Today wasn’t what we expected, but God was never surprised.
The past couple of weeks, a few times I have woken up with shortness of breath and a bit wheezy in the morning. I chalked it up to allergies since we had our window open, and the farmers are in the fields. It all made sense, right?
Last weekend I mowed and was quite exhausted, but after push mowing a long-grass lawn, anyone would get tired. The next day, I could hardly breathe as each breath I took, severe pain ran through my sternum. All because I tried to mow! This is also known as costochondritis, which is inflammation around the sternum area, which for me, is caused from my wires shifting from my previous open heart surgery. Though within a few days, I was feeling back to normal.
Well today, we drove to Minneapolis for my annual heart appointment, and it just so happened to be our anniversary. Since the job interview, house buying, etc., we haven’t had a chance to step away just us two, so it was a beautiful drive filled with dreams, memories, and reflecting on the life God has given us.
After having labs and an ECHO done, we waited, and WAITED for the doctor. I started to squirm a bit in my chair, wondering why it was taking so long. The longer the wait, I feel the deeper the doctor is digging and looking at results. About 45 minutes later, she walked in, asking more about my feelings of being short of breath. I laughed as I told her it was probably nothing and just allergies. Well today, we learned that the cause of my shortness of breath wasn’t necessarily circumstantial, but was the cause of a deeper issue.
My mitral valve is leaking more than any previous ECHO had shown, which was of course hard news to hear, but was a familiar road. My doctor had spent those 45 minutes reviewing my previous ECHOs, results, and after comparing the two, since she has seen me, this is the most it has leaked. As she spelled out what that meant, I had this complete sense of calm run through my veins and heart.
Because we will be moving, she referred me to a colleague of hers at the University of Michigan, who specializes in heart failure after pregnancy, and though I am not classified as having heart failure, I will not be a “new” patient to her. Because my current doctor and her have worked together in the past and still collaborate on cases, we decided to go with her referral (pending insurance coverage), knowing that they can continue in conversation as further testing is done.
A few weeks after we move, my doctor recommended I have a TEE test done (scope put down the esophagus), to get a clearer image of my mitral valve. That test will hopefully determine the severity of the leak, if a surgery is needed, the urgency of it, and also what type of surgery – a replacement or repair of the valve. Many factors are playing into this, but one thing we know for sure, is that God’s timing could not be more perfect.
After discussing possibly what type of valve to choose if a replacement was needed (tissue or mechanical, and what a blood thinner would mean if I received a metal valve), I realized that this is old news to not only God, but to us too.
How could God’s timing be any more perfect? As I fought back tears as the doctor stepped out of the room, all I could think of was not being able to hold my sweet little Mazy if an open heart surgery was on the horizon. Then God put His hand on me and overwhelmed me with thoughts of His grace and goodness:
- After my first surgery in 2001 and the doctors realized my mitral valve was leaking, they assumed I would need another surgery in my mid-20s. I am now 33.
- After my first surgery, the possibility of having a child seemed dim. In fact, in 2010, we decided to pass on the idea to save my life. God soon after, blessed us with twins in heaven through a gestational carrier. Then 3 years later, I became pregnant after a miraculous heart healing, and I gave birth to our very own child, Mazy Grace.
- My heart failed after giving birth, but because of the doctor’s quick thinking, yet patience, encouraging me to hold off on open heart surgery if I could, my mitral valve returned to normal functioning. And for 2 years, I have lived a “healthy” life with a mildly leaking valve.
- For the past 2 years, I have been able to be Mazy’s mom with a healthy heart and with the energy I needed.
- We will be moving to Michigan next month and if a surgery is on the horizon, we will have family surrounding, though we are 100% certain our family in Minnesota would do the same. Though my parents have walked down this road with me before, so to have them by my side will not be something new for any of us.
- It’s just a mitral valve. It’s a common issue in this day and age (for heart issues that is) and I have been under THE best care!
- I have made it 16 years without another open heart surgery and if another one is to come, we just pray that God’s name will be furthered through it and His glory will be made known.
- And the GOOD NEWS we received today was that my heart function and size of my heart is normal, which is an incredible blessing, despite what my valve is doing. I have high pressure on my lungs, but that can be expected due to the leaking valve (hence why I get short of breath).
Today was not what we expected, but God’s hand has been so evident in our life and in my heart situation, that we can’t help but just sit back and watch what God will do. We aren’t even certain if open heart surgery is what the end result will be, but all we know right now is that further testing needs to be done sooner rather than later, just to ensure the best possible scenario.
Let me assure you there is no emergency, as my doctor said there is nothing I can do to “hinder” it anymore, but base my life off of how I feel. If I get tired, rest. If I am over-doing, it slow down. Been there before! Knowing that I can do nothing to help or hinder, that’s when I realize that my life is in God’s hand. Always.
So until my next appointment, we are just going to enjoy the rest of our time here in Minnesota, look towards our new life in Michigan, and hold on tight to the promises of God, that He reigns, His plans reign, and nothing can loose us from His grip. As I held Mazy today, I held her just a little bit tighter, realizing the blessing she is. We never once imagined having her and to now hold her, I would do this all over again in a heart beat. Literally.
And we know without a doubt, that God has every beat of MY heart, in His hand!
P.S. After every appointment, no matter the results, we celebrate by getting Chick-Fil-A! What better way to celebrate a marriage by walking through life TOGETHER, in sickness and in health, in thick and thin, and at Chick-Fil-A!!!!!