This is my brother-in-love, Dwade. He is married to my youngest living sister, Debra. Dwade has had quite a journey during the last several months. In the summer of 2008, he discovered he had some mild coronary blockages and an aneurysm in his left main coronary artery. It was nothing to be greatly concerned about, just to be observed as time passed. He was started on a regimen of medication and told to keep all doctor's appointments so that he could be closely monitored over time.
He continued to have chest pain and other symptoms, even though the doctors insisted his problems should not be causing him pain. He was referred to a gastroenterologist for testing and found to have H-pylori infection in his stomach. He was given a regimen of antibiotic therapy and the infection cleared. However, the pain continued.
Finally, he had an episode that convinced his cardiologist that it was time for another catheterization. He underwent that procedure on November 18 of this year. Surprisingly, doctors found the aneurysm to have more than doubled in size over the last year. It was imminent that he undergo surgery to repair the aneurysm before it ruptured and he bled to death. The surgery was scheduled for November 24.
When the surgeons opened his chest they found the aneurysm to be located in a position that would be impossible to repair surgically. There would have been no way to prevent him bleeding out during surgery. They decided to proceed with two bypass grafts in order to reduce pressure in the artery by increasing blood flow through his heart. Other means would have to be found to deal with the aneurysm.
In Canada and some European countries, cardiologists are using a metal stent in the repair of aneurysms to prevent the invasive and risky surgical procedures. The stent, however, has not yet received FDA approval in the U.S. It was decided Dwade's best option would be to seek FDA approval and a waiver to use this stent in him. It would be introduced into the artery during a catheterization procedure just as the cage stents used to open blocked arteries.
Today, the doctors told him they had the approval and would be doing the procedure early next week, possibly even on Monday, and he could go home on Tuesday. He is weak and very sore and is suffering a lot of pain due to the bypass surgery. Surgical recovery has been steady, but difficult for him. Yet, in the midst of all that, one has to stop to realize what a blessing his whole ordeal has been.
Consider this.....the surgeon told us this type aneurysm occurs about once every 30 years. Most people never know they have it before it ruptures. It is fatal 100% of the time. Dwade will be one of only a few people in the U.S. who have this stent. Had he never had chest pain, he would never have sought medical attention. Had the pain not continued and even worsened, he would never have kept pushing his cardiologist to find out what the root of the problem was.
His blockages were not major and should not have caused pain, much less severe pain. Aneurysms have never been known to cause pain unless they are located in an area where the swelling blood vessel or artery puts pressure on other body parts. Had he not had surgery, the doctors would never have discovered just how rare his aneurysm is. Were medical professionals in other countries not moving ahead with research, the stent would not be available to repair the aneurysm.
When I stop to consider every step that brought him to where he is now, I am amazed yet again at God's goodness and His guidance in our lives even when we least expect it. The Scriptures teach us that "His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways". I am so thankful they are not! I am thankful I serve a living God who loves me and cares for me even when I don't know I need it or Him. I am thankful He is ever aware of the needs of my body, mind and spirit.
Again, the Scriptures teach us that "He knows the very number of the hairs on our head" and that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made". Thank you, my Creator God, for loving us and meeting our needs even before we are aware of them!
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalms 100:3-5 (KJV)