Saturday, May 29, 2010

Health Update

Bob Rakestraw

“His yoke is easy, his burden is light; I’ve found it so, I’ve found it so.”

I learned this catchy tune and these words from Matthew 11:30 in my early Christian life, and they have boosted me all through the years. I sing this chorus not when my life is easy, but when things are hard.

I have been singing and humming these words often lately. I felt that I should send a health update to you my faithful readers, since it has been a while.

Some of you knew I was having difficulties with my new transplant cardiologist. Well, now I have a new, new one. Judy and I met with her on Monday, May 17, and she seems to be just the medicine I need. She is compassionate and capable, and does not intend to push me in ways that have been ineffective in the past. She acknowledged there is nothing she can do except look into a couple of long shots, and monitor my drug levels every six months or so. She is head of the heart transplant program at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and I am fortunate to have her. For the first time in over a year, I feel validated and understood by my cardiologist.

There is a down side, however, to my appointment. For the first time since my transplant in 2003, I learned that I have heart failure in addition to the transplant vasculopathy. I have not had heart failure since before the transplant. In fact, that was the reason for needing a new heart. Well, here I am again.

Even though I didn’t know what to call it, I knew I was changing inside. The breathing has become harder and the inner downward “pull” has intensified. I have other symptoms as well, such as increased dizziness, nausea and light-headedness. I sometimes have a “fog” inside my head. Talking is hard. Listening is hard. I am much like I was before the transplant, but worse. My friends understand these things, and, by doing so, consistently affirm me.

There is something more. I feel as though I am moving on. The old order of things is passing away, and the new is drawing near. I don’t know, of course, whether I will be called home by the Lord soon. I may still be here ten or twenty years from now. But my inner person senses that I am in a kind of twilight zone—a shadowland or “via media”—with one foot on the other side. The things of earth are growing “strangely dim.”

I desire to live every minute of my remaining time on earth for the honor of my King, for the good of those I know, and for the good of those I don’t know, but have influenced or will influence in some way in the days to come. I feel as though I could write a twenty-volume set of theology, ethics, biblical exposition, and life-lessons learned over the years. The spirit is very willing, but the body is weak. I affirm wholeheartedly, however, that “His yoke is easy, his burden is light; I’ve found it so, I’ve found it so.”


Banana said...

Thank you so much for your honesty, Bob. Your journey and insight has so much meaning for me, and I'm sure for many others. I hope you've been able to enjoy this beautiful weekend. You and your family are constantly in my prayers.
Love, Anna

Anonymous said...

He is our strength, our fortress, our shield, our Deliverer. You are loved by so many. Continue to rest in the Arms of love.

Rosemary said...

Thanks for the update, Bob, although it is hard to hear that you have heart failure again. I hate to see you struggle physically but I am joyful to know you have peace and feel His presence. Love our conversations so much. Rosemary

Laurie Verseput said...

OH, Bob, what a beautiful and sad entry to your blog! I am one whose life has been touched and influenced by your faithful, loving testimony.

Here's a song I used when we were missionaries, "Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here..." "Help me Lord, when pain and trial meeting, so to take as from a Father's hand, one by one the days, the moments fleeting, til I reach the Promised Land."

I pray for you, dear One of God!