--------------
""

16 October, 2015

Heroes

Nine weeks ago today Jeff came home from the hospital. He heroically endured open heart surgery and has the scar to prove it. Here he is standing beside a photo of his cardiac surgeon.


My husband, my Hero of the Scar. Last evening we spent some time reflecting on our travel and heroes along this road of recovery. Jeff has come a long way in these nine weeks!

When he first came home it was a struggle for him to walk out to the driveway and back. Now he walks several miles a day. He works hard in cardiac rehabilitation exercise classes at least three times a week. Here is a picture of Jeff wired up for heart monitoring, ready to start his rehab work out.


In rehab Jeff is among others heroically fighting to gain strength and stamina of heart and body. I attended class with Jeff earlier this week and my spirit was deeply moved to see Jeff and his classmates all working diligently, against many odds, sweating to regain what has been lost to cardiovascular disease/disorders. They are all heroes for sure.

Jeff is now sufficiently recovered that we have more time to do what feels normal to us. We are able to spend time with friends and family, talking of God’s faithfulness and sufficiency. Today we are excited to spend time with some of our missionary family, heroes of ours, and attend missions-focused meetings.

Our daily rhythm as we travel our road of recovery still includes plenty of “down time” for restorative rest. Jeff is learning ever better to pay attention to what his body tells him. Our conversations during walks and rest periods include discussions of being in Uganda.


Our heads are up and we are looking forward, all the while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus as we live in each present moment. Our hearts are full of gratitude and we delight in recounting God’s faithful provision, much of which comes through God’s people, the Body of Christ. They, too, are heroes every one. Thank you!

Christine

01 October, 2015

Forever Grateful


It almost feels like we have hit a button to turn on turbo boost as we pull out of the round-a-bout where our forward movement was so slow it felt like were stuck. Now we are whizzing ahead on our road of recovery as Jeff makes great gains.

Five weeks post-surgery the cardiologist found the reason for Jeff’s fevers and lack of forward progress. Pericarditis, indicating the problem lies in the sac surrounding Jeff’s heart. Of course, the pericardium had to be cut in the surgery and early in its recovery it reacted strongly, setting up an intense inflammatory response as part of its efforts to heal. Once the cardiologist identified pericarditis Jeff started taking the prescribed medication to combat the inflammation. Ten days later we assessed his progress.

Fevers gone. Heart rate gradually inching down toward normal. Chills less frequent and only very slight. Stamina gradually increasing. Sleep improving little-by-little. At his cardiac rehabilitation sessions he is able to increase the incline on the treadmill, increase the weight he can lift and his pulse doesn’t rise as high during his monitored workouts. On the days off from rehab Jeff is tolerating walking longer distances without “crashing” when done. Today we made it 3.3 miles as we walked outside, enjoying the fall foliage and bird songs.


Our hearts are full of gratitude. Our minds are amazed as we look back to where Jeff was and see where he is now. Eight weeks ago we were going through the pre-op checklist with a fine-tooth comb to make sure we were doing all that needed to be done before surgery. Today we walked miles outside, enjoying scenery and conversation. We are finally at the point where our every thought, every conversation no longer centers on open heart surgery. Medication isn’t the main intake of the day. Pain no longer governs activity. We are forever grateful.

The anti-inflammatory medication will be a requirement for the next few months. Cardiac rehabilitation will remain on our calendars three times a week for many more weeks. Rest periods will continue to punctuate our days. But our eyes are forward, our gait is picking up, our hearts are lightened and our sites are already set on Uganda and serving with our colleagues (by the end of this year, we hope).

Once again we are thinking about luggage, about parting from family, about ending well, about getting home. A strange mix of looking ahead and glancing back, of being excited to go but dreading separation. All very real as we move forward along our road of recovery. Even so, we are forever grateful to be on this road. Forever grateful we don’t travel alone. Forever grateful.