Its still February, right?! Whew!!
Since its still the month everyone talks about “love,” I thought I’d write about the “love of my life” and how thankful I am to still have him with me…since I came close to losing him about a year and a half ago.
The year 2013…lets just say, was not the best year for our family. It seemed like we got one kick in the teeth after the other. Our oldest daughter was being tested for skin cancer, then our second oldest daughter was having several tests run for some health issues – having lost one of our children to cancer already, we were praying and sure hoping we wouldn’t have to travel down that road again, and both daughters were given an “all clear!!” Thank the Lord!
For many months my husband had been working for a contractor, and he was working long hours and it was very strenuous work, which he was really thankful for. On top of working, Joe was walking, jogging and doing his own workouts, trying to stay healthy and in shape.
The summer of 2013 he wasn’t able to jog hardly at all, because he kept getting a bad cramp in one of his calves. He asked a few athletic folks about it, but their suggestions didn’t seem to help, so he just continued walking and working out…not knowing that the Lord was sparing him from a literal heart attack.
All summer long, Joe was roofing, and if you know anything about roofing, it is very, very hard work. He was climbing ladders, hauling bundles of shingles up for his boss and sometimes he and our youngest son would be working on a roofing job alone and late into the evening (thanks to our long summer days). Being tired at the end of the day wasn’t surprising! And when the roofing jobs were done, they were tearing out old fences or decks and lugging the huge pieces to the truck to be taken away, then building new ones. Good, hard work.
One Thursday in mid-August, as Joe and his boss were working at tearing out a deck, Joe noticed that he kept getting winded, and he had to keep stopping to catch his breath. The next day wasn’t so bad…then he had the weekend, but it wasn’t really to rest, since he had to prepare sermons (and then preach) for our two services each Sunday. Crazy busy, but he never complained. He was so happy doing what the Lord called him to do – and life was good. 🙂
Monday morning Joe decided to go to the walk-in clinic, just to get things checked out. You see, his dad had died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 48 (Joe was only 15 at the time) and though what Joe was feeling didn’t sound like anything he had read on heart attack symptoms, he wanted to see what the doctor thought. Like Joe suspected, his symptoms weren’t concerning, so he headed to work for the day.
Within a short time, Joe was back at the job site, tearing out the deck by himself while his boss was away giving estimates for future jobs. And not only did he have to keep stopping to catch his breath, he was also having a weird sensation in his left jaw. Now, to you it may seem obvious that he was having angina, but since he had read and read about heart problems and about heart attack symptoms – after watching his dad die in front of him that Thanksgiving morning – he still didn’t think what he was experiencing was how they described it in the articles he had read.
Thankfully my husband is not too “macho” to go to the doctor when he feels like he needs to! Had he kept working that day and not gone to the ER, the ending of this story would probably be very sad.
At the ER, Joe was very calm, and explained to the staff all his symptoms, and also the history of his dad. They ran tests, and though the results didn’t raise any alarms, the heart specialists decided to admit him that night and do an angiogram the next day.
Even as I sit here and remember that day in the ER, its all still a blur – like it didn’t really happen. I didn’t have time to worry – it all happened so fast. At the ER I remember texting my mom and her reassuring me that an angioplasty (and stint, if it was necessary) wasn’t that complicated and Joe would probably be fine…and she told me she would be praying and I was sure she let the “whole world” know, and they would be praying too!
Many folks were praying…and God answered!! Tuesday afternoon Joe was wheeled into the operating room and in less than 2 hours he was being wheeled into the recovery room. The heart has 3 main arteries and the doctor found one of Joe’s 90% blocked. He called the location and extent of the blockage a “widow maker” – he said Joe had nearly missed a fatal heart attack.
Our selfie after Joe’s surgery…
So thankful it wasn’t an “all by myselfie!!!”
Like I said, those few days were a blur…by Wednesday, Joe was discharged from the hospital and though he didn’t preach our mid-week service, he lead the song service and gave the announcements…like the past few days had never happened. And I know it was because God was pouring out His amazing grace on our family, through the prayers of so many friends and family all over the world. You can’t beat that, now can ya?!
Oh how I love my Joe!!!
I’m so blessed…and I’m so thankful!!