Thursday, September 30, 2010

Going Home

After speaking with my Institute doctor, I've decided to go home for my angiogram.

She told me that, if during the procedure, they discoves that there are significant blockages in/around the heart, they probably wouldn't let me leave the hospital: they'd do the bypass sugery right there. She doesn't expect it to be the outcome, but said it's best to be prepared for the more serious consequences. And that if it were her, she'd want family and friends to be there.

Also I figure the good La Salette Fathers and Brothers couldn't really handle an invalid priest on the third floor.

So I've decided to pack up and go home next week. It could be for a week or two or a month or two depending on what happens.

The folks at the institute say they'd welcome me back for open arms.

The folks at the diocese say they understand and that I need to do it.

In the meantime, I'll keep on my diet and hope to make progress as best I can.

Gosh, that's a long drive...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Abnormal? Moi?

So I just got back to my room yesterday from a long day at the Institute, when I get this call from the cardiologist – a very pleasant man with a daughter in Boise. He didn’t want to alarm me I think, but he said my heart exam with the gamma camera was “mildly abnormal.” (Or did I hear “wildly abnormal.” No, no, it was mildly!)
The bottom line it seems is the doctors want to do an angiogram as a next step.
An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or a vein.
During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed into a blood vessel in the groin (femoral artery or vein) or just above the elbow (brachial artery or vein). (The doctor said he's been doing it through the arm for the last 15 years. Thanks be to God!) The catheter is guided to the area to be studied. Then an iodine dye is placed in the vessel to make the area show clearly on the X-ray pictures.
The thought of such a thing does not make me a happy camper. But I suppose it’s better to find out now, than to have some crisis hit me on the reclining bike at the gym.
Continue those prayers, please. Your support is a blessing to me!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Results

First, nothing definitive from the stress test. My doctor said she'd know by Tuesday morning. She said that while the report was in dictation, if there had been something seriously wrong, the heart clinic would have called her. So I'm waiting one more day! I'll let you know what I know ASAP. Thank you so much for those prayers and messages of support and encouragement. I am deeply appreciative!

Secondly, today's weigh-in: 345.9 lbs. down 3 lbs. this week for a total loss of 16.8 lbs! Martha my dietician says that's normal for the program. I continue to grow in the right direction!

Notre Dame de La Salette - I'll be telling you more about the La Salette Fathers and Brothers. Look for it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Honestly,doctor, I feel fine.

So today I survived and they didn't cart me off on a gurney. The technicians and nurses won't (or can't) tell you what it looks like, so I have to wait for the doctor on Monday. Ahh... the virtue of patience for the patient.

With the use of a radioactive dye (that "lights up" the heart and other organs), they take a 3-D picture of the heart before the treadmill and another following. They used what they call a Gamma Camera.

Thanks again for those prayers and the notes and comments of encouragement!

I'll also weigh-in again on Monday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Judgment Day

I have my stress test tomorrow.

I told them I have enough stress in my life as it is, why do I need to induce more of it!

My schedule at the Institute has been canceled. I'm to report to the heart clinic at 10:45 AM for registration; the test begins at 11:15. It's the heart monitor, the tread mill (to exhaustion!), then they insert a dye and take pictures of the heart. (I'll know more after the procedure.)

Then decisions need to be made.
  • If everything is clear and clean, I'm cleared for a rigorous exercise regime.
  • If there's blockage, I may need angioplasty.
  • If the blockage is more than 60%, I may need bypass surgery.
The later causes me some anxiety. (In fact, each of the options carries its own set of anxieties, some worse than others.)

One of the priests (Father Bill) in the program administered the Sacrament of the Sick to me. A priest is anointed on the backs of the hands, having already been anointed on the palms at ordination. The sacrament makes me feel better about the stress test, knowing that I'm prepared spiritually.

We are all of us, after all is said and done, in God's hands. It is better when we acknowledge that He is the potter; we, the clay. Then we can let Him do His work in us without too much resistence.

God bless you. Pray for me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Results

This was my first full day in the program, after that initial assessment period. Martha the dietitian weighed me this morning -- first time since September 9th.

348.9 lbs. Down 13.8 lbs. in 11 days!

And that's mostly just diet -- the hard part (exercise) hasn't really begun.

Looks like my days will consist of exercise, individual consultations with the experts, and group meetings with other participants from a variety of programs at the Institute.

Have an early day tomorrow: a test at the hospital at 6:45 AM. Keep me in your prayers as I do you and yours!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Here for your online edification are my before photos, with thanks to Father Pako (I guess)!

What do you think?

OK, I'm in!

Yes, I’ve been accepted into the institute’s program. I begin in earnest on Monday. (My purgatory?)
The “Treatment Team” met with me yesterday to provide feedback and outline “our” goals.  They consider me a good candidate for the program.  The team consisted of two psychologists and a sister-spiritual director.  (The dietician was unable to attend.) The last half of the meeting included the Bishop and Msgr. da Silva, who were quite supportive.
Bishop and Monsignor told me to take as much time as it takes to achieve my goals.
It really is a matter of attitude and new habits.
One of the keys is self-monitoring, that is, keeping close track of the amount of food and liquid consumed daily – which I’ve been doing religiously since I’ve arrived on September 9th.  A second element in the program is the various group work –  to adjust  that attitude factor. Then the third leg is to increase the activity level – that means getting to the gym daily. That will be a challenge, but I think I’m up for it. (There’s a new Y a couple of exits down the freeway from here.) I mean what else do I have to do, right?
Want the numbers?  Here ya’ go: Weight on September 9th: 362.7 lbs. Body Mass Index 48. Obesity category III.
I get weighed again on Monday. I’ve been dieting for 10 days now, so I expect to see some improvement!  Stay tuned.
PS Thanks for all the cards, letter and emails of support, love and prayer.  I find them highly encouraging. Keep me in your prayers!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feedback pending.

(Have been unable to connect to the internet the last couple of days. Service now seems to be restored.)

The Institute (St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute) has put me through the paces, a series of assessments to determine what I should be doing next.  It culminates this Friday at noon, when I meet with the treatment team. I expect them to outline my program.
So how did all this begin?
Thursday, September 9th:
                Nutrition Assessment.
                Medical Assessment.
                Psychiatric Assessment.
(The psychiatrist asked me, ‘Have you ever met with a psychiatrist before?” I said, “Are you crazy?”)
Monday, September 13th:
                 Psychological Assessment, Part I
                Spiritual Assessment
Tuesday, September 14th:
                Psychological Assessment, Part II
                Individual Testing
Wednesday, September 15th:
                Psychological Assessment, Part III
So the point I’m getting is that my weight problem has more to do with what’s inside my head than with what’s inside my body. It should be interesting!
My attitude in all this is that the Lord has made it my full-time job for now is to work on my health issues—even if that mean adjusting my attitude, as painful and humbling as that may be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arrival at last.

Ok, ok, I have some catching up to do I know.  So here's a start:

It’s been an eventful week.

My drive was long, but it went very well. I spent three nights on the road: Missoula, Rapid City, and St. Joseph, Missouri. I stayed with my friend Father Jorge Ramirez at his rectory at St. Patrick’s Parish in St. Joseph. It was too-short a visit! He did manage to take me out for St. Louis-style BBQ ribs – a kind of a last supper, I suppose! I enjoyed it very much! Thank you Father Jorge!

Father Jorge is a priest of the Boise Diocese, helping in the Kansas City Diocese. He seems happy and busy.

I arrived at my new residence, the LaSalette Mission Center in St. Louis about 3:30 PM Wednesday, September 8th, the birthday of the Blessed Mother. It seems auspicious.

Odometer: 1,876.8 miles. 28:44 hours. 26.1 average MPG.

Father Dennis Meyer, M.S., in charge of the house, greeted me and gave me the tour. It’s a pleasant place with nice grounds, three floors, south of downtown, on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. Laundry, shop, storage, meeting rooms are in the basement; chapel, kitchen, refectory, guest rooms, offices on the first floor; residential rooms on the second.

I wanted to figure out where exactly I had to be the following morning so after unloading the car, I punched the address of the institute into my Subaru’s navigation system to get a preview. What a great invention!

The Institute is located next to St. Louis Community College. It’s about 7 ½ miles from my residence. I travel on 2 freeways and through a semi-industrial area. It only takes about 10 or 15 minutes.

More later!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Tonight in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Watching the BSU game at the Super 8. BSU wins! Praise God!
From Sandpoint: Odometer: 900 miles. Time: 13.5 hours. Half way point.
A steak & a martini for dinner. Was heavenly (not many more of those in my future, likely.)
Was a good day, Thanks be to God!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A new leave.

Leaving Sandpoint, Idaho, for St. Louis, Missouri.
Odometer: 0
Scale: 360

Pray, people, pray!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

and be glad...

My residence while in St. Louis will be with the La Salette Fathers at the North American La Salette Mission Center.
Here's my St. Louis address:
Father Dennis Day
4650 South Broadway
Saint Louis, MO 63111-1398

Just so you know...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

. . . in it.

I'm in the middle of it for sure. A bazillion detail to take care of before I can leave. I know I won't get all of them done. I just hope I'll get the essential ones finished.

  • Yesterday, I went for tests at the hospital and the doctor's office. I guess the program wants to make sure I healthy enough to lose weight.
  • I talked to the Most Reverend Bishop about my replacement as Dean of the Northern Deanery at least temporarily. (Congratulations Father Roger LaChance!)
  • I finished my painting for the Pend Oreille Arts Council and delivered it their offices as promised. (Part of a gala fundraiser Sept. 11.) (Oh, you didn't know I was an artist? It isn't that good, but it was fun.) Thanks to Joni Dirks for the lessons and the supplies.
  • Paula Hodgin is helping me pack. (What do you pack for a 6 month journey, at the end of which none of the clothes should fit, except perhaps the socks!)
  • I got my brand new computer to work, with the extraordinary help of Bob Hawn. (Thank you, Bob.)
  • And then the usual round of visits and phone calls...

And to top it off, one last fling at Trivia Night at MickDuff's with wonderful friends!  (We came in second sadly)

P.S. I've been getting harrassing emails to the effect: "Okay, if you're going to become a blogger (and yes, I have visited your blogspot already ...), you're going to have to spend more time posting to it!"

Just what I need, more stress!