Friday, September 2, 2011

Sputtering Engine?

1969 California Bug (Volkswagon) was my first choice as a car. My parents did their best to talk me out of spending my $2000 dollars for that car. I had to have it. My dream. Ha, now that I look back and I see what a fool I was to buy that bucket of bolts. Those bolts kept falling off everywhere I went. I loved the 1641mm bored out engine. It was fast. I went through three clutches in the first couple of years. It was a fun car. But it had its bad days where the timing was off. I’d drive it to the light and as it idled it’d sputter and choke and die. Sometimes it wouldn’t die but it’d rev back up. Other times I had to get out embarrassed and push the slug off the road while I messed with the timing and carb adjustments.


That sputtering and choking is an accurate description of my heart. I went in and had a 24-hour EKG Halter test. The information gathered fanned the flame of my worst fear. Having a bad heart is not that bad as long as you don’t have Arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are beats in the wrong direction on the EKG chart. Every hour I am experiencing these irregular beats sometimes at night I feel as if my heart just wants to stop. It is like your driving a stick shift car and while on the road you throw it in Reverse. Cars usually can’t do that but hearts can. It is very scary the real scary part is I was having these beats for the last few years.


So now, I am on another of several medications that is very dangerous. When I looked up the drug on the Internet it was scary to think I am drinking this down. The side effects seem to out weigh the benefits. But the benefits are necessary to prevent what will most likely happen without the drug. It can be a day or week or months later but I will be walking and talking one second and then the next on the ground rolling around grabbing my chest before I breathe my last. I am worse than we thought. Arrhythmias are not good. They are not the caffeine skipped beat or the pause beat but they are the distortion of a Mr. Bean tripping over the drum section of an Orchestra during Igor Stravinsky’s - The rite of spring.  I will continue on the medications and go back to the doctor in 10 days. So far since July, I have lost 24 kilos. For those of you who need pounds it is about 52 pounds. I still have 100 pounds more to go. Yikes I was a little tubby. Today the Doctor said that when I reach 110 kilos 220lbs he’d do a heart Catheterization on me. That is a test to check out the heart and actually check pressures in the chambers and also a biopsy of the meat to see what is going on with the muscle tissue. Rachel will have her yearly biopsy in November as she does every year.

I hope you are not feeling bad about this? Let me share a little of today’s activity. I went to the heart clinic and while awaiting the results of the EKG and labs I was able to have a conversation with a couple of other transplant recipients.  My daughter Rachel ate these tiny sour plum (Ume Boshi) candies and I looked for fun on the box that said there was 1780mg of NaCl(Sodium Chloride) a liquid form of salt. Converting it to table salt that is 4.5 grams of salt. That is a whole days supply for some one on a normal diet. She is supposed to have less than 4 grams. UCLA wanted her on only 2 grams a day. So I blurted out in the waiting room this number and the transplants laughed. I said in Japanese it is so hard to have a low salt diet in Japan. They all laughed even more. So this started a discussion on what we eat for low salt things. I was surprised among them was Miho one of the first kids from Japan to receive a heart at Children’s of Denver hospital more than 20 years ago. She is doing great so we had a great time of fellowship. I was able to connect and I look forward to our conversation next time. They are all trying to learn English so they can go back to the US to visit their hospitals and thank people. Anyway, I for three years knew Mihoko was connecting to these families and she had already given Miho a Bible and the gospel. But I had been distant from them. I felt like an outsider. But now I am seeing great opportunities here.  Pray for more wisdom. God is at work and I am now the front row. If I take these meds and continue to loose the weight there is still a chance to turn this big ship around. God gets all the glory. Even if I have a massive heart attack I have full assurance that God will use that to even bring greater glory to himself.

Much of this battle is keeping my eyes focused on Jesus. To not let the circumstances dictate my emotional response. Pray that we will be positive another way to say that is that we’d look to Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit at all times. I realized since my diagnoses I have been spending more time researching my problem than worshipping God in my personal time with him. I read and study my Bible but I really feel the need to worship him like David did. This afternoon a Typhoon was beginning to blow and the trees were in harmony with the heavy winds. I was swaying with the trees and I thought of the chorus. “Birds in the air sing their songs to you, Trees in the fields lift their arms to you. I want to sing I want to lift my arms to you. I want to praise you Lord much more than I do I want to praise you Lord….” God is so good. This seems tragic to so many. From my perspective I see such tremendous love from my Father not giving me more than I can handle but directing me in the storm showing me beautiful horizons that we are sailing to. The waves are big the clouds are dark but on the horizon is the light and Jesus is pointing the way. We keep sailing forward. That reminds me of another great song. “Light our way Lord, bright so we won’t fall. Teach us to call on you Lord more faithfully.”

God bless you all. I pray you will hang with us during our time of storm and difficulty and hold on tight because as you pray with us you will share in this blessing for all eternity and you will see the glory of God shine. Amen.




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