Friday, October 26, 2012

12 years ago

Twelve years ago on October 24, 2000, our 5 day old Kirsten had open heart surgery.  I remember the surgeon telling us that her heart was the size of a walnut. I still marvel at God's grace in giving men like Dr. Leonard the ability and stillness of hand to operate on such a tiny, life sustaining organ.

Kirsten was diagnosed in utero with Truncus Arteriosus.  Her heart looked like this: 

She had one artery (a "trunk") and a hole between the ventricles, a ventricular septal defect (or VSD).  In basic terms, her oxygenated and unoxygenated blood mixed and traveled to the rest of her body providing insufficient oxygen to function properly.  You can see a cool animated diagram here.  The surgeon sectioned off the "trunk" into one ventricle and inserted another one to create two arteries.   He also patched up the hole with Dacron.

I can think of nothing more difficult in my life than handing our newborn to a nurse and watching them walk down a hallway to the operating room not knowing if I'd see our baby alive again.  Wondering if she would live through surgery and if it would be a success. Wondering if the Lord would chose to take her or if it was His will for her to live.

Brad and I had nothing to hold onto but Jesus Christ.  We prayed over and over for His will to be done and we prayed over and over that His will would be for her to live.
Kirsten immediately after heart surgery 

Kirsten in May this year 

Today I look at Kirsten and I'm amazed by her.  The Lord clearly wants her alive.  At every cardiology and pulmonology appointment we are reminded that the Lord has His sustaining hand on Kirsten's life.  According to medical tests, she should not be walking around with a healthy pink glow.  Her cardiologist even warns the technician before he starts her echo cardiograms that he doesn't need to be concerned.  The first man she didn't warn ran into her office to tell her how bad was the condition of Kirsten's heart. We've even been told no cardio surgeon would choose to operate on her heart in this condition. They would be very concerned about her successfully coming off the heart/lung bypass machine. 

Her quarterly pulmonary function tests reveal very low air flow from her lungs and yet she's running around and riding her bike and acting like a regular kid.

There is no other explanation than Jesus Christ's life-sustaining hand on our Kirsten.  She truly is a miracle.   The doctors don't understand.  We know it's because so many pray for our sweet daughter, and have for years, and the Lord, in his graciousness, allows her to stay with us.

We obviously don't know how long Kirsten will live.  None of us know how long we have.  But we give all the glory to God for his goodness to us.  For his grace and mercy and love that he so lavishly bestows upon us. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  
Romans 15:13

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 
 Psalm 18:2

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
 Isaiah 41:10