Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My heart speaks again

I was fortunate enough to catch this image in northern Minnesota of an eagle perched on a branch a few years ago. I was mesmerized for the 15 minutes or so where I was blessed to be in the presence of such an amazing spirit. I return today to this image, as I am reminded, to slow down and pay attention to my heart which has been calling out to me to listen ...

I haven't written much about my health. It's been intentional. For several years I feel like my life has been filled with doctor visits, surgeries, medical procedures and tests and an onslaught of health challenges. Even though I haven't written or talked much about my health lately, the reality of my health challenges remains an undercurrent in my life. Similarly, I walk this delicate balance with Ahnung with her two bouts with aggressive cancer, and learning to find some semblance of peace in the midst of an incredible amount of uncertainty. I can't change what life has placed in my path, but what I can change and control is what I choose to focus on ... and for me, it's been to focus on what makes me feel alive and all of the work I am doing in animal welfare here in Minnesota and the hospice volunteer work that Ahnung and I do as a team.

Unfortunately these past few days my heart is speaking out to me again. I saw my electrophysiologist/cardiologist in April of this year. It's been 16 months since my heart procedure and when he told me it could be a year, 2 years or 10 years before the symptoms from my left ventricular noncompaction (a heart condition that will most likely lead to heart failure) would surface. For the past month or so i've had occasional bouts of heart palpitations and waking up in the middle of the night from my heart feeling like it's going to hop out of my chest. But they've been sporadic and infrequent enough that I figured it's just a blip :) I've also had increased fatigue but i've been telling myself it's probably from stress, and I just accommodate by going to bed early and getting more sleep. But now with increased palpitations, which are always worse at night, it makes it hard to get sleep. For the past three nights it's been persistent and consistent. I'm waking up every couple hours at night like I used to back in 2011 before my heart procedure (although last night I got a streak of 5 straight hours of sleep for which I am extremely grateful for!). I've also had this feeling of heart burn ... so yesterday I caved and I called my doctor's office. On Friday I go in to have a holter monitor put on me so they can check the rhythm of my heart and to see if i'm having significant PVCs again (pre ventricular contractions ... essentially when your heart starts beating from the wrong place in your heart and it feels like a skipped beat). I will then be meeting with my cardiologist on the 24th.

These past few days as my heart has been speaking out I am reminded of the fragileness of life; i am reminded of all the uncertainty that flows in the undercurrent of my life's journey; i am reminded of how I must embrace uncertainty with as much zest, life, wisdom and passion as my sweet Ahnung.

Summer is coming to an end, and leaves will be changing colors soon. Seasons. There is a time and a place for everything. 

Before actress Gildna Radner died of ovarian cancer at the age of 42, she said, "I wanted a perfect ending ... Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity."

As my heart continues to speak to me, may I approach whatever is in store for me, with curiosity and acceptance of a life filled with 'Delicious Ambiguity.'

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