“My heart’s all a flutter…”

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About 5 or 6 years ago, I started feeling these little “flutters” in my heart.  I went in to the doctor, they made me wear a holter monitor.  It showed some PVC’s and such.  That led to an echocardiogram.  I was then told I needed a sleep study to find out if I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (which I do).  I told them I already use CPAP and they said, “Good” and adjusted some of my meds.  The flutter went away.

Fast forward to about 6 weeks ago.  The flutter returned.  So I went back to the doctor and in one of those rare occurrences, my heart actually fluttered while she was listening to my heart.  (There is nothing worse than going in and saying something is happening and then having it NOT happen while you are there!)  She ordered yet another echocardiogram (which I go to next week) and another monitor.  This time, though, its very different.

Instead of wearing this big bulky holter monitor, I am wearing a “Zio Patch”.  I have to wear it for two weeks, and wonder if its going to stay on.  It’s actually very cool.  It just sticks to my chest.

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I wish my chest looked like this, but it doesn’t.  LOL.  I had to shave off a bunch of chest hair and scrub it with this sandpaper-like pad.  Then alcohol wipes (FEEL THE BURN!) four times and apply the monitor.  Now it is supposed to sit there for two weeks.  Any time I feel a flutter or any type of lightheadedness, pain, or other symptom, I push the button and log into the app on my phone and explain what I felt.

My biggest fear is that it won’t happen while the monitor is running.  Worrying about that was stupid, because sure enough, I started having flutters within an hour of having it on.  With this particular monitor, I hope I put it on right so they actually can read the data!  I was the one who had to position it, unlike the holter where a tech placed all the leads.  I did what the pictures showed me, so fingers crossed that it is in the right spot.

I will follow up with the doc after the two week monitoring period and find out what the scoop is.  Hopefully, it’s just a simple tweak in medication or stress (gee, I’m not sure what could possibly be stressing me out!).  Actually, hopefully it’s nothing!  We’ll see.

In the words of Herman’s Hermits …. “Baby, baby, can’t you hear my heartbeat?!”

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Get the “funk” out!

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I am not going to lie, this past week has been a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Whether or not there was more bad than good this week, I really can’t say.  It “feels like” there was a bit more negatives, though, hence the “funk” I was in this morning. I am hoping that this blog will act as a “redirection” in my thinking.

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I read an article a long time ago that talked about the “five to one” rule.  I want to say that it was about relationships.  The basic thing presented in the article was that in order for a person to get over a single “negative”, there needed to be at least five “positives” to counteract it.

Recently, my therapist has had me do something similar.  Focus on the positives.  Think of five positives, or five things that make me happy.  Rather than just “think” about those things, I thought I would benefit from writing them out.  The following may be simply a positive, something that made me happy, or a mixture of both.

1. Waking up next to my love

After a particularly stressful early part of the week, my sleep was a bit messed up.  When this happens, I tend to wake up earlier than I intend to.  As I lay next to my wife, I found myself thinking about how lucky I am.  I watched her sleeping soundly and I found lost in thoughts about just how beautiful she is.  In my mind, verses of poetry started to come so fast, I had to grab a piece of paper to write them down.  I made sure to write them out and give them to her the next morning.

What an amazing blessing she has been to me!  I am so lucky that I get to kiss her goodnight and good morning every day!

2. Possibilities

My ex used to question why I had so many Facebook friends.  My friends on social media range from school friends to college friends, friends who work/worked in radio and television and friends who I met through working in radio.  Then there are friends from the record industry, author friends, and friends from the entertainment industry.  Then I have some co-workers and former co-workers and friends who share many of the same interests as me (movies, music, etc…).  The majority of them I have met personally, while some of them I may not have.

Many opportunities have come to be because of “who I know”.  I have continued to work for many high schools and middle schools DJing their dances because the teacher knows me.  I became the voice of Ronnie, the RPM Auto Sales Super Hero, because of my friend at Fox 66 who thought I’d be perfect to be his voice.  I landed a voice over gig on a national TV program because the host heard my voice on something I did for some friends.

This week, another possibility has presented itself to me.  Details are sketchy at this point and I don’t know too much about it.  A friend of mine passed along my name to someone and hopefully, this will be yet another one of those amazing things that I can attribute to “who I know”.  Stay Tuned…..

3. Family Time

The weather hasn’t always cooperated with us this summer.  Friday, however, was just perfect.  Sam and I decided to pack the boys in the car and head to the zoo.  There are a few small zoos close by (Saginaw and Frankenmuth), but she suggested the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing.  I had never been there before, and the boys had never been either.  It’s certainly not as large as the Detroit or Toledo Zoo, but it was still a very nice zoo.

Unlike the Detroit Zoo, there was plenty of shade.  Temperatures were not an issue, as it was sunny and 70 – perfect!  I can see where the shade would be especially nice on those 90 degree days!  What I really liked about this zoo was how close we were able to get to the animals.  When we walked in, there was a sign that said the Lions were not going to be outside.  They were, however, inside, and we could see them up close through glass.  It was awesome!  They are much bigger than I imagined.  When you see them from far away, you really don’t get to see just how big they are!

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We all had such a great time!

4. Radio Time

This week, I got to work at both radio stations.  Being in the studio makes me happy.  I get to be creative and talk with listeners.  Monday – Wednesday, I was on for George.  I got to do his all-request 80’s lunch show.  It’s always fun to see what the listeners want to hear. I love when they ask for those “forgotten favorites.”  Friday, I was on for Lisa.  She was out an an appearance and I was on air.

Today, I was live on the Moose.  “Moosin’ around” is often what I call it.  Today I got to catch up with a couple listeners who used to listen to me when I was here the first time years ago.  I think that’s how you know you’ve made an impact – they remember you.  They remembered a few of the silly bits I used to do when I was here before and it made me smile when the one listener reminded me of my “Accordion Awareness Month Updates!”

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Some say radio is a dying business – I say “only if you are doing it wrong!”

I miss it!!

5. Sam’s check up

The best moment of the week was going with Sam to her OB appointment.  It was just a check up, and she told me since I was running on little or no sleep that I should stay home and sleep.  I wasn’t about to do that.  I wanted to be there with her.  The doc was running a little behind, as he had to deliver a baby earlier in the day.  He came in, asked a few questions, discussed a few things, and then he let us hear the baby’s heartbeat. The baby’s heartbeat was a strong 159-160 bpm.  The doc looked at us and said, “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a girl.”  It will be a few days before we find out for sure.

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The above is what the heart beat looks like on an ultrasound (this one is not ours, but I am going to ask for one of ours!!).  I don’t care how many times I hear it – the sound of the baby’s heartbeat makes me smile!  It never gets old!  Sam’s sister had a fetal doppler she let us borrow.  It will allow us to hear the baby’s heartbeat any time we want!  How cool is that?!

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So, writing this has helped me to feel better.  Now, I am going to listen to our baby’s heartbeat ….

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I Believe in Miracles …

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So, this is a blog that I have wanted to write since June 15th.  Having something to say and not being able to say it, is annoying and very difficult.  As someone who used to look for things in daily life to share every day on the radio, having something that you need to “hold on to” for awhile is just frustrating.  You watch every word that comes out of your mouth, you can’t let anything slip, etc.  It’s like being the person who is delegated to drive the guest of honor to their surprise party! It has been driving me crazy!

Well, last night, I brought the guest to their party.  To use a VERY old cliche’, the cat is now out of the bag and I can finally share it.  Let me take you back to June 15th….(insert the “flashback harps” sound effect here):

June 15 (The Day Before Father’s Day)

On Saturdays I am up early so I can get to the radio station to be on the air from 9a-2p.  My wife, Sam, had been feeling kinda sick in the days leading up to the weekend.  It was my weekend without my sons, but because Sunday was Father’s Day, I would be getting them the next day.  We had planned to spend the evening out together.  Before I left, she again told me that she was not feeling all that great, and I told her that we could just spend time at home and not have to worry about going out anywhere.  I told her to get some rest and I would see her after the show.

I hadn’t been on the air that long, and Sam said she was going to come up to the station.  She told me that she couldn’t sleep and wanted to come up.  This is not unusual, as she has come and spent the day with me in the past.  When I left for work earlier, I told her I grabbed something small for lunch, so in all honesty, I thought she was going to bring me lunch.  She stated that she had to make a stop on the way, and after she showered, she’d be there.  I asked where she was going and she told me, “Walmart.” I asked her what she needed from there, because we had already shopped the day before.  “I need to pick up a couple things,” she told me.

She called me when she got close to the station and told me she needed a hand bringing something in (lunch, I assumed – cause, you know, everything revolves around food!).  She asked how long I had before I had to talk on the air.  I told her that I had a quick break and then had about 6 minutes before I had to talk again.  I saw her pull into the parking lot from the studio window and did my break on the air.  I walked out to her car and she handed me what looked like a cake box, telling me to be careful with it.

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I asked her why she brought me a cake, after all, I am dieting and I know that cake is not exactly what I should be eating on Weight Watchers.  She said not to drop it or I’d “mess it up” (frosting everywhere, I thought).  So I took the box and we walked back into the building.  When we were walking, she asked how long before I had to talk on the air and by this time it was about 2 minutes.  She told me to wait until after I talked to open the box.

So as the song faded, I turned on the microphone, did a very entertaining break on the air, turned the microphone off, turned to Sam and said, “Can I look at my cake now?”  When I opened the box, I looked inside and was overcome with emotions immediately.  I now understood why she hadn’t been feeling well….

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I must have looked at the contents of this box for 30 seconds before it all really sunk in.  I looked up, in tears (I am not afraid to admit I cried), and said, “Really?!”  Like a 5 year old, I began to jump up and down and then I grabbed her and kissed her and hugged her for a very long time.  I remember looking into her eyes and just being overwhelmed with joy.  This was something that I had not expected at all.  This was a whole new level of happiness.

Sam looked at me and said, she wished that she had got my reaction on video, but she knew if she had her phone out, she knew that I would have known she was up to something.  She’s probably right, I would have probably ruined the moment by questioning her.  As cool as it would have been to share my reaction as a video, I am glad that it was a moment that was shared between us.

I then asked why there were two pregnancy tests.  Sam said that as she read the instructions on the box, it said that it would take 3 to 4 minutes for the test to give the results.  She said that the first test read “pregnant” almost immediately … so “it had to be wrong”.  So she went to Rite Aid, bought a second test, and got the same results!  The rest of the items in the box, were what she stopped at Walmart for.  She wanted to be sure she told me in a way that I would never forget.  She did.  What an amazing Father’s Day present it was to find out that I am once again going to be a father!

Later that night

After the show, we drove down to see my Dad and Rose, since I wasn’t going to be able to see him on Father’s Day.  On the way down, Sam asked if I was going to tell my dad.  I told her that we should probably wait a bit.  As we sat there at his kitchen table drinking coffee and chatting, my phone “dinged” that I had a text message.  I looked at it, and it was from Sam (who was literally sitting right next to me!) that said, “Just tell your dad!”

My dad does not like getting gifts.  He’s always been the “if I need it, I’ll buy it” kind of guy.  I brought him over a Father’s Day card, and that will even bring about the “you didn’t have to buy me anything” comment.  So, I told him we had a “gift” for him and told him “We want you to know that you’re going to be a grandpa again.”  (If we had planned it, we probably could have done something cool to tell him, but since it was spur of the moment, this was the best I could do).  It almost scared me the way my dad jumped – ok, leaped – out of his chair and hugged me!  He was so excited.  As he hugged me, I could see Rose across the table clapping her hands quickly and then grabbing Sam to hug her.  They were SO happy.  Just another “perfect” moment to wrap a perfect day.

Oh, and my dad being my dad, said, “I hope it’s a girl!” which made me laugh hard!  He went on to explain, “You know I love my grandsons!  I’ve just never had a granddaughter.”  He didn’t have to explain, I knew why he said it.  Before my son’s were born, my mom had always hoped for a granddaughter.  My dad never said what he hoped it was, “just as long as the baby is healthy” was his response.  I think he was a bit like me – wanting a boy to carry on the name, and a girl to dance with.  I think he’s ready to spoil a granddaughter.

Waiting to tell…

Naturally, it was hard NOT to tell everyone.  There were a few people who were privy to the news.  Sam’s folks knew, siblings, and some close friends.  We had a situation come up where we had to tell the boys a little earlier than we had planned.  We had hoped to tell them a little differently than we did, but that didn’t happen.  Needless to say, they were both very surprised.  Dimitri was happy because he was “no longer the youngest.”  Dante’ said he was happy, too.  Even now, they are still asking questions.  Today, Dante’ asked if I wanted a boy or a girl.  We’re going to ask them to see what name suggestions they might have – they may have more than us!

The Ultrasound

We’ve been counting down the days to the ultrasound, which we finally had done on Wednesday.  Our doc called it the “fun” ultrasound.  This was not the “official” ultrasound, and it was just to “get a look” and “hear the heartbeat.”

I’m not sure why this process always makes me nervous.  We sat in the room and waited for the doctor to come in.  Time moves slow as you wait.  I could feel myself getting anxious.  I found myself saying little prayers off and on as I waited.  The doc came in and asked us a bunch of questions.  He finally grabbed the gel and prepared to show us our baby.  He placed the wand on Sam’s belly and moved it around……and around ….. and around…. and we saw ….. NOTHING.  Gotta tell you, I was freaking out (Sam said she was, too, when we got in the car!).

Then the doc made a comment that the ultrasound tech who used the machine last always “screws up these damn settings” and told us to hold on a sec.  He adjusted some knobs and then moved the wand around again, and there was our little “Baby P.” (Sam has called the baby that since we found out – Baby Pizzo)  The doc said that the baby was really moving around and was having a hard time getting a good picture.

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After the doc captured the baby, he typed “Hi Mom and Dad” on the screen and let us hear the heartbeat.  It was a perfect 160.  What an amazing sound!  I don’t care how many times I hear that, it is one of the most emotional and wonderful sounds!  Unlike at the radio station, I was able to hold back tears as I listened to our baby’s heartbeat.  It became very real, very fast.

I was just as emotional with my two sons, but this one is truly a miracle.  Let me explain.  Not too long ago, I had the need to see a urologist.  Some tests were run and we were basically told that our chances of ever getting pregnant was about 4%.  As a man, this is not something you feel all that great about.  As a matter of fact, you feel really incapable and inadequate.  You can only imagine how surprised we were to find out that we are going to have a baby.  It really is a miracle!

There is a pretty amazing quote that says, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”  We are SO excited and are looking forward to the months ahead as we await the arrival of our miracle. In the time ahead, we will begin planning on creating the registry for the baby shower, highlighting name possibilities in the “baby name” book, building cribs and swings, stocking up on diapers, and watching Sam’s belly grow.  I am a bit out of practice, but I will make sure to have my “Italian” lullaby songs memorized so I can sing the baby to sleep.

A friend of mine texted today, after Sam shared our news on Facebook, and said, “Dude! Congratulations!  You know you are starting all over again, right!?”  Yes.  Yes, I am.  It’s kind of like re-reading a book you love, or re-watching a movie or TV show you love.  I enjoyed this ride before, and I am going to enjoy it all over again!

This news is proof that you should NEVER give up because you truly do not know what lies ahead.  A few years ago, I was at the end of my rope.  My life was dismal.  I almost called it quits – permanently.  Thank God, I didn’t!  Look where I am now!!  I have found true love.  I married my best friend and soul mate.  We have found happiness and overwhelming joy together and NOW are adding a child, who we love unconditionally without even having seen their face!  WOW!

Let me end with one final quote:  Jon Bon Jovi says, “Miracles happen every day.  Change your perception of what a miracle is, and you’ll see them all around you.”  Our baby is a miracle – and my life is a miracle!”

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