Healing a Heart

As most of you have probably seen, I have not written in a very long time. I made a goal last January to write on a regular basis and was doing well for a while before I started to hit some health issues.

I have a history of heart issues. Issues that I was born with. In 2013 I had a cardiac ablation for what they thought was Supraventricular Tachycardia. What that means is I had an extra muscle in my heart that made it beat fast. Or so they thought…

I started having more palpitations so I went back to the cardiologist. Here is the funny thing, after the ablation, I had more issues with palpitations but each cardiologist I went to see told me it was nothing and that I was fine. So, eventually, I quit going. I started to believe that it was all in my head. After all, they were the experts right?

This past summer, the palpitations began to get worse and chest pain followed. Normally, with SVT you get chest pain but it goes away after a little bit. This was not the case for me. On a daily basis, I was having severe chest pain. I went to my general practitioner and she decided that it wasn’t in my head and I needed to see someone. She referred me to a different cardiologist (one I had never seen before).

The first couple visits were routine. EKGs, ultrasounds, blood work, you name it. The difference was, this cardiologist did not think it was in my head. He knew it wasn’t right and was determined to figure out what was going on. I was put on a halter monitor for 15 days which caught a rapid heart rate but he was not convinced that it was the SVT back. He referred me to a second cardiologist but ordered more tests to check other issues. He was the plumber of the heart and the other cardiologist was the electrician. Together, they wanted to figure out what was happening but I remained positive.

The last test I took was a CT of the heart. A few days later I was back in the doctor’s office for the results. I was expecting him to tell me the usual. Nothing was wrong with the scan and it probably was SVT. As he came into the room, he had trouble gathering his words and at that moment, I knew it was not good. His first words were, “I’m glad we did this test.” and then silence. A look of worry filled his face as he explained to us that I have an extremely rare heart defect where one of the major arteries that sit on top of my heart run between two of the vessels.

He explained that, normally, doctors diagnose this after an individual has died from sudden heart failure. Unfortunately, since they do not know a lot about the heart defect there are only a handful of people in the U.S. who even know how to do the surgery. At first I thought, oh surgery, it will probably be really simple like my cardiac ablation. Unfortunately, it is open heart surgery.

Open heart surgery. The phrase still runs through my mind as a bad dream. How can I be at this point? Just months ago we were talking about having another child and getting excited for that reality. Now that dream feels shattered and fear feels like the only logical feeling to have.

Deep inside I know that I have to trust God’s plan. He is the one who can get us through this but man, sometimes that task seems difficult. I hope I can be a beacon of hope to others struggling as well. I will continue, as much as I can, with posting my journey through this hard time.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9