I waited and waited for what seemed like an eternity. I remember the Wednesday before I received my heart I was told about the internal LVAD or mechanical heart. The explanations and pictures of this device literally made me sick. Nurses and doctors said if I didn’t receive a donor heart by Monday, April 19th I would have this surgery. They continued to say over and over again, “This will give you a normal life”. I know they wanted to make me feel better but my exact thoughts were, ‘A 24 year old girl living by a machine connected to her 24/7 is not a normal life’. I know it would have given me a second chance at life, but it is not what I wanted. Having this would be no cure for me. My real heart would still be completely damaged, but I would be living because this tiny machine, inside my chest, is acting as my heart. I would have a large cord coming out of my upper stomach attached to an 8lb battery pack to keep it operating. I’d have to plug myself in to the wall at night and if we lost our electric, we were told “Just drive to the closest town”. This is a normal life? I would have been very thankful to be out of the hospital room and actually ‘living’ again, but I wanted to be free. I wanted to take shower and not have to wrap anything up in plastic. I did not want to have to consciously think about my battery every time I got up from the couch or rolled over in bed.
I remember thinking to myself that I wasn’t going to get a heart in time. I knew Monday would come and I would be carted off to the OR for this very “invasive” surgery…that I did NOT want. I could hardly imagine myself living this way. Having this surgery was like pressing the ‘pause’ button to my life. Doctors said I would be moved to the lowest category on the heart transplant list. I would have to recover fully, which would take a few months, before I could be moved back up on the list. I began thinking once I got back on the list, I would have to begin ‘the wait’ all over again. ‘I am 24. This is the prime time in my life. What if it took years to get a heart? What guy would ever want me? How long would this machine actually work as my heart? My clothes will look funny with a cord sticking out of my stomach and a backpack attached to me. Why is this happening to me? Lord, what is your plan? Are You really not going to give me a heart? I have felt your comfort in knowing I will live, but why this way?’
My mind was racing. I don’t remember much because I became so ill again. I remember some things and not others. I guess I was sleeping a lot. I remember at one point during Friday, the 16th being very nervous. I knew the doctors were getting ready to do a procedure. I had been through so many I am not sure why this one made me so scared. Maybe because I really did not know what was going on around me. Thankfully I remembered how Jesus held me when I asked Him to back in February. It comforted me so much that I figured maybe He would do it again.
I asked mom to tell people to pray and ask God that Jesus would hold me. It is the last thing I remember until I woke up. I can see moms face like it was yesterday leaning over my bed. I asked her, “Did you tell them what I told you?” Mom hesitantly replied, “Yes”. I am not sure how I responded, but something along the lines of telling her Jesus held me! I can still feel His touch and His embrace. It felt like He had His hands and arms around my arms and was clenching me. He was holding me tight. I don’t remember the procedure. I don’t remember what happened. I just remember me being scared, asking for His presence and Him answering my prayers and the prayers of others. He comforted me. He held me. It brings me to tears thinking about it. His touch is amazing.
When you are scared you can find comfort in Him. Talk to Him. He wants to be near you and close to you.