A Special Note to Mark DeRosa

February 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown

Who am I kidding? The chances are slim to none that Mark DeRosa has ever stumbled upon our measly little Cubs blog, nor will he. However, after reading his account of the symptoms and experience which led him to be taken to the hospital on Saturday, I couldn't help but say something. I have also dealt with tachycardia for a good portion of my life. When Mark said that he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in high school, but had learned to adapt and control it with breathing exercises, I had eerie flashbacks.

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia. I would imagine Mark has the same thing, or at least a similar variant of tachycardia. The way he described the onset of the symptoms, whether it occurred during physical activity, or would just happen out of nowhere, is dead on. My best analogy when I first described it to my doctor was that I would be fine, and then I would do something as simple as bending down to pick up a pencil off of the floor and it would trigger a rapid heartbeat, just like turning on a switch. Imagine going from 70 beats per minute to 160 at the snap of a finger. Then, just as quickly as it started, it would suddenly switch off and go back to normal. Mark stated that he has always been able to control it with breathing techniques. That's how I learned to cope with it as well, just take some deep breaths, slow your body down, and the heart would eventually kick back into first gear. The scary part, as he said, is when its prolonged and doesn't stop like you are accustomed to. That's what lead me to finally speak out about it, and clearly that's what finally prompted Mark to take care of it as well.

Soon after I was diagnosed, I went to the University of Iowa hospital and had a radiofrequency ablation procedure performed. In such a procedure, a catheter is sent up to your heart through an artery to locate the tissue which is causing the "short circuit". Once it is identified, it can easily be burned and destroyed. It sounds rough, but it's really a fairly simple procedure, in and out of the hospital on the same day. Now 12 years later, I'm essentially tachycardia free, although I do experience an odd beat here or there. Hopefully Mark is able to take this route and rid himself of his tachycardia once and for all. It's a real pain in the ass, and can be a bit frightening, but he'll likely be back on the field within a few days.

I know we at TMS don't handle the sentimental stuff well, but this really struck a chord with me, and I wish Mark the best and a hell of a 2008 (championship) season. Oh yeah, and Mark DeRosa is officially my new favorite baseball player. Move over Craig Wilson!