Sunday, April 22, 2012

So thankful!

I'm super-excited to report....

absolutely nothing!  Ever since the ablation of my heart on April 9 I have had exactly zero episodes of ventricular tachycardia (the more serious heart arrhythmia that the doctors weren't able to successfully ablate)... zero!  Praise God!  And that isn't just from me sitting around quietly either!  My cardiac doctor gave me the go-ahead to begin running/cycling/swimming again five days after my heart procedure. (Past posts about my heart "issues" here, if you are interested)

In the past week I've actually ramped up my workouts quite a bit... yesterday Tom and I went on a 7 mile trail run on some local (very hilly!) mountain bike trails near us.  What a *blast*!!  Being able-bodied and "able" to work out is a privilege that I won't be taking for granted.

So the big question for me is, "Will the V-Tach rear its' ugly head again?"  No one really knows the answer to that.  The ablation for sure did not target the problem spot that was causing my V-Tach.  But I do think that it is possible that the huge amount of SVTs that I was having were putting my heart in an "irritated" state which might have made me more predisposed to the V-Tach episodes that I was having.  Since the ablation I have had zero SVTs, which were waking me up multiple times at night, so I am pretty sure that the ablations did totally take care of that.

So in summary, all's good thus far!  Thank you once again for praying and for caring.  I am *so* blessed by each one of you!

And now, for those of you who patiently read through all of that boring medical drivel, I will reward you with a few photos from the farm here...  as you will see, we are seriously drowning in cuteness right now!

We purchased a duckling this spring.  So fun!  Every year we purchase chicks, some for egg-laying and others for our freezer. They are pretty cute, at least for a week or two, but they are outside (for good reason!) and outgrow their adorableness pretty quickly.

Since we only purchased one duckling we decided to temporally keep him in the house in a small cage.  This little guy is super-spoiled!  And he just keeps staying "cute"... it would seem that ducklings don't get their feathers nearly as quickly as chickens.  All of that yellow puffy fuzz is pretty adorable!

It seems that he is being held almost all day long by someone.

Plus, he really loves having his photo taken!

Can you guess what these next cuties are?

If you guessed something related to Thanksgiving dinner, you're right!

We raised our own turkeys last year for the first time.  My oh my, were they yummy!  When we butchered them just before Thanksgiving last year, the largest tom was 44lbs!  I wasn't sure that he would even fit in my oven!

Check out our Corgi Jasper supervising my photo shoot of the duckling and turkeys.  He feels compelled to herd anything that moves here.  He was just waiting for one of them to make a break for it, then he could cut them off at the pass.

Our little duckling, Ping (aka Aflac) thinks that the *best* place to sit is on his peoples' shoulder, right up by their neck, where it is nice and warm!  First he climbs up the shirt .... inevitably causing lots of giggles,

then snuggles down for a nice warm nap!

Here, Daniel is teaching Ping to count! He's such a smart duckling!

He was soon fast asleep!

In addition to the duckling, turkey poults and baby chickens, we have 13 baby goats and our new Great Pyrenees puppy "Teddy!"

Even the wild animals around here are busy being "cute!"  Check out this baby box turtle that the boys found!  He is only about 2" long~ isn't spring fun?!!

And finally, I have to show off the quilt top that Abbie recently finished.  I won a fabulous set of fat quarters last year and this is how miss Abbie put them to use.  I am seriously in love with the colors and the stars.

Isn't that nice?

Rejoicing in good health, cute baby animals and spring busyness here!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Home Again!

After a very full day yesterday at the hospital I was discharged this morning.  Oh my is it good to be home!  (Isn't the word "home" a lovely word?)

If you've been visiting here for a while, you've read about the surprise heart problems that I have been dealing with... if you haven't, and are interested, you can read part one, two, three and four.

Yesterday I was admitted to the hospital for an ablation.  During that procedure doctors sent catheters up to my heart from veins in my groin and attempted to induce the "bad" heart rhythm with the goal of "mapping" the electrical circuits of my heart and then ablating (or cauterizing) the problematic circuits.

In my case, the doctors were trying to induce and then ablate a particularly problematic arrhythmia called ventricular tachycardia.  We knew for sure that this was a problem for me as it was documented during a treadmill EKG test a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately the doctors could not induce my heart to go into VTach, so they were unable to ablate for that arrhythmia (and they did try hard... for 3.5 hours!), but they did find out, in an unexpected turn of events that I also have SVT.  (Supraventricular Tachycardia... a fast heart rhythm that originates somewhere outside of the ventricles).  They were able to map and ablate not one, not two, but three extra extra AV Node pathways (AVNRT).  Crazy!  So that should take care of some of the heart issues that I have been having (waking up at night with my heart racing, etc.)

However it still leaves the VTach issue unresolved.  My cardiologist has encouraged me to begin to exercise once again (always *with* someone, of course) and hopefully I can capture additional VTach episodes on a heart monitor that I'll be using.  I'm really not sure how this will play out.  Obviously VTach can not go untreated, but I really don't want to be on medication my whole life for that.  

It is possible that ablation for the VTach could work in the future if I have been exercising right up till the time of the ablation (I have basically sat for the last month) and if I weren't taking the beta blockers that I have been on.

Perhaps the Lord has healed the VTach?  That, of course, would be the best thing.  Only time will tell, I suppose.  I am most certainly hesitant to swim or get out on my bike on the road until I am very sure that the VTach won't return.

My cardiologist assures me that the fact that my heart is very healthy and doesn't have any scar tissue (apart from the ablation yesterday!) puts me in a *very* low risk category for cardiac arrest.  Most likely I would "just" pass out from further VTach episodes.  While I am glad that I most likely won't die from a heart attack, I don't exactly relish the idea of passing out from VTach episodes either!  But I haven't yet passed out from them, so hopefully that won't be an issue in the future.

So that's pretty much where things are now… on one hand I am pretty optimistic about getting to start running and exercising again, on the other hand, I'm pretty bummed out that this whole issue still isn't resolved.  But, as always, God is good and His plans and timing perfect.

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand.
 Ps. 31:14

Thanks *so* much for praying and checking in!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Resurrection Sunday Blessings and a Prayer Request

Oh!  How we are rejoicing in Easter... or Resurrection Sunday, as I prefer to call it!

"Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen."
Luke 24:5,6

Spring blooms are the *best*!
 As we prepare for Easter tomorrow~ the *best* holiday of the year, in my humble opinion, I am also preparing for my heart "surgery" the next day, Monday April 9.

Aren't baby goats the *cutest*?!!

If you haven't been reading my blog, here are parts one, two and three explaining what is going on with my crazy heart.  In summary, I was recently diagnosed with Ventricular Tachycardia.  Wikipedia defines it as "a fast heart rhythm, that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart. This is a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia because it may lead to ventricular fibrillationasystole, and sudden death."  

V-Tach is not something to ignore.  As you can imagine, this has been a huge shock to me.  I was in the midst of training for my first half-Ironman triathlon... the thought never crossed my mind that there could be something so sinister lurking within me!
Our new Pyrenees puppy, "Teddy"
V Tach can be controlled by medication, at least for some time.  At some point the body tends to override the medication, rendering it ineffective.  Plus the side effects stink... I have had to use those medications for the past month and they are not something that I want to use the rest of my life.

Thankfully there is a way to "cure" V Tach... a procedure called an ablation.  This is basically a cauterization of the portion of my heart that is sending out the "bad" electrical signals.

Daniel and Teddy's first meeting...
Most ablations are endocardial (within the heart).  Unfortunately it appears that the source of my electrical heart problems originates on the outside of my heart.  That will require an epicardial (or outside the heart) ablation.  This is a much trickier procedure, requiring the doctors to make an incision under my sternum and thread a catheter  up and through the pericardial space and actually into the pericardial sac which surrounds and protects the heart.

Daniel laughing at Teddy and Jasper's first meeting!
As you can imagine, this is a much more involved procedure than an endocardial ablation.  If you are curious, you can read a sobering first-hand report from a former elite cyclist here after he had the same procedure done.

Jasper isn't quite sure *what* to think of Teddy! They ended up becoming best buddies... Jasper won't let our Great Dane "Dude" go anywhere near Teddy!  So funny!
Of course, the doctors could be wrong, and perhaps the problem can be resolved the "easy" way, from within my heart.  I won't know until Monday.

While I am *totally* and completely confident that the Lord is in control of this... I must admit that I am pretty nervous and really dreading Monday.  Could you please pray for me and for my family as well?

Thank you *so* much!  I really hate to continue to write about my health, but that's pretty huge right now for me, so I decided to just be honest here.  I am hopeful that later next week I'll be able to report that my heart is no longer an issue for me, but until that time I would greatly covet your prayers.

I *loved* this picture of Joshua and Teddy~ adorable!

Resting in His plans and timing and rejoicing in the empty tomb,