Saturday marked the two month anniversary of my surgery. It feels much longer than that. My body is doing fine, better than most people who go through this type of surgery–it doesn’t hurt to be a lot younger than most of the people who go through this type of surgery either. I have most of my mobility back, however, my arm strength is still weak. I’m still walking rather than jogging or running but that will come in time…everything happens in time. I am noticing the wires they used to tie my sternum together are introducing themselves to me by touch! So weird to be able to feel the wires underneath your skin!!! I have been warned about this phenomena, and my day has come to feel the wires. My mom made a good point yesterday on our way to church…”At least you’re alive to feel them!” True dat, Mom.
My emotions and fears have subsided a good deal compared to what they were a month ago. Yes, I still have my moments, checking my hands feet for any “splinters” or red spots. This makes me sad that I still “need” to see that everything’s gone. Work in progress.
So, yesterday I took my mom to church. Okay, she drove me to church but I invited her to go with me. The service was really nice. Music was wonderful and the message was very good. Hit Mom in a good way. After the service, Mom and I started walking to leave the church but I had this feeling that I had to find the pastor and tell him my testimony. Did I mention how HUGE my church is? Thousands of people go there. And there is only one Pastor Ed. How was I going to find him??
I looked and looked, and with no luck, I put that feeling aside and told my mom we could leave. But then, tucked into a tight corner of the church, I spotted Pastor Ed speaking with someone. My mom didn’t want to go with me because she didn’t want to cry, she would just watch from a distance. I waited until Pastor Ed was done talking to the fellow before I started walking up to him. Then I noticed he started talking to someone else…THERE WAS A LINE.
Standing in line, I was thinking how I was going to start my conversation with Pastor Ed. “Hi, I’m Heidi…check out my scar!” or “Hi, I’m Heidi, and I want to tell you a beautiful story…”. I decided that no matter what I said, my goal was to NOT CRY. I’ve always been a cryer, but NOT LIKE THIS. I cry at everything now. Getting a box of cookies makes me cry. I think it stems from just being thankful that I can eat that box of cookies. Anyway, that was my goal. Do not cry so you can get your story out gracefully to Pastor Ed.
It was my turn. Did I mention that I’ve never met Pastor Ed before? He looks so tall on the stage. When I walked up to him I was expecting to look up, but I noticed I was looking at him eye to eye. I felt comfortable with him. Then it was my time to spill the beans. Share my testimony! Right when I began to speak…my voice broke…Oh God, why?!
This is how it went:
“Hi, I just wanted to share my story with you…”
“I would love that”
“I…I ummm….I…(shaking head, mad at myself for crying)”
“Go ahead, take your time, take a big breath, it’s ok”
this is when I just take a breath and start talking and gasping for air at the same time
“It’s so good! I.prayed. to…have God open my heart…and…HE DID!”
Pastor Ed smiles, then I do this:
“I had. OPEN….HEART…surgery…” and I move my scarf to show him the scar.
His mouth drops. Wow is all he can say. Pastor Ed went to medical school before becoming a pastor. I knew he’d appreciate my medical story. After showing him my scar, I felt a calm pass over me, like I got the secret out. Still in tears, I was able to form complete sentences again! I told him that in July I was praying to God to open my heart so I could let Him in because life wasn’t making me happy. I became sick with endocarditis. It had been two months since my surgery.
“Two months! I’m surprised you’re vertical!” Pastor Ed is funny.
He asked if he could pray for me and I was elated. “YES!” so we stood there holding hands and he prayed for me. I wish I could remember it all, but he did ask if I could be healed from head to toe. He asked if he could give me a hug and I said “OF COURSE!” We hugged and I laughed, telling him I can finally hug people again.
Two months and still healing. I realized yesterday how truly wonderful it is to share my story. Not because I survived…even though I am EXTREMELY GRATEFUL I am here to make terrible jokes and eat boxes of cookies…but because I am able to be an example to others, that God creates miracles. I am one of them. I’m still healing. Crying like I did with Pastor Ed showed me that. I still need time to become fully comfortable with my new story. With my “miracle story”.
Until then, I’ll just try to get used to THE WIRES ON MY CHEST…so gross!