Monday, June 23, Judy and I spent the day at the University of Minnesota Hospital. I had a right heart catheterization, a left heart angiogram, blood work, and (both of us) had a consultation with the cardiologist who performed the procedures. These are the first invasive procedures I have had since November, 2006.
The news was not good overall, but there are a couple of good pieces. The tests showed that the most important artery supplying my heart is 90-99% blocked, all the length of the vessel, so that no stents in this (or other arteries) can be inserted. There is permanent rejection of the transplanted heart. Humanly speaking, the prognosis is that this artery will soon close completely and I will have a major heart attack. Most of the other arteries supplying my heart have also closed more since the 2006 tests, but are not as severely diseased as the major one.
The good news is twofold. A couple of the heart arteries showed some improvement; there is not as much inflammation in them as previously. This shows reversal of the condition in places! The other good news (although the doctor did not present this with a hopeful tone) is that some small corollary arteries have begun to grow toward the most severely affected area of my heart. My brain received signals from that desperate area of the heart and ordered help to the rescue. Truly amazing! And encouraging!
Even though the doctor said there is nothing more that can be done for me except another heart transplant (which I have declined), and even though Judy and I are still trying to sort out Monday’s news, our trust remains firmly in the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is a wise and good God, and filled with compassion. I sometimes feel afraid and troubled when I look at the future, but deep down I sense his loving arms around me, caring for each part of my body and my life and those close to me.
My blog posting this month (http://bobrakestraw.blogspot.com) is on the powerful scripture text, Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him [Christ] who strengthens me,” and its applicability to depression in my life. I now want to return to writing that, so I can post the piece in a few days. I have a strong hope that I will always be able to state Philippians 4:13 with the assurance I now have concerning my future and the future of my earthly body. It will deteriorate for sure, some way or another, some time or another, but God will never leave me, or you. I know some of you are suffering greatly as well, not only in the physical realm, and I try to pray for you as I become aware of your concerns. Gratefully, we who trust in Christ will all be together one glorious day with new bodies and new outlooks on all of God’s wonders and mysterious ways.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.’ And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making all things new!’ And then he said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.’ “ (Revelation 21:3-5 New Living Translation)