Freedom from the "What ifs" of a heart condition
When I was 47 I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Ventricular Tachycardia (V-tach). Up until then I had been very healthy with no significant family history of heart trouble. A month later I had surgery for an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator). For two years afterwards I had no significant episodes. I was hopeful that I had been healed. Last summer I had a follow up stress test and the V-tach started again, even more quickly than before. I was prescribed Flecainide and told not to swim nor exercise by myself. I became overwhelmed with "What ifs..." What if I I have V-tach or worse yet, pass out at work while teaching young children? What if my heart becomes weaker and weaker because I can't do cardio exercise? What if I have to go on disability? What if, what if?? As a mother of two beautiful teenagers the most agonizing was, "What if I die?" The "What If's" began to mount up and up until I was almost feeling paralyzed with fear to live a normal life. Then suddenly a friend died of an undiagnosed heart condition. During his funeral I had an epiphany - I have to be thankful for the life I have been given. I started leading a Bible study called, "Winning the Battle Over Worry" by Barb Roose. The first lesson was about replacing the "What ifs" with "God if". For example, "God if you allowed me to have V-tach, then I will trust you to sustain me each day - one day at a time." Changing my mindset, changed everything. With less anxiety, I had more freedom to live life to the fullest. Since my V-tach is also affected by anxiety, I physically started feeling better too. I don't take the Flecainide (which has lots of side effects) any more. I have also found that some of the restrictions have turned into joy - like doing Zumba together as a family instead of exercising by myself. I no longer pray for healing but rather to have the right attitude and strength to live each day to the fullest, no matter how many days I have.