Another Surgery? Or, Manna For The Day.

{Photo taken with my honey days before surgery}

Another Surgery?
Yes, ma’am.
(Or sir, depending on who’s reading;)
Honestly, I want to be done.
If I never visited another doctor for the rest of my life, I’d be one happy lady.
But that’s not the case, and we all know that from time to time, doctors are real lifesavers. In this situation, all I need is another (minor) procedure.
Before I fill you in on what’s happening tomorrow morning (10/27/15), I thought I’d catch you up to speed on what’s happened since I last blogged over 4 months ago.

  • Aortic valve replacement at Mount Sinai in New York (which was a success until my surgeon later admitted he wasn’t expecting to cauterize my upper chest like crazy as soon as he opened me up. Basically, he had to sear/burn the many unexpected veins crisscrossing my sternum in order to control all the bleeding. Turns out when you have major veins blocked due to previous scarring, your body miraculously recreates new veins in a most convenient way. Amazing. I learned later from another surgeon that not all doctors would have continued with the procedure. Many would have closed me up in order to plan a better alternative. But this didn’t deter my doctor. Praise God.
  • With the extra hour or so of surgery needed to tame my bleeding episode, I ended up losing my memory for 4 days, which they assumed happened because of the amount of time I was out (sometimes anesthesia can do this; it’s even been nicknamed “Pumphead”). Couldn’t remember my kids’ names, birthdates, not even the year we are currently living in. My poor hubby was a mess. 🙁
    {I apologize for the icky image.}
  • By day 6 of repeating “The year is 1995, right?” to my doctor, I finally answered his quiz questions right and remembered it was 2015. Yay. I could now be discharged to a nearby hotel for another 6 days.
  • Sounding like a winded, out-of-shape runner, and looking like a super pudgy mommy with stick-like legs, I was sent home.
    {Puffy-armed mommy (geez–look at those hands. Boo.) with my sweet daughter in NY.}
  • I was prescribed Lasix to release all the extra fluid my upper body was retaining.
  • With the help of the meds, I finally deflated to normal size:
    {Yay. My hands are a normal size.}
  • During my recovery, I ended up going through a third iron transfusion because of all the blood loss during surgery, a round of antibiotics from an upper respiratory infection and sinusitis, but by month three, I finally was somewhat back to normal.
  • Except that my upper body puffiness was returning as soon as I stopped taking the Lasix. 🙁

Sorry if that was too lengthy. A lot of other emotional stuff took place (sleepless nights, agitated/drowsy days, and no one to else go get huffy with execpt my poor hubby. Did I mention the rewards he deserves for caring for me? Thanks, babe!). Basically, I wasn’t a fun person to be around from all the crankiness, but, praise God, I really do feel like I’ve turned a corner and I’m somewhat back to normal.
Then last Thursday I went to see a vascular surgeon to discuss my upper body water-retaining problem. He walked into my room and said, “Oh, I was expecting to see an elderly woman.”
I wanted to say, “Well…internally, I kind of am.” But I just smiled.
Turns out he said my Superior vena cava, the main vein that helps drain fluid from your upper body, is 100% blocked. According to Medicene.net, “Symptoms include swelling of the face and arms associated with shortness of breath.”
What? That’s me.
For the last few months I have been soooo winded while walking or standing too quickly. And this explains all of my upper body water retention issues. Actually, he said it looked like part of wire was still left inside from my last surgery (he assumed) and possibly another wire from a previous port placement in my chest (device used during my chemo treatments for easy blood access as they internally connect the port to your main vein). This, he speculated, could be causing the blockage, but he wouldn’t know until he placed my new stent. He could only guess that I’ve probably had this blockage for 10 or 15 years. This was most likely why I had so many new veins that had regrown across my chest.
Basically, if you read the book, you know that a couple of my medical complications were associated with water retention. After I went into the ICU while pregnant with Asher, my upper body ballooned up, and my organs shut down. I was on IV fluids that may have added to my Superior vena cava issue. And with Sabal, again I drank an enormous amount of water (if you read, you know why;), and was given IV fluids for my C-section, which most likely caused my enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy) when my body couldn’t drain the fluid.
But who knows. It’s all speculation. And really, it’s all in the past (praise God!).
Either way tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27 at 7 am, my surgeon is going to insert a stent to re-open my clogged vena cava. It should be a simple procedure, my surgeon hopes. Actually, he kept repeating that. “He hopes.” Is it okay to admit that I “hope” so, too?
Nah. Scratch that. I’m praying that all goes better than expected. Even yesterday at church a sweet friend of mine, Joannie, reminded me that all we need is manna for the day.
I knew what she meant.
She saw the anxiety crawl accross my face when we asked our Sunday morning marriage group for prayer. “All we need is manna for the day,” she reminded me.
And she’s right.
For today, right now, I need to enjoy those precious moments in life with my kids and husband and not allow the fear of the “What if?” to wiggle its way into my thoughts/time/sanity.
God is Sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15-16). He has full power to govern without interference. I can’t control my days. They’re already mapped out. But I can focus on my manna (the provisions He gives me) for the day and be thankful for the time, thankful for each breath I’m still here to experience.
Every breath is a gift, whether you’re sick or not.
I also know my Heavenly Father loves to hear from His children. So if you don’t mind, will you please believe all goes well too?
That I really am in and out like my doctor is assuming.
That this procedure reduces my upper body puffiness, increases my oxygen flow, and that the stent remains open for a long, long time.
Prayer works. I promise. Honestly, the more I learn about the body the more I’m convinced that it’s a miracle we’re all even alive. God is amazing and He is able to do far more than we could ever imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20


  • Anonymous

    Perfect! I just read about manna today in my morning devotionals. When Moses gave some options to God for how he was to feed meat to the children of Israel (Numbers 11:22). The Lord had an option that Moses had not considered! I love that. God always provides in a miraculous way day by day.
    Thank you for being an example of walking in faith and being courageous as He leads you and provides for you day by day!
    We are praying for you and here for you!
    Big hugs!

  • Dixie

    Oh my goodness. You are and will be SO in my prayers. I too can testify to the amazing results of prayer. I am going to pull your book as a reminder of what you have been through an dwhat God has done for you. Your amazing husband is also an inspiration. I would love if you would have no more medical issues and your blog would be fillled with that activities of a busy family life.
    God be with you every minute young lady. Hugs, hearts and prayers.

  • Anonymous

    You’re are such a strong woman! Blessings and prayers for your procedure tomorrow. Thank you for writing and keeping us posted ?

  • Janet Grandy

    Oh, Dabney. I’m so sorry to read this-Prayers, yes. Faith, yes. Hope, yes. And lots of love from all of us who care so much for you and all of your beautiful family who had to endure such challenges. I think of the footprints in the sand. Signed with loving care. Jan Grandy
    PS-I so miss you not being there with your great writing and fruitful critiques in our mini writing group.

  • paula

    Dabney dear,
    Bless your heart. I am so sorry you have to go through, yet, another procedure. My thoughts and prayers are constantly with you as they will be tomorrow as well. Please know I love you with all my heart and wish nothing but the best of outcomes here. Please ask Jason, if he doesn’t mind, to keep us informed. It sounds like this stent will relieve alot of that excess fluid you’ve been needing.
    XXOO Lot of love,
    Aunt Paula

  • Kathy

    Dabney …you’re amazing ! Your faith
    Is everlasting ! Prayers for you ! God’s still writing your story ! He’s got this !

  • Sherri Cooper

    God works in mysterious ways. I was thinking about you yesterday. Will say prayers for your Dr and your quick recovery.

  • Anonymous

    Believing with and praying for you as well as praying for your family and medical team! We feel very blessed for the time you were able to spend with us celebrating Amanda’s birthday Saturday! Many hugs and much love! Rose
    and girls

  • danneunscripted

    Reading Phillip Keller’s exposition on Psalm 23 and praying that over you tonight. Your Shepherd is in the field, lie down in peace and contentment in the green pastures He has cultivated.

  • Paula Mantrozos

    I’ve been out of town a week…just catching up, but you have been on my mind! Had no computer while away, so trying to find out what’s going on.. Wow – now i know why God had me checking in on you! Prayers for a thorough and complete healing!…and that he found more things fixable and DID that while he was in there that makes things better for the rest of your life! BIG HUGS-P

  • Phil Givens

    I got this a little late, but believing God for healing–by his stripes we are healed. I love that verse–Ephesians 3:20. There is another one I love too. Psalm 5:13 Surely oh God you bless the righteous. You surround them with your favor, as with a shield.

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