A Progress Update

10.18.09 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[6]

Someone came up to me during the Sharathon Friday and asked how I was feeling.  As we talked it dawned on me that it had been three months to the day that everything happened.  Three months.  In some ways it seems like it was a lot longer ago than that; in other ways, it seems like it was just yesterday.

It's been awhile since I've blogged about any of the medical issues but since a couple of significant decisions have been made recently I thought I'd give an update for those who've been faithfully praying and expressing their concern since the heart attack.

I've been back in the office about 6 hours a day since the end of August and still hosting PM Praise every weeknight at 6 p.m.  (Karmon Wood, thankfully, jumped in to do afternoons in the interim.)  For the last two months I've also been in physical therapy which has made a significant difference in my strength and endurance.  That, along with the various medications I've been on, have helped my heart recover from the damage done by the heart attack.  Two weeks ago I was back at Strong Memorial Hospital for a cardiac MRI.  I'd never had an MRI before and wasn't sure what to expect.  It wasn't an 'open' MRI; I was in the tube for over an hour.  I discovered that I'm not claustrophobic but I did come away with a pretty good sense of what toothpaste must feel like in the tube.  

Last week we met with the doctors and their determination is that I should have an ICD implant.  It's a fairly common procedure where a tiny controller is implanted in the upper chest, near the collarbone, with leads connecting to the heart muscle.  It will act in much the same way as the external defibrillator that I've been wearing since July.  While the heart muscle may continue some degree of recovery, there was a lot of scar tissue and damage caused by the heart attack.  So, while my overall prognosis is good, it will never be the same as it was before the heart attack.  The surgery is scheduled for November 3rd at Strong.

I can't tell you how much it means to have read the comments people wrote on the blogs and the emails I've received.  So many people came up during Sharathon and asked how I was doing and said they've been praying for me and Connie through this time; it's very humbling.  This has been (and will continue to be) an amazing learning process on every level -physical, spiritual and emotional.  It's not an experience I would ever wish on anyone but for what it is teaching me, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Your prayers for the surgery would be appreciated.  On the programming side, thanks for your outstanding support during the Sharathon.  Be listening for Jean and Kurt weekday afternoons at 2 p.m. - we're going to have a lot of fun.  Check out the Don Moen podcast and be looking for part two to be posted later this week.  God bless.   


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 10.19.09 Betty Learn commented

Thank you for your update. I wanted to tell you that my husband, Bob, has an ICD implant and it was done at Strong Memorial Hospital. He got it in 2002 and has been doing well ever since! God has been so good to us. We are glad you are going to Strong Memorial. It is a very nice hospital. They do good work!!
Will Karmon still be on the radio? We enjoy him so much. In fact, we love all of you at Family life. You truly are our Christian friends and we will be praying for you. We came to the Sharathon last spring but couldn't make it this fall. But, we were praying and listening! We will be praying for you November 3rd. God Bless You!!

on 11.04.09 Reid Ferguson commented

Praying for you bud.

on 10.20.09 Sue Palmer, Walworth, NY commented

So glad to hear you are doing well. To God be the glory!!
I heard your intro cast with Kurt & Jean & had a suggestion for the name of their afternoon show.
"The Kurt & Jean Machine"-- Speaking in faith that they will be united in Spirit and work together like a well-oiled machine!!

on 10.21.09 Bill Kamberg commented

Thanks for the update, Cecil. It was so good to see you on the streaming video at Sharathon. It is one thing to hear that you are doing well - quite another to actually SEE you. You have been in my prayers and will continue to be. And, I also mention Connie, as I am sure that this experience has taken its toll on her, too. How fortunate you are to have her at your side.

Take care, my friend, and I will expect all to go well with your ICD.



on 10.21.09 Emily commented

Toothpaste....seriously?!?! Where do you come up with this stuff....I love it! :)

on 10.25.09 E commented

Hi, Cecil. You don't know me of course but I am one of those silent family members out there in Radio Land who listens to FLN every day. As "we" were often together in the car, you became my personal Gabriel many times. I wondered where you disappeared, and felt like a family member had been struck down as soon as I heard. Having suffered two heart attacks and a small stroke, you have been very much in my prayers. It is good to hear you again and to know you are still bringing glory to the Lord. Don Moen, btw, is a wonderful addition to the Family; somehow I recall you were involved in bringing him. No matter what your future role is at FLN, I am glad for you and your family, and am unabashedly pleased you have returned as well. Someday maybe I will get to one of those marathons. In the meantime,I pray that the favor of the Lord will continue to rest upon you. Psalm 90:17.