It's Easter Sunday, and I am more than grateful to be alive so I can express to others just how full my heart is for my Savior, Jesus Christ, for the amazing love and blessings he continues to shower on me and most importantly, the gift of eternal life he has given to all of God's children. We are truly brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter our age, color, nationality, religious beliefs or the condition of our hearts. His love for each of us is pure, complete and freely given. I will never fully understand his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the cross during this life. The agony he went through is beyond my level of comprehension. Nor will I ever fully appreciate the fact that he suffered for every sin, sorrow, illness or moment of doubt each mortal must go through. And while I know that trying to live as he did is the only thing I can do to show my gratitude, I fall short in that department every day.
I had no idea what this day would mean for me. Those of you who read my last post know that I went into the hospital for an angiogram last Thursday. I had my first bout with rheumatic fever when I was nine years-old and spent six months in bed. I could only get up to go to the doctor's once week so my blood could be drawn. I had two other flare-ups of the illness over the next few years. The experience left me with a hole in my heart and the inability to do anything of a physical nature during my entire school career. So I opted to take drama and write for the school newspaper. They were great experiences, but I always felt like an outcast because I couldn't participate in any of the activities other kids took for granted because my heart was bad.
It wasn't a fun way to grow up, but neither was losing my aunt, my mother's sister, from heart disease when I was 11 or my father from a massive heart attack when I was 13. They had both suffered though rheumatic fever like me as kids and had been left with bad hearts. I knew what my prognosis for life would be and never believed I would live that long since I had the same pesky genes coming from both sides of my family. I was quite surprised when I made it into my forties and decided that every year I had after that was a true blessing. But I decided I would live my life the best I could and keep moving for as long as possible. I always worked at one or more jobs away from home, took care of my house, my family, my yard and my garden. I always tried to serve others but knew my limitations since I got tired very easily and worked best when it was at my own pace.
So being diagnosed with myocardial ischemia a little over six years ago didn't come as a great surprise. I'd had high triglycerides and high cholesterol for years and would find out a few months later that I also had Type ll Diabetes. But I moved to another state so I could help my son and his family after my daughter-in-law was diagnosed with Melanoma-Lymphoma not long after finding out there was a blockage in my heart. Since I didn't feel any worse than I always had, I didn't seek further medical attention. I believed the family doctor I was seeing for my allergies would alert me to any real problems.
Anyway, when I met the doctor who would be doing the surgery he said there was definitely a problem with blood flow in the lower, left portion of my heart, but he was going to take care of it. Preparing for that procedure was not fun, nor was laying on that table for the longest time while everything was made ready. I was very grateful my son had taken the day off to be with me but wasn't overly scared. I had put my faith and trust in God and was ready to accept the next part in his plan for me. I had even added a codicil to my will so there would be no issues if something went wrong.
Imagine my surprise when the entire procedure took less than five minutes and the doctor stood back and said that all of my arteries were clear. I was a little out of it due to the sedative and thought I had misunderstood, but he left the operating room and I was taken into recovery. It was a couple of hours before he came to see me. By then I had a lot of questions to ask but the only really important one was why. He said there must have been two false positive readings with my tests because the one they had done ten days before confirmed what the one in Missouri said. He believed that most of my issues had to do with high blood pressure, including the swelling in my ankles and feet. He would change my medication, and we would look at other things if I didn't start feeling a whole lot better.
So that's my Easter Miracle. I had gone into the hospital believing the best news I could get was needing a stent or two in my heart so the blood could get through and came away knowing that my arteries were clear. I'm still trying to digest that but know that God has more work for me to do before I leave this life or things would have turned out much differently. None of my symptoms have gone away yet, but my spiritual heart feels so much lighter. I know God hears and answers our prayers, and I know I can turn to him for anything. And I am so grateful for my Savior. He lives! He loves us! He gave us the most precious gift! And I will continue to follow him the best I can so I can live with him, and all the people I love, again some day.