Every so often something happens in a person’s life that changes everything! The coincidences are unexplainable; the outcome undeniable; and the transformation far-reaching, like the ripples on a pond. I would like to share a most remarkable journey in order to encourage those who are currently battling A-Fib and all of the things that go with it!
The year was 2016 and I still considered myself a new bride in my 5-year marriage to Denny. I had sold my home in Atlanta and moved to Hawaii to start our new life together. The one thing that dogged me continuously was extreme fatigue. My local cardiologist assured us both that I had a strong, healthy heart and that my atrial fib could be easily handled with medication. At that point he handed my case over to his “assistant” and I was relegated to calling her with my ongoing concerns.
The desire to stay in shape was replaced with the desire to make it home from the grocery store and prepare dinner for my husband before collapsing into bed! Our Friday golf outings became more of dread than a joy for me because I knew my feet would be dragging by the fifth hole. Our beautiful ocean-side condo was no longer relevant for sunset walks on the beach or afternoon dips in our private lagoon. All I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep away the overwhelming fatigue that gripped me like an octopus!!!
One of my happy duties was to walk our two beautiful black doodles several times each day in a neighboring field. This, too, required a good amount of energy, and I made every effort to “save myself” for this labor of love. On one such occasion in July of 2016, I was walking the dogs when a very sweet young woman approached to ask if she could pet them . . . that she was missing her own dog back home in Houston. I quickly agreed, and our conversation was easy and relaxed as Leah shared her reasons for being in Hawaii and her background as a cardiac nurse in Houston, TX. Feeling I had the audience of one who could truly understand my problem, I shared my frustration with atrial fib, and the devastating effect it was having on my lifestyle. She listened intently, then proceeded to tell me about a cardiac surgeon in Houston who was doing wonderful, innovative things regarding the fight against a-fib. This was music to my ears!
Once she shared the contact information for Dr. Randall Wolf, I went to work researching him online, reading testimonials of the people he had helped, and making contact with his office administrator, Cindy. After several conversations, she had Dr. Wolf contact me directly to discuss surgical possibilities. He said 10 words at the end of our conference that changed my life forever . . . “If you can get to Houston, we CAN help you!” I talked it over with my husband and started making plans for the trip!
Amazingly, everything came together beautifully, like pieces of a grand and glorious puzzle . . . the opening for surgery in Dr. Wolf’s schedule, the insurance authorization to go forward, the flight schedule, and the room availability in the hotel adjoining the Memorial Hermann Hospital where my surgery was scheduled. All this was accomplished with only a two-week notice! I’ll always believe there was an angel somewhere helping to orchestrate the perfect travel scenario!!!
We arrived at Memorial Hermann at the appointed time and checked into a beautiful hospital suite that had been reserved for us by Dr. Wolf. I was given a battery of tests to determine the exact function of my heart, and Dr. Wolf decided that I not only needed a maize procedure for the atrial fib, but a total replacement of the mitral valve, and repair of the tricuspid valve. These extensive procedures necessitated open-heart surgery, and we all braced ourselves for the next morning when I was scheduled for surgery. Denny prayed over me before I left the room, and as the anesthesia was administered, I drifted into a long, deep sleep that would carry me through the 5 and ½ hour surgery. Upon completion, Denny and two friends were notified in the waiting room that all had gone well, and that I had been taken to the recovery room.
Ten days afterward, I met with Dr. Wolf for my post-op follow-up and was given clearance to fly back home to Honolulu the next day. I was still weak from the ordeal, but so full of faith and hope for the future! This amazing doctor had taken on the challenge to help someone with multiple heart issues, perform more surgery than he had ever done on one person at one time, and given me a new, energetic life I could never have had without him! I will be in cardiac rehab here in Honolulu for several months, but already my energy levels are higher than they were before surgery.
Thank you Dr. Wolf for sharing the time and talent God gave you to make such an amazing difference in my life; and thank you dear Lord for so beautifully orchestrating the circumstances and hearing every prayer surrounding this life changing event!!!