This article was originally published on one of my closest friends Phil Wall’s blog. Being involved in Phil, Catherine and Manaia’s life, on an almost daily basis, I have seen them go through this struggle from the first moment of finding out the news that Manaia may have a heart issue to seeing her in the recovery room after the operation. I cannot imagine watching Wyatt or Gryffin go through this, but I hope I could handle it as well as the Walls did. Pay attention to how Phil was able to adjust his attitude to help him get through this difficult time.
I have a four year old girl, her name is Manaia – a name from my home land New Zealand (pronounced just like the singer Shania except with an M). About two years ago her family doctor was doing a regular checkup and listening to Manaia’s heart and heard something that did not sound quite right. It was faint she said, but certainly something we should get a cardiologist’s expert opinion on. An ECG and a sedated echocardiogram confirmed a diagnosis of atrial septal defect or ASD.
Look at this picture and think back to high school when you studied the components of the heart, the aorta, the four chambers etc. Between the upper two collecting chambers is supposed to be a wall that separates the two chambers. Manaia’s heart had a 2.78 cm hole which could not be plugged because of the size and had to be patched.
The cardiologist suggested that because Manaia did not need the operation immediately it would be better for us to wait until Manaia reached a certain weight to lower the chances of needing a blood transfusion and therefore lowering the risk factors during the operation. That wait was 2 years. We found out in late October that her surgery date was set for November 12, 2013.
During the 2 weeks before the surgery, my emotions were swirling…….is Manaia going to be okay? What if something bad happens? What if an air bubble finds its way into her blood stream? What if? negative statements. I’m fairly certain these self-degrading negative assaults on my thinking were not helping me or the situation.
I was recently listening to an audio by LIFE Coach Chris Brady, he was talking about the power and the use of “what if?”. Not just using “what if” in the negative BUT in the positive use of “what if”.
What if we get the best surgeons?
What if I have nothing to worry about?
What if hundreds of friends are praying?
What if everything is going to be just great?
What if Manaia lives?
What if God answers our prayers?
I’m here to tell you he did answer your prayers and ours.
Tuesday 12th, 2013 on our way to the IWK Health Centre
8 am We arrive at the IWK – Manaia is excited about her surgery.
9:30 am Manaia heads down the hall with the nurse, heading to the OR. hahahaha Manaia blowing us kisses as she heads to the OR. Obviously you can tell she’s soooooo upset leaving us. Catherine and I, well we weren’t doing so awesome. Our next interaction would be with the surgeon once the surgical team had completed the operation. They said they they would call us to the office outside the OR as soon as they were done.
1:30 pm We get called to the office outside the OR. The next 15 minutes for me were the most intense 15 minutes to this point in my life. We knew nothing. We were just waiting for the surgeon to come out and tell us how the operation went. My stress level was increasing dramatically. It’s fascinating how negative self talk (unless it’s checked and dealt with quickly) so easily finds its way into our heads and starts to mess with our thinking. Versus positive self talk, like success, MUST be forced.
After numerous futile attempts to side-track my thinking, I pulled my phone from my pocket and started reading through the numerous texts of well wishes and great verses from the Bible that family and friends had kindly sent. One verse in particular slowed the pounding hammer in my chest, and the extreme gnawing pain in my stomach. It was this: Isaiah 41:10 version #1 “Do not fear, for I am with you: do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you; surely I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” version #2 “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I am your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”
The report from the surgeon was everything went great. Waaahooo!!!!
When you do not have control over certain events in your life what do you do? I put my faith in God. God calmed my fears and answered your prayers and mine.
God is great my friends. I am blessed and highly favoured to have him in my life, and great family and friends to share my life with. Your love, prayers and support mattered. It mattered to my family, it mattered to me and it made all the difference.