2 In Faith/ Family Ties

The Heart Healing {Chapter 3}

“You must surrender to a breaking that must happen if you want any of your brokenness to heal.
“I hadn’t known this or felt this — but I have now and I cannot forget.
“And this is a harder thing — You have to trust that the breaking of your heart will heal you into a kind of stronger.”

The morning dawned bright and beautiful after that eventful night in the Emergency Room, but the pain was still there. I hoped for answers as we took our newborn son to the doctor for his 5-day old check-up.

Our little boy looked wonderful, but my doctor was concerned about me. After reviewing the cat scan from the night before, he gave me the diagnosis: Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. It’s a rare form of heart failure induced by pregnancy. My symptoms of pitting edema, chest pain, stabbing back pain, and shortness of breath all checked out with the results from the scan. My heart was slightly enlarged and there was fluid around my lungs and heart. In effect, my heart was backed up with all the exertion of trying to eliminate the excess fluid. But it couldn’t keep up and had subsequently slowed down. He ordered more blood tests, prescribed medication, and sent me to a bigger hospital for an echocardiogram.
But through it all my Savior was there – to lift me up and strengthen me to meet the demands. We marveled at the tender mercies He was showering upon us day after day. Tender mercies like how my case was mild – it did not result in cardiac arrest or more severe complications. Tender mercies like how Patrick was able to take a whole week off work to take care of me and the children and drive me around to all my doctor’s appointments. Tender mercies like prayers and calls and texts from sweet family and friends. Tender mercies like sweet sisters from my Relief Society bringing us meals each night. After each taxing day in the hospital we would return to a warm, home-cooked meal made with love and pure, Christlike charity. Indeed, the Lord never forgets us in these dire moments of need. We need only to notice.
By the end of the week, my body was healing. I lost fifteen pounds of fluid which eased the excruciating pain in my back and chest. My heart gradually picked up its pace and returned to a normal rate. I could finally sleep because I could finally settle into my bed and get comfortable.
It seemed my heart was on the mend and I knelt, weeping, before my Maker in praise and thanksgiving. Gratitude that He had sent me early warning signs to signal something was amiss. Gratitude that I had listened. Gratitude that there was no clot and no cardiac arrest. Gratitude that my doctor had answers and treatments for my condition. Gratitude for sparing my life and most of all, gratitude for my family and the promise of eternity.
Our hearts break many times as we journey through life. I know mine has. And I don’t know what you are facing in your life story right now. I don’t know how your heart is breaking – may it be physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. But I can promise you this. There is a purpose. And it will be sorted out in the end. And when your heart finally heals, it will be even stronger than before, because it will be stitched back together with the threads of grace by the Master Healer.
My heart healing story? I thought it was over. I thought I was healed. But in the week to follow, I would learn even more about what it takes to mend a broken heart and how God leads us forward, ever forward, to the place He wants us to be…
To be continued…
{Chapter 4 coming soon}

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  • The Peace Notes
    September 9, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Wow-what a crazy experience! This is a condition I've never heard of, and it sounds so scary. I'm so glad that your case was on the mild side, and that all ended well. Thank you for sharing your low moments, and more especially your moments of peace and comfort and gratitude. It's always amazing to hear how people are strengthened by the Lord through their hardest times! Take care!

  • Jamie Johnson
    September 24, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful comment! You are so kind. 🙂