30 April 2011

Psalm 30 on April 30

Psalm 30
"I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death." (verses 1-3)

"I cried out to you, O LORD. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, 'What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me. Help me, O LORD.' You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever." (verses 8-12)

My death was not immediately imminent last year when I was ill. It was, however, threatened to come within only a couple years. On November 17th, my San Diego doctor, the amazingly kind Dr. Bill Auger, was explaining the results of several days of testing and explaining my possibilities, and particularly explaining the complicated pulmonary thromboendarterectomy surgery.

My family and I knew that I was ill, we knew that pulmonary hypertension was serious, and we knew that God had provided the possibility of this surgery. However, we did not know exactly how severe the pulmonary hypertension was. I had heard just bits and pieces from previous doctors and had read information online, but that is different. Different than hearing that in the main measurement they use to determine the severity of the effect of high pressure between my heart and lungs, my level was in the 900's, instead of around 125 or so (if I'm remembering this correctly). Not good. Dr. Auger explained the surgery and lined out my specific level of risks - risk of various complications, risk of death. From what he could tell, it looked like my mortality rate for this surgery was somewhere between 2-3%. Slightly better than average. Then he gave us my three options.

Option 1: Continue on with my life without any major medicinal treatment. Also with option 1, a 20% chance that I would still be alive in 2 years.

Option 2: Begin intense and expensive medicinal and oxygen therapy for the rest of my life with no guarantee that I would dramatically improve. Actually, I believe about 20% of the people show marked improvement. However, treatment does not cure the pulmonary hypertension, but merely lessens some of the symptoms. Many people's situation continues to get worse leading to heart failure even with the treatments available (which have their own risks) and so longterm studies are not available.

Option 3: Agree to having the pulmonary thromboendarterectomy with known risks. Of course, no guarantees were made, but the possibility and HOPE of completely being cured of the pulmonary hypertension was within reach.

We aren't exactly rocket scientists, but my parents and I immediately agreed that Option 3 was the way to go! :) God had provided! 6-7 weeks prior we first heard about the surgery and that I was a possible candidate. We spent those weeks making travel and lodging arrangements, obtaining my Houston medical records, filling out LOTS of paperwork, completing a living will and power of attorney, dealing with medical insurance, making schedules with the San Diego medical team, learning everything I could about the surgery, and asking for LOTS of prayer! However, it wasn't until this very moment around a table with Dr. Auger after examining my results of a specific type of heart catheterization I had that morning that we knew for sure I could have the surgery! They said "YES" and we said "YES" and "Praise the Lord, let's do this thing!" And this is why I say with the psalmist, "O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!" for He really did refuse to let my enemies triumph over me. He really did restore my health. He really did bring me up from the grave and keep me from falling into the pit of death. He really did hear me and have mercy on me. He really did turn my mourning into dancing and exchanged my mourning clothes into clothes of joy! Your story and journey isn't the same as mine. God's plan for you is different. But, this I know, every word of God proves true and what He really did for me, He will really do for you.

1 comment: