Posts Tagged ‘Superdad’

I’m coming up on my 1 year anniversary since my Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) was implanted last October 7th, 2011. It has brought to mind the many seasons I have gone through in just one year of living with this amazing piece of technology that has all but saved my life. Last year, I all but missed this transition of the end of summer to fall, which here in Minnesota is actually a really spectacular thing.

We are blessed to have four distinct seasons of weather during the year.  True, we have a devastatingly cold winter, but that is the price we pay. Fall happens to be one of my favorite seasons of all in Minnesota. It is harvest time for corn, pumpkins, and other crops. The deciduous trees are in an explosion of colors that hit every spectrum of yellow, orange, and red. The weather is mild and not humid, and the nights are cool enough to entice a warm fire in an outdoor fire pit.

Life seems to mirror nature to a degree that we all have various seasons we travel in and out of as well.

The LVAD implant surgery was a long season for me. I was in the hospital for 40 days and nights trying to get healthy enough just to survive the surgery, and to become strong enough to return home after the implantation. I spent our 11th year wedding anniversary in the hospital, and was also in the hospital when my mother passed away. After the implantation on October 7th, my sole goal was to be home in time to have our 3 year old twins and 9 year old daughter enjoy Trick-or-Treating on Halloween. I made it home three days before Halloween to realize this goal.

The second season of LVAD was recovering from the surgery itself. They don’t really tell you, nor can they ever really prepare you for how your body will react to a major surgery, which includes your chest being cracked open for the implementation of the device. It took another four months after returning home for me to start feeling back to “normal” (as normal as I can be with this device). I went through several home visits with Physical, Occupational, and Cardiac rehab nurses in order to get to where I am today (working full time and chasing the kids around).

The third season of living with an LVAD seems to be where I am today – trying to regain as much of the activities of life in spite of the limitations on me based on the device. Once you get used to the basics of the device (which truly are a lot, I don’t want to minimize or trivialize the things I and other LVAD patients live with), you can start testing and pushing the boundaries. Please realize though that going an inch over the line seems pretty risky in boundary pushing for me!

This is an interesting and challenging season for me in many ways. On one hand, I feel better than I have in years, while on the other hand, I have a heart that is in end stage failure and can’t support my vital functions without the support that the LVAD provides. Some parts of my physical body may be as close to being dead material as they can be, yet I have never felt more alive than at any other time in my life.

There is an overarching season that also plays into this. I am on the heart transplant list waiting to be blessed with the gift of a heart from a donor. Because of my size, age, gender, tissue, and blood type (O+), I have been told that this season of waiting can be up to two or more years. It is something I cannot affect or control, so I must live in this season and cope with the facets.

The best thing about going through these seasons is that as the sun continues to rise and set, time passes, and seasons do change.  It is important that I can mark their changing, as it reveals to me that I am still moving forward and not at a complete standstill, placing a life (that is too precious and valuable to waste) on hold with the expectation that It will be a perfect world with a new heart.

What seasons are you going through?

 

Advertisements

Picard/Locutus from http://www.startrek.com

OK, so let’s get this out of the way; it’s no big secret that I am a Christian. No, you don’t have to be one also to read this blog. I will try to not be one of those that like to “vomit” their Faith on someone. I won’t try to convert you or brainwash you or cast the first stone. I just want you to know that I am blogging about my life and my experiences, and a huge part of my life and experiences is my Faith journey (if any of it can be helpful in your life, then awesome!). You may see a reference every once in a while to a piece of scripture, or I may post a song that has helped me get through the dark and rough parts of my heart health and life, but feel free to skip those parts, or click away to whatever else you are searching for on the web.

Cyborg Superman from DC Comics

That being said, a way to know I am moving further on the path of my Faith journey, is how I am being transformed as an individual (and growing hopefully). As I stated above, I just didn’t think it would be into a Cyborg!

With all of the equipment that I have had installed (Medtronic ICD and Bi-Valve Pacer & Thoratec Corporation’s Heartmate II plus all of the associated leads and wires) my chest cavity on the left side is mostly metal, silicon, porcelain and other “artificial materials”. My “organic” heart is still in there beating away, but when you listen to my chest, you can hear the “whirr” of the turbine controlling the blood flow through the heart. The Sci-fi geek side of me would say I am being “assimilated” into the Borg Collective, or that I now rely on technology to survive in life like DC Comic’s Cyborg Superman or Cyborg of the Teen Titans, or like Marvel’s Iron Man (all factors that help me relate to depending on all of this to live my life).

 

DC Comic's Cyborg of the Teen Titans

It has also put my life and outlook on life into perspective. I know I am not in control of my life. I live at the whim of a Power greater than my own. I can’t physically even support my body without relying on these devices to do so. I have a profound understanding of the phrase; “There, but for the Grace of God go I.”

I look at each day as a gift and enjoy seeing what new surprise I can find each day with my wife and children. My priorities are coming into alignment and I see (in High Definition) what issues are truly important, and what issues really merit no attention, stress, or worry any more. How is that coming in your life?

 

Oh…and I couldn’t leave out just one more geeky reference! – Transformers! Robots in Disguise!

Life always seems to get in the way of chronicling life in a blog!  After quite a lapse though, I am getting back into it. A lot has happened in the interim time since my last post. I will try to get things caught up.

Supergirl is now in the fourth grade!  She is into Soccer, Girl Scouts, Reading, Drama, and so much more.  She is on a mission to finish the Harry Potter series which she started reading in the third grade, and is now going through book six.

The WonderTwins are now three!  Yes twins require double and sometimes triple the energy, attention, and effort, but they are worth every bit of it!  Zan (the boy twin) is into everything Cars, sports balls, and going as fast as he can. Jana (the girl twin) is into Tinkerbell, Dress-up, Dancing, and anything her brother and sister are doing.

Health Issues have hit me pretty hard.  A decade ago I had a virus that attacked my heart and caused me to develop Cardiomyopathy that weakened my heart’s ability to pump effectively.  It has been treated with medicines and machinery up to this point, but the heart continued to weaken, and now I wait for a new one, while an implanted pump takes over the pumping effort.

WonderWoman has been the best during all of this.  She truly has manifested Amazonian type powers to keep the family, the household, our business, and myself together. I can’t emphasize how truly wonderful she is, and there is none that can compare!

OK, that’s the quick updates. More details on each will merit their own posts down the road, but here is a fresh post for a fresh start on blogging again.

71233-11910-104231-1-walter-lantz-andy-pa_mediumI have a passion for reading.  I tend to read mostly fiction – tending along the lines of suspense-thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and the occasional action books.  While growing up in the 70’s, I could never get enough to read just from novels.  So I filled the gaps in between with comic books.  My collections started with a few cardboard boxes of comics from my Dad.  He had collected them, or was given them by his father who happened to own a drug store. So I now have a few Looney Tunes, Hi & Lois, Andy Pandas, & Dennis the Menace books dating back to 1956.

I liked all the classic DC heroes, although Batman, Flash, and Superman happened to be my favorites, until one day in the late 70’s I went over to Boyd Hooper’s house, and for the first time, I saw a copy of the X-men. I was hooked. The stories were unlike any I had ever read. The concept that we all had the “potential” to have a1938-actioncomics1 mutant gene that could give us superpowers when we entered puberty was very influential on a boy (going through puberty at the time).

Wolverine quickly became my favorite.  I then would cross over to other Marvel books to follow any other appearances of any of the X-men.  I quickly got caught up in all the other titles.  Marvel just seemed to have better writers than DC at the time.  The characters were a bit more flawed, and closer to being “human” than the near indestructible Superman.

I hope to share this addiction/passion with my children, to a degree of course.  If they love it, then great, if not, then I guess the collection all goes on e-bay someday (Yikes!).  Supergirl has shown the same passion for reading, so when she’s older, we’ll see what she thinks. What hobby from your youth are you inflicting on your v5feat_211-x-men_133spouse/children?

Our WonderTwins made their debut 11/03/08

Um, wow, what a way to start a blog, but Wonder Woman and I will be welcoming Supergirl’s new brother and sister, the Wonder Twins! They are due the first week of November, and then we’ll be raising a team of Superheroes!

After many months of blogging for our business, I have given in to the many demands, suggestions, and coercions to start a Daddy Blog. Apparently I have some worthy information/wisdom/stories that people want me to share. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

As we are about to add two new bundles of joy to our family, it seemed the appropriate time to jump in and start recording things as we are sure to get completely overrun with exhaustion immediately after they are born.

So let’s set the stage. Wonder Woman and I have been married since 2000 and Supergirl just turned six. All of Supergirl’s girlfriends have little brothers, so she has just thought that that was part of the deal. She has been praying for a little brother or sister (since she has since met friends with little sisters, since then), and was on the verge of moving on, figuring out that if a sibling wasn’t going to happen, that she would start praying about getting a puppy.

She started working that angle right before Christmas (when she was five). With lightning speed, I came up with the plan that she needed to wait until she was old enough to take a dog to obedience school. She brilliantly decided that when she was six, she would be ready, so she announced to EVERYONE that when she had her six year old party (this past July) that she was going to get not one, but two puppies.

Wonder Woman and I found out about the twins in February, and held off until Mother’s Day (12 weeks) to announce our impending arrivals. We wanted Supergirl to be able to announce it at Mother’s Day brunch to the other relatives, and when we joyfully broke the news to her that morning, her first response was; “Well I guess the puppies will have to wait.”

She of course is more excited now, and was very excited to tell everyone that morning, but as Elephants have such a bionic memory, I believe Supergirl will not forget her quest for a puppy, once the babies are “old enough.”

Join us again….same bat time, same bat channel!