The surgeon’s secretary pencilled me in for open-heart surgery at the end of the month.
The ‘king of hearts’, one of the nick-names for the world-renowned heart surgeon, is going to take a peek at my mine and see if he can fix it. Dr. David was confident he could, until he heard I only have 30% lung capacity. Yeah, that makes open heart surgery tricky for even the top in the world.
Or it could make surgery impossible. The risks might be too high. First, he will do some more investigative tests to see if I can handle having my chest cut open, my heart and lung stopped, and a valve replaced after some creative corrective work is done on a damaged area of my heart.
It’s a strange thing to try to prepare for open-heart surgery without getting your hopes up that everything can be made well. I can’t quite describe my feelings as I wait to know if my heart valve can be replaced. It’s eerie, scary, a little overwhelming. Something like that. But more. All I really know is I need faith. So I keep asking God for more of it.
No one knows how long I’ve lived with a sick heart. We do know it is damaged from the cancer treatments that ‘cured’ the cancer I was diagnosed with as a three year old. Yeah, the cancer that tried to kill a kid; that disease that damages for life if it doesn’t destroy your life.
I happen to be a “good statistic”. I survived.
I’ve lived almost 35 years since I began the fight. I graduated from school, completed college, worked at a job, got married, had three children. These things are just a normal part of life, but for a childhood cancer survivor, it’s beating the odds to succeed at any of them. According to one study, the average age expectancy for a childhood cancer survivor is 37.6 years. I am 37.9 years old today.
I don’t boast in any of that. How could I? I’m still fighting. This war is still on. In fact, it never ends. I’ve passed the average, but long life is not generally a gift handed to the likes of me.
I’ve been given another gift: the intimate knowledge that life is a vapor. It doesn’t matter how long your life is, what matters is how you are living your life in light of eternity.
Your heart will stop beating sometime in this life. That’s guaranteed. It’s a given that life on this earth will expire.
We may be concerned about life expectancy, but life eternally is the crux of the matter.
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