From the heart...

Thank you to all of you who, knowing I was experiencing a health challenge, have prayed for me and to those who have sent me messages of encouragement and hope during this last month and upon my return to preach last Sunday, All Saints' Sunday.

I've been diagnosed with a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy.  This means that my heart muscle is weakened and needs support to function well.  I'm presently taking three medications plus a dose of magnesium and wearing a portable defibrillator for the next three months while my cardiologist monitors my progress.  How did this situation come about?  We can't be certain, but the physicians who've treated me and heard my family medical history strongly suspect that I've inherited this situation.

I felt short of breath during the last weekend of September and sought medical attention at a weekend clinic and then at the ER at St. Joseph's on the following Monday.  Since that time I've taken an array of diagnostic tests, been hospitalized for observation and more tests and to begin medication, and been back to work.  As I write this, I'm feeling like I'm back to some semblance of normalcy again in my routine.  Barring a miracle, I will be living with this situation the rest of my life.  The good news is that there is terrific medical treatment to help strengthen me, and we live in a community with a terrific group of cardiologists in practice.

I'm extremely grateful to Dr. Rex Liu and his staff and to the other cardiologists who've had a hand in my care.  I'm grateful to the nursing staff and medical technologists at St. Joseph's Hospital.  I'm grateful to Sharon, my spouse and partner and friend of 37 years, and to my daughters Josie and Olivia, who've been calling their dad to ask how I'm doing.   I'm grateful to the people of St. Paul's and to the terrific clergy and staff members with whom I'm privileged to work, and to the lay leaders who make St. Paul's such a wonderful church community.  I'm grateful to God for the gift of life, and suddenly more aware of the precious gift of life each day.

Some of you have urged me to take good care of myself.  I hear you, and I'm doing that.  I'm taking care for my hydration, nutrition, exercise, and rest.  I'm setting reasonable limits for what I'll do in a day and what I'll worry about.  Thanks, friends, for your caring reminders to keep that up!

As I said on Sunday, I've been with many of you after you've received news you didn't want to hear about your health.  I now have had my own news I didn't want to hear, and I'm adjusting to that, just as I've seen so many of you adjust to new realities with courage, faith, and humor.

In all of this, I'm glad to be involved with St. Paul's.  I sat amid the congregation last Sunday and came up to the pulpit to preach and then took my seat again.  It felt good to be sitting in the congregation experiencing Sunday morning from a different perspective.  If I were visiting St. Paul's, I'd want to stick around!