Yesterday actually felt good to blog about what my heart condition was. I often don’t get a chance to talk that in depth about what really happened inside of me when I was 17. I mentioned that now I have mitral valve regurgitation, which is not nearly as serious of a matter when you compare it to what I previously had, but it’s definitely something that is affecting my life.
When I had my open heart surgery, I did have mild leaking in my mitral valve – though doctors decided not to touch it because often times the valve will return to normal functioning after a heart surgery, now that the heart would be pumping correctly. Unfortunately mine has not and in time, has gotten significantly worse. By all means I do not regret them not touching it. Only God knew at that point that my valve would someday need a fixin’.
So what is mitral valve regurgitation? I went on Mayo Clinic’s website and found some really good info on it! In all reality, it basically defines itself. As Dan puts it, my flappers (valve) don’t close tightly :). (I will say too…Dan in his “doctoral” mindset described my anomalous left coronary very well too – he said basically the hoses in my heart weren’t connected in the right way, so drs. moved some hoses around and now it’s all good – gotta love his sense of humor!) Anyways, because the valve doesn’t close tightly, blood flows backward into my heart, therefore causing blood to not flow efficiently to my heart or body. So why is this such a big deal? Well, there are definitely symptoms – symptoms that I am actually aware of (unlike when I had my first heart condition :)). Shortness of breath, fatique, heart palpitations, sometimes cough more, and basically I just get more tired a whole lot quicker than normal. Which is THE most frustrating part of it all! Symptoms that I have not seen yet are excessive urination, lightheadedness, and swollen feet (sounds kinda like pregnancy issues doesn’t it?) I really don’t know from experience, but swollen feet and excessive urination I have heard and seen, have been common pregnancy issues :). But hopefully I won’t have those symptoms before I have my valve fixed!
Currently my valve is on the border of moderate/severe. Once it hits the severe stage, then heart failure can occur, an irregular heart beat can happen, and a whole slew of other things. So you may ask, why in the world aren’t they fixing it now? Because my heart function is normal and docs won’t touch it til it gets severe – the valve that is. Once my heart function decreases and leaking increases to severe, then it’s time to talk. Once something is fixed or replaced…the fix can go bad, and a replaced valve can go bad. So why go through another open heart surgery (or maybe a robotic surgery) to fix something that isn’t bad enough yet? I have complete confidence that I can go through another open heart surgery, but shoot, if I can prolong that timing even longer? I will take that, in hopes that I can have the surgery robotically! This is all to say that is why I am under close watch – my valve is almost like a ticking time bomb – when they docs say it’s time, it’s time! I am going to my cardiologist every 6 months and that may be increased even more as it gets worse.
Honestly, this all doesn’t really scare me, which is such a blessing! Yeah I can get really frustrated sometimes when I want to do something but my heart/body won’t let me (just ask Dan), but I am thankful that I can live a fairly normal life. I think I get more frustrated than worrisome with this whole situation. My body/heart kindly reminds me that I do have this issue, but as long as I am aware of how I feel, I can move on. When it comes to children too, that is where frustration comes in too, but I don’t worry about it because that’ll do me no good! God already knows if we will be just a family of 2 or of more. If He has that taken care of already, why should I try to decide? (Boy I wish I always felt that confident about our situation!) I feel God has given me a lot of peace lately in all this. As you have noticed we have been very busy going from here to there, which is SUCH a blessing! It makes me realize there is SO much more to life than whether or not our family will increase someday. If God hasn’t given us direction in that yet, then why create our own? He has blessed us so richly with the opportunities to see His world together, to minister to teens together, and to just BE together.
God will work this all out in HIS perfect timing. I say that phrase so much, I know – but it is a reminder for myself that God is in CONTROL! I was talking to a woman who came into Banner today who talked about that very subject. She had just finished reading the book of Job and she mentioned how much he had to endure, yet he lived his life in awe and in humbleness to God. Yeah he got frustrated, but he was fully devoted to God she said. She reflected on the fact that we all worry so much in our lives that it takes away the powerfulness of God and that really we should be just falling on our knees in complete surrender to Him who has it all figured out – so then why do we worry? I kind of just stood there in silence because what she was saying was such a good reminder! God does have it all figured out, so why don’t I just let HIM lead me instead of me trying to lead myself? I tell ya, you can learn so much from talking with other people!
I hope all this has given some clarity and just continue to pray that God will give us patience as we know surgery is around the corner, but also faithfulness in completely surrendering the timing of it all to Him! What a mighty God we serve! What a mighty God we serve! Angels bow before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What a mighty God we serve!