10 Good Things About My Blood Clot

Chris Heinz —  December 30, 2013 — 17 Comments

On Christmas Day, I went to the emergency room with pain in my left chest and trouble breathing. After a series of scans and blood tests, the doctors concluded I had a blood clot in my left lung. Officially it’s called a pulmonary embolism.

“So I won’t be going home tonight?” I asked.

The doctor’s serious, I-know-more-than-you look on his face answered the question.

Apparently a pulmonary embolism is serious. Each year 60,0000 – 100,000 people die from it and it calls for lifestyle changes and regular monitoring. Oh Chauncely, please fetch my luggage and bring it to my room, we’re going to be here for awhile.

Since checking in, I’ve been plucked, prodded, CT-scanned, MRI-ed, ultrasounded, medicated, IVed, examined. It’s a little more than my family and I wanted for Christmas. I’m not home yet, but hoping to go home soon, once my INR number reaches 2.5. The INR is how fast the blood clots and through blood thinners, they’re raising mine, which at last check was 1.4.

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But this experience hasn’t been all bad. Here are 10 good things about my blood clot:

New Topic of Conversation with Grandma

Now my grandma and I are on the same blood thinner, which will open up hours of fun conversations about coumadin like which celebrities are probably on it, our pet names for the cute pink pill, and our favorite references in pop culture. Doesn’t Taylor Swift sing about it?

No More Kale or Collard Greens

For years Colette has been trying to get me to eat kale and collard greens. But that train has left the station, baby. Dark green leafy vegetables that are high in Vitamin K actually thicken blood. So now I have a doctor’s excuse to avoid such foods, which I will waive proudly should these veggies make an appearance at the dinner table.

Made in the USA

This year I was in four developing countries–Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines. Although I love being in these countries, I prefer having a medical episode in the US. The clot may have started on a long overseas flight, but I’m glad it surfaced on US soil.

There’s No Place Like Home

This was the first Christmas in seven years that we didn’t travel. I could have clotted in the Magic Kingdom or on a cruise ship, but thankfully it happened at home. While Mickey Mouse would have been a nice visitor, I would have grown weary of his squeaky voice and his big clumsy shoes knocking over my IV pole every five minutes. Being at our local hospital is much better for my local family and friends and should I need extra underwear, it can be easily retrieved from my drawer.

Clot Through the Heart or the Brain (to be sung to the tune of Jon Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name)

Thank God the clot ended up in my left lung rather than my heart or brain. That could have been much worse. What’s good about the lung, so say the doctors, is that it’s like a tree with branches. The clot travels up the trunk and has to break off into branches, reducing the size of the clot.

Let Go and Receive Help

When you’re on your back gasping for air, there’s not much you can do to help yourself. That moment comes and goes, but you’ve still got a clot in your lung, a dangerously thick level of blood that can still clot, a wife and kids at home, etc. Pretty quickly you realize you have to ask for help. For someone who is pretty capable (in some areas) and who supports a certain number of people, it’s good for me to let go and let others help me.

My Work is to Abide in Christ

Facing a life-threatening episode, laying on my back for hours, undergoing new tests, feeling pain I’ve never felt before, and facing such unpredictability that vanquishes a sense of control over my life, has reminded me of my life’s real work–to abide in Christ. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” My real purpose is to remain in Christ; everything else is just details.

In God I Trust
A few days before the clot happened, I said to a couple of guys I’m mentoring: “God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful. He works all things for the good of those who love Him. Know what this means? We can’t lose, we can only win.” When I shared this, I had no idea it would minister to me a few days hence. This clot has restored my trust that God is indeed working for my good through unlimited love, unlimited power, and unlimited knowledge.

Love Is All Around
I “knew” people loved me and my family, but this clot has provided a tangible, taste-and-see, sight-and-sound, immersive experience. I don’t just “know” it now, I’ve encountered it. We’ve experienced such amazing love through prayers, texts, emails, FaceTimes, visits, meals, playtimes with kids, flowers, calls, Facebook comments and likes, and emoticons from around the world. We are deeply loved. Thank you.

Clarity About What’s Important
Facing one’s own mortality changes things. I want to live on purpose, live from my priorities rather than other people’s, manage my time so my days matter more, take more worthwhile risks, make sure people know what they mean to me, reduce the potential for regrets, enjoy where I’m at and what I’m doing, say no more often and say yes less often, do what I’m good at, drink of life, drink of love, now that I’ve tasted death.

This clot has taken a toll on me, my family, and others, but I’m convinced that it will, if we let it, deliver unto us life that we didn’t see coming.

Chris Heinz

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For more than 15 years, CS Heinz has mobilized people to pray. He’s the author of Made to Pray: Imagine a Better Time with God, and its companion prayer assessment. A former company chaplain and house church pastor, Heinz is the vice president of marketing for EnergyCAP, Inc. He lives with his family in central Pennsylvania, where he blogs about prayer, power, and the presence of God at www.CSHeinz.com. He has appeared in Charisma Magazine, Extant Magazine, the Christian Post, and the Centre Daily Times. He serves on the National Committee of Mission America Coalition, and has ministered in Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.

17 responses to 10 Good Things About My Blood Clot

  1. Amen! We love you guys more than you know……

    • Hi Chris,

      Your top ten good things about a blood clot is equivalent to my top ten good things about my triple bypass heart surgery. it made me think that I wasn’t serious about living to love and support others as much as I should. It stopped me from stupid complaining about how life is treating me or how a friend or family member could treats me. I have changed my attitude about life and having more of it since it is to serve my family and friends and to spread the Gospel better.
      You have a great life ahead of you and God has His plan for you to grab hold of and live it out alongside your business. Know we are praying for you and your family.

      BE HEALED my friend,

      Jack and AJ

  2. My prayers are with you Chris and Colette!!!! I feel so relieved that each of the 10 Good Things are in full effect. What an amazing victory and testimony of God’s power and grace and your faith and love. To the New Year!!!

  3. Take care of yourself. Happy Healthy New Year

  4. You neglected #11 – “I get to wear a spiffy red ski cap indoors when they take my picture!”
    Seriously, appreciate your Godly perspective on a challenging episode.
    Pray you recover quickly and completely.

  5. We are thanking God with you for His preservation of your life. My brother died of a pulmonary embolism 5 years ago. Whew!

  6. Bless your heart Chris. Looking for the blessings within your Christmas hospitalization. I loved what u wrote. I am praying for u daily. Love u much.

  7. My thoughts are with you.

  8. Wow! What a shock Chris. Please be assured you will be on our prayer list.

    We pray your recovery goes well and that, eventually, healing and restoration comes your way from the Lord’s Mighty Hand.

    And…may the Lord continue to use you after you are restored—for His Highest purposes!

  9. Constance Bounds December 31, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Praising the Lord for His mighty hand & Faithfulness in your life! Your 10 Good Things List is wonderful. Perspective is Everything!! Life is a gift daily…every breath is a gift daily…Jesus if our Life & Breath constantly! The enemy tries to take us out, but he is a defeated foe and he has NO SAY in our Future. God has a Jer. 29:11-13 plan for you and He will see it comes to pass for His Amazing Glory and Praise! Rest and get well friend…Leave everything up to the Lord, He leads, you follow…all GOOD! Blessings and you and your Family will have a Blessed, Happy New Year in Christ! Constance

  10. Chris, you are so funny!!! The joy of The Lord is your strength!!!
    Much love in Christ

  11. So glad you’re recuperating well, and with such a wonderful spirit. We’ll pray for a complete recovery. Blessings to you!

  12. Wow Chris. I did not this was happening to you. I will be praying. Here’s a Jesus hug! I will be praying for your wife and children as well. I pray there is some tangible way I can assist too. God You are in control. When circumstances look overwhelming, the unseen God we trust is right there holding our world in His strong capable hands. He is comforting your wife, holding your family, and loving on his precious son Chris and He will use this mightily. Praise God for His inexpressible love and care for His children. You are SO loved!!!!!

  13. Julie Belliveau January 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Get well soon, Chris!
    Prayers and good thoughts!

  14. Heather Bodwell January 8, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Praying for you and your family.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Why Should I Tell People They’re Important to Me? | CS Heinz - June 4, 2014

    […] didn’t expect to get a blood clot in my lung, nor did the young bank teller bride from my hometown, who died from one. My parents’ neighbor […]

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