Thank you for your prayers. God answered them!
I went to the local Emergency Room on Monday afternoon after experiencing several days of chest discomfort (not helped by nitroglycerin) The EKG showed some irregularities so I was transferred by ambulance to Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville.
I have left main coronary artery disease (LMD). Last July, I had open heart surgery, then a few months ago I received stents. Since then I have had several bouts of unstable angina. Angina is chest pain or pressure that occurs when your heart muscle does not get enough blood.
- 2001 – 2007 – Blood issues unknown origin. Weekly iron infusions from hematologist.
- July 6, 2007 – Open Heart Surgery – left main artery, CABG (AKA widow maker). See Heart Surgery: Object Lesson
- March 2008 – Second Heart Surgery – One of the two veins from the July heart surgery collapsed (two stints in left main artery required).
- May 2008 – Hemorrhage, hospital stay, View from the Back of the Ambulance
- May – June 2008 – Weekly iron infusions from hematologist
- July 20008 – Hemorrhage and hospital stay
Angina is stressful. It’s somewhat like having Braxton hicks (pre-labor) contractions in your ninth month of pregnancy. You know something is going on but you aren’t sure when it is time to go to the hospital.
Angina brings on anxiety, which leads to more chest pressure which leads to more anxiety–it’s a frightening cycle.
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and
the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”
The cardiologist informed me they would be doing a heart catheterization and if they found a narrowing, I would need open heart surgery again. I can’t put into words how I felt.
Most of my posts are about resting and trusting in God, yet the chest pains punched me straight into anxiousness and fear. Oh I was praying, and I remembered all the times God delivered me yet I still wrestled with doubt and worry.
My deepest desire is intimacy (in-to-me-see) with God. He is my strong tower, my rock, my refuge, and my hiding place. He is the Creator of the universe, He knows the number of hairs on my head, and He loves me. I know all this but I was afraid.
My open heart surgery was done before I could research the procedure. Now that I know what happens during the bypass surgery I was much more apprehensive. I even watched actual videos of the surgery on You Tube (there are times ignorance is bliss). I should have spent my time in Psalms instead of medical books.
Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all others thoughts are drained.–Arthur Somers Roche
Yielding to God’s Will
My heart cath was scheduled for the next day. That night I talked to God through the night. It was the next morning before I was able to tell God I surrendered all.
He gave me the strength to accept His will. If He wanted me to have this surgery He had a plan. I didn’t understand the worry was bondage until I was freed from it. It was liberating. I felt the proverbial peace like a river.
The surest way to intimacy with God is not to seek Him as a goodie giver, a problem solver, or healer in time of need, but rather by opening to His unmeasurable love.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you” Ps. 33:22.
God is so amazing. As I wallowed in anxiety, He lifted me above the circumstances and reminded me of His faithfulness. He made the universe, He shaped the stars. He made my body and my heart. He keeps my left main artery flowing.
He wasn’t angry or disappointed that my eyes weren’t on Him. He was there waiting on me with open arms as always.
A Shadow of Heavenly Things
Recently my son had a cavity filled. It was a major cavity close to the nerve. He was given gas and I held his hand during the procedure. It was so hard to watch him get the Novocain shot. My heart dropped when he tightened his legs and squeezed my hand. But I knew a few minutes of discomfort would ultimately save him excruciating pain later.
Our heavenly Father only allows pain with a purpose. The pains we have here on earth will quickly be forgotten in Heaven’s glory.
No Surgery Needed
It turned out I do not have to have open heart surgery. My left main artery is working efficiently. It seems I have a problem with the much smaller micro vascular arteries which can be handled with medication. Doctors and medicine help people live longer lives, but we know that God is the one who preserves our lives. He can call us home at anytime. His will be done.
Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into [God’s] hand; and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about.” –Hudson Taylor, missionary to China
Numbering My Days
My life prayer is from Psalm 80:12 “teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” Dealing with a left main blockage makes numbering my days much clearer. Patients with a left main artery disease have a high mortality rate during the five years after bypass surgery.
Daily chest discomfort are frequent reminders–I am blessed–I have an alarm bell going off reminding me of the importance of being in God’s will, to pray for guidance, and prioritize according to the Spirit’s leading.
Right now the most important thing I can do is play Crazy Eights with my youngest sons.
So good night, and thank you again for your prayers.
It is well, with my soul.