Isaiah 40:8

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Aging With Faith

A few months ago, I made the decision to no longer share the ongoing details of my medical journey. Something that I had been doing since I began my blog, following open heart surgery to replace my defective aortic valve and an additional surgery for stage one endometrial cancer. Including sharing the details of the multiple complications and hospitalizations that followed both surgeries.

One of the main reasons for my decision was the simple reality that things had gotten very complicated. Not only for myself, but also for my doctors. Which also brought confusion to my posting during an equally complicated diagnostic process. Something that I really wanted to avoid.

But after some thought, and a good bit of diagnosing and sorting out, I now feel led to share the conditions that I’m currently living with. With the emphasis being on living.

Due to some damage to my left ventricle, that occurred prior to my heart surgery, I’ve been diagnosed with early left ventricle heart failure. Along with A-fib, mini strokes and a tendency to produce blood clots: including DVT blood clots. ( Which are now under control with medication.)

However, the heart failure still causes shortness of breath and a good bit of fluid retention. So, I’ve also been put on a sodium and fluid restricted diet and diuretic. Which I’m following closely, as the excess fluids really affect my breathing, causing more shortness of breath.

In addition to my heart condition, I also live with degenerative arthritis in my spine that began in my late twenties, and continued to progress with age. Now limiting my ability to move around without severe pain and muscle spasms to about five minutes. A back brace has been recommended since surgery is too dangerous with heart failure and a blood clotting disorder. Especially that I would need to be taken off Warfarin before and during surgery and could have a major stroke. I also don’t want opioids. So, the back brace is my best option.

To further complicate my mobility issues, I’ve also been diagnosed with myopathy and myelopathy. Which cause additional pain and muscular weakness. With the weakness being equally frustrating. Especially that my diaphragm is also affected, contributing to ongoing issues with asthma.

Living with all of these health conditions has brought me to several conclusions. With the first being the simple fact that life is always a precious gift from God. And no matter what I’m living with, I’m very grateful to still be alive.

I’ve also come to realize that even though I live with multiple chronic health conditions, I’m still a person, apart from my medical conditions. And strongly refusing to allow them to control or define me. Which is one of the reasons that I have really grown to love weaving.

But above all else, my faith and trust in God has grown and deepened in so many ways since my medical journey began. In particular, the daily reminder that I’m still alive and sustained by His grace and strength alone. Which was also made very clear when I went into cardiac arrest at the beginning of my heart surgery, waking up eight hours later in the ICU, very grateful to be alive and staring at the hospital ceiling. Then, once again, when I survived severe sepsis in June.

And to be honest, if anyone would have told me everything that I would experience before all of this began, I never would have believed them. But now, I can truly say that God’s hand has been on my life in both the simplest and most profound ways. Not only over the past several years since my initial symptoms began, but over the past sixty seven years.

Sustaining me through many challenges and trials. Including my daughter’s passing in 1999, after a twenty two year battle with Spina Bifida. Always continuing to draw me closer to Himself, while using my circumstances to prune and shape me into the person and believer that He wants me to be.

I know that I won’t live forever. No one does. I also know that I’ve been given extra time, especially with my kids. For which I’m very grateful. But, I still won’t live forever in this human body.

Which also makes each Easter season very special. First, for my salvation, and the sacrifice that Jesus paid for my sins. Then, for His glorious resurrection. Conquering the power that death held over all humanity, in order to give the gift of eternal life to everyone who would repent and believe in Him.