The other day I found the journal that I had written in when I was going through my open heart surgery in late 2000-early 2001. I found it pretty cool that I came across it, especially after what we are going through now. Never in my mind 10ish years ago, would I think we would be where we are today and realizing that these journal entries were just the beginning to a big book that God had already written for us. Today I pulled it out and started to read all that it entailed – I decided to share it, not only as a reminder for myself of the road God has already taken me down, but to be a witness to His glory and His mighty hand. Most of it was pretty much when I was going through it, so it is missing some detail, just b/c I didn’t find out about somethings til way after, and it was SUCH a life-changing event, but I think it’s just a testimony to what a MIGHTY God we serve! Maybe someday I will do a more condensed version of it all. It’ll be long and it is word for word from what I wrote way back when…
December 26, 2000 (I was 17)
My life has been filled with more surprises than I could’ve ever imagined. On Nov. 30 I was named hostess for our junior class for winterfest. I was shocked, yet so happy! I was overwhelmed with joy. Then on Dec. 1 (day after) I found out my life wouldn’t be the same for awhile. I was going to GR to have my heart checked out b/c I had a heart murmur. I found out I had a serious heart problem. I can’t do ANYTHING – no basketball, no shotput – NOTHING. Then the doctors figured out that a blood vessel was connecting my pulmonary and coronary arteries. Not good! So now on Jan. 17, I have to have open heart surgery. They said it’d take 2 weeks to recover at home, 4-5 days in the hospital, and 2 weeks part-time school. At least they could fix it! At first they said it was long term, but now it’s not. On Dec. 14 I had a heart catherization so they could figure out exactly what was wrong. So many people have been so caring! I never expected this! God has been holding my hand the whole time and is always by my side. I can always count on him!
January 1, 2001
…talking about my goals for the new year…I want to recover and get rid of my heart problem, and be an ordinary teenager again. Also, I want to become a better person by becoming a better Christian and just be the person god wants me to be.
January 21, 2001
It’s finally done with! With a month of worrying, January 17 is behind me! I will obviously never forget this! Well, on Tuesday, January 16, I went to the doctor so they could do all kinds of tests. That was a very long day, which taught me to have patience. Then on Wednesday (jan 17) at 6:00am we had to be at the hospital (Spectrum). I wasn’t too nervous because I knew God was comforting me. We had to wait awhile before we actually started moving on. I got a relaxation shot in my side, which kinda hurt. I don’t remember much about the pre-op room, except sitting there. Also the surgery room, where I got my arm IV in. Then I was out. 6 1/2 hours was how long it too for the surgery to be completed. They had to move my coronary artery to my aorta b/c my pulmonary artery and coronary arteries were connected (anamolous left coronary). It’s wierd to think now that I went through open heart surgery! That’s like the most major surgery you could ever go through in life! Yet God guided the doctor’s hands through it all. I would a couple times in the ICU where I stayed the whole time. I will never forget that when I woke up, I was gagging on the ventilator tube, telling my mom to take it out. They had to tie my arms down. They had to wake me up every 15 minutes so the nurses could watch me.
January 22, 2001
Now it’s the day after (Thursday). I woke up, feeling well slept, yet I came to find out that I was very tired and slept most of the day. I attempted to watch Regis and Kathie Lee, but I only lasted about 5 minutes. I wasn’t really up to eating, so I don’t think I had anything. Thursday night was NOT good! I felt really sick, like nauseated and I felt like I was going to throw up. Then, they realized I was low on potassium, so they gave me some in my hand IV. That turned out to be the most pain I ever had in my life. It felt like my hand was going to blow up. I was crying b/c it stung SOOO incredibly bad! For like a half hour it hurt! I was kinda glad Thursday was over b/c I just didn’t feel good! At night they only woke me up every 45 minutes.
Now it’s friday. Wow! I felt so much better! I had a bunch of visitors, yet I got VERY tired! I finally ate something for dinner. I felt more mobile, yet I still struggled to situp by myself. I also need a sponge bath, which felt really good. I have 2 different colored skins b/c of some of the stuff they put on my body – it looks like I went tanning! I also got my chest tubes pulled, more like ripped out. they were at least 6 inches long and I had 3 of them and they went to my heart to drain all the bloody fluid from around my heart. Now I have 3 stitches. I woke up and took a walk at like 3:00 in the morning. It felt so good! I was very sore b/c when they separated my ribs, it straned and pulled the muscles and ligaments in my back.
Now it’s Saturday. they told me at 10:30 I could go home! I ended up leaving at 2. I was very excited! I had eggs, bacon, cheerios, and part of a pop tart for breakfast, but I didn’t feel so good afterwards b/c I ate too much. Then they took out my neck IV, which was about 4-6 inches long, but it had a kink in it, so it kind of ripped my skin when they pulled that one out too. Plus, the IV was stitched into my skin, so that hurt b/c they had to pull the stitch too. Got my catheter out too. I took a walk around the ICU floor 3 times. On the 3rd round, Dr. Neorotti saw me and was happy to see me doing well. Right before we left, we were watching the inauguration of President Bush – it was kinda boring. Then they told me I was free to go home! I was so excited! It was such a miracle to be doing so well!
TODAY…November 9, 2010
Honestly, there was so much comfort in writing this all! I know this is all so long and a little boring, but I needed to remind myself of where God has taken me, and I realize He surely is not done. I should’ve died at age 10. The heart condition I had is something that babies have – the chance of living past 1 year of age, is slim to none. I lived til I was 17!! No word can describe that, but MIRACLE. As I reflect back to those days, yet they are so vivid, I remember a nurse asked me what got me through all this and how am I doing so well (on one of my walking rounds on the ICU floor), I told her it was God. Without Him I wouldn’t be here. I will never ever forget that – I chalked that up to God at age 17 and I just PRAY that I can continue to live my life in complete submission to His doing. I hope to never have to go through that again – I will never get back to the full strength muscle-wise and will never be able to be “really in shape” b/c of the pressures it puts on my heart. But, I am walking. I can get out of bed every morning. I can say that God brought me through open heart surgery. Everyday I see the scars of where He has taken me, and I can only just chalk this up to God and say it was Him working in my life.