Author, Speaker, Professional Patient

I’m Not a Fan of Pain

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Most Popular Posts, Read Her Blog | 73 comments

I’m Not a Fan of Pain

IMG_0648And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

I am scared. And weepy. And my emotions are slightly yo-yo-ey these days (I realize yo-yo-ey isn’t a word…but I’m giving myself grace due to my minimal thought-aligning abilities lately. My thinker is no Bueno). I almost didn’t post an update because really, who wants to admit they’re frail. And sniveling. And well…pretty much praying–All. The. Time.

I guess that last confession is the best one.

Because it’s true.

It’s amazing how life’s hurdles bring us to our knees, and render us humbly before God. I’ve always been a Bible-studying girl, but when sickness hits, I kick my studies into research mode. Because that’s what planners do. They try to find the perfect verse to numb the pain, we try to finagle a way to understand the why and how behind their circumstances, but ultimately, we just want the hope of knowing that everything is going to turn out beautifully.

And it will. God causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28). I know this to be true. I’ve lived a lifetime of it.

So here is my recent news. Both my CT and MRI scans came back clear of cancer (woohoo!).

Yesterday, I contacted my potential heart surgeon in New York from NYU Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates (he graduated from Harvard and worked in pediatric cardiology for a while, which is a plus considering everything on me tends to be kid-sized). And the less invasive procedure originally recommened for me, the one they do robotically these days with 5 teeny-tiny incisions along your ribcage, with the surgery requiring only a 2 to 4 week down time—yeah, I’m not a candidate. :*(

Turns out I have too much damaged tissue surrounding my lungs and heart from my tumor and radiation scars, and since they have to repair my moderately leaking mitral valve and replace my severely leaking aortic valve, open heart surgery is the only option.

And this is when the tears surface. Because this was not my plan. My plan was the short in-and-out procedure, not the one where they temporarily stop your heart, not the one with the week-long hospital stay followed by a 2-3 week recoup in a nearby hotel, and roughly 2 to 4 months before you feel fully mended.

I wanted to jog–now.

Feel better–now.

Have the super duper deluxe state-of-the-art procedure–now.

IMG_0534

{Come on, this kids just asking to be chased! And tickled! And kissed all over!}

I realize I sound like that snooty little girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So I’ll take the deepest breath possible and know that God’s plan, this one that’s happening now, is the best path mapped out for me. He’s going to use it. He’s going to provide all the finances for it. He’s going to watch over this renowned surgeon’s hands and the best part? I’ll have a fully repaired heart and oodles of energy to chase my kiddos around, without all the windedness.

So if I see you and instantly my eyes get all teary, please know that I’m in the processing stage. I know, that I know, that I KNOW I’m in God’s hands. I know my days are numbered and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change that. I know that God will supply all of my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. My Father “owns the cattle on the hills and He owns the hills too”*, so the physical and financial part are in His hands. He can do anything. And, hey, I’ll get another front row seat to see just how amazing my God is. He typically doesn’t answer my prayers exactly how I pray them, but His outcome always exceeds my expectations, because when I look back I see how beautifully He orchestrated everything.

Open heart surgery is good news. It means more time to do what He wants me to do, and this time with a stronger, mechanically fortified heart.IMG_0590

I’m not a fan of pain. But neither was Paul, Job, or Jesus. Christ, in His very human state, even begged God to spare Him from His impending crucifixion. So the fear part is normal.

Praise God.

I’m very human. Very humbled. But honestly, and I mean this with my WHOLE heart, I’m over-the-top excited for this new phase of my life to begin. Praise God for surgeons and technology and for (dare I say) medicinal relief from physical discomfort.

PS This is where I’d like your help. If you’ve had open-heart surgery, it would mean the world to me if you could share your (or your loved one’s) experience with me. Or if you know of a top-notch open-heart surgeon who is known for working with medically complicated cases, please share their name. Even though I’m strongly leaning towards my recommended surgeon, seeking wise counsel is, well, wise. So suggest away! 🙂

1 Peter 5:8-11 (MSG)

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.”

 

Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

***Update***

A few people have asked, so my big sis set this up for me if you have any interest in helping. Please do not feel any pressure at all:  http://www.gofundme.com/v4vqr34

 

*Dave Ramsey

73 Comments

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  1. Anonymous

    May the Lord bless you and give you peace and comfort. I pray that all will go well with your surgery and you will be fully healed, physically active and strong. I pray that the Lord will supply all of your needs. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. Becoming A Titus 2 Wife

    I had open chest surgery 10 yrs ago where they cut my sternum and removed my thymus and then wired me back together. I hardly needed any pain meds. I was sore, sure, but that was to be expected.

    But in 2014, I received complete healing of all my diseases…myasthenia gravis, ehlers-danlos syndrome, POTS, fibromylagia, inflammatory arthritis, celiac disease, and more. I was dying. I am now very much alive and well! ¨I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord¨

    This all happened in my very own living room when I was home alone. I am so very thankful for this miracle healing. It was there all along. I just had to receive what was already done for me.

  3. Kelly B

    Thank you for the update! I have been praying and will continue to do so.
    I love you, Dabney. I love your honesty and openness and your adorable, lovable personality!!

    • dabneyhedegard

      Love you, too sweet lady!!! You amaze me with all that you do!!! God bless you. xoxoxo

  4. sabrenaklausman

    Dabney, you are so brave. Keep on keeping on, and sharing your amazing story, All your pain is a gift to someone else who is lost in fear. I am so proud of you, my friend!

  5. Brenda L.

    My prayers are with you! I pray that God guides your surgeon’s hands to do a top notch job on your heart, I pray that you recover with not much pain or that they can keep the pain a bay mostly with meds. I pray for all to go well. My MIL had open heart surgery and she is not a person who can tolerate pain, but she made it through it and you will too. She was in her 50’s and I’m thinking you may be in your 20’s/30’s. So you have age on your side! My husband is going through cancer, he is not curable, but I’m trusting in the Lord that maybe this study at Johns Hopkins is the cure that is for him. He can’t do the study because fevers came the day before Easter and he had had them everyday until recently. They said it is the cancer tumors causing the high fevers, so back to treatment he went instead of being able to do the study. His fevers have gotten better since starting treatments and our plan and hopefully God’s too, is to get the tumors knocked back so he can go down to Johns Hopkins to do the study. Prayers are with you because yes, that little one looks like she needs her momma to chase and tickle and kiss her all over. All children need that from their momma! Hugs, Brenda

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you for your prayers, and I am adding your precious husband to my prayer list!!!!! I pray in Jesus name that his fever subsides and that he is able to get to Johns Hopkins sooner than expected. Lord God surround this dear one with an army of angels. Touch his body and heal him. In Jesus’ name, amen.

      God be with you and your sweet family!!!

  6. Beverly Foy

    Hi my sweet little girl. Yes, you will always be that to me. Jim had quad-by pass surgery about 5 years ago. Yes, they called me to let me know they had just stopped his heart. As if I needed to know that (TMI). He was 76 years old at that time. He is now 82 years old and going strong. His surgeon was Dr. Catalino in Manatee County. I might not have spelled that right. He was wonderful to Jim and me. Very professional. Infact there was a article in the Bradenton Herald about his skills with the heart. Like you, Jim was scared to death. I could only see at his age and with heart problems in their family history that he might not make it. I was devastated when they let me see him and he was so gray and tubes everywhere. Ashlee assured me that this is normal. I don’t know what I would have done without her with me. anyway, We will all be praying for you. I know what you have been thru and I know it just doesn’t seem fair. One can’t help but ask “Why Lord” when does this end. Just know that prayers are powerful. A friend of mine (Rita Sell) is going thru so much with her little 5 yr old grandson that has brain cancer and is now in the spine. It breaks my heart to see a young child so active to be swollen beyoung belief. I pray God takes this away from his little body and makes him whole again. But here comes the Why again! We love you sweetie and we will pray so hard for you and Jason. I just know that God is trying to make you stronger. He is going to use you for something in the future. I just can’t wait to see what it is. Keep that chin up and we will keep the knees down. Love to you, Bev F.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Love you, Mrs. Foy!!! And I love your heart and your kind words. You too will always have a special place in my heart. I know God’s got this covered, and I know that I know all the prayers are helping. {Big Hugs}

  7. Amy

    Praying for you, Dabney. It’s all true.

  8. michelle

    You are always an inspiration… I have never had severe medical issues , but your faith spills out , your love for the lord and life is so beautiful…Thank you or being you , I know with out a shadow of a doubt your story helps me daily !!!

    • dabneyhedegard

      Michelle,
      You are one of my angels sent from above. Your kind words mean the world to me. God bless you!

  9. Barbara Olson

    Oh, Dabney how I love your transparency and honesty. This is all a really BIG DEAL, but not to our BIG and all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God who knew before you were born that you would face this challenge and all the others you have already overcome in your young life. I believe with all my heart that we are about to see more great miracles in your life, all of which will bring more glory to our God who knows full-well all that is at stake here. I have never had open heart surgery and cannot imagine the fears that accompany the very thoughts of it. I don’t know any heart surgeons either to recommend, but I do know the GREAT PHYSICIAN and your life is in His hands-the most capable hands known to man! I am asking the Father to grant you His perfect peace and that He would remove every trace of fear because that is not from Him-remember it is He who gives you “a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). I love you Dabney and we stand with the army of your many prayer warriors cheering you on to better health and total healing, pleading with the Father for Divine wisdom and guidance through every step of what lies ahead . That He will carefully guide the surgeon, whoever He directs you to do this surgery as well as all who will be tending to you. Your light will shine brightly for Jesus and who knows who will come to know Him for the first time because of your miraculous living testimony!

  10. Christin Bockman-Pedersen

    Hi Dabney,

    I have read your book and met you briefly when you spoke to a women’s group about your book at Calvary Church in Jupiter. I connected with you in your book because my mom had been very sick with heart complications as well. So that is why I am commenting now. When my mom was only 40 years old, she unexpectedly was diagnosed with a defective aortic heart valve. Needless to say, this was quite a shock and difficult for a family that was not immersed in faith as we should have been. At the time, I was just 21 y/o already living on my own and my baby sister was only 14. The course of action was for mom to receive a mechanical heart valve instead of a pig valve due to her young age. We were told that a pig valve had a higher chance of deteriorating and needing to be replaced than a mechanical valve. The down side to the mechanical valve was the medication she would require for the rest of her life which was Coumadin. While she did not like the idea of taking that medication, she disliked the thoughts of a repeat surgery even more. For the most part my moms surgery was very successful. If my mom would have taken care of herself and not been a smoker prior to this and also resumed smoking again, she would have probably had even better results. As it stands, my mom did suffer complications in 2013 and the Lord did miraculously save her life 3 times that summer via some amazing doctors in Indianapolis Indiana. If you would like for me to try to find out more about my moms doctors and the hospital, please let me know. I do know that she had the best care at Community North Heart Hospital in Indianapolis and her main doctor that I can recall off of the top of my head there was Dr. Sharp. I believe that he was her cardiac surgeon in 2013. Her surgeon in 1991 at Community East was Dr. Schumaker. In my opinion, they both saved my mother’s life and gave us more time with her and more time for her to finally give her life to the Lord fully so that she could truly go be with him and leave us with peaceful hearts.

    I live here in Wellington FL and I have three daughters ages 17,14 and 10. I homeschool the younger 2 with my youngest being in CC. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you.

    Blessings and prayers,
    Christin

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and to share your mother’s story! I need to hear these, because I too am leaning towards the mechanical valve verses the pig valve–for the same reasons your mom choose. Praise God she came to the Lord!! Love this. I’ll do some research in the area you mentioned. I guess that’s the phase I’m in now:researching everything. 🙂 God bless!!!

  11. Unshakable Hope

    You are such an inspiration, Dabney!
    God will supply everything you need to make it through this difficult trial, He still has a lot for you to do.
    You’re in our prayers,
    Bill

  12. Stephanie Santos

    Hi Dabney! I’m not sure you remember me. My name is Stephanie and I worked in Campus Ministry with Scott Werner, Robby Rhea, and Mary Brown back in the late 90s when you and Jason were students. Your faith is inspirational and valuable to you and to those who read your words. Although our issues were not heart related, my husband at age 32 had stage 3 colon cancer. That was 11 years ago! God healed him completely and we give Him all the glory. As I’m sure you can attest to, we would never wish to go through that experience again (2 surgeries and 6 months of chemo), we would never trade what we learned during that time either. God was gentle and tender to us time and time again. His love was palpable. Some verses that meant so much to us during that time were 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. May God comfort you and your sweet family and bring healing mercy to you 🙂 We will be praying!

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you for sharing this precious testimony of God’s goodness! We all need these reminders!! And I am pretty sure I remember you. I believe I chatted with you a few times right before I got married? Ok. I have to be honest. My memory is not the best, but I do have such fond memories of my years at PBA. Thank you again for sharing your encouraging words!!!

  13. Rachel

    Love you, Dabney! Love your heart, love your story, and I love how you have inspired and touched so many. God makes all things work for His good. Have you thought about setting up one of those medical fundraiser sights where people can donate money for your medical expenses? I know it is so not your nature to ask for anything, but maybe a friend (or husband) can set one up for you. Carringbridge is the only sight that currently comes to mind, but I’m sure there are others. Praying for you!

    • dabneyhedegard

      You are so very sweet, but you’re right. I really, really feel awkward asking for anything. 🙁 You’re the second person to mention this, though. Thank you, thank you for your prayers. We love your sweet family!!!

  14. Justine

    Your in our hearts. We are standing with you in prayer. With love, The McGorry Family

  15. Deticia Chambers

    Dabney I am 42 years old, at 37 years old I was diagnosed with Hodgekins Lymphomia. The kicker was I had a mass that had attached itself to my heart. My initial consult discussed a small incision to biopsy the mass, but my wonderful heart surgeon informed me this wasn’t possible. I too was shocked and in a fog while he gently explained that he had to cut my sternum and go in to remove the mass. Everything they tell you is scary and unknown, but can I just tell you the amazing peace God gave me was nothing but miraculous! I should have been shuddering in my shoes or surgery gown I should say, but I had peace, crazy peace. I woke up in CCU surrounded by amazing nurses. There is initial pain, but you will get through it. Get up and walk as soon as your doctor tells you to, liquid gel Advil was my best friend (only after you are given the ok to take them), and my favorite verse, I can do ALL things through Christ! got me through. I then took 12 rounds of chemo for 6 months. I tell you this so you will know God has this. You are exactly right that you will have more amazing time with Him. There are wonderful heart doctors in Gainesville, GA, small town but known throughout the country for the Ronnie Green Heart Center, Dr. Winston was my miracle worker. Please contact me if I can help you in any way. I will be praying for you and your precious family.

    • dabneyhedegard

      You’re a walking miracle! I love that you shared your precious story with me. Tonight I needed to hear your words. Thank you for taking the time to share, and for your prayers!!! God bless you!!

  16. Jeanette Murphy

    Hi Dabney, I don’t feel like a part of your family but we are related. I have watched as our kids have gone through 16 open heart surgeries. Some were less than 8lbs. Nicholas has only half of a heart and has been through 3. His blood supply had to be totally rerouted and before he’s even close to your age he will probably need a heart transplant. The skills heart surgeons have today is amazing! I know how scary it must be, but it was never heart surgery that took our kids home. With all you’ve been through, I believe God will see you through this too. I love pediatric heart surgeons. I’d go with one that has done that before if I were you. I believe God will carry you through this. Pray for peace in your heart as you await this.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you for this. And you are definitely a part of our family. We are just not the best with keeping in touch! But we think of you and speak of your amazing family often!! I needed to hear your words tonight, so thank you. 🙂 God bless you all. xoxo

  17. Bernadette C

    Sweet, sweet Dabney- you have been on my mind so very much in recent weeks. Please know I am praying for you and your family. You’ve got this girl! Yes, it’s scary, especially now being a mother. But Jesus holds you in the palm of His hand. That much I know to be true. If there is anything you need or you just want to vent over lunch, please reach out. School is out for the summer and I am around. Hugs!!!

  18. April J

    We are praying continously. You have a strong, brave spirit. It’s so hard to see God’s plan from down here, but we know he has one for you and is in control.

  19. Laura Bennet

    I don’t have any medical advice or an open heart doctor. I do know a cardiologist personally who is an amazing doctor, sold out for Jesus believer and all around wonderful person:

    Lorrel E. Brown, M.D.

    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Associate Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship

    201 Abraham Flexner Way
    Suite 600
    Louisville, KY 40202

    502-852-7959 – Academic Office
    502-588-4600 – Patient Appointments

    She may or may not be who or what you need, but if it’s helpful, yay! I would trust her with my life. If you call her, you can tell her I referred you. (Laura (Huff) Bennet or Vici Herkomer’s mom should do it.)

    And I’m praying for you. I understand all our head (and part of our “heart”) knows about God and his goodness and all he promises us, AND how scary life can be in the midst of learning to believe with all of us. I pray for God’s best for you and your family at this time. I pray he will grant you supernatural peace (is there any other kind?), and I pray you will continue to bless others with your remarkable testimony. Thank you, gutsy girl, for being someone God trusts to live this out.

  20. Anonymous

    Jennifer filled me in while we were in Florida. You are in my prayers. Nancy Street

  21. Anonymous

    Dabney I am praying for you, and I want you to know my mom has had triple by pass after smoking for so many years, Pats mom had by pass last year, also a terrible smoker for many years and they are here and doing well, healing wasn’t to bad. Although like Mrs. Foy said your husband and family need to be prepared for the tubes and how you look at first, very pail and gray, it can be a shocker. Your young and vibrant, You got this and so does GOD. To a new you my friend. Love Always, Elizabeth Murphy-Conrad.

  22. Gabrielle Meyer

    Praying for you, Dabney.

  23. Anonymous

    You are LOVED precious one! Team Foss is praying away over here. Love you.

  24. Terry Foss

    This is a sermon that’s gonna kick your butt in the BEST way possible with the promise of God’s providence! Here’s the link
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/promises-promise-providence/id302037815?i=331761649&mt=2
    Also, Mayo Clinic and recoup at our house 🙂

  25. Christine Ketterer Marecki

    So many have asked what they can do to help my sister, Dabney. What’s a big sister to do…I’ve created a page where you can share your support and encouragement. https://www.facebook.com/supportdabney/timeline

    Also, for those who have asked…
    http://www.gofundme.com/v4vqr34

    Thank you!
    Christine

  26. Christine

    Hi Dabney,
    Be encouraged by Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” , the verse our 14 year old son clung to as he was wheeled into the operating room for OHS at Mayo Clinic in March.

    God showed up….BIG time!! We had called out to our prayer warriors on our son’s behalf for specific surgery requests, but God outdid us and did more than we even asked or imagined!! Our son is now medicine-free for the first time in his short life, and he feels better than ever!!
    (a dear friend said, “I love when God gets all ‘show-offy’!”) 😉

    Keep calling out to the Lord, keep asking others to pray, and know that God already knows the outcome! Find peace and comfort in Him alone, and you will see His face.

    Praying for a miracle for you like we had for our son. We had an incredible team at Mayo, and we know God used them in tangible ways to show Himself to us and to others. God is using you to reach others, and it doesn’t always feel like a blessing, but know that you are chosen….

    In Him,
    Christine

  27. Jaime

    Beautifully written, your faith is such a great example to me.

    My grandma was soooo tired all the time. We thought it was because she was old, but ends up it was a leaky aortic valve. She had open heart surgery and got so much energy back, going on to live to a ripe old age of 90… and the technology is even better NOW!

    Thanks for your blog updates and sharing your most candid thoughts and moments! Love you!

    • dabneyhedegard

      I so needed to hear this, Jaime! Thank you!! I’m looking forward to having my energy back. 🙂 Love you, friend!

  28. Teashya Padbury

    Dabney, I wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you and your family as you go through this journey. I was married to Wally Stearman’s son Jaime and am still very close with the family. I’m 41 and just went through this same surgery myself about 5 months ago. If you ever have questions about the surgery or recovery, feel free to reach out. Remember to be easy on yourself as you recover. I kept trying to count the days and felt I should be further along than I was and I would be hard on myself. I had to let that go and just let the healing happen on its own. There were good days where I had more energy and then there were days I was just tired n wanted to lay in bed all day and rest. I would feel guilty for that. One of my cardiologists gave me the best advice before I left the hospital, he said “there will be days you feel like doing more and there will be days your body just needs to rest and heal, on those days lay in bed all day, it’s what your body needs”. That helped a lot. You are strong and you will do great. Take care ~Teashya

  29. Nick Farr

    Hi, my name is Nick Farr. I’ve had 4 open heart surgeries…first one was when I was 5 years old. Every surgery I had they said my chance of survival was very low. I’m now 34 years old, married with 2 daughters. I’m also a full-time pastor at a church in Tucson, AZ. I’d be more than happy to talk about my condition, what to expect with surgery, what they don’t tell you, and more. My wife can also share from her perspective. Send me an email and I’ll give you my Skype name.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Wow! What an amazing story you have!!! This is so encouraging!! I’ll be in touch!

  30. Anne Empie-Ryan

    My dad had open heart surgery, triple bypass and has COPD (never smoked). He is 6 years out and 76 years old and doing AMAZING! The recovery went well and he too has other health issues.

    I am new to your blog and I don’t think I even have words yet to convey to you the love and adoration I feel for you. You are a spitfire, an amazing human being and your honesty reminds us all as Christians…it is OK to show our human side. We are not invincible. But how powerful, despite it all, that you continue on and your faith is strong.
    It is that ability to show our strength and our broken ness I think that allows others to feel more at ease when stepping into Gods light. So thank you.

    Your heart is beautiful. I am honored on so many levels to be witness to your life.
    You renew my hope…you fill my heart. God’s blessings upon all of you in Jesus’s sweet name..
    Anne

    • dabneyhedegard

      I so needed to hear your words today!!! God bless you for posting and for encouraging me!!!!!! Praising God for you. xo

  31. Pat Clark

    God Bless you sweet Dabney!
    I just had open heart surgery right here in Palm Beach Gardens, and Dr Arthur Katz would be my surgeon! WHAT? I have a heart problem??? Where did that come from?? Odd little symptoms that led to a heart catherization, discovered a 90% blockage in two main arteries, and the Cardiologist sounded the alarm. “You are an explosion waiting to happen!” They called an ambulance and off to the ICU I went. No time to think, no time to interview Dr’s—no time!
    I made the decision that I would not fret nor worry. I would leave this in God’s hands and trust that He would handle this, just as he has handled everything else in my somewhat complicated life. I focused on all the things He has done in the past. One by one. How He brought me from this place to that place. How He provided in ways I Could never have imagined. How He has protected me from myself, as well as others. How He brought me to this place before the “explosion!” How I almost didn’t keep the appointment for the heart catholic procedure because they wanted me to go to Wellington??? Why would I go there?? And miraculously, the Cardiologist called and his surgery center across the street from the hospital opened and they could do the procedure in 2 days! Is that a coincidence? Not in my “God coveres all” world!

    So I’m in ICU waiting for the next step! One of my Christian sisters appears out of no where and prays with me! Where did she come from and who told her??

    In the meantime, the Cardiologist comes to tell me—not ask me— that Dr Katz will be performing my surgery the next day! What?? Don’t I get a vote?

    A man enters the room. He has love in his eyes. He is gentle and kind. He is Dr Katz.
    He is a man with gifted hands, heart and mind!
    He was sent by God. I knew that when he looked into my eyes and took my hand in his.
    At his name, everyone stops to tell you how fortunate you are to have him. Not only is he the best, but he just returned from vacation 2 days ago!!
    Nothing in my world prepared me for the shock of being told that I was being sent by ambulance to heart surgery. Did I even have on clean underwear??

    Dr Katz took me through the procedure with a drawing of what would be done. It was a basic sketch! The hardest part would be the recovery. He was correct. When bones are broken, they take time to heal. Nothing in the fast lane on this one. And it hurts. Especially for the well endowed in the breast! But one day at a time it gets better. And it’s almost noticeable when you wake in the morning that today, it’s just a little bit better.

    My surgery was February 13. I’m not running races and at my age, never will. But my energy is back. The broken bone well healed, and breathing (with asthma) is better with the more stairs I climb.

    Do not fear little one! The one who neither slumbered nor sleeps will take care of you in this challenge just as he has in the past.

    It never ceases to amaze me how I can face a life threatening issue like open heart surgery with calm assurance and complete trust in God, and then let something so insignificant throw me into a fearful tailspin!

    That’s when I love Elijah. I’m so him. And I’m so thankful for my Bible and those stories and promises that I can rely on!

    I didn’t mean to write a book. And by the way. My scar is barely noticeable! And while that’s not really important. What is important is at the very top, it has a tiny cross!!

    God Bless and Keep You,
    Pat Clark

    • dabneyhedegard

      I LOVE this. Thank you for sharing! Do you mind if I contact you? Do you mind if I ask you who your local cardiologist is? I’ve heard of Dr.Katz and believe he is a thoracic surgeon…but is he also your cardiologist? Thank you so very much for taking the time to write this!

      God bless you!
      Dabney

  32. Pat Clark

    Dabney,
    I apologize for all of the iPad auto-corrects that misspelled my words! It’s heart catherization, not Catholic!!! And there are many more! I hope you can read around my grammatical errors! I thought I had proofed my epistle before I hit post! Xo

  33. Frances

    It’s obvious by all the trials that you have been thru that God has a special calling on your life…You are definitely a faith builder for lots of people including me. Your faith is astounding and it shows a strong and great commitment to follow our Lord. Prayers going up !!

    • dabneyhedegard

      I so appreciate your prayers!!! Thank you, and thanking God for your kind words!

  34. Kathy Metzler

    Is your surgery taking place in New York? Lisa and I will be in NYC the end of June. If you can have visitors we’d like to see you. Our prayers are with you

    • dabneyhedegard

      Yes, we are leaning towards NY. Most likely I won’t have surgery until beginning of July. I’d love to have it now, though! I’m so bummed I will miss you!!! xo

  35. Shelley Megathlin

    Dabney, you truly are the sweetest, most real, humble, nurturing, loving, all around amazing girl I have ever known. I can’t tell you how many times I tell Dave on Sundays when I see you just how much I admire you and adore you. You really do light up any room and bring such a giggle to my heart when I see you. I ache when I read what you are going through but quickly get over it because I see how God uses you for good. You must be his favorite because he chose YOU and uses YOU to work in so many lives. YOU are inspiration to many. There is no doubt this surgery will have a positive outcome as well. I am excited for your healing. Know that I am praying for you constantly and praying for the Lord to calm your nerves, ease the pain, and for a very quick recovery.

    “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. -Psalm 56:3-4

    Love you!

    • dabneyhedegard

      I needed to hear your words of encouragement today. Thank you so very, very much. xoxo

  36. m sitton

    Love you sweet Dabney. I have no great words of wisdom except to say that I Love you. I know you’ve been through great valleys and trials (understatement), and always God’s grace and mercy have sustained you. And as you have said so beautifully, you’ve lived to see his awesome handiwork in your life to bear testimony to all. Well, Here we go again! I wish it weren’t so, but God knows and God has it and God’s got you. So I and so many others who love you will be praying for you.

    muriel

  37. Adrienne Papa

    Hi. I just finished your book. You are incredibly inspirational and I’m simply in awe of your strength but most of all your amazing faith. I’m going through a tough time, one year out of breast cancer (praise God) and now in Memphis at St Judes Childrens Hospital with my 9 yr old son who is fighting leukemia. My 2 daughters are back at home in Palm Beach Gardens, FL with my husband. (Yes, we are neighbors). All too familiar with St Marys myself. I just want to thank you for inspiring me to not lose faith and to continue looking to God for the strength to get my family through this. God bless you on your amazing journey and thank you for giving others the gift of hope.
    XO, Adrienne Papa

    • dabneyhedegard

      Oh, Sweet Adrienne! I will be praying for you and your precious, precious son! Our God is with us always. I’m praying that He showers you with comfort during this season of your life.

      God bless you and your sweet boy!
      Dabney

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