Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Walk With God

As I sit here, four and a half months after my heart attack, I can look back and see all of the ways God has brought me here and the reasons why.  It was a horrifying, yet very insightful journey.  I had been under some heavy stressful times with work and managing my personal life over the course of the past few years.  Yet the stress of work picked up greatly this year, and by the end of April my heart could take no more.  I remember saying to myself, and the Holy Spirit, that I needed a break.  I had never taken off any time from work, with the exception of a vacation here or there or time for recovering from surgery.  I always had a job and someplace to be and I always took my job seriously and gave it my all.  I always taught my children to do the best they could and then take a look back and see how they can do it better.  Now I have to sit back and realize that everything is not perfect and it doesn't have to be.  There is always going to be room for improvement and as long as you are looking for ways to improve, everything will work out.

God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  While we may not agree with that at times; after a while, we can begin to recognize why we had to go through difficult situations.  Those difficult situations and rough waters are meant to make us stronger or teach us a lesson.  Sometimes, we might even wonder why certain people are in our lives.  Some people for a very short period of time while other friendships may last a lifetime.  What we have to realize is that everything does happen for a reason and people are brought in our lives, or we are brought into their lives, for a reason and a purpose. We may not recognize how a bad relationship could possibly bring us any benefit; while, the truth of the matter is, that it wasn't meant to benefit us at all, but we were meant to benefit them.  Did you ever think that maybe we were meant to teach them a lesson, or simply make them a better person for having known us.  That in itself should be a pretty good feeling and leave us inspired to continue to help as many people as we possibly can.  I guess it boils down to how you look at life, and what your perspective is.  For me, I'm always looking for the positive in everything, because without sunshine and a little rain mixed in, you'll never see the rainbow!

The day God decided I had had enough, He did what He had to do in order to knock me down a few notches and give me the time I needed to rest, heal, do some soul searching, and learn to put myself first for a while.  Fortunately, He gave me all of this without damaging my heart!  You see, He tried to knock me down a couple times before this attack by giving me heart palpitations, high blood pressure, a couple trips to the hospital and even an overnight stay to be monitored. But this never slowed me down.  I still kept doing what I was doing and eventually He had to step in and take control.  That night back in April was definitely my breaking point.  The worst experience of my life and one that I do not want to re-live.  The stress of work had taken its toll and that evening it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  My husband wanted to take me to the hospital right away, but I thought if I just calmed down some it would get better, after all the last trip just turned out to be stress.  However, God realized this and it was then, that I started feeling a fist of pain and pressure in my mid-back area.  As I was sitting there feeling the pressure on the front and back of my heart, it was then I realized we needed to head to the hospital.  After several standard cardiac tests, they found that my enzymes were definitely raised and my heart was only pumping at 15% capacity.  Though when they found no blockages in my arteries, it was then determined that I had suffered from what they call "Broken Heart Syndrome", which actually mimics a full blown massive heart attack.  They explained that this is reversible when treated and over time the heart can return to its full function without any damaging after effects.  That was a great prognosis and I felt pretty good, yet the next morning, they had to insert a pump up to my heart to take the pressure off of my heart and give it a break.  Despite the fact that the pump was doing most of the work for me, my heart was so weak I went into cardiac arrest.

I remember the sudden flush of heat and nausea come over me so fast, that I told my husband to go get help because something was wrong!  He left me in the room alone while he was looking for the nurse.  I lay there by myself; wondering if I was going to die.  I called out twice for help, "Somebody help me, please!"  Although it was just a whisper of a cry, my nurse came in and then my husband. As I looked up in horror at my monitor, all I could see was it going crazy and the lines were disappearing in front of my eyes.  At that very moment, my nurse was about to jump on top of me when I heard her yell, "Yes, someone get the paddles!"  I locked my eyes on my husband and I cried out to myself and God, "God, I am NOT ready to die!"  It was then when my eyes rolled back in my head and I went limp as my husband watched in horror.  He said people filled that room so quickly and within 30 seconds the preaching was kneeling beside him holding his hand.

Waking up was the best feeling, but still very scary!  My Nurse, Alexis, was on top of me and someone else was putting a mask over my mouth.  I remember grabbing at the mask, "I can't breathe. Stop!"  It was if I could hear the whole room take a deep breath as they were calling out my name.

After I was brought back to life, I feel I was given a second chance.  This did not come easy though. The anxiety of the experience kicked in, and I was faced with a great challenge.  I have never been so weak.  Walking alone was a challenge, not to mention the depression and separation anxiety I experienced.  I didn't want to be left alone.  I was so blessed to have my husband, my mother, and my children by my side.  Without them I don't think I would have made it.  Prior to the doctors removing the pump, I went into a dream state and when I awoke, my mother said she saw such fear in my eyes that she will never forget it.  In my dream, I saw, my Father, Stepfather, and Grandfather - all of whom had already gone to Heaven.  They were sitting on a bench and my stepfather was looking down on me.  I could feel that there were many other people standing around waiting, but my focus was on these three dear men in my life who were waiting patiently to take me home.  When I woke up, I told my husband and mother that I just saw three people I was NOT ready to see yet!  This was the scariest of all as I was about to be put under anesthea while they removed the pump from my heart.  Waking up after the cardiac arrest was nothing compared to waking up after they removed the pump from my heart.  I survived, I made it!  Thank you God for making them wait a while longer for my arrival!

During the road to recovery, God has been with me every step of the way.  Once I got my strength back some, I started to feel guilty because I wasn't getting into any of my writing when I had ample time to give it my best effort.  It was God though who clearly told me that there is a season for everything.  I struggled at first thinking, 'Is this the season for writing, or the season for healing?' Then I realized that the Holy Spirit was not putting thoughts in my head to write anything, and I was not getting the urge to write, or do basically anything at all.  What I did do, was rest, binge watch some Netflix, and just take care of me for a change! Then it dawned on me that this was the season for healing and that's why I haven't felt the urge to do anything else until now.

It wasn't until a month ago when I suddenly felt that I was about ready to go back to work and that I could handle it.  The next few weeks I felt stronger and stronger, and my mind was getting in the right place.  Then it was as if I were pregnant and nesting.  I created a to-do list of the things I wanted to get done before going back to work and I was able to cross everything off of my list.  It was such a good feeling.  This past Thursday was my first day back to work after being out for 4.5 months.  It was invigorating to say the least.  I am one lucky woman to have such a loving and caring family, best friends, and to work for one of the best companies.  I have an understanding boss who is giving me the opportunity to come back slow with an open mind and a fresh outlook.

Thank you God for hearing my prayer, recognizing what I needed, and taking control.  Thank you to my husband for not leaving my side, and my mother for being there and rubbing my head.  Thank you to my best friend, who flew home early from vacation just to be with me, and to my children for caring and being there for me and Dad!  Especially, Chris, who lives close to the hospital and I saw every day before bed!  I love you all, with all of my heart!

As for my walk with God....I will continue to walk with Him every day for the rest of my life!  He has brought me through so many bad times.  He has held me up, carried me, and now He has given me life again!  Can you believe I had to take my mother to the hospital a few weeks back for her heart.  The same hospital, and first I had been back since, and the first person I saw when we walked in that hospital was the Nurse that gave me CPR.  If that is not a Sign from God to give me the strength I needed for that day supporting my mother, I don't know what is!