Friday, August 14, 2009

One Year Celebration

It has been one year ago today that I had my heart surgery, and what a difference a year makes. I've gone from getting tired trying to keep up with my wife Dawn on walks, to getting up at 5:30 in the morning (if my daughter Brianna isn't out too late the previous night) and going for a nice run of 2.5 or 3 miles to start the day. Today was one of those days where I got up early, despite not sleeping too well because of the heat and humidity (we should have turned the air on last night). But it was good to get out and run, knowing that a year ago I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning, and after getting there and getting checked in and prepped, ended up sleeping for 24 hours while the surgeons did their thing and I recovered. A few people at work remembered it was my one year anniversary and sent emails or stopped by my desk, it made me feel good knowing that they remembered as well.
We went out for dinner last night to celebrate, I thought about having a nice steak marbled with fat, but ended up being somewhat good and had a fish sandwich instead. Dawn and Brianna were better than I, and they both had the salad bar. Brianna has completed another year of college, another two to go!
I did get an email from my daughter Brittney today, she remembered as well, and reminded me that I should at least do a post on my anniversary since I've been neglecting it. Brittney has a blog as well, she is better at updating her blog than I am, so if you want to enjoy her writing, visit her blog at Speaking of Brittney and Curt, this past June they moved from Anderson, IN (4 hours away) to Nashville, TN (10 hours away). I guess they wanted to test my heart, and while I'm happy that they are pursuing their dreams, my heart is heavy that they are further away and we won't see them as frequently. Curt has assured me that we'll be more likely to visit them in Nashville because the city has more to offer, I hope he's right.
Many have inquired about my garden, I wish I could tell them it is doing great, but then I'd be lying. I thought that since I have more energy than I've had in a couple of years, it would be looking great because I could be out there more often, but I guess I've been working too much and I'm too busy with other things. I have gotten quite a few green beans, some broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, peppers and some flowers for Dawn (thanks to Brittney's suggestion), my Mom did take some of the flowers once. So I guess as far as producing vegetables, it has done well, but for appearance, the weeds are winning and I don't get a passing grade there.
So enough for now about my social life, and a little information about my health. I almost miss seeing my doctors like I did last year. After my checkups following my surgery, visits to the doctors have been minimal. I did see my cardiologist once, and he reported that my heart was actually doing better than it was right after my surgery. I guess the heart needs time to recalibrate itself after years of not functioning properly. I'm hoping that when I go again, perhaps in a month or so (every six months), that things are even better. I did opt to go to my family doctor this spring for a physical, and things were very good, he did cut my blood pressure medicine in half as my blood pressure was down and I was get light headed when I was running 5 miles or so he thought I might be over medicating myself. So that was a plus, and having him tell me that he couldn't even hear my heart murmur anymore was a good thing as well. The one thing that I have noticed now that I am more active again, are the aches and pains that go along with getting in shape. My back hurts occasionally, my knees hurt going up stairs when the weather is right, I had some horrible back spasms a couple of weeks ago, and even cramps in my calves once again. But as irritating as they are, I love knowing that I am bringing them on myself because I once again am active, doing things that I couldn't the past two years and as my old cross country coach would say "No pain, no gain". While I would like to lose some weight, I am down from before my surgery, and have lost at least an inch perhaps two from my waist.
So while I continue to wonder what the future has in store for me, I look forward to many fun filled exciting years, I appreciate everything that I've been through, and thank the good Lord for the blessings he has bestowed upon me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gobble Wobble

What's a "Gobble Wobble" run without pilgrims?

Getting ready for the start of the race.

Staying warm in the car while others are out running.

4.2 Miles non stop, all the way to the finish.

How many people are fortunate enough to have their picture taken with a Gazelle on Thanksgiving Day?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a day to give thanks, and I could go on forever about all the things I am thankful for, but since I know a turkey is in the oven and I don't have a whole lot of time, I'm forced to limit my list.

First off, I need to give thanks for my wife Dawn, and all she has tolerated this past year. From holding my tray in the hospital when I was puking so I didn't make a mess of the lovely gown they provided me with, making sure I eat all the right things and continue to improve my health, to making sure that I'm happy. Thanks Dawn.

I give thanks to my daughters Brittney and Brianna for being there to make me smile and a proud father with all they've accomplished and continue to accomplish. The happiness that they have brought into my life is immeasurable. I give thanks for my son-in-law Curt, as he is on the other side of the world in Australia playing his music and spreading the good news about Jesus to those on the other side of the world. I'm so proud of how he is using his gifts that he has been blessed with.

While I am thankful of family, friends and a good job, this year I have to give thanks for all those that have helped me as my health returns. Dr. Willekes, Dr. Foster and the entire Cardiac Rehab staff from Spectrum Hospital at the Blodgett campus. Fortunately there was a fun run this morning in East Grand Rapids where I could run with others and see how far I've come. So I ran in the first ever "Gobble Wobble", 4.2 miles around Reed's Lake. I made it the entire way, and my girls were there waiting for me at the finish line 41 minutes and 25 seconds or so after I started. I started out well running the first mile in 8:44, but I slowed down after that (it must have been the hills)with the last mile (from the 3 mile mark to the 4 mile mark) taking me 10:14. But those of you familiar with Reed's Lake, you know how hilly it is, I'm not trying to make up excuses but... None the less, I did the run, something I couldn't have accomplished these past two years had it not been for a lot of help and encouragement from more people than I can imagine. So thanks to all those who encouraged me and those who pushed me to get back into shape.

And most importantly, I have to give thanks to my God. Without him, none of this would have been possible, He has blessed me more than I deserve. He has answered my prayers and surrounded me with family and friends who helped make this all possible. I can't think of anyone who should be blessed the way I have been. It is humbling knowing that he is looking out for me and wants what is best for me, even though I have failed so many times along the way, but He still loves me and watches over me despite it all.

I hope your Thanksgiving is a joyous day, and you take the time to count your blessings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Working Weekends

This business of working during the week and trying to get things done around the house is taking a toll on me. We had an especially busy weekend. Curt came up with the band (No Greater Sky), they had a show in town so we went and watched them Friday night. Nic and Clark left Saturday morning about 1 or so, while Curt stayed behind and slept in and left late Saturday afternoon to Ithaca. He did come bearing gifts for us. Brittney made a purse for Dawn, and I received some tee shirts for running with some custom designs on them.

We also had the pleasure of Brianna staying with us for the weekend since Hope was closed for the noro-like virus, she went back tonight (Tuesday). Sunday I spent the afternoon sucking up the leaves with the lawnmower and digging up canna bulbs in the rain snow mixture. While my chores getting ready for winter are closer to being done, I look forward to being able to relax on the weekend, after all, isn't that what they are meant for. One more session of cardiac rehab down at Blodgett, and then I have to push myself and get the exercise without them monitoring me.
That's all for now, I mainly just wanted to post the pictures of my new tee shirts.

Good morning. A champion is someone who wins a lot. A champion is someone who realizes that the reality of defeat, humiliation, and pain exists but refuses to be held back by fear. A champion is someone who is resilient, someone who has been knocked down in life, and possibly by life, but gets back up again..... After Fred Astaire's first screen test in 1933, a memo from a MGM testing director said, “Can't act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Its reported that the legendary Fred Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home. Stay focused... God is on your side!
God is Love
Rev Run

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Surprise

This week was a busy one as I went back to work, but it ended on a very high note thanks to Brianna. Brianna's friend and one of her roommates Kim from Hope, had the chance to get a couple of tickets to the Michigan vs. Toledo game, she thought of Brianna and myself and asked Brianna if she wanted them. Obviously by the picture you can see that Brianna did get the tickets, so on Thursday she told me not to plan on doing anything on Saturday because she had plans for the two of us. So Friday night she informed me that we were going to the Michigan game. The weather was fabulous and the seats were on the side near the end zone that saw most of the action. In keeping with the theme of surprises, the Toledo Rockets provided a surprise of their own as they defeated Michigan 13 to 10 this afternoon. Despite that minor detail, it was great to spend the day with my baby. Thanks Brianna!

In regards to my health, it continues to improve each day, but I was presented with a new set of challenges this week as I went back to work. I didn't realize the changes I would need to make, who ever thought that waking up to an alarm clock each day would get to be so tough, and I need to be better disciplined at going to bed so I get enough sleep instead of waiting until I want to go to bed. I'm learning that I need to get things ready the night before if I plan on getting to my rehab at 7 in the morning like I'm supposed to be. I was able to jog 2 miles on the treadmill at rehab without stopping. When I went outside to run, I was not as successful, but I was able to jog a bit and then walk, I did this for about an hour. Unfortunately I'm afraid the weather isn't going to be so kind to me in the coming weeks and months, so when I get the chance to run outside now I want to take advantage of it, and it feels so good to be able to jog once again.

I did make it the entire week at work, I must admit towards the end of the week I was getting a little tired, but as I learn what I need to do be better disciplined in regards to my sleep habits, things will be better.

That's all for now folks. I hope the surprises in your life are enjoyable and make you happy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to Work

Well it's Monday, October 6 and I went back to Meijer to work today. After a rough start to the morning, the rest of the day went very well. I'll need to get things ready the night before to help me out in the morning until I get use to things once again. Having to be at cardiac rehab at 7 is a little rough, making my lunch, coffee, getting dressed for the workout, getting my clothes ready for the workday and having my stuff for the shower and afterwards was just too much for me to handle in the morning when I'm use to moving at my own pace in the mornings. Once I got to work, it was a matter of remembering my different passwords to the various programs, and changing those that expired. They were more than kind to me at work, allowing me to ease into the workload and not dumping a lot on me right away, I really appreciated that. A few notes and hugs from those I haven't seen in a while and I was glad to be back. I did make it the entire day, and wasn't too tired when I got home. Dawn had dinner ready on the stove when I walked in the door, and I realize how good I actually have it.
Last weekend the entire family was home! Brittney and Curt were up Friday morning, I think it was one or two in the morning, and they stayed until Sunday night. Brianna came after her last class on Friday, and stayed until Saturday afternoon. It was good to have them home, but I don't see how they can stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Brianna went to bed around 3:30, Curt was 5 or 5:30, and Brittney never went to bed Friday night. Oh to be young and have that kind of energy.
This past weekend, Dawn tested my endurance as we went to the Outlet Mall in Birch Run on Friday, and then Frankenmuth on Saturday. I must admit, trying to keep up with Dawn as she shopped was a mistake, but it was a fun weekend none the less. Then on Sunday, Brianna surprised us by coming home for the afternoon.
So things are returning to normal for me, but having some time off, I'm not sure if I should become a teacher and get the summers off, or retire so I can enjoy my free time. I do know I did enjoy the break I had and didn't get bored or hooked on any soap operas, but I do know that I don't want to go through the surgery again just to get some time off.
Thanks for listening.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week Six Update!!!

Back from an attempt at jogging, sweaty but glad I did it.

Today it has been six weeks since I had my surgery, and what a day it has been. I went to my last doctor visit for a while I hope. Today it was Dr. Kirk Agerson, he's my general practitioner doctor, and the one I went to see because my legs were swollen and he told me I had a heart issue, that was about two years and four months ago. Somehow my records were sent with another patient's information, they showed I was admitted to the hospital through the emergency room, the records state that I am an 87 year old that passed out while mowing the grass and needed to be resuscitated. So my doctor was a little confused, wondering if they just typed my age incorrectly. After getting the correct information on me, he gave me a quick check up, and was impressed. He can no longer hear my murmur, and was able to tell from the information the cardiac rehab sent along that I'm pushing myself at rehab. Apparently with the meds I'm on, I shouldn't be able to increase my heart rate like I am at rehab unless I'm pushing it. At least someone is noticing my hard work!

After my doctor's visit I went to my parent's house and cut their grass for them. When I got home, I felt the need to do something special since it has been six weeks since the surgery. So I decided to try to jog a little bit. So six weeks give or take an hour from when they completed my surgery I headed out for a jog. It took a little while to get my breathing so it was comfortable, I thought it would be natural, but it felt a little weird. Anyway, I was able to make it about 3/4 of a mile until I hit a stop light, but boy did that rest feel great, and the light did not stay green long enough and I needed to get going again. I decided that I shouldn't push it too much because it was so hot outside (that's my excuse) so I would jog until I started getting tired, then I walked until I caught my breath, and jog again. I went about 2 1/2 miles. While my incision was uncomfortable when I ran, it didn't hurt enough for me to stop. It just felt so good to be able to jog again, now I'll have to see what they decide to do with me in rehab.

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
This verse has taken on a new meaning for me now!