I have been looking forward to this appointment since the day we found out about it on December 23. Today couldn’t come soon enough! Leading up to today, I was completely at peace. I struggled with the what-ifs earlier this month, but the past week, I felt such an overwhelming sense of comfort and peace, just knowing that God had this all under control.
I tried to keep busy the past few days so that I wouldn’t think about it and that helped. I told Dan before we left that I would cry. Maybe not tears of sadness, but tears of emotional release. I have yet to cry. My appointment was in Grand Rapids, so we allowed ourselves plenty of time to get up there. We were even able to get in a little early, which was nice because we are supposed to get what they are calling the “blizzard of 2011” late this afternoon (and yes, we are in the midst of it right now!). When she came in, I just told myself, it’s going to be okay no matter what.
Today’s appointment was to discuss what Mayo Clinic recommended. My heart doctor had sent a letter and my test results (that I had in October) to one of her partners out at Mayo. This was so that we didn’t have to go out there and get the same tests done. Mayo Clinic confirmed what my doctor thought. My mitral valve is in the moderate/severe stage, if not severe. That is when reality hit, but still peace. She listed all the risks that I and the baby would entail if I were to get pregnant and they are way too high for me to even consider getting pregnant at this point. We are not even THINKING kids right now because we want to focus on my health.
I have realized in the past year or two that my exercise endurance level has lowered, but I was thinking that was because I was getting out of shape. I would say I am fairly active, and when I wasn’t feeling anymore in shape, I thought something was up. My doctor said it’s that mitral valve. It’s not allowing me TO get in shape. That raises concerns because that is why it is near severe. I feel okay, it’s just I get more tired easily with exercise and I need to be careful. With that said, I will need heart surgery in the next few years for sure. It’s just a matter of when. And to be honest? I am at peace with that, only because I knew that that was coming. After my open heart surgery on January 17, 2001, I was told that I would probably need another heart surgery in the next 5-10 years or longer. Well, It was been almost exactly 10 years, give 2 weeks. The praise can only go to God for that because He has helped me make it to 10 years!!
I will now be going to up my heart doctor every 6 months so that they can keep an eye on the valve and so that they will get a clearer picture on when that heart surgery will be. We are hoping that the valve holds out a year or two more so that I can maybe have the surgery done robotically instead of them having to saw the sternum again. But, that is in the future and we can’t worry about that.
As for kids…we aren’t even thinking about them right now. Honestly. We can’t. We decided we need to focus on my health and what the next few years hold for us and that is making sure I am okay. After the heart surgery, whenever that may be, we may reconsider and that is what the doctor recommended too. But we can’t focus our minds on the what ifs right now. We have done enough of that and doing that ran us to the ground. So, we are just focusing on what God has brought before us right now.
Dan and I feel relieved after today. We didn’t have a CLUE what today would bring. But we feel relieved because what we prepared ourselves to hear today, is what we heard. We knew my valve wasn’t getting better and that I would need surgery sooner rather than later – that is what we heard. We also feel relieved because we had a lot of questions answered. We feel relieved because Mayo had a chance to look at it. They said I could go out there if I wanted, but we decided against that because they would end up doing close to the same tests. We feel relieved because God has given us so much peace. We just PRAY that this feeling of peace continues. If I let my mind go there, it’s hard to think about what is going on inside my heart without getting frustrated, but I know I am in PERFECT hands – God’s. He already knows the date of the surgery. He already knows what type of surgery I will have. He already knows 10 years from now.
I want to THANK EVERYONE for their prayers that they have brought to God on our behalf. We TRULY felt them today! We are praising God for HIS CONTINUED faithfulness. I look back at the song I posted yesterday, Walk By Faith. We will continue to walk this journey by faith because more than ever, it is out of our hands. Only time will tell – well, actually, only God will tell when the timing is write.
I’m sure I will have more thoughts or details that come out later. But join us in praising God that we were given answers and peace today.