Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Delta means change. I am a walking oxymoron when it comes to change. I really like having a routine, but mostly just at home. I love trying to think outside the box when it comes to work and church because that's where I get to be a creative (noun form, how do you like that?). If I'm working on something and there isn't a law or regulation restricting me, I'm going to get my hands dirty with it. Saying "that's the way we've always done it" tells me that you aren't committed to your mission or goal because nothing should be off limits if you're passionate about what you do. Think. Try. Fail. Rethink. Try. Discover.

In November I changed jobs and most of my reasoning for that is related to this idea. I felt totally smothered in a place that I was pretty valuable. I struggled everyday because I knew I had a vital role to play but I could be removed at any time. The pure stress was beyond anything I had ever experienced before. It was an uphill battle and the mountain grew taller as I climbed.

A couple of weeks ago I turned 30. This was the first time in a long time that the number of years actually made me think for a minute. I'm 30? What does my life look like compared to other 30 year olds?

A friend of mine turned 30 once and He went to a wedding in Cana. The party was crazy awesome and they kicked the keg much earlier than anticipated. His mom was there and she told the caterers to do whatever He said. He tried to get out of it because He thought it wasn't the right time to start His "business" but He did it anyway.

A week later He went nose to nose with the bigwigs at his office. They were doing some shady, corrupt stuff so He started smashing furniture and yelling at them for screwing up the whole business model. They thought He was crazy.

I doubt anyone would confuse me with Him but He brought DELTA in a way that I want to bring it. Do people think I'm crazy? Probably not enough, but I'm working on it. I'm 30, He was 30. It's about time.

Choose Wisely

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Coming up for Air

That's how I feel this morning. Like I was sitting on the bottom of a lake and not sure how to get back to the surface. It was dark and scary with monsters all around me. This past weekend, I spent most of it at my computer working on two separate final papers for school. Each supposed to be at least 6 pages, which is not really terrible. Despite my ability to complete the work, it seems that the way I work through these things doesn't seem to make any sense.

Quick sidebar, I can blame some of the procrastination on my brother for visiting me the weekend before and totally burning half of my Saturday that was blocked out for homework. But ultimately, I know that I would not have done much anyway because that would have made too much sense. Plus the fact that we had some good times playing Tecmo Bowl on the NES emulator and catching Switchfoot @ the TLA. (here is his blog on his trip)

So this weekend, in the middle of the Christmas prep season, in the middle of a New England-esque snow storm, in the middle of battling my attention span that usually wants to NOT be writing papers, I sat. And I sat. I got up to stretch and try out some of Kim's baking adventures (all good, btw). And I sat. I throw down a paragraph, and then I play Mafia Wars. I copy and paste a quote, and then I check the football scores. I set mini deadlines all through the weekend and I watch them go by at warp speed.

This is my method. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but at 11:58 pm on Monday night, I was emailing my last report to the professor. It's not how I planned it, but I got it done. I am not very good at tricking myself into working ahead when it comes to homework. I'm sure that I am not the only who struggles with this, but it still drives me crazy. Hopefully it's the only thing that I procrastinate on so consistently because I'd like to think the rest of my life is staying on schedule. And now I will rejoin my life, already in progress. It's going to be a great couple of weeks.

I'm still only scratching the surface of all the bloggable things going on right now, so stay tuned.

Choose Wisely

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hearty Updates

Over 7 months since the last post if you're keeping track at home. I suppose I'm getting used to doing the Facebook & Twitter updates which are so much easier and quicker to keep up with. Plus, Kim has blogged a few times about our adventures so I sort of let that count for me too. I think I can do better, so I will try. My new job isn't killing me like the last one (more about this some other time) so that should ease the stress and allow a little more time to write posts. This next year should be worth blogging about.

For now, I just wanted to write up an update on the heart issues. It wasn't long after my last post that I experienced palpitations yet again, so it would appear that the second location of atrial tachycardia that they discovered during the EP study is still affecting me. I don't remember exactly when, but around June I went back on medication, Toprol, for a couple months. When soccer season arrived and I starting running around more, I realized that the medicine made me uncomfortable because it limited my heart rate (go figure, that's what it's supposed to do). It's hard to explain in words but it was just difficult to rest and recover once I got everything heated up.

I went back to the doctor and he switched me to Atenolol and cut it to a small dose of 12 mg. This was perfect for my exercise needs but it was not strong enough to block the palpitations. Actually, I was ok with that. I'd rather have the palpitations than feel so restricted by the medication, I could just feel the un-naturalness of it all. But, the doctor didn't like it, so we switched again to a low dose of Verapamil.

This one was fine for exercise but still did not block the palpitations. However, there are higher doses that I may try next month. Currently, I'm taking 120 mg of Verapamil and 25 mg of Atenolol, per his orders, but I will run out of Verapamil in about a week (I'm in insurance limbo during December). I'm sure the Atenolol will hold me over just fine until I visit the doc again and we figure out what to do next. I really did not want to be on a daily drug for the rest of my life, but it doesn't seem like I have another option right now. December will be light on exercise anyway, so I won't have to fight with my limited heart rate too much. More on this topic in the New Year.

Choose Wisely

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shock Through the Heart...

Did I put Bon Jovi in your head? Consider that my gift to you. I love double meaning post titles. I can't resist them. This one was a no brainer.

On Tuesday I went back to Cooper for another EP Study. Check my recent posts for the back story. My appointment was for 6:30am which meant that they were definitely going to work on me until they were satisfied with the results. There was one detail that I was not prepared for though. I would not be sleeping very much this time around.

I got my IV and other prep stuff done in a separate room, then we took the walk down the green mile towards the lab room, which looked exactly the same as the first time and still very cold. I laid down on the bench at about 8am and endured more prep gymnastics from the nurses. Once again, they were a great crew and made sure that I was doing alright. I did get some relax juice but it only let me drift in and out of sleep. They started working around 8:45.

I could tell immediately that things were different this time because I could hear the conversations and sometimes I felt the catheters shifting to the will of the doctors. As best as I can remember, they were able to zap the main problem a few hours into it, maybe noonish. I felt my heart racing as they pumped in Isoproterenol through the IV. Using this drug was one of the reasons they could not let me sleep this time around. I also think that I felt some heat when they actually did the ablation, which took 3 zaps to get the whole thing.

For the rest of the time, the team worked to get after my 2nd case of tachycardia. They found this one very close to my main cluster of electric circuitry. This location creates much higher probability for complications, so they had a difficult task ahead. The lead doctor had discussed this situation with me beforehand and we all agreed that it would not make sense to risk those complications (I'd need a pacemaker) if the 2nd case was not easily reachable. I believe that she tried to find a way to safely navigate to the 2nd location but ultimately realized that it wasn't going to work without possibly damaging the main cluster.

They backed everything off and got me off the table around 2:30. I have to say, 6 hours on my back got to be very uncomfortable. I felt soreness in all my limbs and my lower back after just a few hours. Plus I had to relieve myself so bad that I was sweating and eventually had to ask for a bottle to relieve myself. I was trying to hold off but I realized that they weren't finished with me yet so I quit trying to be a hero. Probably TMI there, but that's the way it went down. The next couple hours are kind of fuzzy to me now. I don't remember being transferred to the bed or back to the room. Maybe they juiced me up before they disconnected me. I don't know for sure but eventually I remember texting people and saying that I was all done.

Kim came by after work and spent the evening with me. I was able to get out of bed at 7pm, which allowed me to start the recovery process much sooner than last time. Also, I felt much more confident since I had been through it before. They moved me to my overnight room at 8:30 which interrupted American Idol. That was not cool but I got over it. I spent the night getting interrupted by nurse visits for myself and my roommate but morning came soon enough. No tests were needed. Doctors came to recap the events one more time and I was dressed and out the door by 9:45am. They told me I could not drive for 48 hours, lift no more than 10 pounds until Monday and not go back to work until Monday. The funny thing is, I physically feel less damaged than last time and I don't think I'll be honoring all of those restrictions.

So far, I don't think I've had any palpitations but it will be in the back of my mind for a while. If I do have one, it means that the 2nd case does impact my rhythm and I might have to do something about it. Either some sort of procedure or medication. I'm hoping and praying that the 1 that was zapped is the one that was the problem and #2 is just there, not causing any trouble. Thanks to my family and friends for your support, concern and prayers. Now go ahead and enjoy the Bon Jovi! It's alright.

It's worth the click, trust me.

Choose Wisely

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Round 1-part 2

I'm led into the EP study lab by a nurse. This place looks like something out of a sci-fi movie or a tv drama series. One table in the middle with gadgets all over the place. A 6-screen monitor on wheels and nurses turning on some "jamming" music to keep their energy levels up while they work on me. It felt like it was about 55 degrees in there and I was dealing with the paper-thin gown and footie socks. They were terribly inadequate for insulating me from the elements.

I hopped onto the table, which was as wide as a weight bench, and to lay all the way down, I had to lean back while curling around some thing that was suspended over the table. They brought me a couple of warming towels to cover me which was nice but the heat wore off quickly and I had to ask for another set after a couple minutes of prep time. I couldn't shake the cold and I was a little bit nervous too.

They were slapping me with those electrode pads from every angle. They numbed my entire hip area with an iodine, roll-on deodorant looking tube. They strapped my wrists down with velcro cuffs so I wouldn't interfere with their work. The procedure involves putting tiny catheter tubes into the veins in the groin. The veins let them get up to the heart where they map the electrical circuits and try to pinpoint irregularities. To my right was the computer room. A few folks were behind glass where they had computers and other equipment to read my heart's electric map. There were a lot of people involved in this procedure and it's nice to know that they are really good at their jobs. I have no complaints about Cooper Hospital.

The next thing I know, I'm waking up to my two happy prep nurses, counting to three so they can yank me off the table, onto a bed. I guess I'm done. I was rolled away to my room where Kim was waiting. This was around 7:30pm. I don't remember a lot about the next few hours, but my doctors came in and give me their results. They did find Atrial Tachycardia in my heart, but since they started working on me so late in the day, they couldn't do the Ablation procedure. The verdict is... they need to do the EP study again in a month and do the ablation to wipe out the problem, hence my title "Round 1". I need a few weeks to heal up before they can go poking holes in my legs again.

All in all, there was very minimal pain involved. The worse part was on Tuesday morning when I had to rip off all those electrode pads. I got an Echo test and my discharge papers by 11am on Tuesday morning. 25 hours or so and I walked out, slightly hunched over and shuffling along. Nothing really got fixed but at least I know what the deal is with my ticker. Next time, it should get resolved and I can move on.

Choose Wisely

Round 1-part 1

Monday was a long, long, long day. Kim and I arrived at Cooper just before 10am. First up was the tilt table test. They strapped me to a bed and hooked me up to a heart monitor and a blood pressure thingy. They tilt the bed up to about 80 degrees but it still feels like you're standing up straight. 45 minutes just standing there chatting with the nurse while he records my blood pressure every minute. Next, they put me flat and start pushing adrenaline through the IV. My normal rest rate was in the 60's so they needed it to be above 90 before they could stand me up again, this time for 15 minutes of bp readings. The adrenaline definitely felt funny since I wasn't running around or exercising to build up the rate on my own. But it wasn't too bad, only got up to about 125 bpm, mostly between 100-115. 15 minutes was enough of that though. Thus ended the tilt table test, they laid me back down to relax for a few minutes before I dismounted and headed carefully for a chair (little bit dizzy). This puts us around 12:30

They didn't really learn much from the tilt table, lots of people can pass out from it but I've never had symptoms that lead to passing out or even feeling dizzy. I just have a palpitation and some heart racing issues that aren't normal but aren't too severe either. Anyway, we started chatting with the Doctors about what to do next. Eventually we decided to go ahead with the EP Study and the Ablation procedure if they found something worthwhile. That's what we planned on doing and it didn't seem right to get to that point and just walk away without learning anything new. Now we're up to 2:30pm.

waiting around... waiting around...

4:45 the Fellow for the EP study lab comes in to chat a bit and get more info.
5:00 the nurses arrive and take me away to the lab.

more later...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Electrical problems

I wanted to put a quick note out there because I haven't blogged about some health issues I've been going through for the last few months. When I was sick with flu-type stuff around Christmas and visiting my doctor, I made a casual reference about feeling some heart palpitations, or "blips" or whatever you want to call them. Things sort of snowballed from there... cardiologist visits, stress tests, heart monitors. This all leads up to tomorrow.

In the morning I'll be going to Cooper Hospital to get some tests and/or procedures done to try and fix my problems. As far as I understand, and in completely non-technical terms, I have some miscommunication between the different electrical nodes in my heart. Sometimes I have a "blip", where my heart speeds up for a few seconds, and sometimes my heart races and I don't know it's happening. That's about the best I can break it down for you. I'll be getting a tilt table test and probably the EP Study. I'm sure I'll understand it a little better once I talk to the doctors who actually do these things. I'll try to report on more of the details when I can make sense out of them.

I'd be lying if I said I'm totally relaxed about this stuff. Mostly, I have tried not to think about it too much, which only works sometimes. I like to think I'm not a worrier and I can handle all the stress that is built up by this issue, not to mention my job stress, which has snuck up on me quite a bit lately. But at this point, it's not just stress that's got my ticker all messed up. I need to get these things done and put it behind me.

My appointment is at 10am on 3/16. I'll do my best to send an update ASAP. I might have to stay over 1 night but I won't know that until it's done.

Choose Wisely