Op 2 a Success! 11 Days on… Thankful Beyond Words!

7am arrival at Hospital for my Op. Thankfully first on the list this time and not much waiting!

It’s been like day and night. That is the comparison between my first operation for my pacemaker going in and this last one Friday week ago. From beforehand meeting with nurses and my cardiologist, to walking into theatre, to waking up, to sleeping at night – each moment so much better than the last. But the main difference would have to be waking up and finding out that the procedure had worked! They managed to replace the third left lead into my heart with a new one and get it into a great position. Success! No more jolting! Can you believe it?!

My AMAZING friend Halina and I before going into theatre.

I had reached the point of knowing that it was the right thing to do, to try and stop the phrenic nerve stimulation I’d been experiencing. But going back in, to face another general anaesthetic, another op and another recovery again, was not something I’d been looking forward to. Especially without the certainty that it would work. I was incredibly blessed to have my friend there who works in Cardiology, chatting to us beforehand and then walking with me into theatre. She literally held my hand as I was poked with needles and as I went under. She was there in recovery (although I don’t remember any of that) and visited me later that day in my room. To have someone you know with you who understands what is happening, is amazing. She smiled through it all and was such a reassuring presence.

Asleep after op completed, back in my (quiet!) room.

Afterwards, I repeatedly asked my husband and staff “has it worked?” The thought of being able to lie on my side or stomach, or bend over and laugh… and not be jolted was incredible! I think I’m still in shock that it’s worked and am so very grateful to my amazing cardiologist and the team. From the moment I woke up I felt better than last time, having gone into it healthier and having my pacemaker on helped. Going home, I walked out to the car (last time I was in a wheelchair) and a week later I managed a walk around the block!

The next morning, still hooked up to the heart monitor but feeling so much better than last time. No tears this time around!

After the op I was a lot more swollen and bruised than last time, due to the fact they had to cut through scar tissue and make the incision a bit bigger (to get the pacemaker in and out). However things haven’t been as sore in other ways… last time whenever I sat up it felt like a big heavy weight in my chest pushing forward. This time that only lasted a day – I guess my body is used to my device being there now. My shoulder isn’t in as much pain as last time and they were really careful this time to not cause any more damage. I’m still managing my pain a bit with meds to keep on top of it, but I have energy and feel so much more like me.

So, I’m extremely grateful and aware that I live in an incredible day and age. Two days ago, Earl E. Bakken, the man who invented the first wearable, battery-powered pacemaker, died at the age of 94. He and his brother in law founded Medtronic (the worlds largest medical device company) in 1949, as a 25 year old electrical engineering student. At the age of 8, he had become fascinated with electricity after seeing the 1931 movie “Frankenstein”, how incredible that a movie like that sparked a curiosity within this young boys mind. In 1957 after a patient died in hospital during a blackout, he was asked to come up with a solution, as people in those days with pacemakers were reliant on being plugged into the wall with vacuum tubes. Thankfully after discounting the idea of using a car battery (I don’t fancy carrying one of those around with me!) he came up with a 4 inch box which would be taped to a patients chest. It’s obviously improved incredibly over the years, to the intricate internal boxes we have today. Funnily enough, he later went on to need two pacemakers himself. “So I’m glad I invented the company, or I wouldn’t be sitting here” he said in 2010.

Earl E. Bakken, aprox 1950, working in the garage where Medtronic started.

As I read about this amazing man, who started off tinkering with electronics in a garage, I felt a sense of huge gratitude for people like him who stepped out and tried something that had never done before. The CRT pacemaker device I have, was only invented in more recent years and wasn’t around when I was younger… I’m glad for the timing of this invention.

So today I sit here recovering, blanket on knee, cat curled up beside me and cup of tea at hand. I now get the benefit of my pacemaker working with no side effects and once I’ve recovered from surgery I will be up and out doing things! I am in awe and grateful. I’m thankful too for every single prayer prayed, every thoughtful message, card, flowers, gifts, gentle hug, meals… and for my incredible family and friends who just kept on encouraging me and loving on me through the tougher moments. It’s strange to look forward without a sense of something hanging over me, but instead to feel free to dream, believe and know I could do things I couldn’t 6 months ago! Health is a gift. A God given one. One I will never take for granted.

9 days on… with best friends Symon and Kristy. Thankful for their visit from up North… even if I’m still looking pale! šŸ˜‰ Let’s blame the lighting…

Don’t ever underestimate that thought. That dream. That idea. That crazy out there concept that you’re not sure will work. Give it a go. It might just save lives one day… maybe even your own!

XXX

 

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Pre-Op… Again

Today was Pre-Op… again. I can’t quite believe that this Friday I will be back in theatre, having an op on my pacemaker… again. Going in to the hospital first thing this morning, was a bit surreal and it’s all becoming quite real… again. There are too many “agains” for my liking. I got to have an ECG again. Another lot of blood tests again. Another meeting with an Anesthetist, a Head Nurse and a Cardiology Registrar… again. It would be great if we could continue doing the fun things in life over and over – but leave the less desirable things as a one off! Having a pacemaker and 3 leads put in should definitely not be something you do over and over again!

But here we are, the week of. Walking forward in faith that this will be a success and that sleep will become easier with no jolting from my left lead. I discovered today that the pain I’ve been experiencing in my shoulder since my last operation isn’t the norm – hopefully meaning I won’t have to go back to stage one with that again. My physio will be pleased! As I met with the medical staff, we talked through the procedure again and I got told some more information about this op which wasn’t really what I wanted to hear. Just when you think you’ve got it sorted in your mind, more comes up.

I remember last time around, there were some days walking through this journey that would leave me feeling flat. After the op there were some weeks! But yesterday I was determined to remain positive and keep my eyes fixed heavenward. Some days it’s more of a battle to do that than others. Today was one of those battle days. In among it all, I figure it’s okay to have those “moments.” The ones when tears well up and you need to reach out for the hand of the person next to you. Cause we realise that in these moments we don’t need to do life alone, God puts others around us who will walk the journey with us. For that I am incredibly grateful.

The past few weeks I’ve been living out the verse from Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” As the days count down towards this op, I want to make the most of the minutes, hours and days I have! We never know how many moments we have before something crops up and I’ve learnt this year to not take my days for granted. This time around I have energy (thank you pacemaker for pumping my heart in sync, giving me oxygen!) and can actually get things ready before I go into hospital. My hubby thinks I’ve gone a bit crazy with the organising – but I just wanted to be more on top of things this time. I’ve counted my days and I’m using every minute I can and appreciating the highlights of life, alongside the mundane.

If only it wouldn’t take heart issues and operations for us to count our days and gain wisdom on how to live our lives well. Even the most boring of moments become precious – who knew carrying washing baskets or driving could be such a blessing?! Rolling over, washing your hair or sleeping in your bed… all small insignificant things – but so valuable for our well being. So through this time, I remain grateful. For the small boring every day tasks that I get to complete and for each moment I get to be a part of.

I’m slowly surrounding myself with small things of beauty, which I hope to remember to focus on when I’m recovering in a few days. When you’re feeling down, to be able to look out and see plants flowering, hear birds chirping, or see a sequinned cushion glittering (yes, I may have bought another one…), it all helps you remember that there is beauty amidst the ashes of life. In a few days I may feel “flat.” Let’s be honest, I may feel a lot worse that “flat” – but I pray I remember to lift my eyes and be continually thankful for each blessing that comes my way. Each and every small one is significant.

XXX

My Pacemaker Journey – The Countdown Begins (again!)…

Daylight saving is here and the days are getting longer! The sun is out, the blossoms are falling from the trees and again I’m reminded that time just keeps moving. Yesterday I got reading glasses for the first time! Argh! How did this happen?Ā  The very thing that was working well in my body, has also decided to weaken and I can no longer hassle my hubby that I have perfect vision! Another reminder that we must value our health, as the years truly are moving on and with them come new “friends” like glasses.

Despite time moving fast, weeks can feel like an eternity when you’re waiting for news. I think I’m getting better with the waiting, perhaps patience is slowly developing in my life? Perhaps…

I finally received the call I had been waiting for, telling me when my next operation would be. In two weeks I will be heading in to hospital for a lead revision on my pacemaker, where they will take the third lead out and replace it with one going into a different vein. This lead which is hitting my phrenic nerve (which connects to my diaphragm giving meĀ  ‘jolts’) is still bothering me, meaning sleep isn’t great at night. I’m gradually getting my head around another op, although with each passing day, it becomes more real again!

To explain the technical side of it all (I know some of you love that), when they put my pacemaker in 4 months ago, they used quadripolar leads, which have 4 electrodes along the end of each one. These are great, as they give multiple pacing options, meaning that if they aren’t getting great capture on one electrode, they can try another. It also means that if one (or more) of the electrodes is causing phrenic nerve stimulation (as in my case), they can generally reprogram the pacemaker to use other electrodes. Unfortunately for me, with my third left lead (the tricky one to get in), they are getting phrenic nerve capture (ie ‘jolts’) on poles (electrodes) 1 and 2 and no capture at all on poles 3 and 4 (which could be due to scar tissue). So the options to make this lead work have been few and despite turning down the voltage we are still having issues. Hence the need to do another procedure.Ā 

Or… to put it more simply -I’m still getting jolted, and the only option left is to physically move one of the leads that is on my heart to a better location šŸ™‚

We are really praying that this next operation works! Especially that they will be able to get a new lead into the last possible vein, otherwise the next step will be open heart surgery (which they would do a few months later to limit risk of infection). I’m aware going into this that there are no guarantees, but we remain hopeful. I guess I’ll know when I wake up after the op whether they were successful or not.

So, for the next couple of weeks I’m determined to make the most of every day!Ā  I’ll continue to keep my eyes on the long term goal – a healthy and full life with a pacemaker which is working, while not being jolted! Hopefully that will help keep this next “glitch” in my life, remain in perspective!

Thanks for your love, support and prayers through this crazy journey! I’m forever thankful for the incredible people around my life, who love on us as we walk forward step by step. It truly means a lot and makes a difference. Until my next update…

XXX

 

My Pacemaker Journey – 3 Months On – Here We Go Again…

Our huge plum tree with its many blossoms

Where I live, Spring has arrived! It’s a beautiful time of year, watching the blossoms on our plum tree bloom with the beginning of a new season. My husbands parents have gorgeous lambs being born and all around there are signs of new life. Each September as I see the blossoms appear, I’m reminded that our wedding anniversary is just about here and it’s time to celebrate another year of marriage. This past year has been a crazy one and this month has been no exception, with my hubby ending up having an hernia operation and then our son cut his head open two days later! As I sat there at A&E for a second time in a matter of days, I wondered what was happening with our family! But we’ve made it through and are still smiling and laughing!

As we celebrate 21 years of marriage next week, I’ve been reflecting on how illness can put pressure on a relationship, like nothing else. We’ve walked through many challenges over the years (as we all do), but I wonder if any of us really know the full ramifications of the words “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health” as we stand at the alter to get married! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it for a second. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I feel blessed every day that I am married to this amazing man. But the truth is, sickness is rough to walk through and hard to navigate as a couple. When you’re the one unwell, it’s humbling and difficult to rely on someone to do the most basic of thingsĀ  – when you’re the well one, it’s awful watching the other go through pain, being helpless to take it away.

A week ago, we found out that we would be walking this road of surgery again with my heart. Its round two of a pacemaker operation. Which means more no driving, more sleepless nights, moreĀ horrible pain, more no showers, more stress on the family, more recovery time and moreĀ learning how to be there “in sickness and in health.”

I knew it was probably on the cards that we’d have to repeat the procedure again. With each appointment I had, where they couldn’t adjust my pacemaker to stop jolting my phrenic nerve, I figured they might have to change the position of the third lead. But it’s still hard to hear. Logically, I know this is the next step. It is the best step for the long term. For the rest of my life. But there is still this small part of me which thinks “I don’t want to do this again.” I don’t want to go through the op, have the third lead pulled out, a new lead fed in to my vein, to wake up from the op in pain and go through another recovery period. But sometimes we do what we don’t want to do – because it is the right thing to do. The best thing.

So, sometime in the next 6 weeks or so, I will be back in hospital to go through the procedure again. There were originally three veins they could try to feed this left lead into, the first vein was no good, the second vein is where they placed the lead last time (but is hitting the nerve), the third and final vein is the one they will try this time around. My cardiologist is hopeful it will work, but there are no guarantees. If they can’t get it in there, the next step will be open heart surgery – which will definitely work – but will be extremely painful with a difficult recovery. So, we are praying that this works!Ā  The other alternative isn’t appealing.

The upside of going into this a second time, is that I know having the pacemaker working is changing my life! I can breathe easily again, I have a renewed energy and it’s extended my life span (a fact I hate being reminded of but am thankful for). I also know that scars heal, the pacemaker doesn’t stick out of my chest in a huge lump (truly I’d seen pictures no one wants to witness!) and I’m at peace with the fact that a little box paces my heart 100% of the time. Some people take years to get their head around that. So I’m thinking mentally it should be easier than last time. That’s got to help right? Physically they said it will be roughly the same as last times recovery and I’m hoping emotionally it might be a bit easier.

Peter and I one year ago, celebrating 20 years of marriage in beautiful Wanaka

So, we will get there! As a couple we will get through it. And as a family we will pull together once again! Any pride that is left within me, will get chiseled away again, as I learn to say “yes” to help from friends and family once more (I really don’t like accepting help!). At the end of the day, this is all about continued new beginnings and chances at a long life. One thing is for sure, this process continues to make me grateful for each new day and every milestone reached. It makes me grateful for the teenage guy I met at 13 and the young man I married at 20. We didn’t know then the path we would be walking out today, but God knew and brought us together for such a time as this. We’ll keep walking out the “in sickness and in health” part of our vows and be thankful to be celebrating 21 years!

XXX

Dear Pastor, You matter…

Dear Pastor,

You matter. Your life is important, you’re valued and loved. Please, don’t give up…

There are many things I’d love to say to pastors. We’ve been in ministry most of our married lives (20 years) and been senior pastors for the last 12 years. I have a deep appreciation, love and heart for pastors, their wives and their children. I have watched many begin the race in ministry excited and visionary but I’ve seen that it takes a lot to hang in there through the challenges and losses you feel. You see, it’s a job with unlimited hours, often low income, one that carries a weight and it’s often hard to know if you’ve made a difference. Sometimes expectations (both your own and other peoples) can be unending and it takes time to work out how to do this for the long term. The price that is paid is hard to equate. I’m thankful God has surrounded us over the years with good friends, people with similar hearts and an incredible team. We’ve learnt boundaries for our family, been granted wisdom in moments of need and learnt how to be honest and real – even when life throws some curve-balls.

Last week a well known TV journalist and presenter died, he had been struggling with depression. This week a pastor took his own life, he too had been struggling. Depression, anxiety, mental illness… it is no respecter of persons. It will hit when you aren’t expecting it and can engulf and weigh you down. The thing about these two particular people, was that they were known by hundreds. Thousands. Loved by hundreds. Thousands. But the things is, being in the public eye doesn’t make you feel more loved or immune to private battles. It just makes it harder to talk about them.

For pastors it can be difficult to admit weakness. That you’re struggling. That you’re feeling alone. That this burden you carry is too heavy and you’re not sure if you’ll make it through another year. Who do you share that with, when you’re trying to be there for everyone else? It can be a lonely place to live – many pressures, continual meetings, while holding so many people in your heart. To be honest and say “I’m struggling” can be difficult. I mean, do people want a pastor who has problems? Issues? Difficulties? Financial problems? The hero complex, alongside the pedestals many pastors have been placed on within recent years hasn’t helped – it’s a long way to fall when you’ve been held up so high in the minds and hearts of people.

While pastors desire to have it altogether (don’t we all?) and share vision on how we can “live our best lives” the reality is that life is challenging for them too. I say “them” but really it is “us” for I walk in these shoes too. Last week I shared at church about Elijah who was led to be looked after by a widow. She and her son took in this amazing man of God and every day they witnessed miracles of provision in their life. But then the widows son died. The reality is, even in the midst of obedience, faithfulness and trust in God, heartache and pain can come. To any of us. None of us are immune to difficulty and trial. It’s a case of how we walk through those moments…

As I read an article yesterday written by the wife of this pastor who had taken his life three days earlier, my heart broke for her. She is determined for his story to help and touch many, as she and their children continue to live their lives in his honour. Thankfully his story has already started conversations between pastors – letting them know it’s okay to let the walls down and open up and say help me. There are countless women sharing how their husbands struggle with anxiety and depression, how good is it for them to know they aren’t alone? In one of the comments, a pastor wrote from his hospital bed – that he too had tried to take his life only days before. He however, had been unsuccessful. Thankfully. But how common is this?

I wonder how many pastors are struggling, hiding, not knowing who to talk to or what to do. I’ve sat with enough pastor friends and their wives to know there are quite a few. More than most people would what to think. If you have a pastor in your life, let them know you care and that they’re doing well. There will be so many things you won’t even know they do each week. If the pastors wife is looking a bit down, encourage her. She is probably carrying a lot and may not have anyone to talk to about it. If they have kids – treat them well – don’t call them pastors kids and don’t expect more from them than you would any other kid in the church. It’s likely they’ve already been there for hours on a Sunday and just want to be treated like their friends.

Last Sunday in church when I shared, I said to the congregation that each one of them matters. It matters that they are there. It matters that they are living. It matters that they get up each day and do whatever it is that is before them. It matters. Pastors, you matter too. Not just for your congregations and what you can do for them – but just because you’re you. You matter.

In this world of performance, we must be authentic. We must be willing to be vulnerable enough to say I’m hurting right now and I don’t really know what to do. Find someone you can be honest with. There are people who love you and care about you – not for what you bring – but just for you. As pastors we must be willing to break down the walls we’ve built up in protection. If the last few months has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes we have blips in our lives. Moments which are hard. Painful. Not what we’d planned. But they aren’t the full picture of our lives. We must stop and deal with the blips… or they have the potential to take us out in the long term. It’s important we pause for a moment, realise it’s okay to lean on others for a bit and get healed. Let’s not let shame or pride get in the way of saying we need help.

You matter. We are so glad you’re here. You’re so valuable. It matters that you do what you do. Our lives would be wreaked without you.

XXX

My Pacemaker Journey – Make That Call!

So this morning I was putting off the very thing I needed to do. The very thing I’d been avoiding for days.

Last week was a huge time for us. We were celebrating 20 years as a church this past weekend and we had been planning aspects of what we would do for months. The bringing together of all those ideas, the photos, videos, messages of congrats from friends and much more – all took a lot of time, love and thought. The practical set up was also huge and then there was the emotional prayers that it would all go well, that people would feel loved, honoured and welcomed back after many years.

My Pacemaker and Leads x 3

At the beginning of last week, I was back at the hospital seeing the rep for my pacemaker, to try and get it adjusted to it’s optimal settings again. They took an xray to check the leads hadn’t moved and then there was a couple of hours of testing each lead and configuration to see what would work best, as I was still having nights of being jolted and twitched. After those few hours they managed to turn the voltage down again, to the point that it wasn’t bothering me on my left side anymore. That lasted 2 nights. By Wednesday night I was back twitching on my side, stomach and then in other positions too. I was gutted. I knew I should call the clinic but I had too much on my mind for the weekend to get my head into my heart issues.

The weekend was amazing! I was running on not too much sleep due to the jolts at night but everything came together so well and I’m incredibly grateful for each one who poured out to make the weekend such a success! I’m such a people person, so to see long time friends again, melted my heart and lifted my spirits.

But the weekend is over now and it’s time to face what’s next. This morning when I woke I knew I needed to call. My friend who works in Cardiology had been on at me since last week, to call the clinic at 8am! By 8.30am I was still thinking about it. On my Facebook page came this from Charlotte Gambill (who I love!): “Maybe the very thing you are avoiding is the very thing God is waiting to use for your expanding. The irritation is going to work as the ignition fuel for your increase. The lessons we would rather not endure, so often are part of the qualifying lap for the race we are built to run. So this week instead of avoiding the conversation, challenge, change, apology, wisdom, choose to have a whatever it takes attitude. Whatever is needed for the ground to be gained, whatever is necessary for the step to be taken. Whatever is required for the restoration to happen. The things we often avoid in the immediate become the obstacle (we) frequently revisit in our future. Face today what will forge a better tomorrow.”

Wow. Talk about specific! I thought OKAY!!! I prayed. I made the call. Amazingly the woman I’d seen the past two weeks picked up. She talked to my cardiologist and called me back. He wanted to turn the lead off. I said no, that I didn’t want to go back to my pacemaker not working at all (the breathlessness and exhaustion isn’t fun) and that I would try to put up the with the jolting in the short term. If my sleep gets worse then we will turn it off. So, the next step looks like a lead revision – another op. I’ll know more after I see my cardiologist in the next few weeks. I know I can’t keep going the way I am – yesterday I got jolted while speaking up the front during our service – thankfully I didn’t react. But it’s happening more and more at odd times.

I’m not looking forward to what may come next, but I’m glad I made the call. I’m glad we are making steps forward, so I can continue on with what God has for me in my life! It’s about looking forward to the future of my life, the next 40 years and not focusing on the immediate hurdles I need to face.

For all of us there are things we put off. There are scary moments we have to face – perhaps a conversation, an act of forgiveness, a phone call. It seems easy to bury our head in the sand but we really shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what we could do today. Especially when it comes to our health. If there is something going on for you today and you’ve been afraid to get it checked – make that call. It could save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

I met a woman in the waiting room at one of my visits. She had died the year before and her husband had worked on her for 20 minutes before the paramedics arrived and got her back to life. She shared with Peter and I an incredible story of when she died and how she knew it wasn’t her time yet – God had allowed her to come back. It was discovered she had a genetic problem with her heart (which others in her family had died from suddenly) and she now has a pacemaker defibrillator on board to keep her alive. She was there that day with her son to find out if he had the same problem. Ouch. Now there’s a hard appointment to face! But what if they didn’t bother? What if he didn’t want to face the possibility of it all? What if he didn’t find out? He could one day drop dead and not have a defib inside to bring him back. All because of a simple test and the courage to face the outcome.

Three years ago I discovered a lump. When you have a family history of breast cancer, this isn’t something you want to face. But I was at the doctors within a day (where they found more lumps) – as scary as that was – the sooner I knew the better. They were the longest 3 weeks of my life, waiting for mammograms and ultrasound appointments! But it was worth making the call! Thankfully it was all fine, but I’ve had two more similar visits over the past couple of years and the sinking feeling doesn’t go away until you know.

So, today – make that call! Get your big girl pants on (or guy pants!), be brave and get checked out. It could save your life!

XXX

My Heart Journey 7 Weeks On – Not My Will But Yours Be Done…

Last Thursday I met with my Cardiologist for the first time since my pacemaker was fitted. Another Cardiologist had done my actual operation and I had mainly met with Electrophysiologists since then, to make adjustments. He was happy with my latest ECG which showed my heart is beating in sync well. We chatted about how things hadn’t gone as smoothly as hoped and how good it was that I had felt such an improvement in my health. We talked about the jolting/twitching that I’ve been experiencing with the third lead hitting my phrenic nerve and he said to me that it shouldn’t be happening at all.

I had reached the point where i figured I would just have to live with it. Get used to the jolting at night everytime I moved on to my stomach or left side… or more recently back! To be aware each time I laughed or bent over, that I might get a jolt and learn not to react when I felt it. I figured it was better to do that and have my pacemaker keep my heart in sync, than to have it switched off again!

Image showing the phrenic nerve next to the vein where the third lead is inserted for CRT pacemaker.

However as we talked it became clear that me “living with it” really isn’t an option long term. I guess I’d figured it would settle down at some point. But it hadn’t and wasn’t looking likely to do so. He explained that I have to think about this for the next 10 years and that he would rather we change the position of the third lead (there is one more vein they can try inserting it in, failing that its heart surgery – argh), than for me to put up with it. He also said that before we look at changing the lead, there was a chance they could change the programming of the pacemaker, with less of a buffer.

As we left that appointment Pete was focused on the positive, there was still a possibility they might be able to alter my pacemaker and stop the jolting! I on the other hand was focused on the other things we’d discussed – they might need to go in and change the third lead… another op, another anesthetic, another recovery time, more pain, more no driving, more time off work and more strain on our family.Ā  I was so upset. When I’d come out of the op 6 weeks ago, I knew this might be an option – I was just determined to not think about it. But now, it was back on the table and I knew I needed to get my head around it. I had to consider the long term gain – my heart working well with my pacemaker AND not jolting – meaning good sleep again!

Pete and I left for a mini break straight after the appointment. We had two nights up North and got to meet up with our amazing friends. It was just what I needed, time with Symon and Kristy, along with lots of laughs! The days were glorious, the nights were awful. I couldn’t get to sleep because of the twitching and the bed was so soft that when I did fall into a deep sleep and turn over, Peter would get woken with the bed shaking! My jolting was that bad. We tried to joke about it but in some ways it helped me realise this was crazy trying to live with it.

 

On Sunday morning at church the message touched on how Jesus had a moment in his life where he prayed “Not my will, but yours be done.” Those words hit home for me. So often in life we have a plan. And we’re not happy when things don’t go according to our plans. I know I’ve struggled with this throughout this journey. The ‘why’ questions come up. Why do I have this crazy heart issue? Why hasn’t it gone away? Why do I need to have a pacemaker at my age? Why did it have to be the type with the extra lead? Why did I have to be in the small percentage of people that end up with the nerve issue? The ‘why’ questions can do our head in! When facing things that we aren’t happy about (or actually quite frustrated about!) it helps to get to the place of surrender – not my will but yours be done.

So that morning, it was time to get on my knees and give it all over to the One who holds my future in His hands. I’ve always prayed that God would use me and sometimes I’ve learnt that means facing tough things, so I can reach my hand out to others and say “I understand, let me help you through this.” Even if I haven’t walked the same journey as them, I know that love, compassion, understanding, strength and patience is being built into my life as I walk this journey out. Nothing is wasted. Therefore the bigger picture must be kept in mind. “If I have to walk around this mountain another time Lord, then I’ll do it. Not my will but yours be done…”

It’s amazing how when we face challenges and we give them over to God, then peace comes. An assurance that there is purpose amidst the pain. That He is there in among it all and we need not stress or fear.

Driving to my appointment I saw Psalm 16 on the number plate of the car in front of me.

Yesterday I met with a different Physiologist. She found that things had settled down a bit and they were able to lower the threshold on my settings. Meaning less voltage through my leads… meaning hopefully less jolting. It’s a fine line between giving me enough voltage so that my pacemaker will work well, to giving me too much and the nerve being activated.

When I got home later that day I lay on my left side… the twitching began. I was so gutted. But then last night i lay on my stomach – and nothing! So it’s improved! Its still early days so we shall see how it goes. But it would be amazing if we can get the twitching to stop so IĀ  don’t have to walk around the mountain again! But if I have to go through it again – I will. Short term pain for long term gain right? I go back in 4 weeks and we will see how things are then. Until then – with all areas of my life – “Not my will but yours be done…”

XXX