Do you believe in miracles? Or more importantly,
Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
My senior year of High School, Dec of 2005 to be exact, I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Rewind one year previous to that, Oct of 2004...
I was living in Connecticut with my Aunt Armenay and Uncle Norm. It was the day after Halloween, a Sunday, and my cousin Natalie went to wake me up for church. (Because I wasn't use to early morning seminary etc, she was in the habit of being my own personal alarm clock...yes, she loves me. She was even sweet enough to give me 5 extra min when I asked, or when she could tell I wasn't ready to get up). Anyway, back to this particular Sunday...my cousin made her attempt to wake me up but I didn't respond. Thinking it was one of those mornings I needed an extra few min she went back into the bathroom to finish getting ready. Sure enough a few minutes later she was back in my room trying to wake me up. I still didn't respond. After trying a few different methods with no response at all she called to her mom and dad for help.
Don't worry people, I obviously did not die...I wouldn't be writing this if I had.
Me and my cousin Natalie at my wedding.
After a few minutes of my Aunt and Uncle trying to wake me up, getting the same unresponsiveness, they decided to call my parents and see if this was normal or not. My parents told them No and to maybe try a more drastic approach...ice. Still nothing. By this point they decided to call the paramedics. I had no color, was limp, unresponsive, and not looking good. If I remember the story correctly the paramedics got there and started running their tests, asking several times I possibly could have over dosed, or if there was anything they knew of that may be the cause. I'm a good girl though =) No drugs or anything dangerous or unhealthy for me.
After running an ECG (Elecro Cardio Gram) they discovered my cardiac electric impulses were very abnormal. It looked similar to, "An 80 year old man's heart after several heart attacks." Finally, as they were loading me onto a gurney to take me to the hospital, my Uncle in desperation, took my younger cousin Drew into his bedroom to say a prayer. He said he pled with the Lord to let me open my eyes and be ok. When he told me the story he emphasized all he wanted was me to open my eyes and be ok...or something along those lines. When he returned to my bedroom my eyes were open and I was finally awake and responsive.
My sweet Uncle Norm and Aunt Armenay.
The rest of the story I remember some parts very clearly and other parts are super hazy. I remember hurting all over and I wanted my Mom and Dad, of course. I remember them telling me my ECG wasn't normal and they needed to monitor me and run more tests at the hospital.
The next several months consisted of me doing almost every heart test known to man, and left every doctor flabbergasted. They had never seen anything like me. Ever. They sent my reports to University of Columbia and every other Hospital in the area. None of them were able to diagnose me and eventually told me, "Well, it must have just been stress...exercise a LOT and you'll be fine." HA! Idiots. However, this was how I lived the rest of my time in CT and at the end of the year returned home to Utah.
It wasn't until after this whole ordeal that I realized how very irregular my heart beat was. I'd always had chest pain, dizziness with exercise, and other symptoms but thought it was normal...everyone did sometimes. But I was acutely aware now. Then November of my Senior year I started having bad enough symptoms that my Mom made me an appointment to see a doctor. After hearing the history, seeing my results, and being flabbergasted himself he made a referral for me to see Dr. Hwang. One of the best cardiologists in Utah and very highly ranked in the US. He welcomed the challenge to my mystery heart and accepted me as his youngest patient.
This is a very long story. I apologize. Feel free to back out anytime. Haha.
I finally had an MRI and WA LA! The doctor did his magic and I was finally diagnosed. Apparently with this heart disease you are not suppose to exercise or do any type of physical exertion, or you can experience cardiac arrest (which basically means you collapse and die within seconds). I was limited to Yoga and walking. The next year or so involved constant check ups and testing several medications. Medications that made me MISERABLE. I gained weight, had fatigue, my already low blood pressure was even lower. It was awful.
Luckily, we found out this heart disease is genetic, meaning there was a chance other members of my family could have it as well. After getting a few of my siblings tested we discovered my Dad, and brothers Stefen and Jesse had it. At the time Dr. Hwang said because my left ventricle was so thick I was especially at risk for cardiac arrest...thanks to all the damage I'd done from exercising so much trying to keep it healthy all those years. But even though I felt like my life span was cut in half it didn't matter because now we could take necessary precautions to keep my other family members safe. I saw myself as a sacrifice. Haha, such a martyr. But it helped me cope. The doctor talked to me as if I was a ticking time bomb and any second could be my last. Questioning my mother when she asked about my ability to have children, he said, "Why would you want to have grandchildren with a heart disease like this?" My life felt like it was taken from me, but if not for anything else...I was comforted my brothers and Dad could find out so they could prevent it from getting bad like mine.
That's my past history...
I am now 22 years old. Still alive and after seeing a few different doctors to get second opinions, I know my life is not even close to being over. My little brother Jesse has died from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. He woke up one morning and just as the doctor said collapsed suddenly and within a matter of seconds passed from this world to the next, changing all of our lives forever.
Are you ready for the miracle?
I had a check up a couple weeks ago and yesterday spoke with my new doctor about the results. They showed my Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is gone. My echo and ECG are still abnormal which still has some concerns but my previous diagnosis was removed...like it was never there. This is unheard of! It's a medical phenomenon. This heart disease does not just "go away." But for me...it did.
I sit here, tears filling my eyes, wondering how is that possible? How is it possible that MY diagnosis led to the discovery of my families history of HCM. And now I no longer have it? I am confident that it is God's will. Do I still have trials regarding my heart in my future? Most definitely. I am now in the process of doing gene testing to see if I might have the gene that causes sudden deaths. But am I afraid...not in the slightest. Do I believe, do I know, God is aware of me?...He knows what needs to happen now to prepare the future? YES. This is the miracle. That I have a God that knows me. He loves me. And he is completely aware of every hair on my head and every beat of my heart.
I think that is a phenomenon.