Sunday, September 26, 2010

The heart of the matter

I write today to offer an explanation from this post.  Beware, it is very long.

The past month or so has been a whirlwind regarding my health.  Actually, I need to back up a little to explain where I am at now.

I was born with a VSD.  So basically all my life, my heart has made a "whooshing" sounds instead of the normal "lub-dub" that a heart should make.  It has never caused a problem or been a concern for me, other than the pre-medication before a dental appt.  (Ehh that's kind of a lie, but for this story's sake, it has always been somewhat benign.  Another day I will talk about my other health problems).

While I lived in Albuquerque, I had the opportunity to participate in a research study that also found a nearly undetectable ASD. However, my heart was still very healthy, and neither of these murmurs caused any problems.

Fast forward to August (of this year), and I went to establish care with an OB/GYN, because Rhett and I were looking to start trying for babies in a few months.  Upon hearing about my cardiac history, she felt that it would be best to be looked over by a cardiologist and have the necessary echocardiogram performed to verify that my heart was healthy enough for pregnancy.

I knew that there would be no change, so I happily made my appointment, battled the Monsoon to make it to said appointment, and plopped down on the table for them to press on my chest with a sonogram machine for 20 minutes.  During this time the tech said things like, "Wow, how come you never had this repaired?  We never see adults with these kinds of murmurs."  And then I start to feel uneasy, concerned that he can see things that may indicate my heart is not as healthy as I had thought.

Well, my fears were confirmed about 5 minutes after the test was over.  The cardiologist came into the exam room, and told me pretty bluntly that my heart pressures were more than double what it was 3 years ago, and that he wanted to send me to a surgeon to talk about repair.  I, of course, start crying, and the conversation continued like this (between sobs of course),
Me:  "What kind of surgery will this mean."
Cardiologist:  "More than likely Open-heart surgery."
M: "What is the recovery time for it"
C:  "About 2-3 months"
M:  "If I lost the 30 lbs I have gained since 3 years ago, will it go back to normal?"
C:  "Probably not"

I left the office a complete mess.  I went in thinking that it would be a run-of-the-mill appointment,   him telling me that everything was fine, but it wouldn't hurt for me to lose some of the extra weight I had packed on.

Well not so much.  obviously...

So I met with the surgeon a week ago (that was the important appointment I had), and he basically said that he thinks I will need the surgery, that it will be open-heart, but I could go back to work after 4-6 weeks, and the full recovery would be 2-3 months.  He also stated that during the operation he could repair both defects and not just the VSD (which was causing all the problems).  As difficult as this was to hear, I felt that God's timing couldn't have been more perfect.  He gave the OB the foresight to have me checked out, which revealed a fixable defect, that would have had the potential to seriously affect me and the baby I may have been carrying.

Pretty incredible huh,  God never ceases to amaze me in the protecting hand He has on my life.

Well the surgeon ultimately wanted me to have a cardiac cath to verify the need for surgery, because sometimes the echo can sometimes be wrong.

I had this done Friday.  And after a brief, drug-induced discussion in the recovery room with the cardiologist, it revealed that my pressures appeared better than they had previously on the echo, but my heart was still shunting blood from the left ventricle to the right ventricle at a rate of 1.46 (if you are confused just remember that your heart SHOULD NOT do this at all).  The actual cut-off point for surgery is 1.50.  So, I am just below the need for surgery.  However, my doctor did say that he would recommend surgery IF I wanted to get pregnant.

And then I passed out in the restroom right before I was discharged.  That was neat.  At least I didn't wind up with a bruise on my face like the last time I fainted.  That is my typical MO.

So that's where I am.  It looks like I will be having surgery, and it will probably be in November (with nothing confirmed yet), because I kind of want to get it over with!

Even after hearing that I will be forever changed through this operation, I feel so incredibly blessed through it all.  I know that through every trial and hardship, there is are reasons why we go through it.  God knows my heart (in more ways than one) and my desires for kids, but He also knew that I wasn't physically and mentally prepared for them, at least not yet. 

Through it all I have felt incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by loving people and many many prayers.  A special thank you goes out to my sweet husband, wonderful family, and all my old, new, and blog friends

I know that most importantly, my heart is in the Ultimate Healer's Hands.


Melissa E. said...

Holy Crap girl! God knit you together in your mothers womb! He knows what he's doing and we are all going to cover you in prayer! I'm so glad that you have some peace aobut this! Keep us posted and I will have fun following your blog. Love, Melissa E

Lil' Woman said...

Wow that is alot to have on your plate! Things happen for a reason and even tho it sucks to have to have a surgery like that, it will be better for you in the long run. Atleast it can be fixed and it will be fixed before it could do more damage!

Good luck girl, you'll be in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Ok, stinging tears! You are awesome and I'm blessed by your friendship! I'm SO SORRY though. You went from going to the DR. to see about babies to open heart surgery and you're STILL praising God. Ahhhhhhh, I'm praying now, already for calmness and healing! I'm in Texas but let me know how I can help!

Amber Joy said...

Wow girl! I would never have guessed this is what was going on with you! Praying for you. Keep us posted.

Marmie said...

You know my heart is with your heart and I am praying daily for you. We really need a date now and get this overwith so we can have red-headed Rhett's running around. All of my love.

Callie Nicole said...

Oh, I'm so glad to hear it is something they can fix. Let us know when your surgery is, and I'll be praying!

Sarah Louise said...

Oh wow! Scary! God is so good though! It's great you decided to see a doc before trying to have a baby...and good catch by your OB care provider. I hope everything goes smoothly and you have a fast recovery.

d.a.r. said...

WOW!! Great catch by your OB!! Okay, I am definitely making an appointment to get EVERYTHING checked before we start babymaking!

I am wishing you lots of luck and praying for you and your surgeons!

Marissa said...

It is so amazing how perfect God's timing is. What wonderful doctors you have taking care of you! You will be an amazing mother.

I can relate to your frustrations. Growing up Catholic we haven't used anything. I start Clomid on my next period. It is so hard to read blogs about girls who just conceive like that. Please e-mail me any time!! said...

Kelley, Kelley, Kelley!


i see this post (way, way, way too late) and now I do not see another for quite a few days.

I do hope you are doing okay.

prayers out to you and your amazing hubby!

(this is the bummer thing about being a slouchy blogger...I follow people like you, and you become a special person to me. Then, I get crazy behind on life and do not blog. then I come upon a post and see that serious things are happening. And i feel terrible)

There are just some people that I need to put on a special blog roll that I check on no matter what is going on...and you are one of them.

Hang in there friend

My sister found out that her MVP was deteriorating through an OB visit . If it were not for her routine care, she probably would have had a very poor outcome.

God is you have said "The Ultimate Healer"

prayers, prayers, prayers