Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Mother’s Worry

As I mentioned in a couple of posts my 16 year old, Jacob has been having cardiac tests. Their concern was that he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM. This is a congenital condition of an extra thick heart muscle. The most common symptom of this undiagnosed condition is SCD or Sudden Cardiac Death! Great! Just what a mother wants to hear. The cardiologist helped some, he seemed to think that Jacob was just EXTRA healthy. Did I mention that he is a nationally competitive speed skater? He trains very extensively. That’s actually how we got him checked; his coach noticed that he got light headed frequently.

The cardiologist was pretty sure that he just had a super healthy heart and a strong vagal nerve. The vagal nerve is what controls our heart rate. We can learn to stimulate our vagal nerve through bio-feedback and breathing exercises. This would actually explain a lot. Through Jacob’s training we have had a hard time getting him to maintain a high heart rate. It seems as soon as he stops he heart rate returns to normal very quickly. He has actually had coaches not believe that he had skated his hardest when he could talk calmly within 1 minute.

Still the cardiologist wanted to do a stress test and an echocardiogram, just to check. The stress test seemed to show that he was good. They managed to increase his heart rate normally. Everything looked good. The echo would just confirm that everything was ok. Then we didn’t hear for almost two weeks!!!

Finally the call came, “we need to schedule an appointment to discuss abnormalities in his echo”. What? Jacob was leaving in two days to train for Indoor Nationals; he would be back for the Fourth of July, then gone again for more training and Outdoor Nationals until August. What “abnormalities”? Does this affect his training? His life? They had no answers and left a message for the doctor. He didn’t call back until the next day. THAT was a stressful 24 hours! Jacob has two congenital heart defects, a bicuspid aortic artery and a mitral valve prolapsed. Basically, one valve has only two flaps, when there should be three and the other valve has a floppy flap. The only time that these can be dangerous is in an un-healthy person. He may be more likely to have heart disease later in life if he doesn’t practice a healthy heart lifestyle.

All of the sudden God’s blessings became clear. Because he is an athlete we were able to discover this now AND he already lives that healthy lifestyle. He will probably always have a cardiologist to check on him on a regular basis. He may or may not need heart surgery as an old man but that is many, MANY years from now. So he is cleared for training as hard as he wants or I should say as hard as his coaches want and we will meet with the cardiologist in August to find out more details but for now, a mother’s worry is calmed!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

More Thoughts on Life

We have been having beautiful weather here in Phoenix. May was gorgeous and it stayed beautiful for the first half of June. I had a wonderful birthday day. My husband, Jeff, was home for the weekend and stayed over for my actual birthday (on a Monday). My whole family was here, which is rare, usually my boys are going in four different directions. My daddy called to wish me a happy birthday. It’s a long story but I haven’t spoken to my parents for many years so it was a HUGE present to get to talk to him. We talked for an hour and what a joy to hear that they are doing well. My parents are in their mid 80s so it has been a constant concern of mine. Then I received over 60 birthday wishes on facebook. What another joy! Finally, we went out to dinner at “The Melting Pot” which is a fondue restaurant. It is almost dinner AND entertainment. Three hours of talking, dipping, cooking, laughing, it was sooo much fun!

Because of the weather I have been hiking a lot for my exercise. Sunday, June 13th, I was hiking with my prayer partner. It was beautiful blue sky, a lovely breeze and we were able to pray together and praise God on the top of a mountain. On the way home, my cousin, Kay, called me. My Uncle’s wife Donna had passed away. What? I couldn’t have heard her right. Donna was this energetic, active, healthy lady. When we stayed with them last summer she hiked my tail off. How? As I broke the news to the rest of my family, each replied with, “What?” It was mind boggling. I went a little numb. All the joy and hope I had been feeling just sort of drained from me. My poor uncle, to have found love again after my aunt passed, then for her to be so suddenly taken from him. Thank God for our faith. Donna was a Godly woman so we know that she and Jesus are rejoicing at her homecoming. All I could think of was the line in a song, “… life is precious, life is sweet…” The joy I was feeling that week was replaced with melancholy. Life goes by like a blink of an eye. Lord, help me to make the most of every single moment!!!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Lessons from Julia Child

It’s been a weird month. We started summer. Jared went to church camp for the first time. When did he get old enough to go off on his own? Jacob started cardiac testing (more on that later). Add a little more worry to a mom. For the most part I have been keeping up on my habits checklist. I had my 47th birthday and my oldest son had his 24th birthday. Where did the time go?
I have been giving life a lot of thought. Actually, I have felt a little bi-polar. On one hand I was feeling like I’ve missed out, that this is all there is. All my grand dreams were never going to come true. Then I watched “Julie and Julia” which I highly recommend! I barely remember Julia Child as anything more than a cooking legend. My mom used to watch her show when it came on after “Captain Kangaroo”. I didn’t realize that she took up cooking because her husband got transferred to Paris and she was basically a bored housewife. I also didn’t realize how late in life she took up cooking. She was:

• 36 when she went to Paris
• 39 when she started teaching French cooking
• 49 when her 1st book came out “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”
• 52 when her 1st TV show aired “The French Chef”
• 88 when her last TV show “Julia Child’s Kitchen Wisdom” aired

That was 36 years of TV cooking! Her husband, Paul and she were at the end of their career as OSS agents, traveling the world as government employees, and she launched into a whole new career. A new career in which she became a legend! She created a whole new form of literature with her cook books and she basically invented the live cooking show. Plus she brought fine cooking to everyday households. What an impact she made on the world! What an inspiration! She hadn’t really done anything except learn how to cook, until she was 49. It really gave me hope that there are still big things out there for me.

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

June Update

I haven’t posted in over a month. Sorry for the silence, as you will read in the following posts, it’s been a weird month. I decided to write multiple posts, sort of like chapters, so that everyone doesn’t have to read one mondo post. I’m still trying to stay on top of my daily habits and doing ok for the most part. I really would like to add or expand on them now that most have become in grained habits. For the most part I feel pretty stagnant and I would prefer to feel that I am constantly reaching and growing. I am giving it some thought as to how to expand my list. Look for an updated checklist next month. In the meantime, enjoy the following posts on reflections of this past month.

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!