When I ever doubt God’s grace and goodness in my life, I don’t have to look very far. When I wonder what God’s purposes are for my life, I don’t have to look very far. Because He chooses, in various ways, to remind me of His miraculous power.
I truly believe in miracles. I really do.
And today I was reminded again, that miracles aren’t just something that happened in the Bible, but that God chooses to do miracles today.
Today I had my follow-up appointment with my heart doctor, to talk about the results of my MRI that I had 2 weeks ago. I truly did not have any inkling on how this appointment would go. At my last one 6 months ago, it was suggested I get an MRI and that surgery would have to happen at some point. We just weren’t sure when.
When my doctor started out by showing me the images of my heart from the MRI, she spent some time showing me a new finding:
I wasn’t quite sure what she was getting at, at first. She showed me where the scar tissue was and how that area of my heart, the muscle wasn’t pumping as hard. It was noticeable and in my mind, I started to prepare myself for the worst.
She went on to explain in detail what really had to happen during my first open heart surgery, and really how intricate of a surgery it was. How they had to basically move a “hose” to another part of my heart, attach it, and hope that my heart adjusted to the “new” design of my heart.
As she explained the results of my MRI further she said that at some point, I have had a mild heart attack. It could have happened before my open heart surgery or during it. Which explains a lot with regards to my heart. The left side is enlarged, but not severely. The function is just below normal, so not something to be too concerned about. The scar tissue isn’t something to be concerned about either, but only offers an explanation as to why my heart acts the way it does. Why that one part of my heart has always struggled a bit. Because of the mild heart attack, that I had years ago. Then she said it was just amazing that I lived until 17 with the condition that my heart was in. That my heart could sustain itself, despite the damage that was done.
As she sat befuddled over that, I replied, it really was a miracle. And nothing short of one. God was the one who sustained my heart. Not me.
Then the news that has brought me to tears a few times today.
The MRI showed that my mitral valve, the very valve that my doctor assumed I would need open heart surgery to fix in the near future was only MILDLY leaking.
Let me explain.
When I was given the green light to have a child, to get pregnant, my mitral valve was mild-moderately leaking, leaning towards the moderate side. I had a child and though I went through heart failure afterwards, I made it through.
Fast forward 1 year and now my valve is only MILDLY leaking. It is leaking LESS than when it was BEFORE I had a child! As Dan says, leaky faucets don’t get better – they end up leaking more. Leaks don’t get better on their own.
And my leak has not healed on it’s own – it was God. And ONLY God.
To find out at some point, my heart did have a mild heart attack years ago, but to live until I was 17. To find out that my valve is only mildly leaking, after experiencing heart failure. A year ago I was told my mitral valve was “toast” and wasn’t functioning. And now for it to be doing what it’s supposed to do.
A true miracle.
Another way God was watching out for me, was through the medications I am on. The doctor always felt I was on the best combination of meds, though there are some side effects. And now finding out about the scar tissue, all the more, I am on the best meds. So for the past couple of years, even though we didn’t know about the scar tissue, there isn’t a better combination. Talk about God putting His hand in that one! To be honest, they aren’t always easy to be on, since one is a diuretic, which makes me have to go to the bathroom a LOT (just ask Dan) to help my body rid itself of excess fluid, but now seeing what my meds are doing, I will take them for the rest of my life if I have to! Something so little – taking meds that were helping an area of my heart we had no idea needed help!
We talked about me getting pregnant again, and though Dan and I do not feel we are meant to right now (if ever), we were given the green light. The only thing I would have to do is stop a medication I am on, go in for routine heart appointments (like before), and then probably deliver in Minneapolis (since the OB doctor I saw previously said he won’t take me after my complications I had last time).
Again, we do not feel God calling me to get pregnant at this time and we are okay with that. We have enough going on and there is no guarantee I won’t go through heart failure again if I do get pregnant, but at the same time, they now know what to do different if we would decide to have another child. Knowing is half the battle. They would start me on my diuretic much sooner and monitor me more closely. Again, no guarantee I wouldn’t experience some decline, but she was confident that I could do it again and come out of it okay. We have NO clue what God has in store for us, but we are content with Mazy, and we will leave our future to God. I don’t want to give off the impression that green light means we are going to have another child. We want to feel called to it. He knows what is best for us, so we are not going to try and decide it ourselves. In His will, is the safest place to be!
Regardless, there is just so much peace in knowing that my heart is healthier than what we thought. I feel I can let go of some of the worry I have had. Wondering how I would take care of Mazy if I needed an open heart surgery. The best thing I can do for my heart is eat a heart-healthy diet (which means saying no to my love of salt), and exercising. Exercising is hard because it just takes my heart longer to get into gear, but I have seen what exercise can do to my heart – increase the strength/tolerance. So exercise is something I want to continue to do and take care of and be a good steward over the body God has given me. I know what it feels like to be told to be a couch potato (was told that before my open heart surgery), and I don’t want to take my ability to exercise for granted. I may just be a walker (trying to start running again, but it’s not easy!) but that’s okay. Walking can do just as much good to keep this good ole ticker ticking the way it should!
In fact, one of the many questions I was asked today was how my joints felt and if I had muscle cramps. Well, yes, I have joint pain, but I told them that it was probably because I was getting old. The nurse looked at my age, of 32, and she just laughed. But honestly, I feel I am getting older and my joint pain and muscle cramps are truly probably because I am just old! Yeah I’d love to say I ran a marathon some day, but obviously with my heart, I really don’t think that will ever happen, and that’s fine by me! Again, walking or jogging at a walking pace does the job.
So today we celebrate! Celebrate the healing power of God. His healing hand in my life. God continues to show Himself in our lives in such stunning ways. The journey has been long and difficult, but His plans, grace, and goodness prevail!
Only God. And to GOD be the GLORY!