Hmmm. It seems I break all the medical norms. All of them. Sometimes it is a good thing to be the exception to the rule. Today it wasn’t.
Back in March of this year I posted about my historyof heart failure, starting with the diagnosis of cardiomyopathy (a weakening and enlargement of the heart) most likely due to a viral attack. In September of 2007 I went into the ER and into intensive care with my heart functioning at about 25%. After a week in the hospital and new medication, I settled in for the long haul at about 50% normal function. Until I broke the medical norm, and I experienced what I believe was a miraculous healing. Back to full function. 100%.
When a heart that is not supposed to regenerate actually does, cardiologists debate the next step. Most will tell you that they no longer treat those patients with oral medication. My doctor would say the same. As of September of this last year, I have been off all oral meds for my heart.
The past few months, however, I’ve been re-experiencing some of those same early symptoms – especially difficulty breathing when I lay down, and a persistent cough. So, on May 23, I went in and had an EKG that showed some “non-specific abnormality.” No acute danger. No irregular rhythm. But a little bit janky, nonetheless. So it was back on the meds for me. And an echocardiogram was scheduled.
That happened this morning.
The results showed that my heart is once again functioning at about 25% of normal capacity. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Medically, it’s a head-scratcher. And how does that jive with the “miracle healing” I thought I had experienced? And what does this all say about my God? Was this all just a mistake? What’s the deal?
From the start, and to the end, here is what is true:
God can heal me any day. God can do anything he wants in me, and through me. God is absolutely sovereign and radiantly good. My life is charted for me by HIM ALONE, I have nothing to fear. Not a day longer or shorter than what He has chosen for me in advance. He is my sustainer. He gives me purpose and hope. My strength is in the JOY I have in knowing Him. My security for eternity is written in His Book of Life. My family is secure in Him, and we have an eternal future together with Him. There is nothing on earth like life in Christ. And no circumstance can shake Him from His foundation: Holiness, righteousness, justice, love, mercy, unending power, sovereignty, might, goodness, purity, authority, majesty, and unfathomable kindness that knows every hair on my head.
So did God heal me or not? I think so. I don’t know. But He gets the credit for every good turn in my life, so let’s agree – yes He did. Did He allow this weakening of my heart? Maybe. He’s good no matter what. And I trust Him with my remaining heartbeats.
God calls us to depend on him. I know what it means to live that way. Right now I can feel my chest cavity in a way I bet you are not used to. I’m aware of every minute right now. Fully alive. Sustained. Are you dependant like that?
I’ll answer that for you… Yes. You may not feel it. But every heartbeat is a gift from God.
So now what? Well, I take my meds. Every day. That’s OK. I pray for healing. And I get stronger. That is the way forward, and that’s what I’m going to do. I have five sons to raise and I’m heading to seminary in the fall. I pray that God puts me to work for years to come. And I live in faith.
Sometimes it is a good thing to be the exception to the rule. I know what that feels like. But when you’re the exception, and it’s not a good thing… God is still good. His character is my bedrock.
NOTE: I’m leaving early in the morning for a week with the family in Hilton Head, SC, and will NOT be responding to the comments here. I’d love to hear from you, but I’ll get back to technology on June 20. Then, I’ll get back to ALL of you. God bless.