3 weeks ago…
I pulled out of the driveway heading toward a Classical Conversation Information Meeting when my phone rang. My friend Debra started the conversation off by saying, “Everything is ok, I’m not calling to alarm you, but Kristin (my ten year old who was with her) was complaining of shortness of breath and had an elevated heart rate.” Debra continued, “We just watched the first 15 minutes of Captain America and Kristin started to really feel bad so we left the movie theater and I have her laying down in my car.”
Well my plans changed in an instant. Lately, I continue to be reminded that ‘though a man plans his course, the Lord determines his steps’. I went and picked up my daughter and began to assess the situation.
I got out my pulse/oxygen machine (that we have had since Kaitlyn was hospitalized for 10 days with pneumonia) and discovered her pulse oxygen levels were 97-98, which was goo,d but she was very winded, short of breath and panicky. Her pulse rate was staying around 117-120 beats per minute…which was too high. Normal is between 70-100 for kids.
I started interrogating her about what she had been doing and eating. She had spent the afternoon at Austin Park and Pizza, rock wall climbing, go cart riding and playing laser tag. She was enjoying an end of the school year celebration with one of her best friends and sister Kait. She had eaten pizza (high carbs and starches/little protein), pie (sugar and carbs) and drank a highly caffeinated drink she named a ‘suicide’, mixing all the sodas together (sugar and caffeine) and she hadn’t drank any water. So, she was probably a little dehydrated as well. That combination was definitely affecting her little body.
I had her drinking water all evening and sitting quietly and as the evening progressed her heart rate finally came down to the 80’s. She went to bed feeling a little short of breath but she vowed to never eat sugar and caffeine again!
The next morning when she woke up she said she was feeling much better but still a little short of breath, so I talked with her again about the extreme importance of eating healthy, avoiding sugars and caffeine and let her go to another, different, end of the school year celebration at Jumpstreet, an indoor trampoline park. (By the way, anyone who thinks homeschoolers don’t have friends or socialization should come and watch my family for a week.) When she arrived home late that afternoon she told me she was still having trouble breathing so I stuck her finger in the pulse/ox machine and was surprised to see her resting heart rate was now 120-130 but her oxygen levels were still good. No wonder she felt short of breath and winded, her heart was working as hard as if she had been jogging for awhile.
I started the interrogation again and she told me that all she had was one chocolate bar! Later, in the evening, I learned from another friend that she had also had eaten half of a “Nerds Necklace”…but had forgotten about it. So much for her avoiding sugar! I have to do more training for sure! Needless to say, two days in a row of elevated heart rate sent her to the after hours clinic with her dad. Why her dad???? Well, because he would rather do the doctor’s office than to deal with the “normal chaos’ of our life with the added stress of ‘wondering what was happening to our daughter’. I had the opportunity to deal with a few, crabby, hungry, little ones while trying to offer up prayers and keep myself from vain imaginations as the thoughts came flooding in!
10 years ago…Only 2 Chambers in her Heart
When Kristin was 24 weeks in my womb, we had a sonographer inform us of the grave news that she could only find 2 chambers in Kristin’s heart. Two days and hundreds of prayers later, we were blessed with the report that all 4 chambers of Kristin’s heart were found and functioning perfectly. I don’t know if the 1st sonographer made a mistake or if God created two more chambers in that 48 hour period. I just know God answered our prayer. However, from that point on in the pregnancy, I was harrassed by a spirit of fear that something was wrong with Kristin’s heart! Even through her delivery, I had a nurse that was constantly warning me of the dangers that Kristin was in, speaking ‘death’, because she had an elevated heart beat right before she was born. I had never heard of ‘vain imaginations’, but I was surely having them. My same friend, Debra, was present at Kristin’s birth and prayed continually against tachycardia. Kristin was born with no complications, but the fear that was present for the last 3 months of the pregnancy stayed with me in a more subdued form throughout her first year of life and then subsided.
5 years ago…
When Kristin was at her 5 year old checkup the doctor noted a heart murmur and sent us to a pediatric cardiologist for further testing. At that time, they could find nothing wrong with her; but thought ‘just maybe’ something looked a little suspicious. The nurse told me that day, that if Kristin was going to have problems, it would show up in the next few years. I just dismissed that thought. I had been juggling a 1 yr.old at the doctor’s office all afternoon and was just relieved that she had a good report. End of story!
However, standing in the kitchen, in front of a pile of dishes and dealing with hungry children, waiting for Jon to call with a report from the doctor, I remembered the conversation with the nurse! I also pondered my personal torment, years ago, of living with vain imaginations concerning Kristin’s heart. In the past few years, I have studied so much about ‘fear and vain imaginations’ that I knew I was in the middle of it again. Another attack from the enemy!
I know the prayers of my friends helped me get through the 2 hours of waiting to get the report.
So, I logically talked myself through not allowing myself to dwell on the “what ifs” and started texting my friends to pray. I consciously, out loud, reminded myself that God works all things for good and told myself over and over, “I will not give into vain imaginations.” I was kind to my younger children and I talked through how I was handling the ‘waiting’ with Kait, my 14 yr. old. I did not lose it. I did not cry. I was not short-tempered. I know the prayers of my friends helped me get through the 2 hours of waiting to get the report.
We received a good report from the doctor that evening. Kristin’s heart rate decreased to about 100 beats per minute. Her chest x-ray showed no abnormalities of the heart. Her EKG was fine and initial blood work was normal. More blood work would come later regarding her thyroid, which we found was normal. The doctor recommended we go to a pediatric cardiologist to have a more thorough examination and perhaps a 48 hour evaluation of her heart to check for abnormalities or irregularities.
Today, 4 weeks later…
Even while I wrote the above, 3 weeks ago, I had peace. I was awake in the middle of the night, up at 2 AM writing, but I was calm-not racked with fear. I had the peace that Jesus was talking about. The devil did not win that round with me, but I know he had plans to harass me with vain imaginations. I did not know what was causing the shortness of breath. I did know what was causing the elevated heart rate. I thought sugar and caffeine were contributing to the problem, however I was trying to ‘lean not on my own understanding’ and kept asking God for wisdom.
It has been 3 weeks since Kristin has had any breathing or elevated heart problems. It has been decided that she had some allergy induced asthmatic problems, nothing serious. The fix: an inhaler to use “if necessary.” God knew the end of this story 3 weeks ago. I did not. Satan had plans to torment me with fear and he knew my past fears concerning Kristin’s heart. I was an ‘easy victim’ for a battle within my own mind.
However, within the past few years a few things changed:
- I have replaced lies with TRUTH concerning fear. I have intentionally faced fears and destroyed strongholds in my mind. I am no longer controlled by them.
- I understand about ‘vain imaginations’ and how fear is used against me.
- I immediately asked friends to pray for me. I was not isolated. I knew a big battle against fear was happening in my mind and I needed help.
And God does use all things for good.
I am so thankful the outcome is good. However, regardless of the outcome, I know Satan had plans to torment me with vain imaginations and fears for the past several weeks. Every now and then a thought would creep in and stay a little while, but God continued to teach me how to use my ‘tools’ to fight against the fears.
And God does use all things for good. Kristin is our middle child, often lumped into the ‘bigs’ or ‘littles’. God has shown me that she needs more of my focused attention, and that she needs to ‘slow down’ and hang out with me more. She has been on my radar lately and I have ‘noticed her’ much more than I had been. She is thriving right now, and I feel more in tune with Kristin than I have ever before. I thank God for helping me ‘slow down’ and focus on her. I know God used what the devil meant for evil for mine and Kristin’s good!