Confession: I really don’t like telling people about my own health issues. For multiple reasons: 1) I don’t want to come off as dramatic. I know there are always people out there who have much worse issues to deal with than I’ve seen on my worst day. 2) I don’t want people to worry about me unnecessarily. I think as a leader, you want to reassure people, not have them worrying about you. (Kind of like parents don’t want to tell the kids if they’re struggling to pay the bills). 3) I don’t love having to explain my personal issues to people. So with all that being said, I’ll explain my recent weird personal health issues!
I’m a fairly healthy young guy. I work out. I eat moderately healthy. No history of major problems. So, I was surprised when I felt a pain in my chest randomly for the last few weeks. It would come and go for no apparent reason. I wondered: “is this heart burn or a pulled muscle?” I don’t think it’s stress related, because I don’t really feel stressed at all. I put it down as “something to check on eventually.” Then last week, I was in Northern Missouri to preach at their Youth Camp, and on Tuesday, I felt this chest-pain again, but also felt a tingling in my left arm for the first time. I know enough to be concerned about the combination of those symptoms, and after talking it through with Amy, we decided I should go to the emergency room. They ran the standard tests to check for signs of heart problems. Everything looked fine, so I preached to the camp that night, and went on to have no problems for the rest of the week.
Last Sunday (June 24th), while I was preaching at our 9:30am service, I just felt out of breath and weak. It was an active sermon, but I’m fit enough that it shouldn’t have winded me. After the service, I started feeling heaviness in my chest, tingling in my left arm, and generally a bit dizzy. A nurse on our Safety Team was checking me out as the 11am service got started. She checked for pulse, blood pressure, and blood sugar, and thought I should probably go to the ER again, even though I was testing normal. I pretty much agreed, but I really wanted to preach that sermon again! It was SO GOOD. So I gave the team some instructions about what to do if I needed to bolt, and then ran out on stage just in time to start preaching. It ended up going really well, although I was inwardly a little concerned about what might happen. It was the best service of the day! After that, I did go to the ER. They ran the same tests and said the same things. No signs of heart attack, but that I should see a cardiologist to follow up. Cool with me! Better safe than sorry. I went back to church to preach at our 6pm service that night, but I was honestly feeling weak and a little off my game.
Wednesday, I was at the church office, and around 2:30pm, started getting that heavy feeling, tingling, and weakness. As we went back to the ER, I was getting severe tingling/numbness in my left arm, and also somewhat on the left side of my face, and left shin. So they were a little concerned about that and checked for stroke symptoms. I was starting to get pretty tired of this and also starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the confusing situation (which was becoming less annoying and more scary). About the time I was being placed into the ER, I asked for prayer (somewhat ambiguously) on Facebook. Not more than a few minutes after I did that, I started getting normal sensation back in my arms and face, which was relieving. After running all the same tests (EKG, blood panels, chest x-rays, CT scan), they decided to keep me overnight to see a cardiologist and neurologist. I was moved to an observation room where I was able to get some sleep. This morning at about 8:30am, I was sent to do a stress test by the cardiologist. They actually hook you up to a monitor, make you run on a treadmill, and watch to see if you die! They told me most people don’t even get to 85% of their max heart rate, so I naturally wanted to make it all the way to my max heart rate! (Competitive much?) No chest pain! All the heart tests have checked out and they do NOT think I have heart problems. Nice!
The neurologist did an MRI on my brain and found that it’s looking pretty normal as well. They sent me home with some follow-up appointments, but not much in the way of answers. I’m praying that either this is one of those unexplainable things that just goes away, or that whatever was wrong was healed by the Lord. They mentioned that there are viruses that can cause these symptoms, but that they don’t understand much about said viruses. I’m feeling tired due to the sequence of events, but grateful that things are looking so good at the moment. Thanks for your prayers!