Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stress Test??? You mean you won't take my word for it!?!?!

So, I've decided to chronicle this adventure.  I think there is value in doing this given the subject matter and the response that I've gotten from some so many of you.  Evidently I hit a nerve; a very raw one at that.  I'm glad.  This type of stuff can get away from us so easily and it has gotten away from many of us.  I think about the fears I've quietly wrestled with this year...fears that I'm certain many of my colleagues wrestle with in isolation.  My response?  That really makes me sad.  Let's do this together, let's learn together, and let's try and support each other in this journey.  Deal?  This post will be relatively scatter-shot. I simply want to give a broad update and to perhaps set some ground work for future updates.

Before I get rolling, I've got to share some really GREAT news.  This past Sunday at our Heathen Church service ( we were blessed to receive 11 new members with 6 baptisms...and I think we might have more this weekend.  We're not even two months into the launch of Heathen Church and the crazy and powerful is quickly becoming the norm.  God is good.

Now for the stewardship of this body I have been given...The stress test and echo-cardiogram were done on Monday; not the best way to spend a Monday morning.  Not a horrible experience, just long and boring.  The young lady doing the echo, which is essentially (I think) an ultrasound of the heart, seemed like she was trying to carve me up with the thing; she was pressing so hard.  "You've got a lot of muscle tissue to get through."  Well, better than moobs I suppose, but it sure don't look very muscular to me lol.

The stress test?  I was weird; no surprises there.  At rest, my blood pressure was ridiculous.  Once they started the treadmill?  My BP began to steadily drop, until it snuggled right into 120/80 and wouldn't budge.  Based upon my age, they wanted me to hit a heart rate of I think 151.  It took over 12 minutes of increasing speed and a sharp incline on the treadmill to hit the target.  Once the test was over and I sat back down, up went the BP.  Makes no sense.  Well, aside from supporting my contention that I really do detest sitting still.  I'm happiest in motion.

Of particular note when they were x-raying my heart (I got a dose of gamma radiation...sweet!!!), I had some good reflection time.  I was at peace and a huge weight was melting off of my shoulders.  I had been so scared to go to the doctor because I was terrified of what they'd find or tell me.  I actually remembered fleeting conversations with myself where I hoped something minor would pop up in my life, something just enough to FORCE me to go to the doctor.  How sick is that???  But there on the table?  I had such peace and relief to be where I was, to not have that fear anymore.  I would imagine this part is especially hitting a powerful chord with many of you...scared to go to the doctor.  Take that step and go.  It's really not that bad.  As a matter of fact; it's good.  If you have questions, concerns, and fears about your health, go to the doctor.  Far better to go on your terms, rather than on the terms of a clogged artery or a stroke.  Those types of things are not concerned with your best interests, your family, or your ministry.  Wait too long and they will kill or cripple you.  My results will be back on Monday.

The other points I wanted to touch on are the simple steps I've taken since the last post.  Three meals a day, taking my vitamins, and back in the gym lifting AND doing cardio.  The difference?  Immense.  I have more energy and I feel worlds better (albeit not back to where I want to be, but it'll come) in just a matter of days.  I had three people on Sunday alone tell me, "You've actually got some color!"  Aside from that, I've worked hard to prioritize what gets my attention, what I can delegate, and what I'm willing to give real estate to in my mind and heart.  Here's the thing...I have still accomplished as much and probably more on a daily basis, in less time, than when I had convinced myself that I didn't have time to eat or to breath.  Weird, huh?  I even took a full day off.  AND!  And I actually have taken the time each day to sit quietly in the presence of God.

Now, if I'm being entirely honest and transparent, I do have to admit it hasn't been easy.  I still have to force myself to actually stop and eat, and I also have to convince myself not to rush through the gym in order to get to church.  I have to give myself permission to do these things and then to remind myself that I have that permission.  It also helps to remember that doing these things actually adds more enjoyment to doing what I already love to do.  There is some serious reprogramming that needs to be done here, but it's certainly doable.

Sometime in the very near future, I would like to write about the diet and exercise.  I realize a couple of things on this front; first, it sounds really daunting.  It's not.  What I'm doing on the diet front is really simple and I've not found myself hungry.  Secondly, the exercise front probably scares some of you.  Well, that's only as complicated and scary as you want it to be.  Me?  Unless I leave the gym concerned that I've injured myself, I don't feel like I've done anything.  However, it really need not be that way.

In closing brother and sisters, be well.  If I am striking a chord with you, if I have scared you, please take the time to understand why and then PLEASE commit to doing something about it.  Your family, your ministry, your friends, and people you have yet to even meet need you.

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