Reality is though, the multiplication and growth was happening continuously. It was overlooked until "suddenly" it had taken over. Many things in our lives often happen this way... missing a few days of our quiet time, our fitness, our commitment to a healthy lifestyle, our rest, our relationships, our routine and seemingly, suddenly, things are a mess! If we're not careful, the new routine takes over with such ease that we don't even realize the change until it too late for a quick fix.
Sometimes, it's intentionally choosing other things that entangles us, but sometimes, it's just life that can creep up on you. The cardiac event leading to Mark's surgery, happened just this way. Sure there were several symptoms along the way, but honestly, we didn't even see them as such. Anything unusual was brushed off as a side effect of the stress he was under. The first day of July there was a definite "event" that happened and although I was deeply concerned and asked him if we could just find an urgent care (it was our "date day" for our anniversary which had been the day prior), he shrugged it off and said he would just try to rest a bit and see what happened. I chalked it up to an stress brought on by an unexpected message from earlier that day and tried not to worry about it. A little time passed and he said he was feeling better. This event or episode happened again a few nights later and then again once we were home and we decided to have it checked out at the emergency room. After a pricey overnight stay with an echocardiogram & nuclear stress test, the doc on his case gave him a shady answer about the test results, but sent him home to follow-up with his cardiologist. He was placed on a heart monitor for a 30-day observation. We began taking inventory of some things that were symptoms of a problem but we had not even realized it. In fact, we went all the way back to March with one of these episodes.... Less than a week after the heart monitor appointment, we were back in the ER. His heart rate had been high all day and he had felt terrible. He completed his work responsibilities for the day before allowing himself to go home to rest. But rest didn't bring the results we hoped for and his heart rate continued to climb into the 130s while laying down. He felt the company "watching" his heart monitor would call if there was an issue and since they hadn't he kept trying to rest. Finally he had enough and he was probably annoyed at my asking if we could go to the ER so we made arrangements for the kiddos and headed to Gainseville.
There are so many facets of this trial that allowed more vines to quickly grow and could have lulled us into complacency, but God was so faithful in giving us the right questions to ask and sending the medical professionals we needed at just the right moment. The ER doc tried to convince us that this was stress or a panic attack but thanks to a cardiologist that happened to stop by the ER and just dropped in to see Mark, they decided to keep him overnight for observation again. Total deja vu from just 10 days prior but he went along with it and this time, planned for a heart cath the following day.
The cath showed 6 blockages. SIX. Three of which were 100% blocked. Our story could end here and God would receive so much glory for keeping him to this point! I know blockage placement plays a huge role, but there are folks that don't make it with one 100% blockage. Crazy to think that the ER doctor had shrugged his symptoms off as stress, the attending doc less than two weeks prior guessed that what they were seeing was his "normal", in their words, and that the two main tests they had run did not show a major marker of such a serious issue!!
I'll share more of our hospital stay later, but for now, just know we are home, seeking quiet, rest and healing as well as making up for missed time with our kids. Every day, I give him two IV antibiotics through his picc line. Home health comes about twice a week to check on him. We have multiple doctor's appointments in the coming days to watch his progress in healing from the heart surgery as well as keep a close eye on the abscess. The goal is to do all we can to keep this infection under control and prayerfully shrinking so that there will not be another surgery in the future. We want to be aware of every little vine that may try to shoot up overnight and get rid of everything that doesn't line up with God's purpose and plan for our lives. If you've whispered even one prayer for us, we are overwhelmingly grateful. For all the blessings that so many have given to us during this time, we call on Heaven to multiply that back to you. We also hope that our story will encourage you to assess the vines growing around your life and keep them in check. God gives us the strength to do what seems impossible when we strive to do it in His strength, not our own!