Went back to the cardiologist yesterday for a check up. First time back since my procedure about six weeks ago.
To refresh your memory, a few months back, I was diagnosed with “extra beats” in my heart rhythm. The technical term is “Premature Ventricular Contraction,” or PVC. (“Like the pipe,” the doc sez)
If you want to know more, knock yourself out. On the EKG, they look like this:
The problem was that my particular rhythm can indicate blockages to the arteries, not just benign “extra beats.” So, we did the whole “heart catheter” thing, to rule that out. As I reported later, the good news was: no blockages. In fact, the doc repeated yesterday that my arteries look “as clear as the day you were born.”
But, I still have these PVCs. So, what to do about them?
Nothing, apparently. Just monitor the situation, and check-in yearly.
In 2-4 percent of patients, there is sometimes some weakening to the heart over time because of this. But the check-ins should determine whether or not this happens for me.
I am still meditating on the following, however. That some of the main causes of these more benign PVCs are things like….caffeine….chocolate…and….STRESS.
So, this gets back to my blog, “Extra Beats” of a while back. I’m still meditating on what it means that I have “Extra Beats” in life. I’m still musing on the question, “What am I going to do about it?”
The good news? The depression over getting older –the feeling of being “sickly”– has passed. Man, did I feel old and decrepit for some weeks after this. There is something about being the “identified sick person” that really is a real thing. As a pastor, this is something I’ve known for a long time. But it’s quite a different thing to experience it…to be that “sick” guy.
Luckily that has mostly passed. The longer days help. The awesomely HOT sunlight (YES!!!), and starting back with bike rides again. Apparently, my extra beats vanish when I exercise.
(How’s that for motivation?!!)
But I can’t run from that connection that PVCs are often brought on by stress.
“Extra Beats” are more common when your life has “extra beats.”
It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it?
BTW, friends, thanks for all the smiles about this. In person, and online, many of you have said things like,
“Well, we always knew you had your own rhythm…”
But pray for me as I continue to meditate about stress and extra beats.
I’m clearly not done with this…
(Leave a comment below. If you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook/Twitter by clicking the box below, so others can see too. Comments here are moderated, and are approved at my discretion, when I can get to it..so be patient if they don’t appear right away)