Matters of the Heart

I spent the first weekend of December with my sweetheart and his parents in Pennsylvania. The visit with them did my heart good—both my physical heart and my poetic heart, the one that speaks for my soul. The weekend was an opportunity for me on so many levels. First, to simply pause, sink into my body, rest, and reflect. I had just learned a few days earlier that there’s a problem with my ticker. An annual physical exam revealed an irregular heartbeat. An EKG confirmed tachycardia. Because my doctor is not a cardiologist, she can’t tell me anything beyond that. I’m scheduled for an appointment with a specialist at the end of this month. Being a former medical reporter, I could not sit idly by for three weeks without doing something. So I did some research. Basically, my heart is beating too fast. I was and have been symptom-free, the doctor explains, because I have a naturally low resting heart rate. Now it’s up to the specialist to determine in what part of the heart the electrical problem originates. That will dictate treatment, which could be 1) do nothing—let’s watch it, 2) oral medication, 3) intravenous medication, 4) some kind of surgery which could include a pacemaker, or 5) the most extreme—heart transplant. I choose and intend option #1, thankyouverymuch!

The days immediately following this news were filled with a flurry of fear, concern and questions. How could this happen? Will I be okay? Do I have enough life insurance? What do I tell the children? What do I do now? In my business as a personal development and executive coach, we say that life is a series of events, people and circumstances. What gives us our quality and experience of life is who we choose to BE in the face of those events, people and circumstances. So I have myself a circumstance or event. Who will I BE? I will be calm, trusting and powerful in the face of the unknown. I will be transparent and authentic about my feelings. I will ask for and allow support. I will ask for what I need. (In fact, I just asked a girlfriend to come to my cardiologist appointment with me to advocate on my behalf.) I will get plenty of rest, exercise moderately, eat healthy, and de-stress.

And that brings me to my visit with my sweetheart’s parents. Scarlett and Bill are 90 and 91 years old, respectively. When you get to be that age, you don’t sweat the small stuff. What’s important is this moment right now. And now. And now. You cherish every moment. You relish every song, every conversation, every breath. You drink in the moon and salute the sun. You move slowly, deliberately, intentionally. You love deeply and with all your heart. And so that’s what I did, too…and continue to do. Because really, what guarantee do any of us have that we will be here tomorrow? We do not. We have right now.

My visit with Scarlett and Bill was like salve for my soul—and my heart. With my own parents gone now for years, I am so grateful to once again have parents to love and be loved by. In my book, there is no better prescription for a healthy heart.


Please share your thoughts, insights and questions below. Your participation provides wisdom that all can benefit from. Thank you!

Denise Yamada © 12/2011


1 comment to Matters of the Heart

  • Bodie Campagna

    Denise, you will be in my prayers. I have also had some medical issues lately so I know how tough that can be.

    Keep the faith!


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