August 10, 2018
My Heart Update❤️ -Well I scheduled heart surgery #8 for next Thurs 8/16... on my 27th wedding anniversary..... but then after talking it through with Jimmy this afternoon, I called to cancel it. During the 4 hours of heart testing I had done a few weeks ago, they were able to visualize the arrhythmia in my heart. At my appt today, the Dr said it appears to be coming from around my aortic valve. He said my heart is a disaster, which anyone who has known me for long, has learned that as well. Hey this really does just validate how much living "today" is a true miracle. The previous surgeries, almost all took about 7 hours each, with many complications. I have so many complexities. For me to undergo more surgery, is high risk. Surgery may improve my heart beats... but there's also a chance I come out feeling much worse. I hate making decisions, but this afternoon, I choose to WAIT. As I process my thoughts today, I think of how far I have come. So many memory building moments I have been blessed with. Success in my career. Happiness & growth in my family. Yes, I have limitations. Going shopping, changing my clothes, carrying anything in my arms, squatting, bending, etc... all trigger arrhythmias. BUT I can walk on flat ground at a steady pace, hand in hand with my honey. I can pick up my sweet g-babies even if it's just for a brief hug, I can show homes, sit on my comfy bed & work on my computer, market for more clients, talk on the phone, etc. I can make sure TODAY has a purpose. If any of these were taken away from me... if I didn't have the strength to do what I currently do, I'd be sad. I'm realizing that I may not be 100%, I may never run a marathon, but I can make a difference in someone's life. I can FIND purpose in spite of my limitations. Sooooo for now, I am choosing to be OK with my current limitations, & I thank God I have progressed to where I am. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. I personally am not afraid of dying, for I know where I am going, but I am afraid of suffering MORE. So again, today, I choose to wait. I am excited for the season of life we are in, loving on grand babies, spending time with our kiddos near & far, & I look forward to the exciting challenge of selling homes in our new state. Oh... and I do have BIG GOALS, more time to be spent watching beautiful g-babies grow up... more dreams to fulfill & more vacations to be taken. So, hey little speed bump, I may slow down... but I won't stop. Onward I go!!
June 12, 2018
Somehow I stumbled upon another wonderful expert. Only God could have guided us to this place... at this time. My new pacemaker doctor has performed more pacemaker & lead extractions than any other Dr in the world. He did distinctly explain to Jimmy & I, how complex my situation will be if my pacemaker pocket is indeed infected. There’s no test to confirm, & it’s too risky to open the bump to check. We are in the waiting period, watching for changes. Pacemaker pocket infections can sit dormant for weeks… or months, but they do not go away on their own. If it is infected, it’ll require the device & all 3 leads to be removed & replaced. But, he said there’s no tool to remove the 3rd lead. I also have an obstruction that will make it more challenging to put new leads in as well. I am still 💯 dependent with zero underlying heart rhythm. I told him, well if we get to that place, I will be your biggest “come back” story 😊. Impossible=opportunity for a miracle! Please pray with us that the fluid/bump will absorb, & be free from infection. I am thankful for this opportunity to live out God’s plan for my life. Jimmy & I choose to live a no-regret life. Every day matters. If we live like we are dying, before we know it, years have passed & not one moment was wasted. Keep living!
June 10, 2018It’s my story. It’s my journey. It may hurt. It may be overflowing with blessings... but it’s mine. I was born to LIVE it! I am strong enough to battle it. I am humbled enough to enjoy it. There’s purpose to each word written by my Author. And when I make a mistake my Editor comes along & makes it renewed. This is my life... & I strive to illustrate it well. Live with purpose.
June 7, 2018Raw truth: My biggest fear is to miss one moment in life that I am meant to live out with purpose. I can get caught up in the dead end situation, or I can choose to find a detour. The detour is more challenging & frustrating... but it allows you to complete your purpose. Make a way. This “heart season” started so perfect, a quick surgery... no complications, but then this bump interrupted the plan. I am over it. The fear of the unknown doesn’t work well in me. I’m a planner. Waiting... waiting... praying.... ready for the answer. So many delays. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m only afraid of getting sicker. And I really love the life God is giving me day by day. I just want it to last.
June 1, 2018My pacemaker bump update: Round 3 of two more antibiotics at a stronger dose are underway. It is unclear still if it’s a hematoma or infection. I will see the pacemaker specialist in 10 days. I now have 3 cardiologists on board. One for arrhythmias, one for my valves, blood clots & blockage, & one for the pacemaker. I will be so happy to get off the antibiotics & have this ball shrink. Please pray my colon infection does not reappear with these antibiotics... and my bump goes away. Time to move on.
May 31, 2018
It’s time. I don’t normally show off my ouchies like this, but since it’s STILL there... & I like to be “real,” I know my praying peeps will pray. Yesterday was 7 weeks since my last pacemaker surgery... and it’s unclear if this painful lump is a hematoma or infection. Either way, unsure of what the fix is. Tomorrow morning I meet with my new heart doctor, hopefully it will be something resolvable soon. I’d like to ditch this awkward painful baseball. Hey while we are in Austin tomorrow, any suggestions for a “must do” adventure? Lunch spot? Thanks friends! I know God’s been here every step.
May 20, 2018
May 15, 2018
Just had my last appointment with my heart doctor here in San Diego. 😊Thanks to Dr Rogers for giving me my life back. He took me under his care when I couldn’t even walk across a parking lot without nearly fainting... & no one else could find a cure. He & Dr Gibson took a chance on me... and because of that I am here today. 4 pacemakers & over 40 hours of heart surgeries later, I’ve tracked over 2500 miles since he’s been treating me. I am so thankful for a Dr who cares about the “person,” & not just the “plan.” ❤️My next appointment will be in Texas. It was sad to say goodbye. God’s got this.
May 10, 2018
I can’t believe it’s already been a month! ❤️🙌🏻💪🏼 45.5 total miles recorded so far on my new ticker. I’m still soooo thankful the surgery was complete & zero hiccups. I’m enjoying my new lease on life. Still a few skips & flutters, & still a little awkward feeling with the placement under my muscle, but overall I am continuing to be stronger! I do not have & may never have the ability to grow in my upper body strength because of the side effects, but I am so thankful my legs work. Walking on flat ground in gorgeous weather is a treat! Blessed to be on this journey... life.
April 23, 2018
My Monday Motivation Moment.❤️Just 12 days ago, I was given a new lease on life. My mechanical heart was upgraded. Today as my bandages are removed I am reminded that though my insides are renewed, my scars are visible & may last a lifetime. My scars show I have been in a battle. Actually Jimmy & I have MANY battle scars. But it’s not the scars that define us. It’s the strength we’ve gained while being in the battles that is far more meaningful than any visible reminder that the battles even occurred. And may your scars always remind you too... that you are stronger than what tried to kill you.
April 16, 2018
❤️Popped over to my cardiologist this afternoon because my heart was beating too fast. It is 100% on a sensor, each beat on a machine but each increase is driven by activity. My heart was going over 100 bpm with minimal activity, but my doctors are so amazing at figuring these things out. They were able to recalibrate my sensor and get my heart rate to normalize. Most patients are set to slope of 10…but for my pain-in-the-rear heart to beat slow enough, it needed to be turned down to 5. He also reapplied my dressing & suture strips. Blood thinners & incisions aren’t friends. But I am healing well. I go back on Thursday for a recheck. It is so wonderful to be able to drive down the street and have specialized hands take care of my crazy heart. I may not make sense to many doctors… but God has created me “uniquely” for a reason. It keeps me relying on Him!
April 14, 2018
UPDATE!! 😋 We are EXCITED to ANNOUNCE that we are making a total life change….& moving to San Antonio Texas! We originally explored the possibility a year ago when we left Idaho. We met an incredible heart Dr there in Austin. So I already have a heart Dr there. They are opening the largest Cardiac Arrythmia Institute in the world! There will be no better place for me to live when I need a deeper level of treatment in the years to come. Ohhhh and 2 of our grand babies live there with their parents. We haven’t lived near Tiffani & John for 10 years…since they were 18yrs old, so this will be a big adjustment/treat. I wish all my amazing kiddos could be in one location… that would make my heart complete. Idaho was a closed door for me medically. It’s been empty living in CA for good medical care, while leaving the kiddos & g-baby in Idaho. Christmas, holidays, dinners are all spent alone… we miss having an extra special reason to wake up each morning. Family. Life is meant to be LIVED, not tolerated. And with the recent, sudden shift in the ministry here, we know it’s time for a change! Ministry is people. People are everywhere. When things don’t go as we plan… God will still ALWAYS shine through. Because He loves people, & we are people too. No, we are not “retiring ministry”… but just retiring ministry as it has been for the past 24 years full time. God has given us opportunities to touch countless amazing lives across the years. All was for His glory. And we will continue to LOVE people, wherever we go. We don’t have all the details worked out yet, but God KNOWS… so we trust & follow. I have begun the schooling to become a licensed Realtor in Texas! I will also keep my Idaho license active. We are thankful that God is always by our side… our lives are peppered with His faithfulness. This will be a new season indeed. And we look forward to the living the life God has given us… to it’s fullest! Be sure to check out the adorable video of the Texas kiddos announcing our big move!
April 13, 2018
Day 2 post-op: I got 10 hours of solid sleep! Much less pain, almost beach walk ready... but while I’m waiting, I’m sporting my beach hair don’t care shirt 😁☀️. It’s crazy what fear can do if we let it creep in & take over. To think I almost didn’t go through with this... thank you God for renewed HOPE! I look forward to the victories that await
April 12, 2018
Here I am, day one post-op! It was a flawless procedure. A little background… back in October I had some noise coming through on my upper pacemaker lead. This usually signifies that the lead is going bad. My doctor was able to change some settings to keep it from interfering with the function of my pacemaker. Because I already have three leads in place, it is nearly impossible to put a fourth one in, especially with my SVC obstruction, blood clots, and scar tissue. In addition, 6 years ago, it took several hours and twosurgeries to get that top lead into the right location for a strong signal to work well with my heart. Since the report on the lead failing in October, I have been held prisoner to the thoughts that I would never feel this good again. I was certain if they had to replace or move the lead, that I would go back to having difficulty walking short distances again. I feared the worst, to the point that I was contemplating not even having any more surgeries ever. After you go through 45+ surgeries/procedures I guess anyone may feel like me. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to continue with suffering and pain, especially when heaven awaits on the other side! I think it is one of the darkest moments I have sunk into, feeling all hope was lost. And yes, I am human, with real feelings. But how many of you know that right choices bring right emotions. And we are not a product of what happens to us, but we are a product of how we react to those things. Something happen inside me last week when my husband was laid off from his ministry position suddenly… And my surgery date was scheduled just a couple of days later. It’s almost like a rebellious hope arose in me, and I was confident once again that God is in total control. “I” like to be in control, don’t we all? But sometimes we don’t realize who truly is in control until we are helpless. Needless to say, going into yesterday’s surgery I really felt the peace, the love, the prayers, and an indescribable strength from within that I did not know still existed. Thank you to the hundreds of prayers that went up on my behalf. I know there is no other explanation other than God answered. The leads all look strong, so an extraction or replacement wasn’t necessary. I received my upgraded CRT pacemaker device. Every beat of my heart is still run by this machine. They checked to see if I had an underlying heart rhythm, but there was still none. The machine keeps me alive 100%… But God ultimately brings me life! I have never awoke from a surgery feeling as good as I do with this one. I have a clear head, I have only taken Tylenol for pain, and I am upright and nearly ready to go! Of course the pain is there… but it is manageable. In life, sometimes things seem hopeless. Like me, you may have sunk into your darkest pit, and it’s at those moments that God can move and transform your situation! I am looking forward to the next several years that God will grant me. I will fight each battle as it comes, and I will trust that He has great plans to use the challenges for His glory! Will look back on this moment, & my scar will be my constant reminder that God is faithful. My scar will be my reminder that says I was stronger than what tried to kill me. God is constantly at work. And He loves me. Finding purpose in the pain.
April 12, 2018
Do I look crabby to you? 😂 Oh so much the opposite!! I am wearing my crabby shirt today since I’m not walking the beach, I’m still feeling it’s happiness. ☀️ I’m also sporting my ugly pressure bandage. Did you know that pressure applied to a wound helps stop the bleed? It’s the same in our lives… Sometimes we are under tremendous pressure, thinking that something is trying to crush us or harm us, when in fact it is there too… Stop The Bleed & save us! Today, remember that not all pressure that’s in your life is bad. Many times it’s there for your good, even if it’s uncomfortable, ugly, & inconvenient. Stand firm, fill up with faith, and come out stronger on the other side! Day 1 post-op & feeling amazing!! ❤️
April 10, 2018
How do I get through the 24 hours before? Stay distracted & encouraged. Love my hubby, he spent the day with me, toes in the sand, Chili’s, & he gave me a clean home❤️. I began reading through my past posts from the previous heart surgeries... that’s not the best thing to do the night before my next. Whew, those were tough times. I can’t believe I have fought through all that... and it reminds me, I’ll fight through tomorrow too. I need a simple IV access, strong leads that won’t require fixing, & a flawless replacement. I’m heading to bed for an early morning start. Trusting God has it already worked out. Healthy heart, ministry spot, provision, & time soon to spend wth my sweet family. I am so blessed by all of your love & support. Thanks for each kind word & prayers. #GodsGotThis
#liveloved #faithwalk #heartsurgery7
April 5, 2018
❤️. I’m having my heart surgery #7 this Wednesday 4/11, to get my upgraded device, as my other one is nearing the end of its battery life & of course I am still 100% dependent on it. My doctor said the lead/wire that had shown interference, looks good! He will thoroughly check it while I’m in surgery & if it shows issues, he’ll replace it Wednesday. If the lead doesn’t need replaced, I will go home the same day! I will be having a second surgery done by my other electrophysiologist soon to ablate another crazy spot in my ventricles. It will be my sixth ablation. But this should help my skipping beats. My heart repetitively skips every other beat when I move my arms or walk. Since it doesn’t pump well while doing that, I should feel much better once fixed! I’m excited to get this behind us, & go another 7+ years with no more heart surgery. And hey, I’m still selling homes too. As always, I get my busiest when I visit the hospital... so, keep calling me! It’s a great distraction. Jimmy and I are expecting this to be a quick, amazing outcome.
March 21, 2018
My 80% - Do you ever feel so tired, so much pain, so little hope for change, so longing for the better life that God has prepared for you? I do. I can only imagine what it will feel like to wake with no pain, breathe with ease, arms full of strength, I'd rise from peaceful sleep, soar like an eagle, & be in my forever home, with my forever Daddy. I loooonngg for that day. But not today. Not till my purpose is complete. I want ya'll to join me there too. When it's your time.
February 24, 2018
7 years ago today 2/24/11, I had my 1st heart surgery. I was in surgery for 7 hours that day. This year, I will have my 7th heart surgery... 7 is the number symbolizing completion. I believe this will be my year. As I reflect back to 7 years ago today, the struggle was intense. I couldn't walk across a parking lot without nearly fainting. We knew even before leaving the recovery room that day, that surgery #2 would be coming soon....and on & on they went. It's often on these "anniversary moments" that we take time to reflect. I have come so far. And though many days I still have mountains of physical challenges to overcome, I am so blessed to be alive, celebrating life, & still doing what I love to do, next to the one I love doing life with. There is good in EVERY DAY. Sometimes it comes to you, and sometimes you have to seek it out... but it is always there. There is a purpose for your life, don't ever quit. God is so good.
February 13, 2018
Thanks for the prayers. My doctor was able to stop the bleed with 2 metal clips. My amazing nurse navigated my tiny vein & got the IV in on the 1st try. We swapped stories. She’s an overcomer too. Just got home & off to sleep. Soooo tired, weak & loads of pain. Please pray for no additional internal bleeding & no additional intervention needed. This was amazing, no need to be life flighted to San Diego.... instead I drove 25 minutes & got wonderful care. And... they updated to blue gowns, no more green😬. God is good!
February 12, 2018
I am going into the hospital Tues afternoon to have my colon repaired again. I have been bleeding the past few days. Not nearly as bad as 11 months ago. Jimmy & I are confident it’ll be a quick fix via clips, stitches, or cauterized, home the same day... & back in action! I’m so thankful for my doctor who made this happen so quick. Within hours I got the call back & scheduled. The relief of being nearby great medical care & with those who know me, is priceless. Thanks for your prayers!
February 8, 2018
I began this morning with nitro under the tongue to diminish chest pains. ❤️ Nitro is necessary from time-to-time, as I walk out this faith journey. But it didn’t stop me... I still had a blessed day! The effects of a disability can remind me of what I can’t change, but as this day wraps up, I choose to see the good. God gave me yet another day to love others, work hard, enjoy the sunny blue sky, & breathe fresh air through my lungs. My machine keeps my heart beating, but my God keeps my heart full. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. If we live like today is our last day & we choose to live each day with purpose, then we will have a no-regret finish. And when we breathe our last, we can do it knowing, we gave our all. ❤️ A disability is an opportunity for God’s ability to shine through! Get up, keep going! If your hearts still beating, you have purpose.
Update February 1, 2018
It was 6 years ago, on the Women's heart health day, that I had my 6th heart surgery. My FIGHT continues. ❤️This year by summertime I will have heart surgery #7.
Praying for all the others who suffer with heart illness. Tomorrow is National Wear Red Day — a day to bring attention to this silent killer of women, heart disease. They encourage everyone to wear red, know their cardiovascular risk, and take action to live longer, healthier lives! See you in RED Tomorrow!
Update January 11, 2018
My heart team is the very best! These two, Dr Rogers & Mike, along with Dr Gibson, have walked my heart journey with me for the past 8 years.... 6 surgeries, many 7 hour operating room procedures. They gave me my life back. Today I am sad to hear Mike, the pacemaker expert, the one in blue, is retiring. Thank you Mike for always going above & beyond! He changed my settings again today, extending my device life another 1.8 months! I’ll have a recheck in 3 months with Dr Rogers and surgery won’t be until approximately summer.
☀️I know I’m in good hands!
Update January 3, 2018
It's hard to comprehend how I can walk 3 miles, but pushing a shopping cart across the Costco parking lot by myself feels life threatening. 🤨 That was tough. My heart has been doing great the past several weeks, but the parking lot bumps & heavy cart maxed my limits today. It was skipping a zillion beats. Maybe the lead/wire jiggling? Life is full of limitations, & though frustrating at times, it helps to remember how far I've come. I used to not be able to walk across a parking lot without nearly fainting, & now I can walk 3+ miles on flat ground, but still cannot use my upper body strength. Thank you God for the life you've given me, & the husband who usually does the things I cannot.
❤️ 100% pacemaker dependent, but 100% God dependent
Update December 26, 2017
A simple life we have not seen... here’s a recap of some of the events of 2017. Full of highs and lows, but in the end it was beyond blessed. There's so much to squeeze into a quick review… but here we go with a quick timeline!
The year began with our family all together in one home, bringing in the new year, followed by snowmageddon & the biggest snowstorms we’ve ever experienced. We met a new heart doctor in Texas, went on the Disney cruise to Jamaica and Puerto Rico, then we celebrated the one year anniversary of launching the Caldwell campus. I had a near death experience with my second colon bleed & losing half of my blood, followed by the miraculous healing & slow recovery! I sold homes. My dad continued his short but drastic battle with cancer. We celebrated Nicki‘s baby shower, revisited the San Diego doctors for more follow up care for me, & visited the Texas grand babies and kiddos. Sadly my dad moved to heaven in May, but he is no longer suffering.
We resigned as pastors at CFC in Idaho, attended the SoCal network pastors conference, then we welcomed grand baby #3, sweet Emery into the world! We moved back to the San Diego area to be near my heart & colon surgeons, & full of faith trusting God to open a ministry door for us. 2 of our kiddos helped us move, & enjoyed the beach visit, then we attended yet another pastors conference in Anaheim. We visited the Texas babies via a quick mutual trip to Las Vegas. My mom celebrated one year of being cancer free!
Jimmy and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed my 44th birthday with Vegas friends, & attended another pastors conference in Las Vegas. We surprised the Texas grand babies with a weekend visit. Whew, then we became the pastors at CityReach Church Escondido... God answers prayers! Jimmy was diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer in his ear. I'm continuing my 11 year real estate career here in San Diego as well as in Idaho! Jimmy had his 1st skin cancer surgery, we attended yet another pastors conference in Ohio, visited our moms while there, & drove to Idaho to visit the kiddos for Thanksgiving! I sold more homes in Idaho, Jimmy had his ear reconstructive surgery, my medical treatment has continued, with complications in my pacemaker lead that we are trusting God will mend when the generator will be replaced in the coming months, and my blood levels are doing well! We celebrated Christmas AND the announcement that grand baby #4 is on the way! It's crazy looking back over 12 short months & seeing all that God has brought us through. I think Jimmy & I have worked diligently to LIVE EVERY DAY with INTENTION. I’d say 2018 is going to be blessed! Let’s do this.
Update December 11, 2017
💉 After having 6 blood tests/pokes done in the past 11 days, my stabilized results today allot me to go a whole week with no testing! A 7 day rest for my veins 😍. Hey, I celebrate the small wins. 🌻And today I got to hear another incredible story from a lab technician who’s daughter had a liver transplant when she was an infant. God is always providing opportunities to swap stories. I’m always looking to see purpose in the pain. It’s there, we just need to slow down long enough to find it. You can encourage someone with your fight, & they can encourage you with theirs. I meet the best people at the hospital. He was blessed, I was blessed... and I thank God for the miracle He gave “Diane.”
Update December 1, 2017
Still going strong!! It's been 8 months since I lost 1/2 of my blood from my second massive colon bleed. Many of you remember through prayers & skillful hands, it miraculously stopped. I was able to keep a small part of my colon, & my levels were restored. Six weeks ago I stopped one of the medications that I was taking to maintain my colon, because it was costing hundreds of dollars per month. Today's lab results confirm I have maintained a normal level without this medication! This week I also switched back to the less effective/less expensive blood thinning medication which will keep my blood from further clots & my heart pumping. This additional switch will save me hundreds more dollars per month. 😁 The downside is lots of needle pokes, with no veins. One lab today, one tomorrow, one Mon, one Wed... then every 1-3 weeks for the rest of my life. Yuck. But I believe that God will sustain my strength, and continue to build my faith one day at a time. He has been with me throughout so many ups & downs. I stand in awe of His mercy, day after day! Some miracles are instantaneous, some are lived out in the day to day process of LIFE.
Update October 31, 2017
Faces wear masks... happy masks, scary masks, & silly masks; for the sake of laughter, candy, & fun. Many pretend for just a day to be something they're really not. It's fun to escape our reality from time to time. Today I am reminded that it's important to remain "real." Pain is real, but God brings purpose to our pain. Loneliness is real, but God is our forever friend. Financial need is real, but God is our provider. Remember, it's in our broken places, that we are most often used of God. Live your life "through the challenge," & you can help someone else remove their mask & be "real" too. Today, be sure to let the real you shine through. God has made you uniquely you. Wear "you" proudly!
Update September 27, 2017
A tiny little update... It's been 5 weeks since I started a new medication for my heart. I was experiencing heart spasms 4-5 days per week. At my very first cardiologist visit back here is San Diego, my Dr prescribed Potassium, since my level has been low for some time. Who knew that tiny tweak could be so "life giving!" ❤️ The mini-heart attack episodes have been lowered significantly. I go back in 4 weeks for a procedure to have my pacemaker settings optimized, ensuring I am continuing to function at the very best possible level. Hey, I am still walking 3-4 miles a day, & that speaks for something! 😊 Can I just say.... living down the road from excellent care is so freeing. Thank you God for the little tweaks in our lives that bring about tremendous blessings! One foot in front of the other, God is already there! I am honored to be walking this journey hand-in-hand with my Daddy, & heart-to-heart with my hubby!
Update September 13, 2017
This is the place everything changed. 😢. In a moments notice, my heart was sent down a journey I never could have imagined. 10 years ago I was at this exact spot... someone 3 cars ahead of me stopped at this green light to give money to a homeless man. I stopped my car, but the driver behind me did not, & instead he crashed into the back of my car. Something from that accident shifted my brain signals & my heart rhythms became erratic. At the speed of 200 beats per minute, from climbing out of bed each morning in the days & months to follow, I knew I was in trouble. Imagine running on a treadmill nonstop. I was wearing out. I had developed a rare autonomic dysfunction. That led to several trips around the country looking for a cure, many near death encounters, 6 heart surgeries & lots of battles to fight through. I now have zero natural beats in my heart & live 100% on a specialized CRT pacemaker. My entire life changed in an instant. The journey however, has given me the "gift" of life in a unique new way. Jimmy & I have not taken any day for granted, we choose to live every day to it's fullest. It reminds me of what God does. He can crash into our world as we know it, & in an instant change our lives forever. What seems to mess us up, can actually be the life giving change that brings us purpose, hope, new dreams, and the faith to overcome every battle that will enter our path. Driving through this freeway exit spot today, brings back a flood of memories. What a long 10 years it's been. I pray we all can experience & remember the "encounter moment" that we can look back on and say, that was my defining moment. Everything changed. Though I may not like what's happened to me, I will find purpose for the pain. What defining moment stands out to you in your life? What moment changed everything for you? Embrace it.
As I enter my birthday week, I am overwhelmingly thankful to be alive another year. ☺️Wow, what a year it’s been. Looking back, I can’t believe I haven’t written an update on my “story page" for so long…. it’s not because nothing's been going on. The last time I wrote, I was heading in for major surgery to remove part or all of my colon. That cost me a few weeks stay in the hospital in San Diego, with complications & a lengthy, painful recovery. My surgeon did end up leaving a small portion of my colon & I am forever thankful. Amazingly my heart survived the surgery without any negative effects. A few weeks after surgery, I had a life threatening internal bleed, and spent my 25th wedding anniversary & a few more weeks in the Boise hospital. After enduring 2 colon repairs, & blood transfusions, I was able to make it to our anniversary celebration Italy cruise, just a few days after being discharged.
My San Diego followup appointments in October revealed all was healed nicely. At that time, I also had a cardiology followup & angioplasty, where they were unable to place a stent to treat the partial blockage they found. If they place the stents, then it would trap the 3 pacemaker leads permanently, not allowing them to be replaced when they wear out. So, instead, I had a balloon inserted into my main vein where the pacemaker wires are located to widen the space for blood flow. It's narrowed from scar tissue & blood clots, causing blood to back up. That procedure helped some of my swelling & water retention issues. It may need repeated over time.
Then in March, I had an even more severe life threatening internal bleed. One Wednesday evening I had told a friend, "I feel so weak that if someone told me I had 2 weeks to live, I’d believe them.” Moments later, I ended up rapidly losing 1/2 of my blood in just a few hours time. It took 2 doctors, more blood transfusions, 2 separate repairs & several days in the hospital, to get me on the road to recovery again. This hospitalization was probably the closest I have come to “giving up.” Those who were closest to us can testify… I felt hopeless, helpless, and weary. I could feel death at the doorstep of my life. But, thank God, we don’t do life alone. Thousands of amazing people shared my desperation & joined together to pray for me. THANK YOU!!! Dr Story (love his name), did another repair… and the bleeding stopped. At that time, they said my entire colon would need removed since it was nearly destroyed, & that would most likely have left me on a colostomy bag. I did not want this. We waited a few weeks to see how the repair would heal, & I traveled to revisit my colon surgeon in San Diego. He said it had completely healed, but if it ulcerated/bled again, it would require a total removal. Being on blood thinners for my heart, makes me a very difficult patient to treat with an internal bleed. Blood thinners & ulcerations do not work well together. The recovery process was slow. Blood transfusions caused allergic reactions. I had complications with chest pain from the picc line placement for iron infusions. I ate more red meat than I’d like to admit, ha!
IT WAS A LONG ROAD…. but that was 5 months ago. Since then, my blood levels have been completely restored & my colon is doing well. At the time of the March blood loss, my San Diego cardiologist said that type of rapid blood loss could be very rough on my heart… and I may have benefited from being transfused right up to my normal levels. Thank God for His hand of protection once again. I am so thankful my recent lab followups confirm that my body has returned to those normal levels. I cannot believe the difference. I now know what it’s like to “feel like you’re dying.” I pray to never return to that again.
I know I have a delicate heart & system. I have fought through over 40 surgeries, 6 of them on my heart. I am 100% reliant on this specialized pacemaker, & the healthy synchronization of my heart relies so much on everything being balanced well. That takes skilled, caring eyes.
I know what it’s like to be so very weak. I know what it’s like to be in unbearable pain. I know what it’s like to throw thousands of dollars away to medical care. I know what it’s like to have dreams stolen, goals changed, plans interrupted, & purpose lost. But I also know what it’s like to fight through & have dreams re-birthed, goals obtained, new plans work out, & the benefits of putting purpose to the pain.
THE BIG MOVE... After my Dr followups in San Diego in April, my husband & I made the decision to move back to San Diego. It just made sense. Our hearts have always loved it here, San Diego has always been home. We both agree that there are PEOPLE everywhere. We can minister ANYWHERE, but my medical care has only been successful in one location. We also believe that where God guides, He always provides. And no matter what we try to “make work” elsewhere, He has provided what I medically need, here in San Diego… so we followed my "heart." I can literally say, my “heart” belongs to SoCal. I must say, our 3 years in Idaho were truly fruitful & incredible. Our ministry flourished, & our lives encountered some of the most amazing people. We were honored to once again minister along side our pastors & friends... Monty & Kelli Sears. Thank you for believing in us. 19 years of friendship, a lifetime of memories in our hearts. I also had my very best year in real estate. I made it as one of the top 100 agents in an office of 1,100 agents. In spite of a very challenging year, God continues to allow us to live out our purpose. Also this past year, our youngest daughter got married to an amazing man, and just recently blessed us with our 3rd grand child. Yes… I am 43 with 3 grand babies 🙂. It was challenging to leave such a loving place of ministry, a great real estate sphere, a sweet new grand daughter, & 2 of our kiddos in Idaho, but moving back to San Diego 100% was the right move for us. We know God is in the timing, always. We originally moved from Escondido 3 years ago, to Idaho. Ironically, our Idaho home recently sold to a buyer moving from Escondido to Idaho. When we arrived here, we had dinner with them, and personally hand delivered keys to them. And we found a short term lease back here in Escondido too. It’s like the circle of life keeps coming back around! Though we do not know what amazing people God has in store for us to do "ministry life” with yet, we are confident that He has confirmed over & over that we are in His perfect will, one step at a time. He is the author of our story, and He’s writing it out, page by page.
I have reconnected with my local doctors, & have my new local health insurance. This will save us thousands of out-of-network medical & travel expenses, not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing I am a few miles away from the skilled hands that have cared for me for the past several years. I had my heart checkup 10 days ago, & my mechanical heart is still ticking well. It'll be replacement time within the next 9-12 months, & I am sure I'll be getting the latest & greatest upgrade 😊❤️. My Dr added potassium to my meds, & that seems to have cut down on the # of heart spasms. So the journey continues! I am in great hands.
On a side note, this past year my mom was diagnosed with & treated for cancer, then my dad was diagnosed with cancer & passed away from it just over 3 months ago. So much has happened this past year… but all things work together in life to build our faith, endurance, & appreciation for both the small things & the big. When we learn to live “with purpose,” and find meaning to each day… we begin to take nothing for granted. No smile is wasted, no kind word is unnecessary. No goal is too big, no dream is too unobtainable. Whether this would be my last birthday week, or if I have 60 more birthday weeks to come… I know this will be my best year yet, because I choose to make it count. Hiccups, speed bumps, detours & joy rides... they are all a part of life's journey.
I share all of this again, to hopefully encourage someone else to keep going! Life does not have to have everything the way we want it, but we can continue to live every day to its fullest & covered in faith. As Jimmy & I turn this next page in our life story, we continue to walk through this life TOGETHER. He is the most amazing supportive husband. God knew we were meant for each eachother. I will continue to sell homes, as long as God grants me the strength, & Jimmy will continue to minister. Life goes on.... though it was a challenging year, there was still so much good!! Of course, we make memories out of everything… & our toes will continue to hit the sand quite often. I do not object 😉. A beach walk & a great talk, is guaranteed to refresh any heart. Setting out to accomplish my mission for yet another day that God has gifted me to be alive. This week, I am turning 44… and I will live 4 HIM! ❤️ "Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't."
***Oops, one more thing... I know I've shared this intriguing photo on my Facebook before, but being back in California makes it even more real... ❤️ my heart literally "belongs" to SoCal. It's SoCal designed. Meet my mechanical heart. We've tried to live in other locations while continuing my heart care, but it's only here with my 2 heart doctors that I have been able to receive the special ongoing care I truly need. God is so amazingly faithful to guide our steps of faith & always provide. This high tech 3 lead specialized CRT pacemaker is keeping my heart ticking 100%, every beat. This photo helps visualize the pumping machine up close of my "2nd heart," my 2nd chance at life 😊. Blessed. Thank you to all who continue to believe with Jimmy & I, that God is bigger. His plan is always at work. This photo speaks a thousand words 😍. We are walking this miracle out! #morelifetolive #worththefight #miracles #SoCalhome
***Oops, one more thing... I know I've shared this intriguing photo on my Facebook before, but being back in California makes it even more real... ❤️ my heart literally "belongs" to SoCal. It's SoCal designed. Meet my mechanical heart. We've tried to live in other locations while continuing my heart care, but it's only here with my 2 heart doctors that I have been able to receive the special ongoing care I truly need. God is so amazingly faithful to guide our steps of faith & always provide. This high tech 3 lead specialized CRT pacemaker is keeping my heart ticking 100%, every beat. This photo helps visualize the pumping machine up close of my "2nd heart," my 2nd chance at life 😊. Blessed. Thank you to all who continue to believe with Jimmy & I, that God is bigger. His plan is always at work. This photo speaks a thousand words 😍. We are walking this miracle out! #morelifetolive #worththefight #miracles #SoCalhome
It has still been a good couple of months with my heart. I have continued to feel the relief from the new pacemaker settings. I have encountered another big challenge. Jimmy & I arrived in San Diego on Thurs… for more surgery. On Tuesday June 14th, I am having a major surgery involving removing most or all of my colon. After several months of pain, testing, & results, I am moving forward. Due to my “delicate” heart & the complexity overall situation, I was referred back to my San Diego Surgeons. I will have 2 of the very best surgeons doing their portion of work at the same time. Between them & God, I am in great hands. I will be in Scripps La Jolla hospital approx 5 days. I appreciate all the love and care and support Jimmy & I have received from you all. This is tough on Jimmy too, one more hospital bedside week. Also, I know my amazing kiddos Tiffani, Nicki, & Lj, all have been through it with all of my battles. This has not been an easy decision, & I have been met with so many “what if’s,” but I have faith to believe that if the challenge hasn’t been removed from my life, then it is there for a purpose. This surgery may be a speed bump, mixed with a few detours, but it is NOT a stop sign. Please be praying for Jimmy & I. No complications, no “C” word, no lasting unbearable effects, a strong heart, quick recovery, & that God will use our encounters in the coming weeks, to touch someone’s life.
A small win :-). It's been almost 3 month since I traveled to San Diego & had my pacemaker settings changed. At first I thought I had no improvement, & possibly even felt worse. Then the past month or so, I notice less of the crazy arrhythmia & vtach episodes taking place. It had been happening around the clock, and my cardiologist said I had developed pacemaker syndrome. He was hopeful that the new settings would kick out the natural beat that was arising from some unhealthy place in my heart, and I do believe that it helped! He also doubled my night time heart med dose. I am still fighting a lot of fatigue, but I combat it by staying busy selling homes & partnering with my husband in ministry (he's a pastor). It is far more rewarding to focus on helping others. In turn it helps me find undeniable strength.
Over the past several years of this ongoing suffering, I have learned that even when there seems to be no strength left, if I just walk one step at a time, focus on what I can change, the day becomes productive in spite of how I feel. I'd rather be busy & fatigued, than lying in bed & fatigued. Every day, every moment must have a purpose. I love what my husband recently said, "You don't have to feel something, to do something. Right actions bring right emotions." And it's oh so true. I hope this can serve as a reminder to someone else who's battling today with fatigue, chronic pain, emotional stress, etc, that you can CHOOSE to give it power, or you can CHOOSE to use the struggle as a motivator to press you on to greater things. In no way is it easy to fight through, but it sure is WORTH IT. Like all of us, I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I trust it is a good & promising future. Today, I know I am celebrating a win, however small it may seem. And day by day, I have faith to believe I will grow stronger & stronger. I am thankful for each accomplishment. Small wins can go a long way.
“Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. Keep Going! Rise above the horizon so you can shine again each day".
"At the point where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith.
Faith makes things possible, not easy."
HAPPY 4 year Anniversary to me..."of receiving my life back!" What a great way to start today, remembering GOD's faithful. I can't believe it was 4 years ago today, since I had my 6th & last heart surgery. I averaged a heart procedure every 6-7 weeks for a year straight. It's truly a breakthrough. God had another plan! It has not been an easy road, and I still have battles to conquer, but He has brought me so far. Today, with tears of thankfulness, I remember! When we reflect back & celebrate milestones of GOD's faithfulness, it helps us to keep life in perspective. Here was 2 of our posts from my online blog on the day of the final surgery, and the day after. Just look at what God has done & how far I've come. Thank you to the hundreds of you who have been there for my family & I, praying with us, supported us, and believed with us! The journey continues. God's not finished yet!
....Great news, the integrity of the pacemaker leads look good! My Cardiologist optimized the settings on the 3 leads today while watching the heart function on the echo screen, and the heart function looks much better now! The Idaho DR had previously turned a setting to 70, and it really needed to be at 250 to make the heart pump well. This setting affects the time allotted between the top & bottom chambers beating... It is what allows time for the blood to fill & empty in the heart. Hopefully the short time setting was what created the pacemaker syndrome that I've been experiencing ... Not a good thing. Thank God for His hand! The hopes are that now my heart will level out again & pacemaker syndrome will cease! They will monitor remotely nightly through my bedside monitor, & I'll be seen here in San Diego in 6 months. God is good 😊Thank you much for all the prayers & support for Jimmy & I !
For those interested & praying, both of my heart surgeons met today & discussed my puzzling test results. They said it appears that after my heart function has been 100% dead for nearly 4 years, the top chamber of my heart has developed an intermittent natural beat again. It is creating pacemaker syndrome where the new heart beat is competing with the pacemaker. This is like confusion within my heart. They changed some setting to hopefully override the competition. I had a chest X-ray done to check the left lead placement integrity. I will go tomorrow at 2pm for a pacemaker optimization with intentions to have the synchronization of my heart be set to peak performance. Praying for a fix with no more need of intervention. I was in very confident & good hands. My cardiologist here will resume my care from afar, including my nightly bedside monitor. He gave me a hug & assured me I am in good hands. So glad I came back. God is guiding my life one step at a time!
Thank you all for your prayers. We don't really always understand why we face challenges. I went to see my cardiologist today for tests & follow up after having vtach episodes coming in on my monitor the past few weeks. My pacemaker monitor shows I had 45 arrhythmia episodes just in the past 2 days. I usually only have 2 show up in 3-6 months time. My cardiologist said my details are beyond her, her specific words were "we are too small town here for this type of treatment." She'd need to refer me out to Utah, or Cleveland Clinic. I said I'd like to keep my San Diego dr's and travel there when needed, rather than starting all over. We will be seeing my heart Dr in San Diego, December 1st. The San Diego Cardiologist know my heart inside and out. But beyond that, God is bigger. He knows my insides down to every cell. He will protect & provide. Quite honestly, I had a moment of slight frustrated earlier today, but when there's no answer, there's THE answer. I feel more confident than ever before, that Jimmy & I are meant to be right here in Idaho, walking out God's plan for our lives. If anything, today's conversation has driven our stakes even deeper here, & our calling to be with the incredible people of Idaho. Today, I stopped taking the dangerous medication, and instead doubled the dose of my previous heart med. I will find relief in all of this! I know there's a purpose for the pain. I trust this is just the beginning, and my story will continue to be a beautiful testimony sprinkled with God's goodness and grace in the midst of challenges. We will move forward & see God touch the city of Caldwell in a most powerful way as we journey together with CFC Caldwell! I will continue to enjoy my job, selling homes to amazing clients. I will enjoy watching my family grow :-). And I will enjoy each and every day my God gives me breath in my lungs. Nothing is wasted. Thank you once again friends for praying with us, believing with us, and never doubting that God is in control! I've never felt more connected and loved. "Don't lose hope... You never know what tomorrow will bring!" Each night, I head to sleep with great expectations for the day to come! My life is overflowing with blessings from having each of you in my life. God is always faithful & good!
Up Close & Personal: For those who have known me for a while.... you would agree, I have a complex health history. God has been my protector through so much! This week, on my heart monitor, it shows episodes of non-sustained VTach. My dr prescribed a new anti-arrythmic medication. When I opened the pharmacy instructions... what is written in the red box below, is what I read. This medication could have been lethal with my one of my illnesses. Being injected with a medication that affects my long QT Syndrome is what nearly killed me at the end of my 6th heart surgery, and therefore this drug clearly cannot be taken by me. I was very alarmed to read this, and my trust level was slightly squished... I am so thankful that God allowed me to "open the instructions" before proceeding to take it.
**It reminds me once again about how fragile life is, & human error does exist, even when there are good intentions are involved. God's "Word", or "instruction manual", is there to give us clear answers, when those around us want us to believe that they are giving us the best advice for our lives. I am thankful that we have "instructions" to help us to preserve our lives. And I am thankful that God's hand is ever upon me. I appreciate your prayers for wisdom to have this little storm to pass from my heart. I know He has great plans in store. My goal is that every negative experience helps me and others to GROW. Forgive quickly, trust God, and look at the instruction manual for life... daily! Jimmy & I are living the miracle out day by day, and we are blessed.
It has now been 6 weeks since I stopped the around the clock Nitro medication… AND I am doing super! I have more energy, clearer thinking, I haven’t even had to take the emergency dose of nitro under the tongue in the past few weeks… which was previously sometimes needed a few times per week. I have had a few heart spasms still, but they have subsided within just a few minutes! I have lost 21 pounds, and feeling the best I have in several years. I do believe God is continuing to touch my heart from the inside out, giving me more “life” to live than was ever thought possible just a few years ago. Tonight I thought I’d share this quick update, because I FEEL ALIVE & I FEEL blessed!
Thank you to all those who continue to pray for my complete healing.
Thought I am still living 100% on this machine, no natural function in my heart at all...I am waiting for the day my heart will jump start & begin beating on it’s own again. I believe it can happen, and wow what a testimony that will be! “Don’t ever stop dreaming just because you’ve awoken from a nightmare… Dream Again!” I will never stop dreaming. One day I WILL run, dance, breathe freely, and feel no pain!
In May, as I previously wrote, the Cardiologist put me on a new medication to help the blood to flow more naturally through my heart. I was not tolerant to the new med, it caused more heart spasms & high blood pressure than before. The new med was quickly discontinued. The Dr went on to discontinue another of the meds I have been on since my last pacemaker was placed 3 years ago… she said with my condition that the med could actually be worsening my situation. I was hesitant, and the first 2 days were rough, with additional heart spasms/pain. BUT I stuck it out, and here I am just 2 weeks after discontinuing, & slightly less spasming, and last night while walking up an incline, it felt a little easier to breathe. It could be that the med was actually not good for me. I am hopeful that this goodness will continue.
Another good report, I was blessed 6 weeks ago with the birth of my 2nd grandchild. Three years ago, I thought I would not live long enough to see any grandchildren in my lifetime, and was very discouraged. BUT God has given me life, & multiplied the lives of my family. Also in the last year, all of my children have began their own professional careers, & Jimmy & I became empty nesters. My youngest child was only 11 yrs old when my heart became severely ill & I was thought to only have 6 months to live. So to see each of them flourish as adults, warms my heart deeply. It is amazing how EACH little thing in life gets celebrated, when you come face-to-face with the fact that EVERY breath & EVERY heartbeat (even those that are assisted by a machine) is a gift from God. Jimmy & I have strived to not miss one opportunity to make a memory, touch a life, and appreciate God’s goodness.
I still don’t understand why I have to have the daily struggle with so many physical issues, but I work on what I can… and that is my perspective. Many times in life we see a "storm" ahead, or get trapped in an unexpected "storm". Though we desperately want to avoid this storm in our lives, it is often required that we weather THROUGH the storm, to get to where we are going. I'm so thankful we are never alone in the storm, and the sun is always shining on the other side. If you're going through a storm today, don't turn back, don't give up...maybe take a detour if there is one available, but if you must go through it, Keep Going! Don't quit.
**Most miracles are found on the other side of the storm.**
I am feeling somewhat sad today... I finally got an appointment with a cardiologist yesterday, after having my heart cath done in November. It took a very long time to be seen. I have been seen by a new type of cardiologist (more than the electrophysiologist) because of the progressing heart spasms & my abnormal stress test. My reports show that I have a few more defects within my heart that we were not aware of, but may explain some of the chest pain. Results show I have kinking & myocardial bridging in my anterior descending coronary artery, which can cause several issues such as what I am experiencing (heart spasms which feel like mini heart attacks, a lack of blood supply to a portion of the heart, arrhythmia's, Vtach, etc.). It also shows I have enlargement in my main coronary artery. Needless to say, I do not like the thought of more heart issues, though with my ongoing symptoms, I am not surprised. The Dr is beginning me slowly on a new med to help cut down the number of heart spasms I experience, and open the blood flow within the heart. She is also doubling the amount of nitro I take around the clock. I really do believe my daily battle with this heart of mine, keeps me close to my God. It also keeps me living life to the fullest, with no regrets. I so wish I didn't have to endure any more of this... and am ready for a completely new heart, but until then, I pray daily that God will give me strength for each day, use me to touch others lives, bless my family, and continue to allow me to live to my fullest potential. Prayers appreciated for no adverse reaction to the new meds, and that some relief will take place. "Inside me is a weak heart, but behind it is a STRONG God."
Life moves at the speed of light! The days sure pass by fast, I am never guilty of having a boring week. So much life seems to happen in such short periods of time. Since I last wrote about my journey, I celebrated my 3 year anniversary from my last of the 6 heart surgeries on Feb 3rd. I averaged a heart procedure every 6-7 weeks for a year straight. God has brought me so far. Thank you again to the hundreds of you who have been there for my family & I, prayed with us, supported us, and believed with us! The journey continues...
It has been a pretty not-so-active winter for me, since it has been too cold to get out and walk. I tried to make up for it…in February we vacationed to San Diego, where we walked 18 miles in one week! It felt so good to get the heart pumping again. One of my commitments this year is for every surgery I must schedule, I go on another vacation, which is how the San Diego vacation made the calendar. On March 9th, I had surgery. Due to my weak upper body strength that developed from lying in bed for a year while having all of the heart surgeries, I tore my weak bicep from just reaching for my seatbelt. Surgery started with the IV in my foot, since my left arm has chronic blood clots from the pacemaker wires, and the right arm was the one being operated on. That was interesting! Surgery went well. The surgeon cut my bicep tendon & screwed it into a new location. Recovery has been very slow. I am still struggling to sleep through the pain 5.5 weeks later. The discouragement from slow recovery can be overwhelming. My joint is popping out too. My Dr said my ligaments holding the joint in place are very loose from not being used, but he cannot tighten them for risk of it complicating my shoulder condition more. My amazing husband is such a help. He has been doing all the household chores, helped me cook, & even had to learn to blow-dry & straighten my hair. He’s my hero. I am progressing. I’ve been back working with home buyers & sellers for 4 weeks, doing my own hair, and adding on minimal activities! I know it's a slow recovery, but I love pressing through, staying busy doing what I can, & allowing God to lift my spirits by not focusing on my weaknesses.
As for heart health, my pacemaker check this week showed 3 episodes, but appears to be still functioning well. In January I was referred to an additional cardiologist for the “plumbing health” of my heart, but it is taking 6 months to see him :-(. I have had frequent heart spasms, vasospasm from the small vessel disease, often requiring nitro. The most frequent episode was Tuesday night. I awoke with severe heart attack type pain, sending my husband to fetch the nitro. It is a continual reminder to go about my day doing what I know is right, making memories every day, keeping relationships free from unforgiveness, & climb in bed each night with no regrets. This truly is what we all should be doing anyway. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
And a small additional kicker, I developed shingles this week… possibly from the recent stressor of surgery recovery. My Dr gave me some strong meds to knock it out. Like I said on my Facebook post, “It’s a good thing I like the ocean, because the waves keep crashing, BUT I will keep standing!”
Today I choose to reflect on life: I am blessed with an amazing husband, 3 wonderful kiddos, an awesome son in law, 1 fun grandson, 1 precious granddaughter making her appearance soon, sweet family & friends, a career I enjoy, a great church family, breathe in my lungs, & at the top... a God I love, and so much more. The good in life far outweighs the challenges. What we focus on determines what we become. Today I hope someone else chooses to see the GOOD in YOUR life too! We may not get to choose HOW MUCH we suffer, but we CAN choose how we let it affect what really matters.
February is American heart month, and since its just around the corner, it's a great time to promote my "Home4Hearts" program!
I’ve learned from my own experience over the last few years that heart disease can affect anyone, and come out of nowhere. Heart illness got up close and personal in my life in the Spring of 2007. I am suffering with an incurable, rare heart condition stemming from a complicated autonomic disorder. In the past 7 years, I have been seen all over the country by some of the top cardiologists and told I have one of the most unique forms they have seen. Fast forward 4 years, in 2011-2012, I underwent 6 heart procedures & had 3 different pacemakers placed within a 12 month period. I am now 100% reliant on a 3 lead pacemaker, and continue to have multiple heart complications. Thanks to an incredible Cardiac team, my heart is now functioning in a way that allows me to strive to live life to the fullest.
Heart Disease often creeps up far too quickly, affecting far too many families. 👪
My family & I are forever thankful for the medical skills, research, and knowledge that exist today. The heart and soul behind my “Home4Hearts” program is to support non-profits that focus research on heart health & awareness, such as the American Heart Association & Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center.
How the “Home4Hearts” program works…It’s simple. Once I close on a house, 3% of my earned commission is donated to one of these non-profit organizations.
"Being a survivor of 6 heart procedures, continued complications, & living 100% reliant on a 3 lead pacemaker, I know the importance of ongoing research." Research has led to life-saving heart discoveries, but further progress depends on increased funding to these causes. I count it an honor to work to further this cause. I’d love the opportunity to work for you, helping you sell or buy your next home. In return, we can assist in finding the next breakthrough & save lives! www.home4hearts.com
Hmmmmm, I feel like I spend 1/2 of my life in Dr's, hospitals, and medical testings. My heart illness ending with the 6 heart surgeries, is just a piece of the icky struggle I undergo. I really don't understand suffering, & if for just 24 hours I could opt out of suffering, I surely would love to feel what a healthy body feels like. 24 hours of pure bliss! I forget, it's been too long... Between yesterday & today, I have met yet 2 new specialists. Truly some days can be overwhelming if I allow my mind to attempt to comprehend all that my body has going on.
So, as I sit here sipping my Starbucks and meditating on how to continue to remain an overcomer & strategize how to combat it... to fight against discouragement & defeat, I choose to focus on the good, the tangible things I can change. I love a good challenge, something to keep me focused & stretched.
SO I set forth for myself a new challenge.
A few of the "ODD Goals" I am setting to help me battle successfully through 2015 are (I will be making my chart to track my results):
-For every new Dr I must meet, I want to meet 5 new clients. (I sell homes) :-)
-For every Dr appointment I attend, I want to list a new home. (I attend many) ;-)
-For every medical test I undergo, I want to help a new buyer find their dream home.
-For every surgery I endure, I'll go on a vacation w/Jimmy. (someplace sunny) :-)
-For every dose of medicine I take, I want to INSPIRE & touch a new life.
-For every dollar I must spend on medical expenses, I will write a thankful thought on why I am blessed to still be alive.
**For all my chronically suffering friends, I know you understand this. I challenge you to also find a creative way to distract your thoughts, & JUST KEEP GOING. Focus on what you can change, and leave the rest in the hands of our great God.
"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day." 2 Corinthians 4:16
I am happy to present a good report. It’s been 3 weeks since my blood pressure had skyrocketed, landing me in the ER with questions… and I am happy to report that it has taken a drastic turn for the good. I am still on the higher BP side when I am not at rest, but I have seen tremendous improvement. I am believing this trend will continue. Thank you all for the prayers. My biggest prayer has been to get better, having a brand new heart. I have gotten used to my new norms over the past few years, but I definitely do not want to get worse. 3 weeks ago, I feared I was taking a turn down a dark alley. So tonight, even though I don’t feel 100%, I am 100% thankful that my numbers look significantly better! I have really enjoyed staying busy with Real Estate & ministry. It keeps my mind off of feeling yucky. I love having goals to strive for, life to live, and most of all a constant hope that God has a bright today and brighter tomorrow planned out for me. He sure is my daily strength!
"Do not let yesterday’s disappointments overshadow tomorrows dreams. Your life is like a mirror, if you keep smiling it smiles right back to you....So, keep smiling."
This afternoon we left our least fav place, the hospital ER. So thankful to know we are never alone. I had a shift. My blood pressure has been extremely high since returning from our cruise last week. This is a new onset problem. It has been challenging, & I haven't felt well at all the past few days. In addition, I awoke early this morning with massive chest pain, took 3 nitro, waited a while for relief, & per my Dr's request I came to the ER to rule out a heart attack. I encountered failed attempts to get a successful IV in, and 2 more pokes just barely accomplished getting a blood test. Praise God for no heart attack. The diagnoses is that this is another phase of my rare autonomic dysfunction. It's affecting my blood pressure now, rather than just the heart rate.The chest pain was another heart spasm from the small vessel disease. I started an additional heart med at the hospital, but it did not budge the pressure. It can be very discouraging to have very few people who can understand this condition & how to treat it. I tend to feel all alone, like a freak. I am awaiting a followup with yet another cardiologist, and hopefully a productive treatment plan. Ultimately, I am praying that this will be a temporary challenge, not a permanent addition. I am hoping it is possibly just caused by the long beach walk, & a short rest will heal it. Praying that it will subside quickly, & back to life as usual. I'm taking time to rest up today, & pray I'll be returning to normal by tomorrow! Remaining focused...
When a storm is coming, all other birds seek shelter. The Eagle alone, avoids the storm by flying above it. So, in the storms of life... May we soar like an Eagle.**We were made to soar! "But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
This past week has been full of revelations of my own weaknesses. On Tuesday, I began physical therapy on my shoulder for the popping joint that had developed from having such weak upper body strength, and was exasperated by simply reaching for my seat belt a few weeks ago. That weakness originally developed from lying in bed for nearly an entire year as I endured 6 heart surgeries just over 2.5 years ago. I never took the effort to regain upper body strength, therefore further injury was acquired. This week I tried to do the muscle strengthening exercises at physical therapy, and each time, I had to stop due to nearly fainting from the lack of oxygen supply during muscle exertion. The lack of oxygen supply stems from the disease and damage within my heart. My lack of upper body strength also kept me from simple pleasures like walking across the room carrying my sweet grandson, who was visiting for the week. That too, would cause me to nearly faint.
Facing any type of weakness head on, staring it in the face… can be so frustrating, discouraging, and literally snatch the life right out of you. This reminds me of each of our lives… we all have weaknesses, weak areas in our emotional, spiritual, or physical lives. If we don’t work to build our strength & overcome our weaknesses, we will cause further injury & frustrations in our lives. Our lack of strength can seem impossible to overcome. The awesome news is… we do not have to go through our strength building season alone. If we turn the weakness over to God, He can guide & provide.
This week, I had to consider what I CAN do, not focus on what I can’t change. I reminded myself that I never should have lived long enough to meet a grandchild (since I was originally given 6 months to live), and even though I can’t carry him around & play as radically as other grandparents, I can sit and hold him close to my heart. And even if just by two or three repetitions at a time, I will gradually add strength to my weak arms. I will not give up. My weakness will not win.
We need to find the good in our lives, and work on the weak areas we have control over. We can strengthen our weak areas, even if it’s small steps in the right direction. And as we turn the weaknesses that seem impossible over to God, we can trust Him. He allows us to find the strength, focus on the good, make it through, and be thankful for each and every blessing He gives us.
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29
I do not know why I am in such lack of energy lately... hoping it's just the bear instincts inside of me wanting to hibernate. I am thankful for so many good things in life to keep me going... but I do need an energy boost to breakthrough this fatigue
"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14
I woke up today feeling relieved and refreshed, now that the testing is behind me and I no longer have the question of surgery #7 looming over my head. There’s no limit to God’s miraculous power! Time to press on, full steam ahead! I am resting up and gaining strength to hopefully have enough strength stored up to go to church tonight. I am sore, weak, and the injections continue for the next 5 days, but I am ready to keep going.
I like this Albert Einstein quote “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them!” That is what I will do. Rearranging my life according to a few more limitations, doesn’t have to limit my living! Looking forward to building many more memories with my family. So happy my daughter, son in law, and grandson will be visiting for Thanksgiving, our whole family will be together! Looking forward to ministering along side my hubby for many years to come. We make a great team! I look forward to getting out and selling homes in Idaho. This has been a passion & hobby that I’ve enjoyed for many years. I like helping people obtain their dreams. It gives me another purpose to get out of bed each morning & press through.
Life has so much to offer, even if it’s not all rosy and perfect, each day is worth fighting for! I cannot express how humbled and blessed I am by all the love, prayers, and support from people all over. God has placed an amazing family around us, and I am forever grateful to not have to do life alone. As for those wondering about the additional diagnosis… it is Coronary Small Vessel Disease, also called Coronary Microvascular Disease (MVD). It is a heart disease that affects the tiny heart arteries, they are damaged or diseased. These small arteries normally expand to provide extra blood to your heart when you are exercising or exerting yourself. They contract when you are at rest. My narrowing can be caused by spasms in the arteries, but the arteries are too small to place stents in like the large ones. This is what causes me to feel like I have mini heart attacks at times, and the reason for the Nitro. When they spasm, they make it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body, causing the myocardial ischemia (loss of blood supply in my heart & chest pain). My goal is to follow the advised treatments with meds & activities, to hold off further damage and live well, within my limits. This condition came about at the end of my 6th heart surgery, after placing my 3rd pacemaker. It was too risky at the time to do a heart cath to confirm. I have been moderating my activities since then. Now that they were able to complete the test, I will adapt a little more carefully… and of course continue to have faith that my heart is in God’s hands. He can restore! Thank you again for the prayers, love, and support!
Update 11/4/14- From the Hospital
- After a call to bring in the crisis nurse to intervene, got a good IV in my upper arm. They agree I am a very, very hard stick. Please pray for the cath to fit through and skilled hands to find success, no complications. Breathing in His grace.
-From Debbie's Husband: Dr just came. Said its in small vessels. No treatment but meds. So we press on knowing God has got this!
-Heart cath is done. Dr said it was very complex to get it since I have such small arteries. A 30-45 min procedure turned into 2 hours. Now I'm wrapped up lying flat for hours, not moving at all. My large arteries look good, requiring no stents. The diagnosis though is small vessel disease (coronary micro vascular disease). There is no cure. It causes lack of blood supply to the heart, but the vessels are too small to stent them. We will be regulating my medications to try and minimize the number of episodes requiring the added nitro. I'm on nitro around the clock. I'm assuming the 4 mile hikes will be out of the question. But I'm an adapter! We will walk on flat ground. It's important to keep the blood flowing. Thank you all for your prayers. I will press on through Him! Love you all.
-We are truly overwhelmed by the love and support from family and friends near and far. Thank you all for your prayers! Thank you to the anonymous $$ giver for a family Sunday lunch. Thank you Pastor Rick & Stephanie for having lunch with Jimmy today. Thank you Karen & Bruce for a delicious dinner tonight. Thank you Pastors Monty & Kelli & pastoral staff at CFC for being our supportive pastors. Thanks to each of you who are filling our hearts with hope & love. We are blessed. I am so thankful there wasn't a surgery #7. Thank you to my amazing husband for being my incredible caretaker. I will be up and running soon! God is bigger.
It's today... at 8:30am I will be having a heart catheterization done due to last weeks positive nuclear study report showing myocardial ischemia with 2 areas of my heart affected. Please pray with us that either God has already healed it, or that it can be fixed today. Jimmy & I have walked together through 6 heart surgeries within a 12 month span already, & I wanted healed before the 1st. But God has used this struggle to allow me opportunity to share His goodness with thousands of others... and I learned long ago, this is His story, not mine. So today, we trust. We trust that it is time to be healed. I am ready for a breakthrough! Please pray also for my veins & the IV's. I am limited to one arm due to chronic blood clots from my 3 pacemaker wires, and all the rest of my veins have scarred & narrowed. They could not put a successful IV in last Monday, all only went 1/2 way in. I am not a candidate for the port due to high risk of infection. I really need God's intervention. And please remember my precious family Jimmy, Tiffani, Nicki, & Lj. They have had to walk this road too many times. Thank you. I am overwhelmed by your support, & many of you have been my cheerleaders the past few years. I love you all.
I am claiming this today! Great things still in store. "I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done." Psalm 118:17
Well, I went for a Nuclear Heart Study on Monday. The day began with 3 failed IV's, each would only insert 1/2 of the way. I really, truly have no veins left. They were able to force the meds through on the 1st & 3rd IV, but blew out each after being flushed. That afternoon/ evening I was not feeling well. Felt as though I had a flu. I finally thought to check my blood pressure, which usually runs low. It was 151/110. That is a high diastolic (lower number). This explained the not feeling well part. This most likely was a result of the stress on my heart from the test. I called the Dr, who advised me to come in to be checked. But my response was, after 3 failed IV's earlier that morning, I'd not get far in the ER either. So he agreed I could try doubling my heart meds. I went to bed. During the night I woke feeling faint, and weak. Rechecked my blood pressure which then was 79/47. Doubling my meds cut my blood pressure in half. Not good. I toughed it out through the night & it was better by mid morning. Soon after, I got a call with the Nuclear study results. I was told it showed I have Myocardial Ischemia...a lack of blood flow to 2 areas of my heart. I am scheduled to have a heart catheterization done on Tues. If they can repair the blood flow then I will have angioplasty, stents placed, or do whatever they find that may fix it. If they can't fix it, I will come home the same day. I've had to stop the blood thinners that I take for my blood clots (in my pacemaker vein & arm), and will be on injections until Tues. (dislike button here). And oops, I threw my Lovenox injections away when we moved here to Idaho... I just KNEW I wouldn't need them again. Guess I was wrong. Now I see why I should have kept them... they are pricey to replenish. So, they are a great pain in the tummy AND the budget. Dreading the next 6 days in many ways. But, though I thoroughly DISLIKE this trial, I am confident that for every trial there's a testimony. I WILL see a light in this soon. Nothing is wasted (except the discarded Lovenox lol)
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
Since I have zero veins, chronic blood clots, 100% reliance on a 3 lead pacemaker, high risk of infection, a history of major complications, and a lack of strength to endure anymore surgery, and I have great plans & destiny, I really need God to intervene. All of my complications make this more complicated. I know we must be doing something right... and I will not give in to this distraction. Please pray this will not turn into heart surgery #7, but will be a simple fix, and the damage can be reversed. Thank you, Jimmy, my children, & I appreciate each of you.
Happy to report that I have had some very good months. It’s been 2 months since I’ve seen a Dr or had my blood levels checked…. and it is freeing! It’s nice to be out just living life without medical input :-), I will see a new cardiologist next month.
Living Life! - We’ve had a few fun adventures since moving to Idaho. On a recent trip, we went to Goose Creek Falls Trail in McCall - We hiked 4.18 miles! 1/2 of it was all incline. This was a first for me. I usually need to avoid inclines & stairs. It was difficult, but I made it! I had cheerleaders waiting at the top, and my hubby & son gave me a final boost -I hitched a ride, lol. Never under estimate your abilities. It was worth the climb! Such a fun day!
I have also obtained my real estate license here in Idaho! I was originally licensed in Las Vegas, NV in 2006. That is where my Real Estate career began. That is also where my heart problem began. I was in a car accident, hit from behind, while out showing homes to a client. My life has been on a challenging journey health wise since then, often fighting for my life. I continued selling real estate in Vegas, and later San Diego… but after the heart surgeries began in 2011, leading into 6 total in 12 months time, I was placed on permanent disability. But I am not one to settle for giving less than my very best. I began Real Estate again at the end of last year and have had a strong start back in. I LOVE selling homes. My clients give me purpose to keep going, a reason to press through the tough days. I have FUN doing it! I never thought I’d be back in… it shows that if you put your mind to something, choose to not let it beat you, place your future & trust in God, you can do anything!
Another highlight to my days is serving alongside my husband with our amazing new church family. I just LOVE what we do & who we are doing it with. What an honor to serve amongst such dynamic, loving, genuine people. If you are in the Boise area, and would like to check out an incredible church, I’d love to meet you sometime! www.cfconevoice.com (I go to the main campus)
I enjoy noting the milestones in life, because on tough days, I have something to look back at and remind myself how far God has brought me. From given 6 months to live, not able to walk comfortably across a parking lot, to now hiking 4.18 miles & walking over 1,000 miles since heart surgery #6 two years ago, back selling homes, all while living 100% on a 3 lead pacemaker… If there weren’t impossible situations, there’d be no need for a miracle. I am thankful that everyday I face an impossible situation, God gives me a dose of strength and determination to overcome!
"The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you've come."
On April 22, 2012 , almost 3 months after I had my 6th heart surgery, we began taking short walks around the neighborhood and documenting them in the Nike Running app. Now almost 2.5 years later... we hit the 1,000 recorded Mile Mark! I used to not be able to walk across the parking lot & was given 6 months to live. And now I've walked 1,000 miles. I'd say, God is in the business of healing, miracles, giving us strength for today, & peace! Though I am not 100% whole, I am 100% thankful. This is a milestone...and today as I celebrate my 41st Birthday, I celebrate life.
Never give up! Life may be difficult, but that's when we need to press harder.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!"
Wow it's been 3 months since I've posted an update. Yes that means 2 things... I have been super busy & also doing very well. So much has occurred in the past 3 months. I still have been suffering with severe pain under & around the pacemaker and in my chronically swollen blood clot filled arm. Back in June, it was thought that infection may have set into the pacemaker area, or the blood clots had worsened. But praise God, the test results came back with my blood counts normal (no infection), & the blood clots have not worsened, but scar tissue has formed in the veins & around the pacemaker. My cardiologist says it is too risky to operate to try and remove it or to even inject with a steroid. So since then, I've done a wonderful job of reprogramming my mind to the thought that the pain is normal, while I continue to pray & believe my God can and will take it from me. It also once again renewed my faith that my future is NOT in a Dr's hands, but in God's alone. I love this freedom! My pacemaker check last week showed that I have had zero arrhythmia's come through from my bedside monitor this month! Also, 3 months ago, my Dr cut my heart med dose in half to see if my fatigue would ease... and another praise, it has! I feel like I received much of my energies back. I began walking 2-3 mile walks again. It really has been a good 3 months.
I do still get frustrated with not having strength in my arms. I couldn't even complete the unpacking of my own closet (yes :-) we moved). Thankful for my husband, he is SOOOO good to me. He's my physical strength. This week I found myself on several occasions feeling a nudge of discouragement that I haven't gained arm strength yet. The process of moving has put me face-to-face with my own physical weakness. Also, having the forever blood clot filled swollen arm has made me somewhat self conscious, especially since the time a lady at the check out counter asked me if I was a body builder! Haha, I wish. A sweet friend reminded me this week, that beauty is found within. Though I cannot be the most "fit" due to my limitations, I can be the most thankful to have a beating heart, an ability to love, and a tender compassion for others. Aside from the limitations & all, I am alive!
On Aug 1st, my husband (whose been a pastor for 20 years) and I had the awesome privilege to move to Idaho & join an incredible church ministry. This is one of the hundreds of church families who reported praying for me during my 6 heart surgeries 2011-2012. It shows you never know the impact of your prayers. This far away church family poured their faith into my life before even meeting me. I wonder if that is a small part of why this feels already like home. Our hearts were spiritually connected long before it was even an option for us to be together. I believe God has sustained my life "for such a time as this!" Our God is good!
If anyone reading this story of my journey is feeling alone, in need of connection & support, I encourage you to find a wonderful church in your area. We aren't meant to go through life alone. If you are in the Boise area, I'd love to have you join me at my new "home" church Christian Faith Center in Nampa.
I am so thankful for the thousands of you who have prayed for me & encouraged me throughout this journey. I've enjoyed reading the emails from all over the world, of how my journey has encouraged many of you to keep going. And though my condition is rare, there have been a few of you that have shared similar stories of your life's journey too. I pray you will find the good in the struggle, hope found in Jesus, and strength to go on! Make the most of each moment. "Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you will ever be again!" Don't waste one minute regretting the days that have passed or fearing the days that lie ahead. Take in each moment, you will never repeat it again. Make it count!
The past 10 days have been amazing. My daughter & grandson came to visit! Yes, I am a 40 year old grandma, and proud of it :-). It's been a busy month. My oldest child graduated from college, and my youngest child is graduating from high school. I am about to officially have lived to see all my kids become incredible, wonderful adults, as the youngest is turning 18. I am a blessed mama!
Today I had a follow up with the cardiologist. My check up went well. I only showed one arrhythmia on my monitor since the pacemaker check a month ago. The severe chest pain episode I survived at 4:50am on Mother's Day was part of my small vessel disease (coronary microvascular disease), which is treated by nitro. This is one aspect of my condition that keeps me on my toes in the faith dept. Having a vasospasm, feels like a heart attack, & can lead into a heart attack. This time I even had severe nausea and super low blood pressure. It is difficult to know when to go to the ER for help, and when to ride it out. I chose to ride it out again. This is where the faith comes in... I trust at those moments that it will stop, and I won't be in worse condition when it's over. My Dr says to take up to 3 nitro, and if the pain is still there, then it's time to be seen. For me, my low blood pressure often cannot handle 3 nitro. Therefore I wait it out. When this condition first began right after the last heart surgery (#6), I remember lying in the hospital bed thinking... "I can't imagine living the rest of my life feeling like I am having constant heart attacks." Well thank God, it hasn't been daily, or even weekly. That may just be too much. I also am struggling with severe fatigue, but I fight through by keeping busy. It's amazing what we can accomplish by keeping goals bigger than us, in front of us. I don't ever want to get to the place of lying down, and never getting back up. The way I make it through each day, is one hour and one choice at a time. I have also learned to sneak in a nap when necessary, and this sure helps.
I still love my job, showing & selling homes has been like a hobby to me. It keeps my mind off how I feel. I am so blessed to be back at it.
I have been having much pain around the pacemaker leads/ box. My Dr believes this is scar tissue built up in the capsule. He said they may be able to clean it out. This would put me at risk of infection and possibly jumble things around though. I opt to just live with the pain. Praying it doesn't worsen. We are adjusting the meds again too. Hoping the fatigue will lesson, and there will be no arrhythmia's on the lower dose. Even during the time of typing this short update, I have had to stop and let the blood flow back into my hand... from the chronic blood clots in my left arm & around the pacemaker leads. Hurdles surround me on every side. I am learning to be a professional "hurdle jumper!"
This is my medical update, thanks for always praying with us! God is good. I am alive, and I continue to trust He has a plan!
My desire is to see others climb out of the pit they feel they are in, and keep going too! I first hand understand the struggle it is to just wake up and choose to get dressed each morning... but I also know the joy & satisfaction that comes in looking back over the day saying... wow, look at all the life I got to participate in today.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an unstoppable will to keep going!"
Yesterday I woke up at 4:50am with severe heart attack like symptoms... awaking my husband to fetch 2 nitro, a blood pressure machine, and a trash can for my nausea was not the best way to start the day. My blood pressure was 81/47. I said my prayers... thinking is this it? I refused to go to the hospital to ruin the visit with my daughter & grandson, and celebrating Mother's Day, I refused to give in to endless needle pokes and testing. My husband prayed with me, and we trusted all was ok. We went to church with the whole family, had a nice lunch, and celebrated Tiffani's graduation, with friends. All afternoon, it felt like after shock waves that follow an earthquake... but I enjoyed a lovely day. Today, instead of walking at the beach, we sat and enjoyed the breeze. I just have to say, I like this living by faith journey. Though in all honesty, fear does try to creep in from time to time... like last night going to bed, hoping to not have a repeat awakening. I really do believe in making the most of our every moment, take a day off, go on a last minute cruise, have a quiet dinner, enjoy a deep conversation with the ones you love, forgive, ... make the most of every moment. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, so let's make the most of today!
I am happy to give another great report today. We are 1/4 of the way through 2014, and this year is off to a great start! For those who are unaware, in 2012 I was placed on permanent/ total disability. This was because I am not expected to improve medically speaking. I took a season to rest, but I just couldn't settle for this. I believe that there must be more to life. The desire to get back into selling homes was burning within my heart. Once we moved back to San Diego from our short journey to Florida, I worked hard toward obtaining that goal. Taking obedient steps has opened the door for God to provide! I am actively back listing and selling homes! Yes, this is truly a miracle, and one I thoroughly enjoy. My heart illness was originally triggered from a car accident that I was in while out showing homes to a client a few years ago. Yes, while doing my Realtor duties! After going through 6 heart surgeries, I never dreamed that I would ever get back out there again in the business of selling homes. I love living life with purpose, and I love helping people accomplish their dreams as well. I don't know how to fully express the joy I have, being up and active again.
You know, I didn't wait until the circumstances became perfect to chase my dream. I didn't wait until my healing arrived. I made something out of what life has dealt me. Everyday, I make a choice to keep going. My daily routine is filled with battles of many kinds. The fatigue, and physical limitations exist. Most often, my morning routine is enough to warrant me to head back to bed, but I don't go. I keep going strong another 12 hours! I have just chose to not allow the limitations to dictate my outcome.The Cardiologist recently said he will not perform any further surgeries, it's just too risky, and would not be perceived as being beneficial. This was freeing to me, knowing that there is so much room for faith in God alone to be my source of strength & healing. I look forward to an amazing and accomplishing year!
I think we all have choices. Our circumstances can seem so heavy at times. The reason I share my story is not for bragging points, but to hopefully inspire even just one more person to get up, keep going, go after your dreams, don't let limitations stop you. Life is not guaranteed to be easy, but we can decide to make each choice worth it! And... often a miracle is not a sudden healing, but for me, I see EACH day as the miracle it is.
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12
***What dream are you holding back from pursuing? Keep GOING!***
Check out what's going on at www.MulidoreHomes.com .
Today was a very good day indeed! I went in for testing on my pacemaker, and imaging of my heart to see if it was desynchronized or something else going on. Since Nov I have been having Vtach episodes reported on my bedside monitor, receiving calls from the Dr office concerned with my irritated heart. I am thrilled to report, I have no heart block, my functions in the walls still looks good, and no arrhythmia inducible today. Great news!! Great God!!!
With a total of 5 medical personnel present, I was well taken care of. One male nurse says "wow you draw quite a crowd!" My surgeon said, "that's because she's the bionic woman!" The Dr changed a setting in my pacemaker sensor, which hopefully will allow for me to have a better response when I am walking. I have been given the green light to keep walking! We will continue to avoid stairs and inclines as much as possible. Testing & pushing my heart to the max today did trigger a painful heart spasm at the conclusion, which I do experience often. 2 doses of Nitro and a prayer, and I was on my way. My Dr said that with a heart like mine, I may go through some storms, where the heart does what we saw in the recent months, but that shouldn't be the consistent pattern. Doubling my heart meds really helped too. I can endure the occasional "storm" as long as there is a rainbow of hope above my skies! Living on a pacemaker 100%, every beat in the top and bottom chamber has it's challenges. I am still dealing with the painful chronic blood clots in my left arm from the 3 pacemaker leads taking up all the space, keeping it swollen inches more than the other. My lab results today were very low. It is hard to keep a consistent balance in the INR reading.Short of a total miracle, I will never be 100%, but I will MAKE a 100% effort! I am so blessed to be alive. I have learned my limitations, and how to live with them. But I have also learned to not let my limitations limit my life! Live life with intentions.
Doc says I am good to go for another 6 months, (short of any crazy episodes arising) & NO surgery!!! I had a surgeon appointment for tomorrow, scheduled from back in December. SOOO happy to have called and said "cancel please, I no longer need it!" What a joyous relief!
The timing behind this whole situation is crazy. I must share. Dec 10th, we were at a meeting with Pastor Frank from Hope Church, discussing details about starting a new church and having Hope become what we call our "parent church." We took the leap of faith to say yes to planting a church, and during that meeting with Frank is when I got the call from my Dr stating they needed to see me asap because of the arrhythmia's coming through the monitor. That is also the day we then set an appointment with my surgeon. Quite honestly, at that very moment, fear set in. How will we do this again, plant a church, and have my heart sick? But this time, we fought back with pure faith. Kept pressing forward, without giving in to fear. We let faith rise. The timing was a test of faith. And today was proof that God will have His way!
After you've endured challenges, seeing God has brought you through, your faith should grow to know that He will continue to bring you through whatever lies ahead. I know He has purpose and destiny for us and for you. Until He says I am done, I will live. And I will do my best to be obedient, set out to change lives, and make a difference in my little world.
|Great reason to have lunch with this view, and my best friend!|
Great reason to have lunch with this view, and my best friend!
Today is a good day! Why? Because I woke up this morning with breath in my lungs. The breath in my lungs gave wind to my vocal cords, which enabled me to use my voice to praise my Creator, & encourage those around me. I woke with 2 hands able to be used to work, with my whole heart. I woke with a heart that does not beat without complete reliant of a machine, but it LOVES with an unconditional love. It cares with an indescribable compassion. Yes today is a good day! I have to say, not everything within this day has stayed in tune with how I think it should all go, but I do know… God has been with me. 3 weeks ago, I saw the cardiologist for a follow up. Some tests were ordered, but I have been awaiting insurance approval. While awaiting these tests, I have continued to walk 2-3 miles at times and been feeling pretty good. Today I got another call from my Dr, who told me that I have had an additional 2 episodes of VTach, both coming in this week while I was sleeping. That is 3 episodes reported on my bedside monitor in 3 weeks… not what I wanted to hear. But as I have been awaiting these tests, I have not stopped living life, enjoying family, selling homes, & working on the start up of our brand new church CenterPoint Church, San Diego. The first time around, this heart junk put me out, made me give up on dreams. This time, I am an overcomer. No we aren’t giving in. I will continue to live my dreams, live out my destiny, with my WHOLE HEART, until my day of rest is handed to me. So many people hear a bad report, hit a bump in the road, get dealt a bad rap, and give up. I believe God wants to see us THROUGH these challenges! He will never leave us. I pray that someone today, will be encouraged to keep going. Don’t let the reports direct you, you direct the reports :). Today can be a good day for you too! I will update once we receive the test results. But I can guarantee you, I WILL NOT give in. "It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done." Psalms 92:2, 4
Wow, we made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and started a New Year, all since the last time I wrote :). Been a busy 7 weeks! We had a blessed time visiting with family, seeing our precious grandson, and celebrating with friends.
Today, I went to the cardiologist follow-up. They had wanted to see me 2 months ago, but we had to wait until our health insurance was reinstated. I am now insured once again! For those who hadn't heard, I've had multiple episodes of consecutive PVC's again over the past 2-3 months, after making it 20 months with no episodes. A month ago, my Dr’s assistant called and requested to see me after an episode of VTach was reported on my bedside pacemaker monitor. Then I had another episode of VTach reported last night. My pacer runs a safety check every 8 hours, and reports remotely to my Dr. I love this feature. Makes me feel like watchful eyes are on me :). The Dr is scheduling some tests ASAP to see if anything within my heart has changed, and he wants to see what happens to my heart while on a treadmill as well. I'm maxed on meds because I run low blood pressure and cannot tolerate any higher doses. He spoke with my other surgeon as well, and they want to avoid surgery if at all possible, as I do too!! I have an appointment to see the second cardiologist on Feb 3, which ironically is the 2 year anniversary date of my last heart surgery. I am confident all things will work out . I have much enjoyed truly living life the past 2 years. We have slowed down and shortened the walks, but Dr says it’s important to keep up with small walks daily… so I sure will! I am sure all will be ok.
On a side note, we have stepped out once again, and are planting a brand new church! “Where Jesus is the Center, and People are the Point!” I am super excited to be a part of this great adventure. I know there is a purpose to my life, and God will continue to use my story, after all… He is the one helping me through, as the pages are written. We are heading into one of our best years yet, and speed bumps will not become stop signs. I will update with the good results after testing is complete. Thank you for trusting God with me! No fear...
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26
It's been two month since I have updated... I guess that is a good sign. :) It has been amazing what a gal can do when she gets unstoppable determination, mixed with an ongoing healing! Over the past few months, we had increased our walking (more miles). I had become bold and taken on inclines and stairs like never before. I think my heart got angry with me though, lol. Last month, my remote pacemaker check came back that I had a large # of episodes, and many runs of pvc's (like the skipping), some were the longest yet. I haven't had any reports like this since the success of heart surgery #6, which was 20 months ago. You can imagine my discouragement. I was feeling the fluttering heart again, around the clock. Doc said my heart was very irritated for some reason. I guess it has a strong will to be lazy :). I immediately turned my discouragement into determination, and pressed through. My Doctor doubled my heart meds, we prayed, and poof, I am back in action! Granted, we did change our walking pattern. We are choosing to leave the incline and stairs out of the equation as much as possible, but nothing will stop me from a good ole 3.5 mile walk on the beach. I have become more energetic than ever! The past couple of weeks, I have felt a dynamic shift, almost like a new level of health! And I am unstoppable, and full of gratitude.
I have been working very diligently in the Real Estate world, building my business once again. If you recall, I was very successfully selling Real Estate in Las Vegas, back in 2007, just before the car accident that triggered my heart condition. I was on the job, selling homes when the accident occurred. Since then, I had struggled to keep up. I thought I'd never be out selling homes again. But now, 20 months after my surgeries were completed, I am SO BLESSED to report, I have not felt better! I LOVE the challenge of bringing extraordinary people together with extraordinary homes. And I cannot express the excitement I have that I was able to return to the business I love! My return to the business has had an exciting beginning, and I look forward to sharing the testimony of how God has turned this girls life around, brought hope, and allowed me to feel ALIVE again! Oh and you know I have to say it.... I LOVE REFERRALS, I have always built my business around your family, friends, and co-workers! If you know anyone looking to buy or sell their home, please send them my way! I always look forward to working with great people like you. www.MulidoreHomes.com.
There... I did my networking, while blogging. Hey, I am after all, a multi-tasker by nature :-).
Seriously though, I am bubbling over because I am so blessed to be alive! My family will all be together next week for Thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for, don't we all? I know life is tough, each person has real challenges, real hurts, and real heartache. This is one reason I have enjoyed sharing this journey with you all. I like to share the good and the ugly... to hopefully bring hope to some of you who are having a difficult time seeing past what's right in front of you. My life has its daily challenges too, BIG ones. I could never list them all. But what I want people to see, at the end of the day, is that GOOD wins... ALWAYS. It is our choice what we allow to determine our attitude and reaction.I had someone ask me the other day how I have made it through all this... my answer was not complex. It is simple... GOD. --Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.--
"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1
The good news continues! Since I last updates about becoming a grandma, I have also turned 40. I know, I know... 40 is really the new 30, so I am not too worried. Everyday can and should be a day celebrated. 5 years ago, I was told I had 6 months to live... so YES I am blessed to say, I celebrate being 40! I cannot express the thankfulness I have for my God touching my life! I find strength in Him alone.
This week I have been privileged to help paint our Children's Church area at the Church where my husband is serving. Significance? For 5 years, this type of activity would not have been near impossible, but I am continuing to find that strength comes in doing good, serving, and thinking of others first. I am one crazy lady who gives thanks when I have the strength to clean the bathrooms, paint etc. So many people take the simple tasks for granted. But I know first hand... when one could at one time do nothing, you rejoice when you find the strength to again do something!
This past weekend, I was at a Women of Faith conference in Anaheim. It was held in a very large facility, with 10,000 women in attendance. I thought our ground floor seating would mean we wouldn't have to walk any stairs. So to my surprise, when we entered, I saw the ground floor seating was approx 40 stairs down one way. Now for most, they may think...
stairs = exercise. I calculate it as stairs = stolen energy. But I survived! 6-10 trips up and down each day. On day 2, after venturing out on the lunch break for a 1.5 mile round trip walk to Starbucks, I had a moment of sheer exhaustion sweep over me... I had my brief/ rare moment of self pity. Oops, yes it does happen :). Just after that, the speaker for the afternoon session shared this quote, "When you let something steal your JOY, you let something steal your STRENGTH. I quickly refocused my thoughts to all that I am thankful for and blessed with, and I CHOSE to regain my strength. Is something stealing your JOY? Maybe it's time for a check-up & re-focus. Don't let something or someone steal your joy, that in return will also steal your strength! I am feeling blessed!
And once again, my favorite verse :)
"But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
Today's update is probably one of my most exciting!
Yesterday Jimmy & I became grandparents! Yes, I am a 39 year old grandma :). And wearing the title proudly! I feel so blessed to be here to enjoy this moment.
Last night while we were driving to dinner after leaving the hospital, we drove past Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. This was the hospital where I spent 2 weeks in 2008 for research on my heart condition. This is the hospital where I felt my life was over. When I was discharged from there, I was told to go home, quit my job, and know that life was going to be difficult. I was told I would need to get used to the idea that I would never again have a good day. Back in 2008, I never dreamed I'd make it to meet my first grand child. I thought there was no end to my suffering.... but here I am 5 years later... welcoming new life into this world at a hospital the very next city block over. I have to say... God is so faithful. His plan does prevail. I have been given a renewed chance at life, and the incredible opportunity to be alive, and healthy enough to cuddle this bundle of joy. As I was reflecting on this thought this morning, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness.
Another blessed reminder occurred yesterday too. We had bought the plane tickets @ 40% off, a few months ago to be in Nashville to welcome baby Steven and celebrate with my daughter Tiffani & John. This was almost a buy 1 get one free sale equivalent. We knew a baby can come at any time (early or late), but also knowing we are very budget conscious at the moment... we were taking a leap of faith. We have been praying and believing for Tiffani to deliver right on time so we wouldn't have to pay to reschedule the flight. Tues night, we packed our luggage in faith, booked a rental car,etc. The minute I zipped my suitcase, Tiffani called and said she was in labor and heading to the airport! Woo Hoo! We kept our flights, and arrived in Nashville just as Baby Steven was arriving.
** This has been the pattern in our lives this year. We've stepped out in faith in so many areas... even before seeing the big picture, and God has continually met us right there. It's been AFTER we take the step that He shows up and shows off. Each time. we haven't known what the outcome will be, but we've marched forward in what we've felt we needed to do- with FAITH... and God has continued to guide, and provide. So many people miss blessing in their life because they wait for the seemingly perfect scenario. But if God is guiding your life, sometimes you will be required to live by faith alone, not by what you see. I LOVE living by faith.
- "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
- "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18
- "For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7
I think being here in Nashville this week, and seeing Vanderbilt... reflecting... has been a wonderful reminder to me that when we feel like we are facing our darkest moments, God can still bring life! We need to look up, not give up. We need to press-on, not stress-on. I pray we all remember that God can give new life... in more ways than one. Don't give up!
I am celebrating another milestone--
18 months, one & a half years, 78 weeks, or 13,104 hours (lol), of being heart surgery free. This is a reminder that God's hand is on my life! Going from needing a surgery every 6-7 weeks, to having 18 months of rest... I am feeling blessed!
This past month has been a journey of wonderful faith once again. We are in a season of transition like none we've experienced before. And through it, God's financial provision continues to pour in from profound sources. It is a wonderful place to be, when your source comes from Him alone. Physically I have been learning this method of reliance on Him for quite some time. My daily strength comes from Him alone. Having a reason and purpose to each day, is what gets me out of bed each morning, even when my physical strength is lacking. And looking to Him for financial strength now more than ever, brings a level of trust, humility and awe like never before. All I can say is.... "How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world." Psalm 31:19
On another positive note, for now I have now moved to needing lab tests only every 3 weeks (sure beats daily or weekly)! My INR has been stable. I like this idea! Praying it stays like this :))
This past week I came across a wonderful quote. It helps bring perspective for those like myself who chronically suffer... thought I'd share it with you.
Did you know pain is often used to heal us? Pain makes us see our need for God. Pain helps us share our experience of receiving strength from God, with others.
--Pain cures us of our fantasy that earth is a paradise and makes us long for heaven.--
**Live with hope, change your perspective.**
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
I pray for those who, like myself are fatigued, ill, and in pain. I pray you find peace, strength, purpose, healing, and most of all feel God's love!
It has been sometime since I've updated... (3 whole months)! SO much has happened since then. When I last wrote, I had walked a total of 300 miles since my 1st heart surgery in 2011. Well, in April I reached 400 miles! It took us just 4.5 weeks to walk 100 miles. Again, another mile stone! Another big adventure, we moved back home to San Diego in May! What an exciting time! We stepped out in faith, and our home sold in just 3.5 weeks! My husband and I know God has a plan for us in ministry here in the Southern California area, and we wait on Him in faith! This by far was one of the biggest steps of faith yet. After all the good that this last year has brought, I am confident that what is to come is worth the wait.
As for my Heart, I have a HAPPY HEART! Yesterday was a GREAT day! I had my 1st Cardiologist follow up visit with my surgeon, and AWESOME reports! My tests show that I have had NOOOO negative change in my heart function since surgery #6 in Feb of last year! I am 100% pacing (living on the pacemaker), but he says my heart is beating in synchrony, no dangerous arrhythmia episodes, my valve looks healthy, and no diastolic dysfunction! This is a validation that the surgery was a success, & GOD is at work! He also gave me the green light to not need to follow-up visit for 6 more months as long as nothing changes. I have never gone more than 2 weeks without a follow up, so this is huge! As you recall my track record, usually within days after each surgery, we'd learn I had needed more surgery. SO to go 16 months and still look great, shows off the truth that MY GOD is good. He has a plan! The only negative is lol... I can no longer do Kettle Bell work outs or lift weights, so that we can preserve the lifespan of my 3 pacemaker leads. BUT I will choose a longer life over leaner arms :).
I still have the swollen arm from the DVT blood clots, and will be on blood thinners for life. I still fatigue easily, but I continue to learn balance. I still cannot speed walk up an incline or a flight of stairs, but I can walk long steady distances on flat ground. Sometimes I conserve energy by allowing others to do what I could be doing, just so I can reserve my energies for something else (like I am so blessed when my hubby brushes the knot's out of my wet hair, so i have energy to blow dry it. He is sooo good to me!) I do better staying busy, you just won't see me carrying the stack of chairs or mowing the lawn :).
I love feeling alive! Since I've been back to California, I can physically feel the difference from when we lived here 16 months ago. I feel like a new person. Though I am not who I used to be before my car accident in 2007, I am learning to be content with the new me. I cannot express the relief and joy I have today. THANK YOU all again for your faith, prayers, and support that has brought Jimmy and I to this place! NEVER EVER GIVE UP! And... a side note, I am ready to work! SO if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please let me know. This heart is ready to sell! Love you all!!!
A side thought from my facebook this week:
When does a person die? In medical terms, it's when the heart ceases to beat. If that's true in physical life, how important is the "heart" in our spiritual life? The heart controls our actions, our actions determine our habits and our habits are the foundation of our "character" not our reputation (reputation being what others think about us, character being what God knows to be true about us). "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4:23
Well, today I reached another Milestone!
We have walked 300 miles since my last heart surgery!!
The progress in a nut shell...
• It took 6 heart surgeries to get me back to walking.
• It took 8 months to walk my 1st 100 miles
• It took 4 months to walk the 2nd 100
• and only 6 WEEKS to walk the 3rd 100!!!
I see progress! My heart will not lead me, my GOD will lead my heart ♥.
My pacemaker check last week came back great! No episodes, still 100% paced. My INR was off for 1 week, but today we are back on track. In spite of my bouts of fatigue, I am learning more about my heart. I am learning if I pace myself, it does me good. I am learning I must keep a goal bigger than me in front of me, or it's too easy to give in to the weakness. I rest when I feel I should. Off and on I feel the fatigue super strong, but I fight through. When I try to get into the Cardiologist, it takes 8 weeks to get an appointment. What I have learned through this waiting period is not to fear. God is in control of this heart, not test results, not man, not even me. Sometimes my mind wants to know what's going on, but I am learning I go farther in life when I don't know everything... and I just keep pressing through! It's good for me, builds my faith. I am believing for a total and complete healing to come, through my perseverance and walking daily in faith. Sometimes this is how a miracle comes about, through our walking in daily obedience, one foot in front of the other.
I am so thankful for this past year, and seeing true steps of progress. I look forward to the days to come. I love writing down the progress because it's often too easy to forget all the good that God gives us! I've gone on 126 walks, walked 300 miles on beautiful beaches and sidewalks, breathed in fresh air, spent countless hours of talk time with my best friend, saw some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets, and built some physical strength. We can wait for the "big miracle" to occur in our lives or we can count the blessing of each minute of everyday as a miracle itself. I LOVE my life, and I love living it....not because it's easy, but because I have the opportunity to live. What are you doing with the gift of each day God gives you? Don't live with regret... live for the moment.
Back in Action!
12 days ago, I was feeling at the peak of good! My "motivated self" went out on 7.5 mile beach walk with my hubby. Then that evening we took the doggies out for an additional almost 2.5 mile walk. That was a total of 10 miles in one day! Yes, I am as surprised as all of you. This was an incredible breakthrough. The next morning I woke feeling very weak, and that weakness/ fatigue lasted 10 days. I was fighting a little human nature discouragement. I mean after all, once you've taste of the goodness of feeling energy... it is hard to go back. But after a 10 day rest, the past 2 days, we have gotten back out there. We are keeping it to a 3 mile limit this time around. I have a goal, I know if I did it once, I can do it again, but pacing myself... adding one mile at a time. I hold on to the faith that my strength is increasing.
This past 12 days taught me an analogy of life though. Often there are people who seek God with their whole hearts, and go through a period of life where they dedicate every moment to Him, often doing even more than He requires... Then they quickly burn out, as I did after walking my 10 miles. I believe if we'd begin to live our spiritual journey like I am learning to live my health journey... taking each day at a comfortable pace, taking time to enjoy the good of each moment, we won't quickly burn out from being over zealous. That just leads to a crash and burn. Walking "daily" with God, will allow us to be more productive, useful, and enjoy the journey He has set before us. I had to learn the hard way that too much of even something good, can lead to a wrong outcome. Stay focused on the daily pace of prayer, bible reading, & serving, and you will have the energy to keep going. You will gain strength to go further, one mile at a time. A once-a-week fix with God will not do it. A daily walk with Him will.
So there, lol, my sermon for today. I am so blessed to be on a journey. A journey for good health, and a journey continuing a good relationship with a good God :-). Join me!
Today I celebrate! It has been 1 year since my last heart surgery!!! From my 1st heart surgery 2/24/11 to the sixth heart surgery 2/3/12, this year has been much better!. After a year filled with nothing but hospital stays, 12 months without a heart related stay is something to celebrate!
This time last year, here are the words I had written: "This will be my 6th heart surgery, if you add that plus my heart cath, that makes it an average of one heart procedure every 7 weeks for the past 49 weeks. That's more heart procedures than the number of times a car gets it's oil changed in a year. I am tired, and ready for a breakthrough. Tomorrow has to be a better day."
Well I'd say.... OUR prayers were answered! It was a better day, and a better year! The first few weeks were rocky, filled with uncertainty, new challenges, new diagnosis, and new complications. But God sure showed up in the 12 months to follow.
Recap: I had ended surgery with a life threatening arrhythmia. I was readmitted 10 days after surgery for blood clots in my upper arm and veins with the pacemaker wires and more arrhythmia's, severe chest pain, and diagnosed with small vessel disease.
(God's provision) Shortly after, I was super blessed with an amazing grant to assist with medical care expenses, from my Keller Williams Real Estate office through a program called KW Cares. Here is the link to the story on their website. http://www.kwcares.org/pages/home.shtml#Debbie
In March they turned on my 3rd lead and saw a significant improvement with the heart wall motion. A few weeks later we moved to Florida. Here it has been a challenge in finding a cardiologist to oversee my care. I do have one Dr who agreed to maintain my medications and pacemaker. It was a challenge, letting go of the Dr's who understood me, but my faith is in God alone. I have grown to trust in Him more and more, He has truly become my all-in-all. I have spent months refocusing my thoughts, and taking more steps in a renewed faith. I have learned that even when man gives up on you, and others disappoint you, God will always be there.
One major breakthrough was the healing of my PVC's. My 5th heart surgery had included more ablations to fix this. They were occurring every other beat around the clock. After the first four previous surgeries, they always came back after just a few days. I am happy to say that 14 months have gone by and I have enjoyed FREEDOM. I did develop a few days in between that were not well, but change in medication fixed the problem. I have been thoroughly enjoying this breakthrough!
My husband and i began walking short distances together. Before I got ill in 2007, we used to walk 3 miles a day, and I've missed this. So getting out on short walks again makes me happy. Starting April 22nd, we began recording our walks on an iPhone app. By Oct 23rd, we reached 100 miles and walked our longest walk, 5.5 miles at the beach. (in 6 months time). Then in the past 3.5 months, we finished stronger by reaching a total of 200 miles yesterday! in the past 2 weeks, we have completed 3-5 mile walks on several days. I am thrilled. Jimmy and I were not able to do this from 2007 until after this last surgery.
So I'd say, that surgery #6 has been good to me. I know hundreds are praying and have prayed, and I love and appreciate each one! I have to say that though my healing hasn't come in an instantaneous fashion, everyday has been a miracle. I still have daily challenges, but I like to think of myself as an overcomer. I love looking back at it all watching God's hand on my life. I have had countless emails from people who testify that they have been encouraged through watching this journey I've been on. I really believe all that matters when a day is done is, did I use what God has given me to draw others closer to Him. If I've succeeded at that, I am happy.
I look forward to the next 12 months! I have an internal drive like never before. I want to continue to grow in strength, in spite of what the test results show is possible. I want to grow spiritually, continually drawing closer to my Creator. I want to continue to grow in faith. As impossible as our human minds want to believe it is... I am still full of belief that I serve a God who can recreate a NEW heart within! I want to venture into a new level of involvement in ministry with my husband. And I want to get back to selling homes! Oh... and drop these few pounds that have crept in :)
So, I journey into a new day, with a new faith! We are not promised an easy life, but we can know that whatever comes our way... we are not alone. God is the strength deliver! "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7
And as I posted on FB the other day... I love to remember: This world is not our permanent home and God tells us our days are like a breath (short), but He has also given each of us the opportunity to unpack our boxes and make an impact while we are here. While we anticipate a "better country", we are to live, enjoy the blessings God continues to give, and exhibit a life that tells others of His magnificent love.
"Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:16
Just a brief update... I am excited to report I walked my fastest 5k yet since last February's heart surgery this week! And we've walked 20. 5 miles total in the first 3 weeks of this new year! Some days are good for walking, and some are spent completely resting, but we make the most of each one! I am super hopeful that this year will be a good year, a year of pressing through & seeing breakthrough! I am trusting with a new hope that God will see me through. I even have a dream/ goal to get back to selling homes soon. I love having a goal bigger than me, because then and only then can God get the credit when it happens :). 2013- year of victories.
I saw a quote today that reminded me of what I have been saying... "Someone should tell us right at the start of our lives that we are dying, then we'd live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Whatever you want to do, whatever you SHOULD do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. What and WHO are you living for?"
Oh and this week for those who hadn't already read this on my FB, lol:
To laugh or to cry :(... While standing in line at the store today, the lady behind me with a very serious voice asks me "are you a bodybuilder?" I said no. But it does show me that my left arm is swollen enough that people realize it doesn't fit with my body. Very frustrating, going on one-year now with these blood clots are still making my arm fat. I can't exactly remove the pacemaker wires that caused the clots, therefore I am stuck with this fat arm.
Here's to refocusing on what's important in life. Keeping it positive, while fighting the battle, switching to long sleeves. ( & my 10 min pity party)...
Ok, my pity party is over... but I love to take a life lessons from my daily trials, and use them to grow stronger. From my previous story, it got me thinking. How many things do we speak carelessly, and we may or may not have meant to harm someone. I know the woman today could have never known what my real reason to look "buff" was from, but for a moment, it still hurt.
As we go through our day, may we look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen others. We really never know their true story. Pray each morning that God will use you to lighten someones load, and that God will give you "appointments" with even strangers that will share God's love in a tangible way. And may we silence our tongues when we should, especially when we really DO set out to bring harm.
" When you look at a person, any person, remember... everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them."
"Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of wise people bring healing." Proverbs 12:18
Happy 2013! We made it :)
The past few months have been exciting! I know we all have ventured through the holidays, put 2012 to rest, and moved into yet another year. I know we march forward with positive ambitions and hopes of the great things that are tucked into each new day to come.
I haven't written in a while, I began doubting the meaning of this blog. It seems that the struggles in my life continue, no matter how many prayers, positive words, and Dr visits. So I've had to remind myself, the purpose I write the details out... it's so when I look back, I see a history of what God has brought me through. It's kind of like a photo album, something to refer back to. I see a reminder that even when times feel their darkest, God has brought me through, and will continue to until He determines my life's mission is finished. With all my heart I wish I was floating through this mission pain free, and full of a normal dose of strength... but who am I to question where I am at. SO.... 2013, I will press through trusting God once again to sustain me. I will continue to journal what is current, so I can look back on the past and remember... He has never left me. And I will pray that through my pain, someone else who feels they cannot go on, or that God has abandoned them, will keep trusting God has a plan. I pray God will continue to use my challenges to open doors for me to share His love with everyone I come into contact with, and I can hear Him say "well done." After all it's not about finishing this life pain free and struggle free, but it's about finishing strong for God.
Looking back, I am happy to say I made it through 2012 with only the one heart surgery. My 3 lead CRT pacemaker was placed 11 months ago. I wish I could say it solved all my struggles, but I can't. I can say though, I am thankful for each day that I have had. I was feeling well, and even made my longest walk yet back in October @ 5.5 miles! I loved the break through. Then at the end of November I felt my energies drastically drop off, the fatigue hit so bad that it left me feeling like I needed to climb back into bed after my morning shower. Though you who know me... know I resisted most of the time. But it did spur me to call the Cardiologist. I had another echo done, and it does show I have aortic stenosis with the narrowing increased since the last echo in June. Though it's not certain that this is causing the increase in my fatigue. I also have acquired hypertension- this was a big change from my long term low blood pressure. I was prescribed another med. I am not sure what all is going on in this crazy heart of mine, but I do keep trusting in my God. In the month of December, we only got out and walked 2 days the entire month. We were making it 3-5 days per week prior to December. Yesterday, we made it back out. 2.5 miles. A great start back at it. I am trusting God for strength to keep on going! I am determined, I refuse to make the bed my destiny. Life is too short to sleep it away.
Many of you know I have had a few more challenges within this body. I went for 2 additional sets of biopsies through procedures going deep within the intestines using a balloon technique... yet still not reaching the diseased portion. My Dr has a strong suspicion I am struggling with Crohn's Disease, the lab test came back positive. My pain has been off and on, at times with great intensity. I am awaiting the results from the last biopsies. Hoping for relief soon. After the last biopsies on Dec 18, I was given an injection into my arm for nausea. My arm stayed 100% numb. I thought it would wear off, but 3 weeks later it is 100% without feeling and the muscle is growing weaker. Just one more thing that in the human mind can be super discouraging... and it is. It seems that as more tests are done, and treatments are given, more complications stick with me. I dislike it all. But I am thankful this body is just temporary. God's word reminds me "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26) And I trust He will give the strength for today, and tomorrow.
I know many people feel like me... one more thing? When will the pain end? Maybe your struggle is emotional, financial, or physical like me. I am sorry you are struggling, and I can say I KNOW it is not fun. We'd all choose an easy life if we could. But whatever this life throws at us really is only temporary. Nothing can steal our eternal destiny if we are believing in and living for God alone.
I pray for us all that God will become and STAY #1 in each of our lives, and He will use our daily challenges to open many hearts and minds to Him. May we continue to remain positive, full of hope and peace. I look onward to an amazing 2013!
Oh... and a very exciting year ahead for me- I am going to be a 39 year old grandma! My daughter and son-in-law are having a baby :). I am one happy mama!! And as my husband says... he is too young and hip to be a grandpa, so he will be called G-Daddy lol.
Home now, happy to see my bed. Though I'm very nauseated, the procedure went well, and i'll get results of biopsies next week. It took 3 pokes for IV, I really do have a vein shortage. After the procedure I had a vasospasm, and
so thankful 2 nitro relieved it.
*The...Great news is, the prelim testing shows negative for Celiac, though they are checking into crohns, and i'll be referred to yet another doctor for another procedure. You have no idea how happy I am to not have to adjust my diet. I look forward to eating whatever I want. As silly as it sounds, delicious food and desserts are a highlight to my life :). So I feel very thankful!
I'm thankful to have made it through this hiccup, and I have faith God will heal my pain and the questionably portion of my intestines! Now for some Zzzzz's, last night was a rough
one, but tomorrow is a new day.
Someone recently said to me, " you've been through so much," and the key word is "through." Each event is something I've not endured alone, God has brought me THROUGH so much! And I trust He will continue to bring me through whatever comes my way :)
Thank you again to all who pray and show us support. We are blessed to never have to go though life alone. I appreciate you.
Well it's been almost 2 months since I've updated, and life continues to be a climb.
A great milestone was reached yesterday. My husband and I hit the target of 100 miles walked since February of this year, which was my last heart surgery. Many days, we only obtained short distances, but recently I've challenged myself to keep going, farther. Our longest walk was on the beach at 5.5 miles! I have to admit, after that it took about 4 days to gain my strength back, but... I did it. The difference comes with pressing through. We may never know our fullest potential on things in life until we "press through." Often I wake up and by the time I've showered in the morning, I am ready to return to bed for the day (but I don't). And often I have an hour or so of energy, then it's gone. So I have learned to do things by telling myself I have to, even though it doesn't come easy. Often the only activity I accomplish all day is working on the computer,then going on an evening walk. But that's ok. And seeing milestones reached give me something to look at tangibly and say, it IS possible. From the year 2007 when I was told life would be difficult and I may have 6 months to live, to what I am doing now... I see a miracle. I've said it before, we often look for a big miracle, when in reality, God gives us a series of little, everyday miracles.
Another positive is, since going back on the heart failure medications, I have not had any more PVC episodes! They have been controlled thus far. You have no idea how much of a relief this is to me, physically and emotionally.
My life challenges have continued. Just when I decided to have no more heart testing or procedures done, my digestive system had to throw me a curveball. I was in the hospital a few months ago for severe abdominal pain. One test showed abnormalities in my small intestines. I have been undergoing more testing since then. And next Tues I go to the hospital again for more biopsies. Because of my pacemaker leads, I had developed blood clots in the veins leading to my heart and down my left arm, causing it to be continuously swollen with pain, and I have remained on blood thinners since Feb. Well, to go into the biopsies next week, I must go off the thinners. They ran another doppler test last week to see if this would be safe. Today they called and said that the test was positive for more clots in my arm. Therefore I am required to be on the Lovenox injections until the biopsies Tues :(. I dislike those burning injection in my tummy 2x a day. And I dislike my wonderful husband needing to do the injecting. Though this sounds like a minor set back, I guess my point is.... one problem/ challenge seems to cascade to another. And today, just for a moment my thoughts went to... I prayerfully am asking God for normalcy. I want something in my life to come easy. This desire does not make me weak, but human. I was in 2 different auto accidents in the past 2 weeks (both not my fault). Both of my cars were undrivable. I am super thankful that there were no injuries... but as odd as this is to have 2 accidents in 2 weeks, I feel like my life keeps throwing these bizarre numerous challenges my way. So, yes, 24 hours of normal living sounds like a well deserved vacation from trials. :) And that was my rant lol. But seriously, I make it through each day, each challenge one minute at a time. I know from my life, that God may not fix all our struggles, but somehow He continues to walk beside us, often carrying us trough them. For this I am blessed.
The solid rock I keep standing on is -everything happens for a greater purpose. And I trust in my God to continue to deliver me, and give me strength, as His plans are fulfilled in my life. I may not be the testimony that some would prefer to hear, "come to Jesus and all your trials go away," but I am striving to be the testimony of real life... in the midst of this imperfect human life, God is my source. And my perfect life will come when I arrive at my eternal home. This is just a journey to get there. And I hope I do not ever sound like I'm complaining, thought I am often weak, I want to FINISH strong.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Psalm 71:20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
I love the song "The Climb"- life is about the journey, keeping the faith.
Just gotta keep goin',
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, 'cause
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb...
It has been a while since I have posted an update, so here's a little current look into my journey… I saw my cardiologist today. First, I am Soooo thankful that he is still willing to see me. This was a big relief. Since living here in Florida, I haven't had success in having a Dr commit to monitor my care. He was very kind, and good at answering my questions.
A little catch- up info... I was switched to a milder heart medication last month during a recent hospital stay, one that is supposed to be kinder to my already low blood pressure. Within the next 2 weeks I didn't feel as well at all, and then while away at our youth summer camp, I felt the violent PVC's return. When I'd sit, they'd stop, but upon standing, walking, and adding exertion, they'd go crazy. I felt faint when walking from having so many in a row. You can imagine my discouragement, since my last surgery appeared to have solved this problem. I can't return to the plague of symptoms that I recently escaped. The thought of that is unbearable.
My Dr put me back on the stronger medication, and I thank God I have returned to my baseline. I am still struggling with my breathing, I get tired easily, and I get chest pain, but I now know this is "my norm". My Dr says the fact that the PVC's returned though, shows the last surgery still did not complete the job for long term relief. In the past, I may have within weeks been back in for more surgery because of this result. But this time, the meds I am on are suppressing the symptoms to a comfortable place of allowing me to still function. I am so grateful. I previously mentioned in one of my posts, I will not go through with more testing, and especially no more surgeries. My Dr agrees that surgery is not an option :). I am so grateful! I pray the meds will continue to assist me in functioning.
I have been enjoying making the most of each and every day that my God has given me. I know I've said it before, but I have been recently reminded of the gift I have been given- the gift of realizing how precious life is. Because of what I have endured, especially over the past year and a half, I really have focused more on enjoying each day, and not allowing unchangeable circumstances to overcome my happiness. I spend my days celebrating the love we share as a family. I spending life hand-in-hand with my husband, ministering to some of the most amazing students! I stop to walk on the beach, sit and feel the breeze. I make the most of each moment! Pain free? No, but not hope free either. My God has great plans in store, and I love the journey He has me on, because His plans will never fail, and I trust Him.
I saw this poem and thought I'd share :)
At the moment you may be remembering
how things used to be -
Before these trying times
which have brought such physical misery.
Yet please stop and think awhile,
of all that you have learned -
Of just how far you’ve traveled
and all the corners you have turned.
So, try always to remember
that this time won’t always be,
For then you may look forward
to when you shall be trouble free! - author unknown
I know where my hope is stored, and I know nothing is in vain. I am thankful for all I've learned, all I've overcome.
Thankful for all who have endured this journey with us, your love, prayers, and continued support are a blessing to us!
"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
This past week, living without fighting to find a cure has been so freeing. I am happy to be able to focus more on life, and making the most of where I'm at while trusting God completely! No tests, no Dr appts, no surgeries. I rest when I feel I need to, and pray through the fatigue. May God multiply my days and my energy come from His infinite supply. I think I like this better... :)
Happy to say, my new Cardiologist has agreed to maintain my care with quality of life as our goal, no more surgeries. I did not want to be referred to Shands or Mayo, no more testing, and am so thankful God provides a way and a Dr with a tender heart. So thankful that I'm never alone, and I have faith that God will sustain me! I will continue to do God's work with my "whole heart," and He will restore me. The fight continues :). Easy, no. Worth it, you betcha! I am in the perfect place in life for God to complete a miracle! When Man has no other options to treat us... only God can get the glory when we pull through! Every day continues to be a miracle. Thank you Lord for strength for today!
Today I got a certified letter from my last cardiologist stating I have been non-compliant with my care recommendations therefore they will no longer treat me (which I knew last week). But seeing it in writing brings back the sting. I don't understand how turning my rate response back on because it's necessary, equals non- compliant. My surgeon put it on for a reason. Oh the joys of being uniquely made. Ready for God to drop in a BRAND NEW heart and I won't have to rely on man's opinion of how to run things.
Today's Dr appt, my Dr quit on caring for me. (I don't know how else to call it). She said if I needed the pacer turned up and set back to what I was before thurs, they'd be doing that against best medical advice and she would no longer care for me knowing that my heart walls do not look well with the pacer sensor on. She said my situation is very difficult and that I really need to go to Mayo Clinic or Shands to try and receive proper treatment. Truth is, this weekend was one of my weakest 3 days yet with my new settings. So, today I chose quality of life over quantity. God chooses my heartbeats and my days are numbered by him. I had her turn the settings back up and the rate response back on, and immediately was feeling some better and was even able to go on a walk again tonight. So in spite of what things look like on paper, I feel better when I look worse.
I have to admit, I was very hurt, lost, and trying not to feel helpless. I understand the complex (6) surgeries done in San Diego were unique and that the outcome is not what any of us planned for. I thought I'd be feeling much better by now, and instead each new step leaves me worse. But I do need a Dr to follow my care, wherever that leads. I'm not sure if pride or risk of liability, etc is causing this reaction… but I don't have the energy to keep starting all over, and I think a place like Mayo Clinic will put me through a zillion more tests. I just want to go on with my life. Please pray that God will guide my steps. I don't know how to express the depth at which my heart is crying out for an answer. But I guess hitting a rock bottom is a great way to lead us back to faith in God. I refuse to believe He will ever abandon me. I know He knows the answers. And I trust in Him. I remember back to when surgery #6 was rescheduled an hour before I was headed to the hospital… and I was devastated. Then that cancellation led into my health Insurance being extended 1 extra month. It was God at work when nothing made sense. I trust this bizarre situation will have a similar outcome. Something good. Tonight I place my trust wholly in God's hands, man may fail us but God will never leave us. "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10
Yesterday I was at the hospital all day for testing. I have been diagnosed now with a thickened heart. (my humorous side says I have a "hardened heart.") This means the walls of the ventricles of my heart will not relax. The heart cannot refill with blood properly. This causes the blood to back up into other parts of my body, and causes elevated pressures in the vessels of the lungs which gives my my shortness of breath whenever I exert. There is not many treatment options to keep it from worsening except lose weight if obese, treat diabetes, and lower blood pressure, all of which I do not have. (well unless an extra 20lbs counts as obese). They took me off the around-the-clock nitro, because it is dangerous to take with my dysfunction. I am still on the blood thinners and heart failure med, and they will increase that dose soon.
Also, my SA node has come back to life. This is probably the only positive detail from the testing. What that means is, my natural pacemaker (which was 100% dead), has regenerated. Seeing this, my Cardiologist has turned my pacemaker down to 55 beats per minute to see how my heart will pump on it's own in the top chamber. We are praying that my natural SA will keep the heart beating at a rate sufficient for my activities, and allowing the heart to be closer to functioning properly… and without regaining strength to beat at the 180 beats a minute i was suffering with prior to surgery. I am having a whole lot of pretty significant chest pain so far today. This began immediately after the exercise test yesterday, when we had a scary moment… I am still 100% pacing in the bottom chamber, my AV node remains dead. The goal in treatment is to keep the heart rate as low as possible to preserve the heart muscles.
As for the blood clots, she is conversing with a specialist about the possibilities of threading something through the vein to break up the clot. We will see what the tests showed from yesterday, and if this is a possibility. My arm may never return to normal size though.
I am absolutely thrilled with the medical team I encountered yesterday. I KNOW God put me right where I needed to be. And amazed at their love and faith in God as well. I feel confident I am in good hands.
So… again I give details not to show how big the problem is, but to show how in the midst of my seemingly large challenge, God continues to give me the strength to endure it all. And for that I am thankful! I like to say "if we don't see how big the challenge is, we often don't realize how big our God is. And without an impossible situation, there can't be a need for a miracle. SO… I submit once again to prayers that my God will be bigger than my struggle. My God will be stronger than my weakness. And I will find rest in Him. I still consider EVERY day a miracle. Every task I complete is a miracle. Every life that is encouraged in a positive way is a miracle. There are miracles all around :). And one day, reaching eternity in heaven with my God, will be the ultimate miracle! And on my humorous note... I pray that my "hardened heart will be softened."
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Today I met a new Cardiologist/team. I am very pleased. She was very knowledgable, thorough, and kind. Jimmy and I were impressed with her knowledge in the autonomic dysfunction area too. She seems to be genuinely concerned about all the areas of challenge my heart has. And a challenge it is. I will be going for more tests in the next couple of weeks to test the function of my pacemaker and the heart walls, the integrity of the leads, and also testing the veins in my arm that now 3 blood clots are in, (one being the vein with my pacemaker leads going to my heart). The blood clots must be cleared to protect the integrity of my leads, and they've stuck with me causing pain and swelling for 4 months now. Prayers appreciated. Also, the medications I am on for the heart function actually are not good for an autonomic dysfunction patient… making them feel worse. I may be referred to another specialty clinic, and tried on yet another med.
I am thankful for a husband showing unconditional love, even when times are tough, sitting by countless hospital beds, in countless Dr visits.
I am thankful for God bringing us here, to a new set of skilled Doctors. Though I truly believe He can bring me a complete healing, I know He also chooses often to use Dr's too. Therefore I pray for my Drs, to have wisdom to help me in all the areas posing complications. I am ready to see a healing, a long awaited miracle. I don't like the time spent at 5 hour appts, and hours of tests, weekly lab draws. I have no good veins left, even the one in my hand that's used for my weekly blood draw, wore out today. I am wore out… from suffering. Complaining? Not at all… Just being "real." I think it's ok to be "real" every once in a while because we all get these feelings. But I think it's important to remember when things aren't going the way we planned, or desire… we must still pick ourselves up and press on. We aren't done living until God has said our purpose is fulfilled. Therefore, in the midst of my fleshly struggles, I pray I will continue to pick myself back up and refocus, remembering why I am alive. Life is so short, and as I have said before… no one is guaranteed tomorrow. In reality we all are dying, we are one day closer to death and our eternity as each day passes. We can never gain back a yesterday. We must live for our todays. And even though some of us deal with a little more of a reality check staring us in the face… truth is we all should be living like eternity is all that matters. I pray that I can have the strength each day to continue what God has destined me to do, love others, and help change lives.
"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!" Psalm 43:5
On a side note, prayers appreciated for my grandma. She is undergoing pacemaker replacement and lead extraction/ replacement of her 3rd lead tomorrow. (same pacemaker kind I have) The 3rd lead is hard to change out. She only has a week left on the battery. The Dr said it will be very a very risky surgery for her… my heart goes out to her and my mom and dad. Thanks.
Well back on all the heart meds and nitro around the clock. Not looking forward to the headache that goes with it, hopefully it'll be kind to me. They should help my blood to flow more freely once it builds it my system again. I really liked the new Dr, be was very thorough and caring. The blood clot makes it not possible to do further testing for a while, being on blood thinners. I will have a right and left heart cath done in about 3 months- if its safe to stop the thinners by then. But for now, I count it as a faith builder, keep relying on my God! "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
Tomorrow we are heading to see a new Cardiologist who is a pulmonary hypertension specialist. My last tests showed elevated pressures... so we must check it out. Prayers for healing and good reports. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4:18
Today I visited the Orlando Heart Center. My Cardiologist was nice, he's suppose to be one of the best. He's written a documentation about the procedure I had done in San Diego, therefore he's interested in my type of case. I will be having a procedure done in a few days to optimize the pacemaker and evaluate the current overall function of my walls. I'll also have a new cardiologist for the pulmonary hypertension follow up and a hematologist for the blood clot. They are very specialized here, and seem to have great technology... Trusting Gods healing is still at work, and relief to be arriving soon! Thanks for the prayers.
It has been 9 weeks since heart surgery #6, and so much has happened in my life. While I was in the hospital recovering from this past surgery, my husband, who is a pastor received a call for a ministry position from a Church in the Orlando, Fl area. The name of the Church is Heartcry Chapel. I thought God has a sense of humor to have a Church called Heartcry contact us while I was in for heart surgery... and all my heart has been through. My husband accepted the position, and it had been the smoothest transition ever for our family. We are so excited, and truly feel the hand of God orchestrating every step.
I have to say, if my Dr's hadn't reached the end of their rope with my heart care at this past surgery, I might have been more hesitant about the move, but God knew I needed that door to close... and I felt the release from their medical care. It was divine.
Now I am trusting that not only will God bring spiritual fruit as we minister following His calling, but I am trusting He has a diving plan to continue healing my heart. I know He is an all powerful God, with a perfect plan laid out for my life. I trust Him!
The past few weeks after turning on the 3rd pacemaker lead, I have felt better than I had this past year. I even ventured out on a 2 mile and 3 mile walk 2 weeks. I haven't felt up to walking again since, though I enjoyed the window of energy.
Today I saw a brand new family Dr here in town, and he seems wonderful. He already got me in to see the Director of the EP Cardiology in Orlando. My blood clots are still in the vein the pacemaker leads are in. Because of there being 3 leads, it narrows it even more. He said over time they hope the body will work it out to let the blood flow more freely down my left arm. Until then, my arm remains swollen an inch bigger and tingly often. Adjusting the coumadin levels is an ongoing battle.
Well, I know it sure has been a long journey this past 13 months, and I so much appreciate all the love, prayers, and support you all have given to my family and I. We know God has begun a new chapter in all our lives, and we are trusting Him to complete a good work in and through us. Stay encouraged, even when the road seems it's darkest, God is always there.
God is so good! I can't wait to report his good works as time goes on!
Today the turning on of the 3rd lead went well. The Dr saw a significant improvement in the wall motion immediately upon turning it on. His words were "thank you Jesus!" and he said "I am happier than a pig in poo",(haha). The heart is now appearing to be synchronized much better! The 3rd lead was worth it. This is a great outcome, because the dyssynchrony was not good on the heart. I was very excited about the outcome. Do I feel better? At this point in time not at all. I had a brief wave of discouragement this afternoon when I walked through the parking lot and still couldn't breath… but then reminding myself that God still holds my heart, and He will give me the strength to make it through whatever comes my way. I believe one step at a time, we will see this thing turn around. I will not lose faith. My Dr will be working on finding me a good referral in Orlando, and I pray a total healing is in store. Thank you all for not giving up on the prayers and faith. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Gal 6:9
A few months ago, I was blessed with an amazing grant to help with my medical care expenses...I work at a wonderful Keller Williams office in Carlsbad, and they contribute through KW Cares. They published a short article about my situation on the KW Cares website. Here is the link. What a blessing! A reminder that my God shall supply all your needs :-). And another reminder that He uses the people surrounding us to do it. Our small sacrifices and helping hands DO make a difference. Thank you Keller Williams!
Arrived home to a son i missed so much, a clean house, gift baskets full of goodies and surprises from my special friends at Keller Williams, and a weeks worth of freezer meals and pizza hand delivered by super friends all the way from Las Vegas. I am feeling loved ♥. My nurse hubby just gave his first injection... Have to admit, he was more brave than me. I'm still recovering from my own stressing, he did good. I don't want to do it all over again :(
My update 2/17/12
Going home today after spending 11 of the last 14 days in the hospital. I am on new heart meds to help the coronary micro vessel disease that's causing coronary vasospasms. I am in extreme pain still, especially upon exertion. Also taking Nitro to help when it peaks. The other meds over time will hopefully give longer acting relief. My autonomic dysfunction may be driving the heart spasms into overdrive. Praying that my brain will normalize and stop destroying my organs. I am going home on lovenox injections for the DVT (blood clot) in my vein the pacer leads are threaded through. I hate this idea, and my poor hubby had to learn how to give the injections. The blood checks for the next few months are not something to look forward too either :(. This has been one of the toughest 2 weeks yet. My dr said my pain level will most likely stay around a 3-5 at rest, and peaking with exertion, until I find a long acting regimen to cope. My pulmonary pressures are elevated too... In a few weeks I may still need to undergo a heart cath to look further into this, but for now it's too soon after leads placed. I am so ready for this battle to be over. I am used to fighting back and keeping busy. This is kicking my butt. And I don't get knocked down easily. The past 2 weeks since surgery have been rough... Praying the next 2 weeks will be a complete turn around. Thank you all who have encouraged, prayed, visited, fed my family and I, and never given up. The journey I'm on must come to an end at this level of suffering soon. I believe Gods still in control. And I'll keep pressing in for strength just for today, hope for tomorrow. Can't wait to see my family and doggies :) Trusting: "'Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." Jeremiah 33:6 Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."
Re-admitted yesterday- Today has been so complicated. I got up to walk and the heart rhythm went berserk. The dr was present and saw it all. They did a continuous ekg while i was walking I broke out in cold sweats and a 9 level chest pain. I was given nitro and the pain was much relieved. That made the Dr think in a new direction. It's now believed that I also have coronary micro vessel disease causing coronary vasospasms . The vessels are too small to treat surgically, I will be on continuous nitro, along with emergency nitro to give extra doses. I am having reoccurrent episodes, causing much pain today. As for the pacer, heart wall motion stuff... They turned on the 3rd pacer lead. Going to watch through the night to see how my heart will respond. In a few weeks they will do another echo and adjust settings to optimize the wall motion. I still need a miracle, a double miracle. I am suffering much this afternoon. This is the worst I've felt. The first illness can lead to sudden death, and both illnesses can lead to heart failure. I am stating the Dr reports... But I still believe Gods report. Psalm 41:3 NIV- The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. This is a tough road... Prayers appreciated.
HOME SWEET HOME: I made it home. I am on a LifeWatch monitor around the clock once again. Watching for dangerous rhythms. I am working on recovering, and then I'll be back for another stress echo to determine what steps come next. It is perceived that the heart is still weak, and the outcome is not as planned. I am very uncomfortable right now. I am resting in God's arms… following whatever His plan may be. My Dr came in last night and shared his concerns. During surgery, my heart went into "torsades de pointe", a lethal ventricular arrhythmia. I am at risk for re-occurrence. The 3rd lead was turned on last night. It is unclear yet if will help. I am still very short of breath a having pain. This isn't a desirable situation. What I am continually learning though all this is complete dependency on God. And to truly not take one minute for granted. Love those you love, forgive those you are at odds with. Our lives are so temporary, and what matters is where our spirit is headed :) Ok
The Dr just came. He said Debbie was in the worst possible rhythm there is. Very dangerous. They just now turned on third lead and are having her walk to test it. They will keep her tonight for monitoring. Overall he said they have to let her heal so that they can do stress test to see if surgery was a success. He is very concerned that third lead will cause her to slip into that dangerous rhythm which is deadly. Please continue to pray. Thanks
Well day 1 after my 6th surgery, and here I am. The Dr reports so far are not what we hoped for. He told my husband that I have the most difficult electrical mess within a heart he's ever seen. After moving my pacemaker leads, the heart walls were still not functioning well and my ejection fraction is down. Therefore they implanted a new type of pacemaker and an additional lead that is usually only used on end stage heart failure patients because of the lifespan/ complications that come along with it. My Dr had said he'd only implant it if it was absolutely necessary. Once they switched it, the outcome was not what they were hoping for. My wall is still not operating well. The Dr said it is significantly noticeable that the function has gone weaker over the past few months. In a few weeks they will be repeating the stress echo to see how much if at all, the new device is helping. He also said that this is probably not going to be the final surgery. This is a challenge that has no easy answer. I am in pain, chest pressure... and it was discouraging to come out with this result. But I know with all the prayers and faith coming from God's family, that God has and will have his way. So the peace I hold on to is God is holding the answer for me. Please pray for my family... this isn't easy to go through. Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. https://www.facebook.com/events/150283735070909/
From my husband Jimmy- Hey all. I have been posting all day on my FB status... but for those who don't have me, here is the final update i posted 5 hours ago.
Dr came out. Not fully sure of her outcome at this point. Bottom line is that it's not looking good. Had to add 3rd lead and new pacemaker. What they hoped to accomplish did not appear to have worked. It appears her heart is not as healthy as it should be. They believe that her heart overall is weakening. Time will tell but all doctors agreed that she is definitely their toughest case. Lord do what the doctors can't... HEAL
-Please pray for Debbie. She just got up to try a small walk and her heart slipped into a dangerous rhythm. Her Dr will not be in until Monday. Please remember her in your prayers tonight. Love y'all!
Well tomorrow is the day. I spoke with my 2nd surgeon today… we are set, no canceling. He explained the complexity of the surgery process to me. He also said that what my heart has done, he's never seen before. I had a very dramatic episode of heart wall malfunctioning during the stress echo. They will be looking for a solution that will bring results. My heart does not like to function on this pacemaker, but no turning back. My entire natural heart function was destroyed. Please, please pray with us. We are running out of options… and I know God created this heart, and can renew it. I am nervous, yes. This will be my 6th heart surgery, 7th procedure if you include the heart cath done last month. That makes it an average of one heart procedure every 7 weeks for the past 49 weeks. That's more heart surgery than the number of times a car gets it's oil changed in a year. I am tired, and ready for a breakthrough. Tomorrow has to be a better day. Surgery begins at 8:30am. Prayers for my sweet, supportive husband Jimmy who is stuck in the waiting room for hours, and my kids who are concerned too. Thank you much. Hugs, Debbie "Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me." Psalm 142:7 https://www.facebook.com/events/150283735070909/
Whew, what a week. An hour before we were to leave for my surgery on Monday, the hospital called and postponed my surgery due to emergencies. I was very discouraged, had everything in order. But I do believe everything happens for a reason. I have yet to know what that is, but making the best of it. My new heart surgery #6 date is this Friday, Feb 3rd at 6:30am. Please pray for the surgeons. I spoke with one of mine this week, and he expressed the difficulties involved in finding the solution to fixing my heart problem. If during all the testing that day, they cannot produce a solution, the only thing they'll be able to do is move the leads back to where they were. But that was when the blood was backing into my lungs. Needless to say, I need favor and wisdom, and healing poured out this week. We are running out of options… my heart must learn to function on this pacemaker the right way, since my total heart function is fully reliant on it. And if not, my heart will continue to weaken. This will be a very important week. I am believing for a break through… and I appreciate all of you who believe with my family and I. You all have been so encouraging. I am still feeling very bad, short of breath just getting dressed in the morning. I am thankful for a wonderful work place at the hospital for being flexible and placing me on the work schedule this week, in spite of the date change last minute. I have been staying positive, yet reminded with each heartbeat, the necessity of this coming surgery. Hoping this week goes by quickly… love and hugs, Debbie
4 days away from heart surgery #6. I know each time I go on to another surgery, I say… "I am so ready," and "I never felt this bad," and we all pray "let this be the last." So yes, all these statements are true once again. Monday at 1pm the team of some of the very best surgeons will try and locate a place to move my pacemaker leads to within my heart to make it beat in synchrony and contract stronger. My recent stress echo showed that when I exert, my septum wall is weak and not moving well, my ejection fraction (the amount of blood being pumped out of the heart) is reduced, and the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber) is dilated/ enlarged. So it explains why when I exert, I feel like I'm having a heart attack. Anyone in the medical field will know that if this problem is not corrected, it is not good at all. Therefore… I am pressing on with even more faith that God did not bring me through this much, to not complete a miraculous work. I really, really need relief, and please pray with me that this indeed will be the last. God created the universe in 6 days and on the 7th He rested. I pray that by surgery #6 I will have a new heart created, and can finally rest :-). Thank you once again for not giving up hope with my family and I! I hope the next update will be a miraculous one…
We made it! 2012 has arrived. A few weeks ago, I was thinking how awesome it will be to be surgery free for this new year. But plans aren't always what we may want them to be. I am having heart surgery #6 on Jan 23rd, unless an opening comes sooner. I will require 2 surgeons again. My septum wall is weak. I am really suffering more than ever this time around. I have lots of deep chest pain, and very short of breath much of the time. The Dr says it will be a difficult fix, to get my weakened heart muscle to work correctly. Difficult though in Gods eyes still spells possible. We are fervently believing once again for a divine total healing, a healthy heart, and a long happy future. Looking back, 2011 was a full year, summed up in a nutshell: my oldest daughter married her best friend, my youngest daughter graduated high school & started college, I underwent 5 heart surgeries (6th one coming in Jan.), moved homes, remodeled and moved The Remedy Church into a building, started a new job position in cardiac unit, son in law graduated college, sent off happy couple to Nashville, merged The Remedy with FFC in Oceanside, and... So much more. Some good, some challenging. Looking forward to 2012, a season of healing, rest, fruitfulness, and miracles! Thank you for your continued prayers with us as this journey continues! I KNOW God has a plan, and is not caught by surprise in any of this… therefore I keep pressing on, remaining faithful, and rely on Him for His strength to help me through whatever comes my way! Happy 2012 to you and your family!
Todays heart cath showed my arteries are all good and healthy. No arteries were damaged with the ablations. So, the next step will be surgery #6 in January. My walls of my heart are weakened, and when I exert, the heart is enlarged, dialated. I am not feeling well, constant strong chest pain and shortness of breath upon walking even short distances. I am sooo ready to be well. I appreciate the prayers!
I went for my tests yesterday, and there is inadequate wall motion in one of the chambers of my heart. I will be scheduled for heart surgery #6 in a couple of weeks. It appears I will be needing a brand new pacemaker ( a whole different type), along with repositioning leads, and adding additional leads. The Dr said it will be very challenging finding the correct location to place them, my heart is not in sync. The leads were already repositioned once, and this will be my 3rd pacemaker related surgery in 6 months. My heart has not been able to function correctly on this 100% pacing thing yet. I also will be going for a heart catheterization soon in the next few days, waiting for it to be scheduled. They will be checking to see if any arteries were affected from the previous surgeries. I am having tremendous chest pain and difficulty breathing, especially when I walk or do anything besides resting. This afternoon, after a long 24 hours of chest pain and heart racing from my usual paced 70 beats per min straight up to 150 beats in just 5 seconds time, we made an urgent care visit. I barely slept last night, from the pain and pounding of my heart. Every time I'd slightly move it would shoot up to the 140's. The pacemaker rep came and discovered that when the rep adjusted my pacer slope yesterday,it was while i was on treadmill stress test. And she didn't reset the sensor. So whenever I would move at all, my pacemaker thought I was on treadmill speed again and that it was supposed to increase the speed that quickly, jumping up from the 70 to 150 within 5 seconds (everytime I moved) Whew... This is very unnatural, and very uncomfortable. Especially with my heart not functioning well at the fast rate. Well it's reset, and now I'm home resting with pain med. This was proof that little details really do make a difference. I am honestly overwhelmed… rightfully so. I could really never dreamed that I'd be going onto heart surgery #6 in a 10 month time frame. I am trying to remain strong. I am trying to stay working part time to keep our health benefits. I am trying to keep positive, I am trying to get well. Thankful I am not alone. Thankful for husband,family, friends, and mostly God. I know there is a plan to all this. And I will keep fighting until my time to fight is over. Healing will feel so wonderful. I'd give anything to just feel 1 day pain, and suffering free. If not here, at least I will have all eternity to enjoy what I longed for here :-) Once again, I much appreciate any prayers you can send my way, Love and hugs, Debbie ps: if you are tired of receiving the updates, just check you are not attending… and you'll be off the list. Also, feel free to repost, etc… we can never have too much prayer.
My appointment today revealed that I likely do not have good cardiac output. I will be going for a test tuesday with both of my cardiologists present. They hope to find the root of the problem in a non invasive way. It's possibly a main artery affected from previous surgery. I have been feeling like my heart isn't pumping well, but I have not complained and been pressing on in hope of improvement. I get chest pain and severe shortness of breath from walking even short distances. And severe chest pain if I try to exercise. I am discouraged, yes. I have so much momentum to take on life… and I am weary from fighting against my heart function. Don't get me wrong, I am not lacking faith. I truly believe I can be healed, and and so thankful for the things that have already been fixed. The past surgery was successful. Just hitting more complications. My heart no longer races to 180 beats per minute when standing. My heart no longer skips 30 beats per minute. So a few hurdles have been accomplished. This too shall pass. I just need the strength to make it. Please continue to believe this will end soon. Life is too short to expend all this energy on getting well. Thanks
Today, I celebrate many things that I am thankful for. One of the best is that 3 weeks ago I had my 5th heart surgery and today I am still enjoying a skip free heart, pacing beautifully. By far a miracle! I'm still believing my strength will return, and my shortness of breath will be gone soon.I am sooo grateful for Gods hand on my life. I am also so thankful for my amazing family, 3 wonderful children, a super son-in-law, and loving husband! After what this year has brought me, and all I've made it through... I am thankful to be alive, and surrounded by all of you! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
17 days post surgery, and still no skipping! I can't begin to describe what if feels like to have this kind of relief, from 30 skipping beats per min to now zero! My Dr gave me permissions to wean off the heart meds this week, woo hoo! I am still very tired and short of breathe with exertion, but they are going to adjust the pacemaker after Thanksgiving and hoping it'll improve these things too. I am so very blessed to be finally seeing breakthrough! I returned to work last friday, working four 12 hour shifts so far. I have to say, it has been very, very hard. But I am so blessed to still have health insurance and a job to go to. Thanking God for strength and provision one day at a time. God is good! More good to come :-)
A burst of great news-- Surgery was 8 days ago, and I celebrate in thanksgiving for 8 days of NO SKIPS :-). My heart is beating perfectly 100% steady & reliant on the pacemaker! This was the Dr's goal. I haven't felt this normal in 4 years. And after each of the previous 4 surgeries, we knew within just a few days that I was not well still. This 8 day span is truly a miracle. And I stand in faith that it will continue! I can't wait to see how the treadmill feels in a few weeks. Don't find me crazy, but tomorrow I am returning to work for 1 day this week. Thankful I have a desk job to go to. And I'll be spending my day interpreting heart rhythms in the hospital unit who interpreted mine, and I'll be praying in my heart for God to touch each one of them too. We can use our job for the glory of God! And prayers while working are not forbidden :-). Thank you again for all the love, prayers and support. This has been a very long, weary journey, but so many milestones along the way! I know the journey isn't over, for every day brings a new opportunity for challenges, faith, and victory. May I never take one heartbeat for granted, each one is a miracle. Love and hugs as the journey continues!
Surgery Wednesday morning went well. Good times started with getting the blood draw on the very 1st try, and the IV in on the second try. Both these are miraculous for me. I felt we were off to a good start. Then I was in surgery for less than 4 hours, which I am usually in for 7 hours. The Dr says it was a pretty straight forward shot at it. They kept me semi sedated rather than all the way under because often the skips will stop completely while under anesthesia and they would not be able to complete the procedure if that occurred. Even thought they tell me I felt the pain, thank God I don't remember much about being awake. As of right now, I've had 4 days of zero skips! Pray with us that this continuers. No regenerating this time. I am in pain, chest pain from the burning within the heart, and my face is very swollen, but the meds help. So, I am typing this in pain, waiting for the meds to kick back in, then you all don't want me typing under the influence haha. Thank you all so much for praying… I believe in faith this time is different! I love and appreciate you all. Especially my family who never lets me down. My husband was never so happy to see his bed last night. He's my hero.
Tomorrows the day surgery again. Time is at 9am... praying this will really be the final surgery. The other link won't let me make changes any longer to the time and location details since it's been open for a year. We once again appreciate all your prayers, and faith, and encouragement. Hoping to report positive outcomes.
Heart Surgery #5 is next Wednesday... and I am ready. I am not yet sure what the game plan will be, but we are praying it's the last. Thank you all for your love and support, and prayers through this ordeal. I'd have never guessed last December when I began to ask for prayer, that I'd still be undergoing surgeries. #5 is over my limit of strength. This really has to be the last. I'll update on here next week. I can't wait to finally share the miracle! Well, I do believe that everyday there is breath in my lungs IS a miracle, but to be feeling strength would be wonderful! Feel free to repost/ share this event as a prayer request. I am ready for rest. Debbie
My surgery #5 is scheduled for Nov 2nd. I am more than ready. I have never been this physically worn out except right after my surgeries. I find myself needing to rest a lot more throughout the day. The 30+ skips per minute are really weakening my body. So… prayers much appreciated that my heart will cooperate and that this will be the final surgery. Dr says he's never seen it come back this aggressively. He says every time I go in, there's something else as a complication. We need a smooth procedure and total recovery. On a positive note, I have just completed 2 weeks of training at my new job. I am now working in the very cardiac unit at the hospital where I am a patient. Kinda awkward at first, and it has been extremely challenging on my strength. But what I realize is we can do anything God lays before us, not because we want to, but because we must. The strength for each day is found in Him alone. I look forward to the day soon where I will feel what it feels like to be refreshed, strong, and free. Until then… may His strength be renewed everyday in a unique way.
This has been a busy week. Monday I had a stress echo test during which my pacemaker was adjusted to try and fix the arrhythmia's. It did not help. Tues-thurs I began my new position working three 12 hour shifts in the same hospital/ cardiac floor that I have had my surgery recovery. It was exciting yet so challenging. Not feeling well makes it difficult to make it through 12hr days, but I did. Thank God for supernatural strength. Friday I went back to the hospital to have my pacemaker tweaked to the previous settings and the reports showed that my skipping has increased by 6% since monday. No wonder I feel like I've been hit by a truck this week. My pulse is still running in the 40's for much of the day/ night because 30+skips per minute. I am on the max dose of 2 meds. I am waiting to be scheduled for surgery #5. It is not clear yet whether the lead is in an irritating location or if cells within the heart are trying to take control over the pacemaker again. I can't believe we are here again... but I am so desperate to feel better that I am very ready. Hoping for a cancellation in the OR schedule to squeeze me in asap. Please pray that something will change and I can really find relief. I am tired, weary, and ready to move on. Thank you.
Hello, I saw my Dr again today. My heart is still skipping up to 30 beats per minute. I have been placed back on 2 heart meds, one being a more dangerous arrhythmia drug, and a high dose of it. It has not really relieved any symptoms. I had a massive chest pain episode in the desert on Monday, 2.5 hours from the nearest hospital. Talk about praying with faith, Jimmy and I were living it. I am scheduled for a stress echo on a treadmill Monday to watch what's happening with exertion. After 4 heart surgeries since Feb, I am tired… and can't imaging going through surgery again. I'm pressing through and beginning work on Tues, but still needing a God sized miracle. I believe God is bigger, and I still have no real idea why I am still suffering… but I am not required to understand it. I am only required to trust Him through it. I will update after the echo for those interested. Our God is bigger, Our God is stronger!
I saw the heart Dr again on Friday. When BOTH surgeons entered the room together, I thought maybe something was up… I am showing that the PVC's have increased by 5 times the amount that were recorded last week (several thousand per day, up to 30 per minute). This happened during taking 4x's the amount of med prescribed. The Dr said he has never seen them return so violently. Some think it may be the autonomic dysfunction causing continuous setbacks. They started me on an anti-arrhythmic drug to try and minimize the discomfort. I feel quite yucky often. The Dr suggested a need for yet more ablations (surgery). It was suggested to do it in 4 weeks, but I am starting a new job in a few weeks, and must be able to do so to keep my health insurance. I am really excited about the job. I was hired in the same unit at the hospital where I am being treated for my heart. It is best to wait on the surgery for a few months and let the new pacemaker leads settle first too. I really, really, really am praying for a total miracle of God, that this part of the heart will take care of itself in the next few days/weeks. I absolutely believe with the Dr's that this can and will improve. There is no where to go but up, so I will keep looking up. God is bigger. I know after 4 heart surgeries and still feeling absolutely horrible, that God is working. He is growing me, as I MUST rely on Him alone for my daily strength. I know that He will have his way.
Many people might begin to doubt by now that He will touch me. After fervent prayers, and strong faith, to still be suffering this much make no sense to any of us. But I do know that God will not give us more than we can handle, and He does heal. So, with this delay, I've searched my heart, I believe He still wants me to just trust Him. As for right now, the strength it takes to get through each and every day IS a true miracle. I sometimes cannot see how I will continue like this, but then a kind word, or a faith prayer, God's word, or a laugh with my family & friends, or a moment giving of myself to touch someone else's life comes along…. and through it, I find strength to pick myself back up once again and continue on. I do have many moments that I find myself saying, "I can't, but I must." And I do.
It's really not our story, it's His. It's really not our desires,… it's His. So, I wait, trust, and keep going… with a pure heart I seek His plan. I really do pray to soar like an eagle soon. Carefree…
But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Thank you for not giving up on me, not judging me, & not lacking faith in God. I appreciate each prayer prayed, and each of you. God has already won this battle, and I will believe healing is coming. Until the timing is perfected, I will press on.
Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since surgery. Today has been an improvement. I got out and walked :-). A short distance, yes. But it felt so good to feel the sunny outdoors. Because of the recent setbacks following surgery, I have been on the heart meds since my last post friday. Though I am not having much response, I have felt some relief. I am taking 3x the amount of meds and still having long episodes of rhythm issues. Also, the nerve damage that occurred in my arm during surgery has become very painful. I am seeing a neurologist on Friday, along with a pacemaker followup. I appreciate your prayers. I know God has given me victory, and will continue to bring me through. Thank you much!
I have had a few setbacks since surgery last week. Went to see Dr today for rhythms feeling crazy, feeling faint, short of breath, etc. Pacemaker shows averaging of 14,000 PVC's in 48 hrs, did chest xray to be sure lead didn't move. Chest xray shows leads still look good. Tweaking the pacemaker settings doesn't help as we thought it would. Not sure where the problem is coming from. I'm starting heart meds to attempt to suppress the PVC's. Having that many and running 100% on pacemaker not good. I feel icky. We should know very soon if meds will help. We won't know for a few months if more ablations are necessary. Praying it goes away. It's never been this bad on the PVC's .
My damaged nerve in my arm is slowly healing. I can feel a difference in my lungs. I believe the blood is no longer backing into my lungs. Praising God adding the extra lead helped. In a few weeks the echo will confirm this. Thank you all so much for believing with us. This week has definitely been challenging. Please pray this problem diminishes. Thank you!
The miracles have begun! Here I am in my very own home just 24 hours after a long 7 hour surgery. I was discharged a few hours ago.
God is so good. The Dr's reported that they were able to go into my heart, locate the problem, remove the wires, replaced them into 2 new locations, and instantly the heart showed on the TEE (a specialized echo down my throat) that the heart is contracting absolutely beautifully. This really was my only hope, it had to be a straight forward fix. My heart was competing with its self in the different chambers, and also competing against the pacemaker. This had to get fixed or the heart would have weakened, leading to failure or a lethal rhythm. God gave the Dr's wisdom! Also, they were not going to be able to do the 3rd part of the surgery yesterday because I was under anesthesia too long already. But right at the end of the procedure, the troubling 2 hot spots that were firing off the troublesome extra beats showed up on their own, without looking for them. The Surgeon was able to immediately ablate them as well. This saved me from having to go back in again for yet another surgery.
There were several Dr's/ techs in the surgery room. The pacemaker tech told me that I have a "legendary heart". There were 2 Dr's in the room during surgery who have been doing heart procedures for over 40 years and have never seen the complications I had in my heart. They are going to be writing newsletters, and most likely teach lectures to other heart Dr's in regards to what they learned yesterday. Others will one day be helped from what has been learned through my suffering. I will know more details once I get to my post op appointment, and my main heart surgeon gets to explain to me what else occurred. Good will always come from the bad in our lives, if we allow it.
Most of you may have heard that a day before my surgery, I got hired as a Telemetry tech in the same unit I was just treated for all these heart surgeries in a Scripps Green Hospital. The very same team of Dr's, Nurses, and Tele tech's that have been treating me throughout this past few years, will be the very team I work with as soon as I recover. I will be able to keep my health insurance! Gods ways are higher than ours! I am amazed at this opportunity. I will be able to work sitting down (which will be less physically challenging), and helping other heart patients along side the dynamic team that has been used to bring me this healing. I am amazed at how this is all working out.
SOOOO please continue to pray for me as I recover, and believe with me this will all be complete this time. I am in quite a bit of pain. And I do have a small setback. I have nerve damage from the Ulnar nerve occurring from my arm being strapped down for 7-8 hours. One half of my left hand is greatly affected. I know God will bring healing as well… but appreciate the prayers too. It's too soon to know if the damage is reversible or permanent. I am taking a med to hopefully help.
Well, I am in awe of God, sitting here in my home 24 hours after surgery, knowing the Dr's were able to do it. Brings tears of joy to my eyes just thinking about this. Knowing God loves me, knowing I have a shot of functioning again, knowing that God is answering the many, many prayers offered on my behalf. I will sleep good tonight, knowing that God loves me, and His plan for me is not over yet. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!!! I have been seen across the country the past 4 years since the onset of this situation. No Dr has given me any hope at improving. in 2007 we planned a funeral as we drove from Las Vegas (where we were living) to UCLA believing I had 6 months to live. I was 34 years old. And now looking back knowing God has strategically orchestrated my steps, I could write a book on how His protection exists. Thank you for caring.
I pray through all of my suffering, faith, persistence, and healing that someone will be inspired to find a faith, and persistence to make it through their circumstances too. I am typing this with 1/2 of my hand damaged, and I have learned… never let your struggles handicap you from being who you can be. No one promised life would be easy. But clinging to God and pressing on, is more fulfilling than giving up. I will diligently seek to fulfill Gods plan for my life until the day my last breath is taken, and I pray you will too. We can all choose to use life's challenges for good.
Thank you again for not giving up!
As this miracle unfolds, I am blessed.
Well, today's the day. Almost time to go get my heart renewed. I am sooo ready for relief. Thank you all for your prayers today. The Dr's are going to try and get the blood to stop backing into my lungs, and get the left side to contract. He told us yesterday that only 1% of pacemaker patients have had this specific complication. I don't know where I'd be without prayer. I know God has had his hand of protection on me through this all, and today will be no different. I am confident that He will complete a good work in me. Looking forward to updating with God sized reports!
Heart surgery #4 is scheduled for the 18th. It will involve 2 surgeons again. My previous update explained the situation. I am feeling the effects of this complication, and am super ready for healing to come. Also, my medical benefits will fully run out in 7 weeks because I have been off work so long. Please pray this surgery will be a success with no further complications, and I can return to work, or that a financial provision will be made allowing us to go with no discontinuation of benefits. It is our only option to be able to continue medical care.
On a side note, my surgery was supposed to be next week in which I would have spent my 20th wedding anniversary in the hospital. I am so thankful that Jimmy and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary (on the 16th) before entering into yet another surgery. The date being postponed has positive outcomes too :-).
I know this journey has been long, I am living it. And I truly believe it has to have closure soon. This is it. My suffering will end.
Thank you so much for all your prayers. I don't know where I'd be today without all of you, and God's protection.
Well who would have known back in February that I was about to undergo 6 months of heart surgery over and over…. here we go again. My appt yesterday revealed what the Dr's believe is causing the blood to back up into my lungs. Through the team of Dr's they found that the signal sent from the pacemaker is not being received on the left side of the heart. That chamber of the heart is only contracting less than 1/3 of the time that the rest of the heart is contracting. Long explanation, and one that they rarely see...I also had 62 episodes of continuous PVC's and several pauses in the heartbeat. I will be going for more surgery tenatively Aug 11, date isn't confirmed yet. They will be removing the pacemaker wire, placing it into another location, and adding an additional wire for the lower chambers. The goal is to have the heart contracting simutaneously. The second surgeon then will go back in to try and fix the hot spots causing the arrhythmia's, hopefully in the same day. As most of you know I had life threatening complications just after the previous surgery, and there's always a risk of return. Going through this one more time is absolutely not on my wishing to do list, but I know it is necessary (short of receiving a miracle). Thanking God for the skilled nurses, techs, and Dr's He has placed around me, used to bring protection. Thank you for caring beyond just a job!
On a good note, once these things are taken care of… the hope is I'll be up and running with much relief. Right now it feels like I have a constant chest cold coming on from the blood backing up into the lungs. Lots of pressure most of the time too, and at times a continuous feeling of the need to cough. I am ready to get this thing taken care of and behind me. Please pray for my healing once again before this surgery, and if I must go through it… there must be a purpose. I will rest in the peace of knowing it's in good hands. I will see a victory either way :-)
Please pray also for a miracle in my health benefits, they are set to run out next week. My time off work was not expected to be this long, my work place has been wonderful working with me thus far… pray for continued favor so I can have a peace of mind.
Thank you again for believing with me.
"Healing does not mean going back to the way things were before, but rather allowing what is now to move us closer to God."- Ram Dass
For those who have been asking for an update, I apologize for not giving one sooner. I have been on hold waiting for a procedure to take place this Thursday morning. The Dr's are going to attempt to synchronize my pacemaker to help the left side of my heart pump efficiently. It has been backing blood into my lungs the past few weeks, which can lead to not good results.This is an important appointment and we are trusting God's direction and touch. If the synchronizing is unsuccessful I may require further surgery including moving the wire, adding an additional wire, or open heart surgery for a valve replacement/ repair. I have really been feeling better over all though. I still feel the relief from not having a racing heart. Yesterday I had several hours of skipping beats and extra beats, and not sure where that was coming from. I believe I am running 100% on the pacemaker in both chambers now, which they will be able to confirm on Thurs. I have been encouraged by the small steps of progress I am feeling and know God will bring it to completion. I'll update after my appt Thurs. I still appreciate your prayers and concern.
It has been 5 weeks since my most recent surgery. Since then I had gone in a few days ago for more pacemaker adjustments, making things uncomfortable, then back in for more tweaks and things have been looking better. My heart rate is really doing well with the 100% pacemaker running it. The rate is behaving, just need to get it re-adjusted to allow it to increase when I am exerting myself. RIght now my max heart rate is only reaching the 80's. A little setback at my last appointment, the current echo shows the blood is backing up into my lungs, which is believed to be causing my shortness of breath. I will have a specialized test and adjustments done on July 21st. The hope is that tweaking the pacemaker will allow the left side of my heart to begin functioning properly. If it is not a pacemaker issue, then even further surgery may be warranted. I am feeling better overall. It feels great not having the heart racing constantly. I still have a lot of lung pressure, shortness of breath, and swelling. But I really do feel like a partially normal human :-). The journey continues, and I am convinced that God has brought me through this crazy trial so far, sparing my life through many complications, and He will continue to sustain my life, bringing my complete healing. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends, family, and doctors surrounding me. Please pray with us for the 21st, for a simple fix, and no further surgery/ complications. Thank you!
It was 3 weeks ago today I had heart surgery #3. It has been a roller coaster for sure. I began to feel better last week, feeling energy, less fatigue. A few days ago I felt faint climbing the stairs, and went in yesterday for a followup. They ran several tests and adjusted the pacemaker. During the echo yesterday they discovered another quite puzzling problem within the heart. Something with the blood backing up at the pulmonary arteries. Not sure if it's a complication from surgery or another whole problem. Too many details to list, but I really do still need prayers. I do not have the strength to go through more surgery. My Dr said they will have to be aggressive in finding the cause and treating. I have strength that only God gives, it's been a rough 24 hours. I absolutely have faith in God's plan, and am ready for rest and relief.
Thank you for believing in prayer with me for wisdom as the Dr's meet and plan what to do, and healing overall.
Today was Dr follow up. After a 3 hour appt, complete with a spontaneous echo and lab work, the conclusion is I do not have a relapse of the Pericardial effusion. The pain is said to be residual pain from the major surgery, pericardial effusion & drain. They said there was a total of 250cc of blood drained from the sac around my heart. It has only been 12 days, so a few more weeks to heal is warranted, and I will focus on allowing rest time. As for my heart beats, tissue regenerated somewhere within my heart and is driving the top chamber of my heart to beat 99% of the time on its own. This is bizarre because it was 100% dead for 6 days after surgery & began regenerating. The bottom chamber of the heart is beating 100% driven by the pacemaker. Needless to say, I was quite confused by the top chamber... but on some rare occasions it can regenerate, usually unreliable... My pacemaker was adjusted to accommodate this change in my hearts function.
I am going to take this whole thing a step further in my walk of faith... this is the time I will take my discouragement and place it into the belief that slowly, step by step my heart is healing. I am praying that the beats will return 100% on their own, within the boundaries of a normal driven heart rate. I pray the regenerated beats will not be out of rhythm or race out of control. God will have the last say, the victory. I pray that the heart function we have been trying to suppress will normalize and no further surgery will be necessary. Two good thing seen today were, the heart hasn't raced beyond normal ranges yet, and the junctional & close conductions are no longer seen. Praying my pain & pressure subside & I'll have many more bizarre, amazing reoprts to share soon!
Thank you for continuing this journey with me, and may we watch a miracle unfold together :-) Greater days yet to come!!!
I am home. Today the Surgeon rechecked the progress and somehow my dead SA node has regenerated again. The Dr is very confused because this time he saw a " night to day " change during the 8 hours of surgery. The SA activity had been totally shut off. and it appears the AV node is still dead and being fully paced. We are praying that the SA will form a scar tissue to re kill it fully. I have stopped all steroids and anti inflammatory drugs, still taking some narcotics for pain. The Dr said he really felt that God was on his side during the procedure and allowed the changes, yet has no idea what plan is now. He said we will need to pray and trust God. I think this is the positive side to this, a Dr proclaiming God is our only hope of getting an answer. He says we will not lose this battle.The plan of attack as of now will be, I am on a Lifewatch monitor again to see where things level out. My Dr is out of town all next week. Possible further surgery if its deemed safe enough to re ablate the wall which is very thin. In the recent surgery I was already having wall leakage,a high risk in re ablating. He also suggested the possibility of a full open heart surgery. This feels like the movie "Ground Hog Day,' where you wake up with the same nightmare every day. I vote for no more surgery, and a fully regenerated heart. Please don't quit praying with us all. I cannot fathom why we are in this place, but we are... so we must trust.
I am still in much pain, and some breathing tightness as well. I really must get well and return to work so we can keep our health benefits alive as well. I feel more stuck now than ever, yet every variable is out of my hands... so I think this is what total faith really means. Hope I can pass the test.
"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." Psalm 118:17
Hello friends. I hope I haven't frightened you all too much. My kids and a few others have shared with me some of the weird stuff I have posted. For those wondering, I think I am alert enough for the moment to give an update. Every time I've tried, I have been very unsuccessful :).
Last Thurs I had surgery June 2., lasting 8 hours. I am living fully by the beat of a pacemaker. The Dr spend an hour yesterday explaining the lengthy procedure. I have a very large SA node tissue area and a very stubborn one. it was a complicated procedure lasting almost 8 hours. A few hours after I got to the ICU, I was taken back into surgery to drain 180cc of blood from the pericardial sac around the heart. This is alot of blood in the sac, causes the heart not to be able to contract. they then placed a drain for the next 24 hours to remove additional drainage as well.I was in severe pain. So thankful for the diligent nurses and Dr's working together t0 save me from a worse event. The daily ultrasounds show that the fluid has stayed away from my heart sac since then, which is good. Yesterday, I gained 14 lbs. I was retaining fluid around my lungs., so they began a few regimes of laciks, So far today I have lost 8 of the 14 lbs, Wheww, moving in the right direction! I had a few scary episodes over the weekend as well, one while my sweet Nicki was here. My heart wasn't allowing for a contraction and was forcing the blood back up my throat, causing me to suffocate. hoping these are coming to an end.
Todays pacemaker reports show that there still may be some p wave activity, which shouldn't be there.... waiting to see how things settle. I am in alot of pain, and I can feel every heart beat/ impulse. There will be adjustments to the way my heart reacts for every activity. There has been alot of pressure from my neck veins when I walk, but some adjustments to the pacemaker helped that today. I finally enjoyed some visitors yesterday, before then.... I only know of the funny stories I am told. The meds have really altered me. My kids are enjoying hanging with the grandparents, and I can't wait to see this all behind me. My prayer is that I press through, lives are touched,Dr's gain knowledge, God gets gets glory... and we live happily ever after. Thank you to you all who have hung in with prayers, love, and concern. You are a blessing. A very big challenge weighing on my mind is getting back to work, one day at a time. Glad we are in the passenger seat for this ride.
From Debbie's husband, Jimmy
- Praise God! She made it through surgery. Headed to recovery now. 1 more hour until she heads to ICU. Thank you Lord for Your mercy. We pray for a full recovery. I will continue to post her progress. Much love to all.
- ICU with Debbie. 8 hrs of surgery. Pray hard, she is not doing good. Lot of pain. Feeling heart attack like symptoms. Calling all prayers... Let us be relentless toward heaven PLEASE
- Rushing Debbie back to surgery. She has fluid filling up around heart. Life threathening. Oh Lord please help Debbie in Jesus name.
- She is stable. They got the fluid out. Drain is in. Thank you Jesus! Appreciate the prayers.
She is still in lots of pain. Having a hard time breathing. Wow long day.
- Debbie had a pretty rough night. Lots of trouble breathing & tremendous pain. They are doing another echo to check fluid around her heart. Dr said he suck out about 250cc of blood around her heart, which apparently is a lot. Drain may not be working. Echo will help them know. The fluid needs to be removed or it could be fatal. She is really suffering & down in spirit. Lord give her strength to carry on.
- Drain is out. New echo today. No fluid. Being managed by PCA aka pain pump. Possible fluid in right lung. Moving to cardiac unit and out of ICU. Still shortness of breath. IV blew and her right hand looks interesting. Love ya all. You guys are the best. Certainly feeling the love.
- While eating lunch... Debbie had another episode with suffocation. Not sure what is happening. She starting bleeding thru the nose. Scary stuff. Nicki was with her and it was quite traumatic. This is really frustration for Deb since she is a fighter. Pray on my friends
Our God is bigger, He has a plan. Today has his agenda all over it... Thank you all for your prayers, faith, love and support.
I had my followup yesterday, and the tests revealed that my heart has been going into an accelerated junctional rhythm along with the other conditions. This is causing a significant drop in my cardiac output. This means I am now required to undergo both an AV and SA node total ablations. A modification will not work. This means once I am through the 2 procedures, my natural normal heart functions will not ever work, but will be 100% reliant on my pacemaker. Once the AV is destroyed, there will be no backup. The Dr's say this is a difficult procedure and adjustment. It's rare to have both completely destroyed, but both of mine are significantly malfunctioning. There are a lot of details involved in this... but all I really want is to be healthy, free from suffering. I know all this must be for a purpose or I wouldn't be enduring it.
I know we all have been praying for healing, but since I have not received it yet, I trust it's for a greater plan. Every day continues to be a miracle, as it is for each of our lives.
I wish Thursday wasn't necessary, and there'd be a way to avoid the surgeries and permanent alterations, but so far... it is. Please keep praying with us for my healing and for my family. My surgery will be Thurs at 7:30am.
Thank you much.
A quick update. My surgeon required me to be seen by another surgeon today for a second opinion prior to the June 2nd surgery. The Dr may have found a loop hole today, My pacemaker monitoring report shows that I may have an additional electrical pathway near the AV node that may be triggering many of the arrhythmia's. If this is true, then the total destroying of the SA node may not be necessary. This would be wonderful news. He believes this problem has been masked by my meds. I will see him in one week to re evaluate the possibilities. Please be praying. This would help me to avoid the more risky surgery, and be an answer to prayer. Please pray specific that they'd be able to locate the center of the source, and eliminate it. Also, I am having a pacemaker syndrome, where the heart and pacemaker are fighting against one another. This as well needs to be regulated, causing other arrhythmia's. I believe God knows the answer, please believe with me!
I haven't updated in a few weeks, but not too much has changed... yet. I have surgery scheduled for June 2 at 7:30am.
I went to my pre-op appointment yesterday, and it was pretty detailed on the plan. I have the possibility of needing up to 3 additional surgery procedures during this next hospital stay. The Dr will be attempting to complete the first procedure ( making the function of my heart 100% reliant on the pacemaker). When completed, the machine will be running each beat of my heart. I will go home on a continuous lifewatch monitor once again for a while to ensure the beating is steady and safe.
If he is unsuccessful this time, a few days later the plan will be to call in a different specialist to preform a rare, precise procedure involving injecting an alcohol solution into the main artery feeding the SA node to cause a small heart attack to that portion of the heart. The risk of causing a massive heart attack is relevant if any of the solution should leak into the other chambers of the heart. This procedure has not been done on very many patients overall the US. I will be admitted into the ICU once again.
I wrote many details to ensure that the prayers don't stop. In my natural flesh, I left yesterday feeling nervous, and frustrated for having such a unique circumstance. But my spirit is refreshed in all thats going on around me. I have been able to be hands on preparing the new church building God gave to The Remedy Church, being a helpmate to my husband. I am thankful for the strength that I've been able to keep. Our 1st service in there is this Sunday... we are very excited. Also, my daughter is getting married next saturday! The planning has come along beautifully. Steve has continued to be so detailed and supportive to us all. Tiffani and John will definitely be blessed. And Nicki is graduating on June 13th. So I must get out of the hospital in time!. There is so much to look forward to!
I have to believe that God is in control, and my suffering will have a great purpose, and will end at some point. I am learning more and more that a miracle doesn't always mean a one time healing or event, but for me... living yesterday, and today, and waking up tomorrow are all miracles. And the things (small or big) that I accomplished yesterday, today, and will accomplish tomorrow, are all miracles too. If I focus just on the challenge laid before me, and don't recognize the accomplishments... I am missing it.
I really, really appreciate all the prayers, love, and support you all have continued to give. Who would have known that it would drag on this long. Not my plan for sure. But I will see today for what it is, and place tomorrow again into God's hands.
In 20 days, i will have those surgeries, if I do not receive a healing of my heart. Please believe with me that they can be avoided. If not, I will not stop... but press through!
My doctor followup was very thorough today. It is for sure, my heart is in need of another operation. I will have heart surgery #3 on June 2nd. This one will be more invasive than the previous 2. I have a stubborn SA node ( the main pacemaker of the heart). It is still running at rapid rates. They will be attempting to finish what they couldn't finish from surgery #1. The end result will be my heart beating solely from a pacemaker. Currently it uses the pacemaker 20% of the time. The method of this procedure to be done is a very rare and complex one. Also, my frequent PVC's have been triggering Pacemaker Mediated Tachycardia. This can lead to dangerous rhythms. This is one of the reasons I have been receiving calls throughout the night. My Dr changed a setting and hoping it will minimize this trigger problem. (All my medically knowledgeable friends may understand these details. )
On a side note from the rest of my life: My daughters wedding is one month from today. The fiance's family truly has continued pulling the details together for us. I am so thankful for Steve. And my other daughter Nicki is graduating 11 days after my surgery, so proud of her! This will be a squeeze to recover. My parents will be in town for this surgery, that will be nice.
And good news this week... as most of you know, my husband and I planted a brand new Church 16 months ago, before I know a surgery was coming. It has been a step of faith. Just this week, we got a permanent building... and will no longer meet in schools. The details on how this all worked are amazing. The website to check out details FYI is www.theremedychurch.info.
It just gives me one more glimpse of faith and hope that I too will see an answer/ miracle in my heart. I'm not sure why suffering lingers... but I trust it will serve it's purpose and I will be set free soon.
“The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it.” Helen Keller
The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. Psalm 41:3
Thank you all again for believing with us, praying with us, and encouraging us. I appreciate each of you!
Just a few updates. Last weekend I made it to my daughter's bridal shower in Las Vegas where she is in college at. It was a wonderful time! The night before leaving for Las Vegas, I had a massive chest pain episode, and could not exhale. Lasted way to long. I was determined not to miss the shower, so went to bed in prayer that it would subside, and praise God, it did! I woke up the next morning better.
I've had a few more phone calls from the Lifewatch monitor techs, not sure what the outcome was. I will see my Dr next week for another follow up. Still holding out on surgery until the wedding is over. My heart has been running fast, way to fast from only using 10% of the SA node. My blood pressure is now running high too.
The past 2 days I have gotten out on walks with my husband around the neighborhood and have done well keeping up. My legs have gained strength back, which I am so thankful for!!
My incision had split open a few days ago, with what appeared to be infection coming out.... not a good sign since it's been 4 weeks since my surgery! But, it's looking better now :-). Glad I waited on seeing the doctor.
So I still have lots going on, but am doing ok, day by day :-). Thank you all so much for your prayers, I know good things come through the strength only God gives!
I know I haven’t updated in a short while. I am in kind of a waiting period. It has been 3 weeks since my last surgery. I had a few followup appointments since then. The pacemaker site is still quite painful. It was placed under my muscle, which isn’t the typical way it’s done, but due to the amount of pain I am still experiencing I am not sure if it shifted or is lying near a nerve or something. I am hoping it settles on its own.
As for rates and rhythms, it is evident I will need another surgery. I have received a few calls in the middle of the nights from the LifeWatch heart monitor company awakening me because of unstable rhythms. I also received 2 more calls today from them. I do not yet see the benefits of the surgery to date. My heart races randomly and when i lay down, which is opposite of what I was prior to surgery, along with many bouts of accelerated junctional tachycardia rhythms (for all my medical friends). The mystery continues. The doctor wants to hold off on the surgery if possible for 6 weeks to allow the pacemaker leads to set in place. And my daughter is getting married right after that. So as I said, I am in a waiting period. I pray the heart will stabilize with Gods help.
I am stronger now than I have been in the past 5 weeks. I am so thankful to be able to walk with stronger legs again. I am encouraged again, feeling peace and enjoying each day. My family and friends, and even those I have never met, have been a true encouragement to me, building my faith and strength. I have had many opportunities to share about my challenge with people, and God is using it to encourage others. I am happy that good can come even from suffering.
I know it’s been a long journey, believe me I am living it, and I am so thankful for you all who continue to keep prayers, encouraging words, and good thoughts flowing for me. I know it’s tough to not see results quick. I am a get ‘er done gal. I think all things can be done instantly, and if they are not I can get impatient. So... yes I know we can grow weary in waiting for good reports. But I know I will see one, and will be living one. Thank you for hanging in with me to see me through.
Every day is precious. I will not lose hope. I know the promise in store for me :-)
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27
I miss my Scripps crew, Keller Williams Crew, and far away family and friends... but you all are in my heart :-). I will return soon! I have enjoyed getting back to The Remedy Church the past 2 weeks, you all have been so wonderful!
Thankful for you all in my life!
Today I had my 2 week follow up appointment... and not a good response. My rhythm has the Dr concerned, some things that are unexplainable. They changed some settings on my pacemaker. The Dr is pretty certain that I will be returning for another surgery soon. He gave us no confidence or hopeful comments that things are in the right direction, improving, or beneficial from the 2 previous surgeries. As for the 3rd surgery, he wants to try and hold off until my daughters wedding in 8 weeks, incase there were complications to follow. I am to lay low, be cautious as to not trigger a sooner return to surgery. I will try and be obedient to this request, though I will not stop pressing on.
All of this can be discouraging.... and is. But I know that I am not in this alone. Just when I am hopeful that there could possibly be a conclusion, God says the story is not finished being written yet. So, I wait and trust that the best is yet to come. I really look forward to the wedding coming up, and am so thankful for the fiance's family for removing the stress from me, and making this a most beautiful wedding to come, beyond my expectations.
I pray that the Dr will gain more insight and wisdom as time passes over the next few weeks, and God will provide an answer.
I don't know how we would have made it through this challenge thus far without the support and love of family and friends, co workers, and strangers.... all believing in faith that God is able and willing to help me through.
I will continue to seek Him, one day at a time. I know I am not finished with all that I am to do. So... as I have to press on through yet another surgery (unless God intervenes), I pray I will grow stronger, lives will be touched, hearts will be changed, and God will make something beautiful out of this mess.
Thank you for believing with me. Please don't quit praying. I know it's been a long journey ( believe me, I am living every minute of it). I hope to continue to make the best of every moment until something changes.
My follow up appt went well yesterday. Pacemaker is setting well. I was slightly stronger. I was blessed ending the day enjoying dinner with my daughter Tiffani, talking wedding plans with her fiancé and his family. It was a good day ;-). I am blessed tremendously by Tiffani's father in law to be. He has been beyond all expectations the biggest support to Tiffani and John and us all with the wedding planning. They are finishing the details today. I am so thankful that my daughter and son in law to be will be blessed with a truly amazing wedding. We weren't meant to do life alone. Thank you Steve.
I am weak still today, and praying this pain would leave. I have felt some skipping of beats going on. but I will remain encouraged that the days will get better. If I do need to undergo any further surgery, I hope to hold off until after my daughters wedding. I must focus on gaining enough strength for that special day.
It feels like normal life is so far away, but I know i am not alone.
Thank you once again for all the kind words and encouragement and especially the prayers.
I am home, sweet home :-). Now for all the pain & dizziness to go away. One day at a time... I've been in bed for 21 days & ready to get out. Of those 21 days,14 were spent in the hospital, and I underwent 2 separate heart surgeries... ending with a specialized pacemaker. I am not sure if it has helped yet, I am in too much pain to notice. The pacemaker was placed deep within my muscle below my collarbone. I also am still very dizzy and blurred vision, and having chest pressure when walking. I am the weakest I have ever felt.
But somehow through all this suffering, I have a peace. I feel that everything will be all right. I trust God will heal me with no further surgery necessary. I believe God is in control of this whole situation and will give me even brighter days ahead. This story is not over yet...chapters of victory are to be written! I feel like I am given a new chance, a new beginning. I desire to see things improve day by day, and be at rest in my heart for years to come!
I have a follow up appt on friday to check the pacemaker and remove the surgery dressing. I pray it will be the beginning of the good reports
Thank you all for believing with me, I feel the strength of the prayers growing in me. Greater days yet to come!
Since my surgery on Friday, it has been pain filled days. I finally found a little relief through the night by increasing the Dilaudid to every 2 hours, and muscle relaxor. Possibly a hematoma on the pacemaker causing extra pain, but also the fact that Dr placed the pacemaker deep within the muscle to hide it, is a contributor. I am happy to have some relief flowing.
It is still possible I will need yet another surgery.
Dr says if I need another surgery, he most likely won't do it for 6 weeks. My daughter Tiffani is getting married in just over 9 weeks. So, I need this to be complete and be whole. I know God knows each step.
Just an update again. My next and hopefully final heart surgery is confirmed for today at 3:30pm. I will come out with a specialized pacemaker. Hoping irregular beats will be fixed, and no further surgeries necessary. Most of all I hope it cures my fatigue and shortness of breath, chest pressure, etc. I look forward to pressing on to great things in store! Thank you for believing with me that things can improve.
From Jimmy, Debbies husband
Just when I thought we were in the clear... Debbie comes back from recovery room with complications. Arrhythmias with R on T PVC and pacemaker kicking on almost continuously, which has to do with autonomic dysfunction. In laymen terms pray cuz it's looks like it not working!
Debbie has slipped into a junctional rhythm overnight. Both her heart rate and blood pressure are dangerously low. We are headed to Scripps Green hospital now. She will be monitored in room 316 overnight and then they will do surgery tomorrow morning. Please pray for the Lord to guide this process and bring an end to her suffering.
They will be completing the total ablation of her SA node, which is the natural pacemaker for the heart. They then will be placing the permanent pacemaker that from that point will completely control her heart. This is a dangerous and life altering process. Please again PRAY! May the Lord bless each of you…
Jimmy (Debbie's husband)
Hello, I woke up feeling a little better today. Then my Dr called this morning and said my white blood count is elevated, possibly the inflammation around my heart. He feels like I am still on the verge of the SA node failing. I dropped into the 40's last night in the middle of the night, with a LOW BP... also I am dealing with several arrhythmia's, and that in itself is unpleasant. If it lingers there long, I will be heading back into surgery.
Time for God to keep it steady and be a testimony of healing and prove the statistics wrong. I will not give in. I still feel better today :-)
Kind of cool thing, we saw my heart surgeon on the news Channel 5 this morning supporting a foundation for sudden cardiac death among teenagers. A Scripps nurse was on with him, and she had lost a teenage son to a sudden cardiac death. She started a foundation to make EKG's mandatory for all students in sports at schools. He asked me to be a part of this screening and awareness once I am feeling up to it. I think it's a wonderful way to start to get involved ;-).
This afternoon, my husband took me out to sit and enjoy the ocean breeze. It felt wonderful to get out for 1 time other than a Dr appointment! Though I am quite warn out now. I have another re eval appointment and EKG on Thursday. Praying things will improve.
"The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:7-8
Hope you all are enjoying today!
Brighter day! Well, yesterday my heart went from the 90-100's beats per min down to 60, and into a crazy rhythm within the matter of minutes. It lasted about 10 min, then back up to the 90's. We were concerned the SA node was actually failing. Then again last night it did the same thing, dipped drastically quick down to 59 bpm... now almost 20 hours later, I am still beating in the 60's. with no more tachycardia episodes. And it appears I have gained back some natural heart rate variability, my heart is raising into the 70's when I stand. All of this we think is a wonderful sign. My heart up to this point since surgery, has been too high, and continuous at that high rate . There has up to this point been no natural fluctuation in the rate.
I am hopeful. Today, I have 20% more energy. I still have quite a bit of chest pain/ pressure, and several missed/ extra beats per minute, but the heart rate lowering, and not going much below 60 has been a token of hope for today. I will take it!
I know it's kind of early to get super excited, but after spending the last 12 days flat on my back and seeing no positives... this is exciting!!! I thought you all would enjoy some good news celebrating with me :-)
Thanks again for the prayers.... that hopefully keep coming until I can run on a treadmill & breathe again....
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Well I've been home for 48 hours... and not feeling well at all. I went for a re-evaluation today, and my EKG shows acute MI, But Dr thinks the ST elevation is actually pericarditis the swelling around the heart. He said there is a good possibility, he'll need to go in and under anestesia test again to see all that's really going on. My EKG was irregular in several areas. But then again, they altered a large portion of my heart. I'll be finished with the steroids tomorrow and hoping the brain and blurred vision will clear. I'm starting on Digoxin a heart med for heart failure. My rates 115 bpm resting around the clock (when he altered it in surgery to only be in the 60's) and they are increasing my beta blocker as well. And a weekly re-eval. I am in much discomfort.
This is the report Jimmy and I received today... and I share it in all detail only so that as prayers are requested and answered... God will be glorified. If you don't know how big the mountain is, you can't truly see how much bigger God is when the mountain is conquered. If there's no need, there's no miracle. I want to spend my energies on claiming Gods promises, and believing that ALL things will work together for good. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you" Psalm 39:7
I know so many are praying for me, believing with me, thinking good thoughts for me... and that encourages me to know, God will bring me through.
God has given me a few amazing Dr's here who are really attentive to helping me. I am going home today, my heart will be on a constant monitor. How the surgery went? Too soon to tell yet. We will monitor what goes on over the next 30 days. (more below)
Things can change by the day either way. There's lots to watch out for. I'm still on steroids, and heart meds, and pain meds. Another surgery is possible, but then again so is healing! Please continue to believe with us for a God given answer. The story continues, the journey seems long, but I know I am not alone.
A Cardiologist here at Scripps i never met, was talking about my Case to others and came spent over an hour with me today, and understood a lot about me. It's a long story to write, but he confirmed as I've been told before, I am in an incurable condition and slowing the heart through my incompleted surgery will not fix my entire condition, just a piece. He has a daughter similarly ill, and has spent 20 years researching every bit of info out there. He was amazingly knowledgable. I will follow up with him, but he can only help to minimize symptoms. There truly is no cure. Only a few hundred people in the nation who are similar to me. It will take years and millions of dollars in medical research to find real answers. It's believed to be caused by a specific gene, which is predestined to go wacky during a traumatic crisis such as my car accident 3 years ago that began this heart mess, causing life threatening alterations within the organs.
I've had a very emotional day, I've cried since I woke up. Still much pericarditis around heart causing pain, the Dr can hear it when I breathe in my lung expanded is rubbing the fluid around my heart. I'm getting strong steroids, vicodin, Motrin, Dilaudid,
My partially completed surgery may keep the heart rate down, but my brain vessels constrict different than 90% of the world due to the autonomic dysfunction, therefore it may continue to cause many other problems in other vital organs.
After hearing this cardiologists passion, I may someday help start a foundation/ committee to help raise funds to start the genetic testing needed to help others like me. Find a calling to help with that can be bigger than me!
I believe prayers brought this Dr here today. He was in the very 1st group ever of Electrophysiologist doctors nationwide to be licensed in this new area of diagnosis in the 90's. But wow he understands each symptom and also the dead end I'm at in the human eyes. He knew about every study and dr and hospital I've been seen at. he was truly knowledgable.
I know what we were told today, and all it does is push me to go further. Those who know me, know that 3 years ago when given 6 months to live... I was told life would be difficult, quit job, and driving etc would also be difficult. What that pushed me to do was begin nursing school, sell several more homes, plant a church with my husband etc. I have pursued every avenue for a cure/ healing... And yet I am left fighting this unimaginable battle. Maybe I am meant to fight for a cure for those who are less determined than me.
All I know is if God has left me here in this condition, He has a plan. And I cannot do anything without His blessing. So tonight, I am flat on my back in desperate surrender, to keep touching lives however He chooses to use me. In sickness and in health. He doesn't just use the healthy, I am not worthless, His plan is perfect. I may not move as fast as others, but I must not quit. Living a life with no regrets, if only we could all get to this place... Wow we could change our world.
I appreciate the prayers and support! I do not know if or when I will be returning to surgery to complete the final 10%. I believe I will go home possibly tomorrow with a temporary monitor on to watch the heart actions, if God brings me to it, He'll bring me through it.
The journey continues...
And there is always a purpose!
Hello it's Debbie writing this time, praise God I can. surgery lasted 7 hours and ended because it was too risky. Dr was able to only destroy 90% of my natural pacemaker, Im living on only 10%. he was not able to at this time address the 18-20 pvc's per minute either. The plan was to destroy 100% of the natural SA node and I'd be on a specialized pacemaker completely running my heart.
My first night was rough, my blood pressure stayed constant in the 74/47 range, with multiple long pauses, severe weakness and chest pressure, and several irregular beats, and my heart rate dropping as low as 34 beats a minute. And one episode of raiseng from 62-128 beats in the matter of 5 seconds.I have
Had a better night last night an increase to 80's/50' in blood pressure, a little stronger. Still in ICU awaiting a plan as to go back to destroy the other 10% and insert the pacemaker, please continue to pray for my amazing family.
I appreciate the hundreds of prayers an words of support.
Good morning. Debbie had a rough night. Her blood pressure is really low and she is in alot of pain. On top of it all they have managed to get her in an entirely different rhythm. Now she is missing beats completely. Should be interesting when she stands up. Now we are waiting for Dr to see where we go from here. Please pray for Debbie, she is tried of suffering for so many years. Tears... Love ya all!
Debbie update: Dr. Assistant just came in. They may have to do second procedure after-all. She is in alot of pain. Chest pressure, difficulty breathing. Time for Dr Jesus to do His work.
From Jimmy, Debbie's husband.
Debbie is in recovery. Headed to a room soon. Praise God for His provision. I know it's all the prayers that have bombarded heaven. More news to come as she wakes up and we will see how she feels. Keep pressing in. God will be glorified thru this whole story.
Dr just out of surgery. He said they had some difficulty ablating the sinus node. They only did a partial and after 7 hours, called off the second procedure for the pacemaker. They want to see how she responds. If no good they will have to go back in at later date and do total ablation & then insert pacemaker at that time.
Dealing with this condition progressively getting worse for the past 3 years, It is hard to believe surgery is tomorrow. I know what the doctors have told us, but I also know what my God says... and the doctor's hands will be guided tomorrow. Every detail even down to the story on how I have connected with these 2 surgeons, I believe is God given.
I want to say once more a very sincere thank you to each of you who have poured out your prayers, love, faith, and support to my family and I. I trust that God hears each one, and He alone has a mighty plan. I believe we can always use our story to touch others. We each have a story... don't take one moment of life for granted. We each have a purpose.
I have an AMAZING family, God has really gone over the top! And the family of God is a priceless gift.
Surgery is @7:30am pacific time, and then again late in the evening. I will be at Scripps Green in La Jolla, a wonderful hospital.
My husband will bring updates throughout.
Thank you! God is good...
"God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.'
It has been an exciting weekend. My daughter came in from nursing school a few days early to spend family time with Jimmy, Nicki, LJ and I, what a wonderful surprise that was! And today, 12 friends showed up at our service today from a former church we ministered at over 6 years ago, to show their love and support to us. It has been a truly blessed surprise filled weekend!
I want to say thank you again for all those (100's of you) who have poured out their love, prayer, and support thus far to my family and I. I am overwhelmed at how big, loving and awesome the family of God is! We are believing as well that God will have the victory!
I am very weak this afternoon, and I know the natural stress I am encountering (both good stresses and negative ones) do have the same effect on my body. I look forward to the day that I can lift my hands in worship without the fear of fainting, or laughing with friends without causing my heart to race, and loss of strength. And enjoying the simple pleasures life brings without causing overwhelming incomparable fatigue. Yes, one way or another, I will see that day... soon!
I love and appreciate each one of you... and pray you have an amazing week filled with continual praise to the God who grants each breath you breathe...
God desires the very best for us. If it says it in His word, I choose to believe it! Surgery next week, victory is mine --
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance." John10:10
Our God is bigger, our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other!
This week I will spend the next 6 days before surgery, praying, trusting, rejoicing in the healing God has in store for me. I have faith in the HEALER not the healing. I am convinced of His willingness, not just His ability. And... Tiffani is coming in from college, we will enjoy family time with all 5! I am blessed :-)
Thank you for your love and support, we will see victory!
Thank you for your love and support, we will see victory!
Here I am 2 weeks away from my scheduled date. It feels like I've waited so long, yet it's arriving so quick.
I am finding myself more emotional, which I don't like, but I allow myself the freedom in knowing that though I 100% trust God for His outcome, I am still 100% human. Please continue to pray for me and my family as the day edges closer. I have 6 more 12 hour shifts left to complete at work, and my fatigue is heightened from the natural stress that comes. I know God will be glorified in the outcome, but would love to escape the process if all possible.
I am thankful for all the love and support surrounding me.
“Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” Psalm 107:19-20
Thank you again for your prayers.
Surgery is in 3 weeks from today. Believing God has a plan.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
I switched to day shift at work this past week, which has helped some. Sleeping is a good thing. Working during the day is tough physically, and it requires me to take the emergency dose of meds to get through. I have 14 shifts left before surgery.
Some prayer partners ask for specific needs so there is direction in their prayers... so here are a few (besides the obvious- a TOTAL healing)
-for my continued strength to allow me to work
-for the surgeons as they prepare and discuss the plan of treatment (the surgeries are scheduled for 2/24 @ 5:30am & the second one in the evening if all goes well)
-for my husband, children and family as this is a tough decision for all of them as well
-for God to continue to get the glory in every aspect of my life
- for our finances, I will most likely be out of work for 2-3 months, and my husband does not at this time have a regular income.
I know God is our supplier, and I fear not, I choose to trust. My flesh is weak, my spirit is willing. I am so grateful for the large family God has surrounded me with through this ordeal.
Thank you for your love, care, and support. I look forward to the day when I can update with all God has done in and through this situation that I in myself cannot change...
A little story of my life...
**A letter from my incurable condition and my reply. Sometimes you just have to laugh! (altered from but I don't look sick)
Dear Debbie: Congratulations! You have been selected to be the host for a rare, incurable heart condition/ autonomic dysfunction. You will begin to experience many or all of these symptoms — and may even deal with several of them at the same time. -Life altering shortness of breath. This will give you the sensation of having a blanket pulled tightly over your head and you are continually out of air. You will feel as though you are suffocating, and the slightest exertion will make it seem that you have climbed Mount Everest. –Pain can be anywhere you can imagine. We are equal opportunity destroyers, therefore we will choose many places for you to experience pain. We have even devised many different types of pain — it could be aching, stabbing, throbbing, tingling, burning, gripping, or cramping. Chest pain will haunt you and the tightness may make you feel as though an elephant won't get off your chest. We are continually improving our repetoire of pain categories, so updates are to be expected. –Dizziness. This can be accompanied by nausea, mental confusion, loss of coordination, and sensations of spinning, rocking, or shaking. We try to simulate the experience of riding a never-ending roller coaster to satisfy your adventurous spirit. No safety harnesses required, and you have no choice of when the coaster ride starts,ends, or how fast it goes. –Extreme fatigue (Now remember, this is not just being “tired”. We will suddenly “pull your plug”, so to speak, and you will have NO energy at all. Even dressing or taking a shower will be too daunting of a task for you to complete. And because we like surprises, we will NOT give you any advance warning, so you could be in the middle of the grocery store, at work, playing with you kids, or trying to clean the house.) –Poor balance, lack of coordination. Let’s just say you may walk or talk like you are drunk — even if you haven’t had any alcohol recently. And for those of you who have never indulged in alcohol, you are now going to understand what it is like to be drunk and to have a hangover. –Forgetting, losing, dropping things. These are just a few of the perks of your condition. You will learn to expect them, but never to enjoy them. - Don't forget you will have hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills as you seek to get rid of me, but you will not succeed. In addition to the symptoms above, we also want to eliminate some things from your crowded lifestyle. Here are a few of the things which will be taken away from you now that you are chosen to have a chronic condition: The ability to stand or walk for more than a few minutes without experiencing fatigue, shortness of breath, a racing/ skipping heart, etc. The ability to complete any task which requires more than 10 minutes of concentration, multi-step activities or long-term projects will take 2-3 times longer then average. The ability to play and run with your children like you did before. The ability to go to the gym and work out, you will lose your tone. The ability to have a “normal” social life. The ability to accumulate sick days at work/ school to earn the perfect attendance bonus. As indicated previously, this condition is in constant flux and more symptoms will be added as we deem necessary. There is no warranty guarantee, technical support, or customer service available.
incurable heart condition/ autonomic dysfunction
incurable heart condition/ autonomic dysfunction
MY REPLY: Dear incurable heart condition/ autonomic dysfunction:
I would like to clarify that, while you may wreak havoc on my body, and maybe even confuse my mind — you cannot have my inner heart or my soul. You cannot have my faith, my hope, or my love. There are some good things that you have given me, things I never could have experienced had you not come to possess my body. You have given me: – strengthened prayer life and increased dependence on God’s grace and strenth, rather than my own – renewed friendship with strong, close, true friends. – appreciation for every precious moment I am given. A gift that is sometimes lost on the “healthy”. – growth in character, perseverance, and hope. – inspiration for to help others. – more compassion for others who are suffering. – better knowledge of my own body & health. – a reason to eat more nutritiously and take care of myself. – reasons to rest when I need it. You see, you will not find me an agreeable host. I will fight you, I will not give up. On bad days, I will take care of myself. On the good days, I will take advantage of every precious moment. You have thrown some obstacles in my life’s journey, but I will go over them or around them, no matter what it takes. In fact, while I am overcoming them, I will stop for a moment to reflect upon the mountain I am climbing, plant a few seeds and then continue on. I will learn and grow from this experience and help others.
I would like to clarify that, while you may wreak havoc on my body, and maybe even confuse my mind — you cannot have my inner heart or my soul. You cannot have my faith, my hope, or my love. There are some good things that you have given me, things I never could have experienced had you not come to possess my body. You have given me: – strengthened prayer life and increased dependence on God’s grace and strenth, rather than my own – renewed friendship with strong, close, true friends. – appreciation for every precious moment I am given. A gift that is sometimes lost on the “healthy”. – growth in character, perseverance, and hope. – inspiration for to help others. – more compassion for others who are suffering. – better knowledge of my own body & health. – a reason to eat more nutritiously and take care of myself. – reasons to rest when I need it. You see, you will not find me an agreeable host. I will fight you, I will not give up. On bad days, I will take care of myself. On the good days, I will take advantage of every precious moment. You have thrown some obstacles in my life’s journey, but I will go over them or around them, no matter what it takes. In fact, while I am overcoming them, I will stop for a moment to reflect upon the mountain I am climbing, plant a few seeds and then continue on. I will learn and grow from this experience and help others.
My Update is... My surgery date is set for Feb 24th. I will be having 2 separate surgeries...unless I get a God sent healing sooner. After speaking extensively with surgeon today regarding recent test, this is my only option to attempt to bring relief since other treatments have not been responsive. Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement.
My previous note:
As many people know, I am suffering with an incurable, rare heart condition stemming from an complicated autonomic disorder. In the past 3 years, I have been seen all over the country by some of the top cardiologists and told I have the most unique form they have seen. I am now facing heart surgery in February to attempt to bring relief since the medication treatment is not effective. It is a very rare and risky procedure. There are not many stats out there that have positive outcome, but there really is no other alternatives, besides a divine healing.
The thing I really need from you is your prayer support. I don’t want to dwell on my symptoms, but there are times when I feel overwhelmed by them. Please pray for my healing. Your prayers are the best support you can give me. God has a plan and a purpose, I trust Him.
I am asking for my family and friends to commit to join with my family and I in prayer and fasting (whatever you consider fasting) in the coming 30 days (12/12-1/10). I am tapering off my meds to have one final test done after the 30 days. I think it will be the most opportune time to see God place his hand on my life and work a miracle! I know He has more for me. I know He can heal me before any further procedures take place. I am desperate for a touch. I want to see God get all the glory in this situation!
Also, being able to serve the Lord is important to me. I owe him a debt of love I can never repay. Before this illness, I had many opportunities to serve in ministry with my husband. I am still the same person with the same gifts and desires. As with any illness, I may have to limit myself at times in order to protect my health. Pray that God will give me discernment in this area of my life. I know He called us to plant a new Church and it is such a blessing to be serving at The Remedy Church! We stepped out in faith, believing it’s God’s will. I want to continue to be a vital part of this along side my husband. I am a “behind the scenes kind of gal,” but the Bible also says you have not because you ask not. So I am humbly asking for you to partner in prayer with me. God’s will be done! Thank you for your love and support.
We are believing within 30 days, we will see a new heartbeat!
"In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Phil 4:6
This blog started as a Facebook event post with almost 500 people signing up to pray for my condition. I hope this is a reminder that sometimes things don't go our way, but our faith should not waiver. God is writing our story, one day at a time.
I have posted the journey above--- Scroll up
I have posted the journey above--- Scroll up