I am home! Not sleeping in your own bed and not having a window to the outside world, sure makes you appreciate life at home all the more. And we are back together as family of 3.
I know many of you read my update on Facebook about how the procedure went, but I’ll hopefully create a bigger picture here. On Wednesday, I went to the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center to have what they call ablations. This is where they go in through the groins, to access the heart via a catheter. Where extra beats are happening, they are able to burn the area that is misfiring.
When I was hooked up to the monitors on Wednesday, unfortunately I was not having any PVCs (extra or irregular beats), which was shocking and frustrating. We all hoped that once I got into the operating room, that they would show up. Meanwhile, Kristin has terrible veins. After my procedure, the nurse nicknamed me “pin cushion” because at that point, it took over 20 tries to draw my blood and put IVs in successfully. No exaggeration. Once the IV was in place, I was wheeled back to the OR and still, no extra beats. The doctors then gave me a med to make my heart race, which seriously felt like I was running a marathon! It gave me so much adrenaline that my body was shaking so out of control that it was throwing the readings off. That didn’t prove to be as effective as they were hoping, so then they gave me calcium, which makes your heart pound. It sure was an interesting ride there for awhile on the metal table! So when they said okay Kristin, we are going to make you sleepy, I couldn’t have been happier!
I was out like a light and don’t remember anything after I was finally put out. The surgery/procedure was successful in the sense that they were able to ablate some areas of the heart, but when mapping where those areas were, they learned that I had numerous places that were showing up with PVCs, that had never shown up before, which was a bit disheartening. They were so sporadic that there was no way they could go in and ablate them all at that time.
Unfortunately, they also knew they did not get all of the places and that the surgery wasn’t as successful as we were all praying it would be. So, what does that mean? We were able to get somewhere, but really, we are back to square one. My heart just did not cooperate and show what it needed to show, in order to have complete success. I can’t help but wonder okay God, why did you close all of our eyes to this, but His detours sure make a whole lot more sense hindsight, so we are trusting that even though not much was accomplished, He’s got this good and perfect plan for it all. It may not be quick and it may not be easy, but it’ll be enough for each moment.
When I came to, I learned that I had to lay flat for 8 hours, which after laying on an operating table for the last 5, made those 8 hours PRETTY long. I could lift my arms, but could not move my legs or lift my head. While laying there, I had a bit of a scary moment. I was eating some yummy orange sherbet and I started to feel what I like to call “weird.” I glanced over at my blood pressure and it was like 84/52, which is quite low. So I sat there and thought okay, what’s going on? I told Dan I should call a nurse because something wasn’t right. She stepped in and immediately left to grab the PA that was by the nurse’s station. I was having one of my so-called “episodes” where my heart beats so out of whack, my blood pressure drops significantly, and I become lethargic. They tilted my bed back to bring blood back to the head and heart, but it wasn’t improving, so I heard the nurse say, “we need an EKG STAT.” The EKG person asked me my name and I couldn’t remember my own name, let alone by birthdate. But it finally came to me and of course right when I was hooked up to the machine, the crazy beats stopped. Of course, right?
Fortunately, they could see what I meant by “episodes,” and that I wasn’t off my rocker. They gave me a medication to help, and since last night, I haven’t had many extra beats at all. So…
I was sent home with a 12-lead holter monitor, that will monitor my heartrate for the next 48 hours. After that, the doctor will decide if they will put me on another med to help control the beats, where I will have to be hospitalized for 4 days as my body adjusts, or if they are able to pinpoint the extra beats, they will do more ablations and have the same procedure/surgery that I had done yesterday.
Honestly, we are kind of indifferent to the news. We are so grateful that I don’t need a transplant yet and that there are still other options, but clearly something isn’t right and trying to figure out the best way to get to the bottom of it, is hard to find. Meds seem to work, but my heart function and blood pressure are so low, that they have to be careful with medications. Of course we’d like to just say go back in and burn those extra beats away and be done, but if they are all over the place, where do you start? So there aren’t real clear answers and we all never expected for my heart to not “show up” as we expected.
Thankfully the recovery time for this procedure is quick. The laying flat for 8 hours after they pull the catheters wasn’t fun, but for the most part, I can continue on with life as I can tolerate. We were hoping for a clean slate with all of this, but it looks like this just scratched the surface. So we will wait and see. It sometimes feels like we can’t catch a break, but that’s viewing it from a human standpoint, and not a heavenly standpoint. God sees a purpose in all of this and He sees the good that will come out of this, that will be for HIS glory, and not our own. Trying to keep an eternal perspective isn’t easy, I’ll be the first to admit. But yesterday I was able to have amazing faith conversations that were inspiring and I can see God’s power and glory in mighty ways!
Our prayer now is that the holter monitor will show what it needs to show so that we can move on to the next step, whatever that may be. Selfishly, I was hoping to take a break from all of this “heart stuff” this summer, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case. But God knows why. Am I a bit frustrated? I am. I have my moments where I just want to say “ugh…” Keeping the faith is not easy, especially when it feels like there is setback after setback.
I just had a conversation with Dan and like he said, it feels like it is pouring rain and we need to build an ark. And the rain keeps coming. We so badly want to find shelter from the storms of life, but no shelter is safe and secure, except the shelter of THE ONE who holds our lives. God is our shelter. He is our provider. Is it hard to trust that when the storms of life come? Yes. But we will keep trusting He WILL bring shelter from the storms and will provide! We believe that because He promises that. It may not be quick and it may not be easy, but it will come. We just pray it’s sooner rather than later.