Friday, August 11, 2006

So I have a cardiologist now...

4, actually. Another sign that you're getting old, you have a cardiologist (to go along with caring about your grass growing, driving a minivan, and having a luggage carrier on top of said minivan).

May was a weird month. Most days I felt really lightheaded and out of it, to the point that I wondered if I should be driving and some days if I would be able to keep doing what I do for living (study, teach, hang out with people, try to figure out how to structure a community that will bring people closer to God... that's pretty much what I do for living... go ahead and be jealous). Anyways, I finally went to the doctor after waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep because I was short of breath.

One MD, two cardiologists, and two cardiac surgeons later, I figured out I have a bicuspid aortic valve that is leaking severely and needs to be replaced... soon... and I have to choose between the Ross Procedure, where they replace your aortic valve with your pulmonary valve and replace your pulmonary valve with a 'pig' valve (like I won't hear about that for the rest of my life), and simply replacing my aortic valve with a mechanical valve.

The upside of the Ross is that you don't need to take medication on an ongoing basis after surgery. The downside is that it's full blown open heart surgery and takes longer to recover from, and there's a chance you have to get the pig valve re-operated on because they tend to calcify or develop scar tissue.

The upside of the mechanical valve is they can do minimally invasive surgery which is easier to recover from and you'll very likely never need surgery again. The downside is you have to take coumadin, a blood thinner, for the rest of your life. I haven't heard lots of good things about coumadin. At best you have to take it every day, get your blood tested once a month, deal with bruising and cuts that take long times to heal, and stay pretty consistent in your diet. At worst, people report developing anxiety and depression, getting cold very easily, having trouble sleeping at night, and having your blood tested weekly to maintain the right levels.

The guy I saw yesterday pretty much said there's not a big upside to waiting for this surgery and I should get it done in the next few months, and he discouraged me from the Ross Procedure, which I had pretty well decided I wanted, because he's sent too many people back to the operating room after they've had a Ross. Not necessarily scared about anything but the part where they stop your heart and then figure they can start it back up anytime they want to. Kind of freaks me out but I guess they do it all the time.

Sothat's what's going on. Thanks for your prayers. I hope to make a decision in the next week and get something scheduled. If you know anyone on coumadin, let me know. I'd really like to talk to some people who have to deal with it.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Another train ride...

My dad came into town for a few days, so I took Michael on another train ride with my dad and Matthew. If you recall, he loved the last ride but didn't want to go back because it was too scary. So he freaked out a little bit when we got there, but calmed down before we even got on the train, had a great time, and as he was going to bed told me that the train wasn't scary anymore and that after he went night night we were going to ride the train again. Success!

In other news, he's informed us that Jesus doesn't like spankings... and he told me to lay down the other day so he could operate on me and then proceeded to get his chainsaw and tried to cut my arm off, all the while telling me, "Be quiet, daddy. It doesn't hurt, daddy." I felt like I was the victim in a horror movie.

And my daughter's really cute

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

where is God when life happens?

so we've spent the past five weeks at hungry in this series we called 'where is God when life happens?' and it's basically been extended interviews of some folks from our community with me giving a 5-10 minute wrap-up at the end. we did this for a few reasons. we wanted to build another bridge from the stage to the crowd and we wanted to cultivate an atmosphere where it's ok to admit you don't have it all together and you struggle with stuff.

wow, what a couple of weeks. first we had a young woman talk about her parents' nasty divorce and how she's struggled to deal with it, really admitting that she hasn't done a great job of letting people in. then we said goodbye to a couple who are leaving their dream jobs and the comfort that comes with them to move to LA and go to film school. three weeks ago Jessie talked about what it's like to live with muscular dystrophy. then a young woman shared the struggle she went through with her eating disorder, what it took for her to finally admit she needed serious help, and how it changed her faith so she understood that God really does love her unconditionally. and this past week a guy shared how a perfect storm of generalized anxiety disorder, a couple of really legalistic churches, and a personality geared towards some fringe aspects of our culture (goth, anime stuff) really sent his life into a tailspin. and then he shared how He found God's grace in all of it and has turned it into a beautiful ministry to folks who share his interests. wow! we could do this series forever.

thanks to everyone who's been a part of the series. I truly appreciate your willingness to open up in front of a bunch of people like that and let your pursuit of God be the message for all of us. i can't wait to do this again.

in other news... 2 days to ricky bobby... i'm much more excited about this movie than i should be