that He is a healer and will work this situation out for the best. I already see the good in the fact that we are meeting a community of others who know what we are going through. I totally believe in having compassion but am becoming more aware of the fact that you can’t really understand something until you experience it firsthand. We have watched friends face trials with their children and we were concerned, but I now know that we did not comprehend what they were going through as parents.
Julie and I hope to soon know why Rachel is experiencing heart arrhythmias and then we can better understand what we are up against. Until then, we are just wrestling with the uncertainty of what comes next. Please keep our family in your prayers and feel free to leave prayer requests of your own in the comments section. - Tim
I do have an announcement about the remainder of the week. I will be celebrating the 4th of July with family and friends tomorrow and will not be posting a blog. For those of you in the USA – enjoy your independence.
I am also excited to announce that my friend Courtney Hill will be taking over Thursdays as a regular guest blogger. Read the blog on Thursday and see what he has to say. Until next time, have a great day! - Tim
This morning I was listening to the radio on my way to work. It seems they have been talking quite a bit about a drug known as ‘bath salts’ recently. I have heard enough about this drug to learn that people who are addicted to meth warn others to stay away from it. Apparently it is extremely difficult to regulate and legal companies have been selling it on their shelves. They listed the stores that carry it as primarily convenience and porn stores. Illinois has recently cracked down by placing very strict punishment on those stores that carry the substances. The new law imposes large fines and jail time on any store owner convicted of selling the drugs widely known as ‘bath salts.’
While I am totally in favor of imposing laws that reprimand those who sell these destructive substances to the general public, I think legislators often miss the point. It seems that the majority of laws look at the ‘how’ but totally ignore the ‘why.’
It seems that we often don’t ask why people want to destroy their lives by giving themselves over an addictive substances. If we better understood the ‘why’ we may find a more useful ‘how.’ We restrict one addictive substance and people seem to look a more dangerous drug. We outlaw that drug and those same people find an even more harmful material. The cycle just continues. One thing that seems too often overlooked is the power of the human will. If a person desires and is addicted to a drug, they will often do whatever it takes to get that drug. They will turn into thieves or even murderers to obtain that one thing that they so greatly desire. We seem to never ask why they desire it so greatly. I think if we could do a better job of understanding why people turn to drugs in the first place, we may be better prepared to help keep that destructive behavior from ever starting. Instead we just outlaw it.
Blaise Pascal is quoted as saying, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” I agree with this statement. I believe we all are born with a void inside, a ‘God shaped vacuum.’ We just don’t feel complete, it’s as though a major piece is missing from our lives. People try to fill this void with everything from pleasure to fame. It can only be filled by God, but we try to fill it with other stuff just the same. I think this is a big part of why many people use drugs. They are unwilling to accept God’s forgiveness and turn to chemicals to fill that void. The drugs make them feel good, at least temporarily. Once the drugs wear off, they want more in order to get that feeling of escape. They ultimately end up destroying their own lives and leave a huge mess in their wake.
You may or may not agree with my theory and that’s okay. I do pose one question to you, however. Don’t you feel that it is important to first understand why so many people turn to drugs before attempting to learn how to make them stop?
I am typically the type of person who can respect another person’s view on an issue I feel strongly about. I live by the ‘agree to disagree’ motto. I may be passionate about a particular topic but understand that someone else may be equally passionate on the opposing side. I most often try to understand things from multiple perspectives. There are some issues, however, that I stand my ground on; some mountaintops on which I will die defending. Examples include my views on rape, kidnapping, abuse, slavery, torture, murder and abortion. If someone tries to convince me that rape or kidnapping are acceptable due to the fact that the assailant also has rights, I will vehemently argue. I will not back down nor be convinced that kidnapping and rape are either acceptable or tolerable in any society. I think the majority of people reading my post will agree with that statement or at least I hope they do.
For some people this list seems out of whack. They agree with my statement with one exception: abortion. I’m uncertain how we in the United States of America ever allowed ourselves to get to this point but many don’t view abortion on the same level for which they view murder, torture and abuse. The unborn baby is abused, tortured and ultimately murdered but for some reason his/her rights are not as important as someone who is not residing within his/her mother’s womb. I have never been able to understand how one concludes the life of an unborn child is any less precious than the life of a baby.
Ever since the ill-fated decision in the now infamous Roe vs. Wade case, abortion has become viewed as a woman’s right. For many it ceased being about the child’s right to live and more about the mother’s choice. Contrary to what you may think, I am ‘pro-choice.’ I believe every woman should have the right to choose whether or not she has sex. If she does not want to have a baby, she can choose not to engage in the act for which the baby is conceived. If she chooses to engage in the act of intercourse and becomes pregnant as a result of that decision it becomes an issue of the baby’s rights and not her own. People will become emblazoned with their rhetoric about human rights and ignore the fact that the unborn child is also human.
The hot topic on this year’s Presidential race revolves around the Federal Government’s attempt to require employers to pay for women’s contraception. It has been coined as “Religious Freedom vs. Women’s Health.” The political vernacular concerning sexual relations has now moved from being referred to as an issue concerning rights or freedoms to being termed as a health issue. I believe the pro-life movement has stated a fair case in presenting that a baby should also have rights. Because of that momentum, leaders of the abortion movement have countered by referring to it as an issue concerning women’s health. By changing the words, the perception of the debate is altered. Now it appears that if someone is opposed to abortion or contraception, they are infringing upon a health issue. It makes it sound as though irreparable harm will befall a woman if she is denied her rights to an abortion or free contraception. I am for women’s (and men’s) health; I work in healthcare. Abortion and free contraception are not women’s health issues. Abortion is premeditated murder of an unborn baby. That is what it is no matter what you call it. I am not against contraception and I do agree that it can be helpful in preventing some diseases, which can make it a health issue. Where I differ is in the idea that one should expect someone else to pay for his/her contraceptive use. We have the freedom to choose whether or not we engage in intercourse. It is our decision and we should not expect someone else to pay for our contraceptives. There are expensive and inexpensive contraceptives available; this should not become an insurance or employer’s responsibility.
Many religious institutions are not only against abortion but the use of contraceptives altogether. It’s not that they are forcing their followers to adhere to the principles but they simply don’t want to be put in a position where they as an institution are forced to choose between the tenants of their faith and the law of the land. Although this issue may seem trivial to some, it is a step down a very slippery slope. If the Federal Government forces religious institutions to do something that goes directly against the tenets of their faith, how long will it be before that same government tells us what we can and cannot believe? In my personal opinion, this is a move toward our government becoming “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s 1984. This is most definitely an issue of freedom – the freedom of religious beliefs. What do you think? - Tim
I going to rock some boats in the corporate world by making this statement but go ahead and call me a radical. Sling some mud my way because I am going to take a stand and go on the record stating that I am not a fan of SMART goals. There, I said it and now we can watch as the world stops spinning and the sun ceases to shine. Let me define my point by telling you my story. It’s a simple story with humble beginnings about a man and his dog… (Okay, I’m not going to mention a dog but I couldn’t resist penning that line.)
I didn’t set any New Year’s resolutions this year. Did you hear me? I didn’t make a single New Year’s resolution. I realize that my not making a New Year’s resolution probably disrupted the whole space/time continuum and Mary McFly is most likely trapped in 1955 but I didn’t do it just the same. Here is what I came to realize; I have a very negative outlook on New Year’s resolutions. We all know the drill: When a New Year starts you make a goal to lose weight, exercise, eat right, work harder, spend more time with your family, and stop pulling your cat’s tail. We are told to create SMART goals so we can accomplish them. (SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). We all know that we are doing great if those resolutions last a month. We start the year off with a negative perception on what we will accomplish because we plan to fail. Since I tend to look at New Year’s resolutions as a set up for failure, I didn’t make any.
What I did do was I began to lay out some simple goals in February. Goal 1: Join a Gym. (I didn’t lay out a long term plan of what joining the gym would look like, I just joined one.) Goal 2: Work out at the gym every day I can for 30 minutes or more. (Okay, I admit this one does kind of fit as a SMART goal but I still chose to keep it vague.) Goal 3: Meet with a personal trainer. Goal 4: Get fit and lose weight. I have been working on these goals but have not set a defined period of time because I want it to become my lifestyle. I can’t afford to always meet with a personal trainer, but I can afford to do so on occasion. I have worked out for three weeks, completed 4 sessions with a personal trainer and am off to a good start. Another goal that I just started is also simple. I am a protestant and don’t usually participate in LENT. This year I decided to give up beef during the time of LENT because I am a beef fanatic. I don’t really have any SMART goals as to why, but I think it will be good for my health. I plan on trying to do small things from time to time that will benefit my health.
As you see I am not against goals but I started the blog by stating that I don’t like SMART goals so let me explain. I have spent my entire career in the business world. I cannot tell you the number of seminars I have attended or how many times I have been instructed on SMART goals or something similar. I have been told over and over that you cannot succeed unless your goals are specific, laid out in a timely manner, and measurable. I have tried this practice on countless occasions and usually fail. Here’s the reason, I’m an ENFP and “ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP's family members.” SMART goals go directly against my personality type. I don’t like for things to be concrete and set in stone. I don’t enjoy details or anything that requires I continually maintain it. To me a SMART goal is like a chain around my neck and it suffocates me.
I’m not saying SMART goals are bad. They are great for some people and others can’t live life without them. For me, however, they choke my ability to achieve my goals. Keeping things so strict confines me to succeeding in only one way. I can’t operate like that so I decided to give myself Simple goals. Simple isn’t an acronym for anything. It is what it says it is – simple. Last year I set a goal to publish a book. I thought I would have accomplished that goal by now. Almost every part of that goal has been reached but the final stages. Had I set a SMART goal, I would have become extremely frustrated by the fact that it had not happened when I planned. I would have possibly become so frustrated that I gave up on the project altogether. I didn’t give up and I am very close to seeing that goal fulfilled. I didn’t overburden myself with a list but I focused on the book and making it perfect. The goal is to publish the book, not create a great goal. I’ve decided to become a goal oriented person, but I have learned that my way of accomplishing those goals differs from the business example. There are and will be times that SMART goals will be beneficial, but I will focus on creating simple goals for my life.
How do you feel about SMART Goals?
I walk around like I’m Superman. I joined a gym last Monday and have been working out for all of one week. Over the past few days I have been strutting around like I’m a world renowned weight lifter. My gut is still protruding and I’ve actually gained weight, so it may seem strange that I carry myself differently. Truth be known, it’s because I feel different. Yes, my muscles ache and I have recently discovered muscle groups that I never knew existed, but that’s not exactly the feeling I’m talking about. I feel good about myself and have increased energy. As I am writing this blog, I am battling some type of virus but my body seems stronger and more resilient. I actually think I may beat this virus without getting very sick. I know it’s only been one week, but my body is already changing.
Not only has this new exercise regimen changed how I perceive myself but it is also affecting the way I look at what I put into my body. I can see exercise replacing my caffeine addiction. Both increase energy levels, but one benefits my body whereas the other harms it. I’m not there yet (I’m drinking a 32 ounce soda as I write this blog) but I have cut back. I have also become more interested in fruits and vegetables and am losing some of my attachment to sweets. It’s like the exercise is slowly rewiring my brain and causing me to think about doing things that aid my body instead of damaging it. I’ve even met with a personal trainer and am learning specific things that I need to do to be healthier. I am stoked about what the future holds.
Our perception often shapes our future. If I say that I want to enjoy life and perceive that running on a treadmill and lifting weights is not fun, I may remain out of shape and unhealthy. On the other hand, if I perceive that running and exercise are enjoyable and bring me a level of satisfaction I will take action and change my future. Perception wields enormous power in our lives. You will either have a great day, a terrible day or something of a mix. This sometimes happens because of things outside of our control, but on average days it’s due to our perception. We either choose to perceive the person not talking to us in the hallway as a sign of them being busy or as their way of telling us how much they hate us.
Perception can carry into the very foundation of our beliefs. Many people choose not to believe in the existence of God simply because they perceive it to be impossible. They may list a litany of reasons as to why they came upon that conclusion, but it often boils down to how they perceive life. A Christian perceives the possibility that we were created by a higher being and choose to believe in God. Furthermore, an atheist and a Christian can both look at the same scientific evidence and come to completely different conclusions because both perceive things differently. Since the atheist does not believe in God, he looks for proof to back his claims while the Christian looks for evidence as well. Being a Christian, I see the world around us as proof that God exists. I see the sky as the canvas upon which God’s paints a masterpiece with each day.
Here’s the thing about perception, it cannot change facts. It’s true that it can shape your future, but it cannot change history. You can believe Abraham Lincoln never existed, but it won’t change the fact that he did exist. It also doesn’t matter how you perceive God because you cannot believe Him away. He does in fact exist and choosing to perceive otherwise will never change that. I can choose to work out and run on treadmill, thus changing my future. Yes, I can shape my future, but no matter how I perceive life, fact is still fact and God is still God. How has perception shaped your life? - Tim
I get alot of emails. Some of them are from companies informing me of recent discounts. Every now and then I get emails about discounts on Pilates classes. Today, for instance, I had one that said, "$29 for 10 Pilates Classes!" Here's the thing. I'm not sure why, but every time I see the word Pilates, I read Pirates. Yep, I got all excited because I read, “$29 for 10 Pirate Classes!” Doesn’t that just sound better? Can’t you just imagine going to the class and the instructor saying something like, “Ahoy matey, today you will learn t' clean t' poop deck and walk t' plank?” It just sounds like a fun class. I was sorely disappointed when I realized it was truly a Pilates class. Instead of Captain Jack Sparrow, I could expect a mullet wearing Tony Little instructor in tights teaching me to stretch. It’s just not the same. Speaking of things not being the same, you may have noticed I am writing a blog on a Wednesday. It could be said that I wrote yesterday’s blog all hyped up on meds and felt it sounded too hippy, but that isn’t the real reason I am writing a blog today. I am looking into the format of my blogs and thinking about making some changes. One thing I definitely want to do is start a Funny Friday blog. I received good feedback on my Church Buses blog and want to continue writing humor. I am, however, not certain whether to keep Tuesday and Thursday or just totally change the format. I do want to keep writing about serious topics and random topics, but I’m not sure what my readers want. This is where you can help. I would be very honored if you, the reader, would leave a comment about what you want. What types of blogs are you interested in and how often do you want to visit this site? Your feedback will be greatly appreciated. "Thank you for readin'. By t' way, be you more o' a pirate person or a Pilates person?" - Tim
BTW: If you look closely at the picture of the pirate ship, you will see the figure of a person doing Pilates on the bow of the ship.