How often have you thought, “It’s only a matter of time until…” How in reality, it is just time that is holding you in between events, circumstances, and changes?
Today I had my first of many heart appointments at the heart clinic at the University of Michigan. It may seem like a far drive from Zeeland to Ann Arbor to see a heart doctor when there are doctors in Grand Rapids (where I saw a specialist before we moved from Michigan), but after we were referred to my new doctor, after doing some research as well, we were both confident that the U of M was where we were meant to be.
And today just solidified that. Finding a new doctor when I am referred to as a “special case” due to my previous conditions and pregnancy, can always be overwhelming, but today we left in peace knowing I am in what we believe is the best care we could as for.
It was made very clear today that I will need heart surgery sooner rather than later (there was no question). We knew it would eventually be only a matter of time and we have hit that point. As the doctor said, “It’s just time to get this done” and I couldn’t agree more. For the past 15 years, I have been told that I may need another surgery and here I sit, married, with a child, and at 33 years old, still without that surgery they thought I would need. Until now.
My mitral valve is leaking significantly and is impacting my quality life. Lying down on my back to sleep makes it too difficult to breathe, which causes me to wheeze, I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting extremely winded, taking long walks is tiring, and day to day activities are causing more and more fatigue, which means it’s just time.
With the mitral valve regurgitation and prolapse, the tricuspid valve is also leaking, which isn’t surprising because that is also what was leaking right after I had Mazy. So, now it’s not a matter of if, but when. And how.
And that is what we are asking prayers for. For the doctors and surgeons to have confidence about what type of surgery I should have. On Monday, I meet with the doctor who does transcatheter mitral valve replacements and repairs. What that means is that instead of having to saw through the sternum and open up my rib cage, they would be able to fix my valve via an artery in the groin. That means significantly less pain and recovery time. I would still have to be in the hospital for around 4 days and have a 6-8 week recovery to ensure that the repair or replacement took, but I would be tickled pink if I was told I could have this type of “surgery.”
On the other hand, if that is not an option the surgeon feels comfortable with, I will be having open heart surgery, to replace or repair the mitral valve via an opening of the sternum. Not ideal, but I have done it once and I can do it again! I know what to expect and again, it’s only a matter of time until I am up on my feet again. This time it’s a little different because I have sweet Mazy to love and hold, but I know this too, will pass.
So Monday I head back to Ann Arbor to meet with one doctor and then 2 weeks later head back again for a TEE test (where they take images of my heart via a camera inserted through my esophagus) and also meet with the open heart surgery surgeon. After that, the doctors will meet to determine what is best for me and schedule a surgery date.
I never thought I would say I am “ready” for heart surgery, but believe it or not, I could not be more ready, minus how hard it’ll be to not hold Mazy. That I can’t think about, but when it comes to my quality of life, I want a change. I feel I can’t be who I want to be because of the condition of my heart and that’s a hard pill to swallow. As the nurse said, my heart is sick and we need to get it healthy. They were extremely positive about my prognosis, which clearly helps our attitude as well.
Each day I have to weigh myself and take my own blood pressure to ensure my heart doesn’t decline quickly in the meantime, and keep an eye out for routine signs as well, such as sleeping habits and eating patterns. That means a low-salt diet (which I should always be watching anyways), but I need to keep going on short walks and just try to stay healthy. Even though all of the talks and information I receive are about heart failure, they said I am a “different” patient because the rest of me is healthy, just my heart is sick. The hope is that after I have the surgery, that my life will be “normal” once again and I can have the energy I want to have to be Kristin!
There are many appointments and decisions that need to be made, but God has proved over and over again, that HIS timing is what’s perfect. It’s HIS timing that prevails. And as my dear friend Brenda has taught me, God sees, God knows, God hears. And that is why we go to bed tonight in peace, knowing that I will never leave the tender, tender touch of God’s healing and loving hand. NO MATTER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES COME OUR WAY.
And in ALL of this, my deepest desire is for God to be glorified and for Him to make His name known even more!
To God be the glory!