Heart Healthy

There has been some concern for the amount of fluid I am retaining since starting treatment. Thyroid and kidney tests came back normal, so my oncologist sent me for an echocardiogram. This was more of a precaution than an actual concern, since my main chemo drug can damage the heart and I already have a history of minor heart issues.

Watching my heart on the screen was an odd thing. This was not my first echo, but I was still awestruck at the workings of an organ I never see and only rarely think about. In watching the valves open and close, it occurred to me suddenly that if they stopped doing that, I would die. Such a small motion, yet so very vital to life! I found myself watching my heart and thinking “Oh, please keep pumping!”

I commented to the technician how silly I felt suddenly being concerned that my heart was going to stop–simply because I was watching it beating. She understood and said “I’ve been doing this for years and I think because we never see our hearts, they are the most abused organs.” I know she was talking about the physical muscle, but her comment was profound.

I can never seem to let “well enough” alone, so of course her words got me thinking. Because of potential trouble elsewhere in my body, my heart was examined. (Some days I think they should check my head.) It was a routine check conducted out of concern and precaution, not emergency. I left the exam room confident that all is as it should be, and further action isn’t necessary at this time. In a few months, I will go again, as has been my routine.

If heart checks are necessary for my physical being, how much more are they necessary for my spiritual welfare? After all, when my body dies, my heart (spirit, soul) still lives. Into eternity it goes, and now is the time to be keeping watch and taking care of it.

Daily life is rough, and even when there is nothing urgent, I need to keep my heart in mind. If I’m not maintaining my heart day-to-day, keeping it clean and well ordered, it may well fail me on the day that there is loss or tragedy or attack. On the day of great hardship or trial, I don’t want to find that my heart, because I either didn’t tend to it or was downright abusive, can’t withstand the pressure. I don’t want to enter into life’s battles and have my heart give out on the battlefield, just because I didn’t keep it strong.

My heart needs nutrition: But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matt 4:4

My heart needs examination: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

My heart needs focus: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Prov 17:22

My heart needs protection: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23

My heart needs cleansing: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

My heart needs comfort: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The medical community urges us all to be “heart healthy.” They don’t know how right they are.