Thursday, March 31, 2016

Photos

We have a library of photo albums, plastic bins filled with extra pictures, boxes under the bed filled with studio pictures, CD & DVDs of pictures, computers with pictures saved on them and thumb drives with even more pictures on them.  I love pictures but when I look back, even on happy times I feel very sad that that time has passed, never to be the same again. 

This being Thursday is TBT on FB and a childhood friend started it by posting a couple of pictures that I don't even remember....
 
 
At my friend's house probably calling some boy LOL


Speak to the hand cause I just got a perm do LOL







 Fun times at Wakulla Springs
 
 
 
 
College Friends




 
 

 
 
 




Me and my childhood friend and her crazy brother Photo bombing us!  I adored him:)






A rare picture of me and my biological siblings.  My two brothers are on the left, and my sister is the  little girl on the right side.  I'm blowing a balloon- it was my 2nd bday  The other boy is a "cousin" and the older girl is a neighborhood girl who helped out with me.  



Flower girl



Me and my roommate after college
 
6th grade class
 





Jon and his mom and their dog Molly



Jon and his dad



Jon in elementary




Jon's mom, Jon and his younger brother at St Augustine  





College age Jon
 
 



Old School- Sunday School 1960
 
My aunt was on the left side front row with the little head covering. 
 


 

So I love looking at these pictures but they make me sad too.  I think of the fun I had at my friend's house and laughing with her parents, now they are gone, the house we spent so much time in is sold, as is my old house.  Actually my old house has been torn down, we were neighbors...

My college years were so fun, but that's all over now, we're all grown and have had to face LIFE...all of us have some scars from Life now.....

The picture of me and my siblings....that's just such a sad story.  Our father & mother made terrible life choices that affected the four of us in many ways.  Now the gulf is too wide between us.....

Jon's parents have passed away ..... along with all the old ladies from that Sunday School class.  Ironically two people in my 6th grade class have also passed away....so sad

Over the past year I've become a huge Harry Potter fan.  I had never watched it or read the books when they came out because of "witchcraft". Then I happened onto one of the movies on TV and watched it for a bit and saw it was no more witchcraft than all those famous Christian sanctioned movies like "Lord of the Rings" or "Narnia".....anyhow..... when Harry looks at pictures of his parents and they are smiling and waving in them, not knowing what lies ahead.....that just hits me.  I think that's how I view pictures, that they are just a moment in time and the subjects don't know what may lay ahead for them. 

You never knew I was so melodramatic did you?  I hide it good most of the time. 

We have so many videos of mainly Steve when he was little, I can't watch them without crying.  But I love them, I'm just sad that I can't go back!

I'm very nostalgic.  All kinds of things take my memory back.... there's a certain color in the sky of brightest blue that takes me back to the fall back home, football time, cold weather coming, fires burning.....   There is a smell that was used to clean our dorms in college, it's probably full of chemicals, but every now and then I'll smell it in some commercial building....and I'm right back as a freshman in Bethany dorm.   There's a feel to the air when it's nippy cold that takes me back to Christmas time back home in north Florida.  The smell of hot sun on a pine tree.....that takes me right back home too....   Our property is ringed with pine trees and the other day, it was quite warm, I was outside and I smelled IT.....that took me home for an instant. 

The past is very dear to me, I hold onto some memories very close.  Often I look at a picture and just wish I could take myself back to that moment for a little while at least & be with the people in it!  But I can't....

When I was young, I had no big dreams for my future.  I was in some ways a sad child, not that I didn't have fun but not having my own family, and as I grew older, very little support, it was hard.  By the time I was in my middle teens, my dream was to get away on my own ASAP! 

We lived near a train track and in the summertime I slept in our front bedroom that had  8 windows in it.  We had huge azalea bushes planted outside and while azaleas don't have a strong smell when there are so many of them they have a pleasant smell, that smell reminds me of that bedroom.   We didn't have air conditioning so when the train would go by, it would always wake me up.  After reading so many Agatha Christie books I'd wonder where the train was going (in reality it was probably going or coming from the paper mill LOL) but in my mind I'd think about traveling away from my home town and pursuing an education and doing ministry.

Back then I looked forward to the future......now I tend to look more longingly at the past.....  Maybe that's because the past doesn't hold any surprises for me.  Who knows what the future might hold?  The last few months have held enough surprises for me to last a few years between mine & Jon's health scares. 

Maybe as you grow older, the past is dearer to you because you begin to lose people and then they only belong to your past, not to your future.....

Life is made up of memories....good and bad.  Memories are what connect us to each other.  Memories are the cornerstones of our lives. 




Four years ago right now, Jon, Steve, Sam and I were flying over Europe on our way to Kiev Ukraine to start the adoption of Sarah and Selah.   So much has changed for our family since that day, so much has changed for the precious friends we met in Ukraine since that day and so much has changed for the country of Ukraine since that day.   One of my friends was a huge supporter of our adoption and who met us when we arrived back in the states recently passed away.  Our facilatior in Ukraine is battling a serious health issue, we've had all kinds of things happen in the past 4 years that we never dreamed of back then that's for sure!  And the poor country of Ukraine has now been in civil war for two years and has suffered so much. 

Personally I am glad I can not see what lies ahead....I'd be paralyzed with fear! 

All I can say is I'm glad God walks with us through life.....


Monday, March 28, 2016

Thinking of Selah

 
4 years ago we got this picture of Selah Johannah.  It was just two days until we left to go meet and adopt her and Sarah.  We had just found out about Selah and committed to adding her to our family.  When I got this picture, I just though Selah was so beautiful. 
 
I miss the little girl she was....  She is stable and doing great according to her doctors.  We have no real issues to worry about with her.  She has the most wonderful nurses in the world and a perfect room/suite, all her needs are met.  She seems to seldom be displeased about anything.  Believe me if she doesn't like something, we know it!  While Selah doesn't smile, she certainly frowns very easily so we have no problem figuring out things she doesn't like.  We've gotten her the very best medical care and tried several things to help her.  But three plus years after the accident, she is no closer to coming back to us.  Thankfully she came back, more than what was expected.  We saw a few changes in the first year but I don't think we've really seen anything new for a long time.  She does focus at times on us, but she's done that since before she ever left the hospital.  She certainly responds to sound, light and physical touch.  She hates shots!  Every year when she gets her flu shot, she cries.  Since she has had the same nurses for over 3 years now, they can figure out quickly the things she needs/wants so in some ways she seems more with us, since we can figure out her needs pretty easily. 
 
I wish we could just turn back the hands of time ......I miss Selah.  I wonder how things would be if the accident had not happened.  We saw such amazing emotional growth with her in just the three months we had her before the accident.  She was responding to our love and learning things so quickly.  Selah was intellectually disabled and would have never lived on her own, but she went from  being like a baby mentally to a toddler in just a few weeks.  She knew what some words meant.  If I asked her if she wanted to eat, she'd rush to the table.  If I said let's go play outside, she would go to the door.  We couldn't believe how fast she was picking up things.  She loved her new clothes (and both girls had a closet full!)  She liked for me to dress her and she liked to look in the mirror at herself.  She was like dressing a baby doll every day:)  I loved dressing both girls but since Selah could see, it was a treat to watch her respond to being cared for with love. 
 
I'm glad I had those months with her.  I'm glad we still have her, and we can give her all the love and care she deserves.  I'm forever thankful for our new home and her room/suite-I am so glad she has such a wonderful room where everything is easy for her and her nurses.  Whenever a new medical person comes to our house for some reason, they all are amazed by her room.  It's like a hospital room as far as everything is there in case she needs it but it's a little girl's room all the way.  Oh and boy does she have a closet full of clothes now!  Her nurses all love on her and buy her things.  Her closet is the same size as mine & Jon's and she has almost as much clothes as the two of us do!  No kidding!  I used to pick out her clothes but her nurses enjoy dressing her and making her pretty every day.  Her hair is always done and she is always dressed so nicely.  It's a comfort to have her given such wonderful 24 hour a day care.  They are committed to making her life as easy as possible.  When I say we are blessed by these ladies, I'm not kidding, they are amazing in so many ways but it's a blessing to know they love her.  It took us a few months to get a team in place and I'll be honest I have no idea how many nurses I fired along the way- I'd say more than 10 at least!  But if I had any qualms about the person, they had to go.  I can't watch her/them 24 hours a day and I had to have people in there that I had total faith in.  I have  total faith in our nurses.  If we have to be out of town or if something is going on (like Jon having a heart attack) I don't have one worry about Selah, because I know she is taken care of.  We are blessed!
 
The nurses have her on a schedule and she does great with the schedule.  She's never had a bed sore or any type of problem like that.  She gets a bath, has her hair done and gets up in her wheelchair.  Then after an hour, she goes on the stander, then back to bed for awhile.  Some days she has a therapist that comes in and works with her for an hour.  Then it's time to go back to her chair, then the stander and then back to bed....   Some days she goes outside, even on her stander that rolls out the door or in her wheelchair.  She stays busy, never doing the same thing for too long.  She has the TV




 
And she sure watches it.  We've found all kinds of cute little baby/children programs on YouTube for her.  There are a few I find memorizing :)   We all work together -we all try and put ourselves into her situation and how we would feel.  So we try to do everything we can think of to meet her needs.

Thank you all for your prayers for Selah over the years, please continue to pray for her, we'd love to see more good changes.  But we are also grateful for her being stable, no sickness for over three years if we can get through April!  Doctors ( at regular appointments with various specialists) tell me all the time that kids "like her" don't stay well and have so many issues but Selah has not had any of those things.  I truly believe that is because of her great nursing care.  I'm so grateful that she is not in pain or has to deal with a lot of sicknesses. 

I still grieve and feel sadness about the accident-I don't think that will ever go away.  But I do think ahead to heaven and knowing that there is coming a day when she (and the rest of us) will be completely healed.  I'm thankful for that eternal hope!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

Well .....guess who preached our Easter Service?  Jon of course!  Only 3 weeks after a heart attack and open heart surgery!  I was not sure it was the best idea but he did great and it didn't wear him out like I was afraid it would. 

 
 Before church....we almost fill a pew



There he goes....

 
 
Back where he belongs :)

 
 
Daddy and Sam
 
 
 
The whole gang


 
 
 
And the cutest couple in the world!~
 
 
 
 We really like Steve's girlfriend. She's a great girl!
 
 
 
 So this Easter wasn't filled with decorating the church or doing an egg hunt....it was different but Easter is really probably my favorite Holy day.  I have more memories of Easter as a child, even the songs we sang than I do of Christmas.  This year we sang some of the old timeless hymns and it reminded me of family and friends who are no longer with us but who I've celebrated Easter with in years past.  You know every religion has holy days, days commemorating the birth of its leader.... Christians have a holiday remembering Christ's death, burial and RESURRECTION!  
 
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This picture of Sarah is probably one of my absolute favorites ever.....  I'm going to put it on a canvas.
 

 
 
 
 
Last week I was able to take Sam for a cleaning and he did so good.  He giggled the whole time and charmed the office.  Sam has some serious teeth issues- his bottom teeth are coming in sideways!  We've seen a few specialists and no one is quite sure how to proceed.  No one thinks braces will work for him since he would be uncomfortable & he bites his fingers/wrists at times.  Right now we are having one more appointment- but are looking at removing a few teeth to see if that will help.   Sam has great teeth-no cavities but he's had some odd issues.  He didn't get any teeth till he was about 2 years old.  Then he didn't lose any baby teeth until he was about 10.  He still has most of his baby teeth and the x-rays seem to indicate it will be years before he will lose all the baby ones.   Every dentist is perplexed by how his teeth have grown so slowly.  


 
 
 


 
 
 
 
And from the same day
Sam and his much loved horse!
 
I hope my Winter Haven Friend who sent this to them sees this picture.  Sam loves this horse- Horse- it is always beside him.  If he is playing with another toy, he still has it out beside him.  I know it was probably meant for Sarah but Sam loves Horse!
 
 
 







 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Hope you are having a Happy Easter!  Remember Christ is risen!  Our Hope!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Out to the Woods

Jon's continuing to improve daily.  I don't want anyone to think it's been "a walk in the park" but he's doing really good.  Up till a couple of days ago I've been very calm about everything.....I think now it's all catching up with me.  I find myself checking on him more, feeling anxious.  He doesn't have any doctor appointments until April, I'll be glad to sit down with the surgeon and with his NEW local cardiologist.  Of course I'll really be glad when we meet with the heart specialists in June up in the Cleveland Clinic.  He is up to 40 minutes a day on our exercise bike-but no hills yet.  Sunday we were able to go to the park and take a short walk.  Jon was happy to be back in his woods!
 


 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Is this gorgeous or what?
 
 
 
Hillsborough River State Park, one of the prettiest places on earth and one of my favorite places! 
 
my other fav place got a new summer do:)
 
 
 
 
So we have been working on a diet.  As I've written about before, we try to be as organic as possible and as low fat as possible.  We took a month last year where we went Vegan....it was ROUGH!   Jon was told that the Mediterranean diet was recommended for people with known heart issues.  Well Jon has generally eaten a stricter diet than the Mediterranean diet for years now.  We have tried following the book below but so soon after surgery, it's made Jon feel weak not eating any meat.  So we're kinda making our own diet as we go.  Generally his breakfast is one from the book and sometimes lunch but at least one meal a day has some meat or eggs in it.  Yesterday I made spaghetti with lean ground chicken- a total serving with whole wheat pasta, sauce and chicken was only 4 grams of fat.  The hardest thing for us is cutting out oils-even olive oils are not recommended for this diet.  We are cutting way down, but have not been able to cut oils out completely.  It's just frustrating to know how hard we have tried over the years but to still have heart disease show it's ugly head!   BUT I'm glad we've been careful, things could have been a lot worse. 
 
 
 
 
Anyhow these are good books if you get a chance to read them.  Reading them made a believer out of me, but it's hard putting my faith into action LOL
 
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I just have to brag on my son, he was awarded a $1000 a semester scholarship for next year:)  He had several scholarships but this one made him really happy as it was based on his work with the college's media production team.  He will be working some over the summer on their radio program.  He's excited about his future in Broadcasting. 
 
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My heart is sad for the people affected by the bombing in Belgium today.  Unnecessary death and destruction....life is hard enough without having people plan on killing innocents.....I hope and pray that somehow this can be fought.  The civilized world needs to take a stand and say this is enough!!!!!
 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Cute Videos! Sam- Sarah and Selah too


 
 
Sarah taking 3 steps!
video
 
 
 
 Outside play
 
video
 
 
 
video
 
 
 
 
Sam loves Sam!
 
video
 
 
 
Sam and his lullaby music
 
video
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selah on her stander 
 
video
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sam feeding himself!
video
 
 
Hope you enjoy these videos.  I have a ton more now that I know how to load them on to the blog:)  These are within the past month. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Another Quick Update

Jon is doing good.  He's not having any issues and is getting stronger by the day.  I can not believe it has been two weeks since his heart attack and surgery!  We are having a good time just hanging out together with nothing to do:)  Usually if he had time off, there were chores to do, people to visit for the church, obligations....now it's just him, me and the little ones.  We spend a lot of time of the porch!

He can't lift or drive or even open a jar (per his doctor) so I do stay a bit busy with the little ones.  He has started feeding one child, while I feed the other.  That's a huge help!  Some days it's the afternoon before I get a shower, first have to get the kids breakfast, clothes changes, eye drops, diapers, then it's lunch time.... after lunch is our calmest time. 

I've scheduled him to see a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic this summer.  First we will go to Rochester for Sam's eye appointment -then scoot over to Cleveland Ohio to see a specialist.  Jon and Steve will be seeing a prevention doctor and probably having a DNA test to see if they have something going on in the DNA- we know this is genetic but is it actually a abnormality in his DNA?   I'm going to see a woman's heart specialist since we will be there anyhow as a preventive measure.  We also will be going to a heart seminar. 

So that's our fun family vacation- only Shad and Sarah are spared a doctor visit LOL

Jon & I are planning on going on a short cruise in August.  I've looked on line and it's all so confusing to me!  Any advice would be nice!  We'd like to go on a short cruise to the Bahamas- on a boat that does not have an open bar!!!!!!!  Not wanting to deal with craziness if we can avoid it-just a nice mild relaxing cruise.......

Sarah is starting to take 2-4 steps on her own.  This is new and I have great videos.  I'm determined to get our son to teach me how to put them on here this weekend:)  Anyhow she is really making big strides.  She had regressed due to losing all her sight last year.  Her therapist and we were beginning to think she would not walk.....but she seems to be proving us wrong.  If she continues, she will be at least walking from chair to chair in the house.  She's so proud of herself.  She's an amazing kid!

We are being spoiled by our church and friends.  One of my church friends organized a supper for us nightly.  It's been great and we are going to hate it when it's over LOL!  Everyone has been so kind and caring to our family as we've gone through and are now recovering from this surgery!  I've felt like burdens have just been lifted from our shoulders.  It's amazing what a visit and a supper can do for your spirits!   We sure appreciate our friends:)

Well I got the babies in bed, Shad is in the shower....and I'm ready to crash!

Good night everyone!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Home

Quick Jon update!

Jon came home Thursday and is doing great.  Today was his best day yet, he's almost back to normal.  I told him tomorrow might not be as good, sometimes that is how it goes. 

I was very nervous to bring him home.  His oldest brother came and spent the night with us and that helped me a lot!  Then Steve came home from college on Friday and I've had his help this weekend.  My nervousness was more thinking HOW was I going to take care of Sam and Sarah and Jon!  The first few hours home, I thought we'd made a BIG mistake coming home.  Then when my brother in law came, he brought the "electric" chair (motorized chair) that my father in law had used.  Jon basically slept in it that night and has spent a lot of his time in it as he can adjust it however he wants it to go.  Before the chair, Jon couldn't get comfortable.  Today he walked around the property twice and went out on the porch some.  I had to pick up some things at the health food store and he rode with me over there and waited in the car just to get out of the house. 

We've just had our socks blessed off by friends bringing in food and all kinds of goodies.  The kids are thrilled with the food LOL! 

In all of life's challenges, we can still see the grace of God.  There are lots of things that Jon doesn't really remember that happened from the time he left the house until a day or so later in the ICU.  He heard my side of things, things that weren't told to him at the time and he was able to piece together other things.  This has been a huge thing to go through and I'm not sure we have yet wrapped our minds around it.  It was shocking!

Jon's doctor confirmed that he did have a heart attack, but because he got to the hospital, they were able to give him drugs and there was no heart damage.  It's just amazing with the amount of blockage he had that he lived to get to the hospital and that there is no heart damage. 

PLEASE if you ever suspect heart issues- go to the hospital.  Better to have wasted your time and money and be wrong than to sit at home and die!  This past few weeks I know two people who died from heart attacks, one younger and one older than Jon.   I know there are not always symptoms but if you suspect something....get it checked out!

 
 
 
So tomorrow I'm speaking at our church.  We have a missionary couple coming but I'll be sharing after them.  I really feel that our church needs to hear what is on my heart.  I'll share it on here after tomorrow.  For YEARS I've had folks tell me that they'd skip their own church service ( and some of them were pastors) if I ever spoke.....LOL  now they just want a video. 
 
 
 
Thank you all for your messages and prayers.  I truly appreciate them and you!  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Through It All

 
There is so much to say......
 
 
This morning I woke up from the first real sleep I'd had in 72 hours and the first thought I had was how good God is! 
 
If you are in the Evangelical world you'll hear that phrase "God is good all the time, all the time God is good."  There's even a song with that in it, t-shirts with that written on it.  And it's true, but it seems like such a cliché'.  Personally I don't like clichés- it takes away from the deep meaning of what is being said. 
 
BUT God is good!
 
Maybe you look at our life and wonder how we really believe that God is good.  I'll be honest, I truly believe we have gone through more than our share of trouble.  The old saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" makes me want to barf.  I kid around sometimes and say "Ok Life I'm strong enough- no need to try me again" 
 
We've been in some dark places, but God..... He has surrounded us with peace in the midst of many storms.   While I've not liked the storms, and many many many times wish I had a life free from them, I've experienced God in those storms in ways that other folks' who have had those seemingly easier lives have not had an opportunity to know yet....  These valleys of death have been filled with a sweetness that I just do not have words for.  There is no way I'd ever doubt there is a God.  I've had an atheist friend who told me it was just my strength that got me through the accident.  After I finished laughing at the thought of "my strength" I told him that I knew myself and my level of strength and that was NOT what carried me!!!
 
So this morning for the first time since all this happened, I took some times to do a few things around the house.  I repotted a large plant (ok that is just relaxing to me) I am washing our bed, I cleaned the kitchen and I'm waiting for my little ones to wake up so I can give them baths.  Steve and Shad have been taking care of things around here for me but we have to be so careful with Sam's eye implant & not getting water in it that Sam hasn't had a bath since all this has happened. 
 
I'm still in shock that this has happened.  I'm going to try and clearly write about it for a couple of different reasons.  One reason is I do not want the memories to get dim, I want to be able to tell Jon about it when he is ready and also I want to encourage everyone to never ever ignore their health or strange symptoms.  Never feel foolish about checking things out- it's better to be safe than sorry! 
 
So Wednesday night Jon came home from the prison, ate supper, fed Sam, talked and laughed with all of us.  Around 9:30 or so, he sat on the couch and complained about his jaw hurting.  He was convinced it was a new toothpaste making his teeth sensitive.  I told him there was some toothpaste for sensitive teeth in my supplies ( I bulk shop) so he brushed his teeth again and still complained.  We had some Ore-gel so I gave him that and it helped a little.  Then he took some Advil.  I started calling our dentist but they had no after hours service so I called a couple of local dentists.  But while I was doing that I was googling Jaw Pain - I knew it was a sign of a heart attack.  Just about everything I looked at seemed to indicate it was usually accomplied by another symptom.  Well he had NO other symptom at all.  And on top of that just TWO weeks ago he had a complete heart work up as preventative care due to his family's awful cardiac history.  He was given a completely clean bill of health and was quite proud of his treadmill stress test.  The tech told him she'd never had anyone his age do as well as he did.  She said she'd only had a handful of younger men who were athletics  do better than him.  He did all the other heart tests too and everything was perfect.
 
Anyhow I'm quite a worry wart and paranoid- sorry I've been through just a few things too many.
So I told him I thought he should go to the ER to get checked out and if nothing was wrong I was sure he'd be given a pain killer until he could get to the dentist the next morning.  He was in so much pain, he agreed to go.  Steve took him so I could get the other kids to bed, plus I was tired and didn't want to go.  As they were leaving, a feeling came over me that it was his heart.  But even though I was worried- I was worried in a general way, it seemed like it couldn't be his heart.  I let them go & told them to call as soon as they got seen. 
 
Just to back track.....Jon's dad had issues with his heart and had open heart surgery and stents.  Most of Jon's aunts and uncles had issues and most died from heart related things.  Jon's younger brother had a massive heart attack at only 32 years old and the only reason he survived was that he was at his doctor's office.  He was having issues breathing but thought he had a bad cold.  He literally dropped dead and they had to shock him several times to get him back.  He was in a coma for 9 days but recovered despite some heart damage.  He has continued having issues.  None of Jon's relatives were terribly overweight, most were trim people who were very active people.  They all lived relatively healthy lifestyles, maybe a little too much fried foods when they were younger....but certainly not what you'd expect in such a family history. 
 
Every since I met Jon he watched over his heart health.  I can remember him telling me "I don't want to be up on that table" (talking about having to be on the surgical table having open heart surgery)  the cardiologist who treated my father in law was a friend of his and sat all three boys down and told them that they would have to watch their lifestyle closely to avoid heart disease.  Well Jon took that "to heart"  He has always exercised, he has always watched his diet.  He's taught me to watch my diet.  I was raised that if you ate it, it could be fried and would taste better that way LOL!  My family never had any sign of heart disease so there was no concern about eating other than trying not to gain weight. 
 
Jon was close to being a vegetarian and we did that completely for a month last year.  It was hard work but guess what? Yep we are going back to that!  People told me when we were doing that, that if they couldn't eat meat, they'd rather die......Just saying they should have been with me on Thursday as my husband almost died, they'd change their mind real quick and grab some Kale and spinach!  Often Jon would go a day or two without eating any meat.  He didn't use much sugar or eat sweets.  He didn't drink sodas and almost all the meat we did eat was organic and as low fat as possible.  PLUS I drain any fat off the meat that I could.  Say I cooked spaghetti used some lean organic hamburger, I'd only use a small packet, cook it then I'd drain in through a colander to get all the grease out of the meat.   We'd use whole wheat spaghetti and there's only a couple of brands of sauce I'd use because so many things have extra oils in them.  So despite ALL of that, despite the hours and hours of hiking and biking, plus Jon walks so much at the prison that he wears out a pair of shoes in less than a year.  The prison is huge and he walks it a lot as part of his job working with inmates.  (he's the chaplain)  On the weekends Jon usually exercised two hours a day, sometimes he'd hike/bile for four hours.   One the weekdays 30-60 minutes of real cardiac exercise either by walking at lunch time or after work or lately by riding his exercise bike at home. 
 
So despite it all......he almost died from clogged blood vessels!
 
So let me get back to our story.....
 
Steve called me Wednesday night to tell me that Jon's blood work had come back with elevated enzymes.  They test Tropanin which tells them if the heart is reacting to something like a heart attack.  His was elevated.  Then they gave him nitroglycerin and it took away his pain.  Nitroglycerin opens heart vessels, so it makes it easier on the heart to pump the blood through so pain decreases.  Well at that point there was a strong suspicion  that there was a heart problem.  The kids were in bed and our sweet nurse told me to go.  So I got up there and talked with the nurse, Jon was feeling fine then.  I'm sorry to say the ER doctor dragged her heels and refused to call in a cardiologist.  She did send Jon's results to the on call but she did not ask for a consult and told me that Jon did not fit the protocol to bring in a cardiologist.  He would be seen in a few hours and was being admitted.  I went toe to toe with her and she would not change her position.  She was ugly to me and very condescending.  Jon was feeling fine and didn't want me to push the issue so I dropped it, knowing that he'd see cardiology in a couple of hours and was probably going to have a heart cath (where a tube is inserted into the vein and they look at the heart with dyes to see if there is a problem.  Jon actually wanted me to go home he was so calm so we got home around 4 am.  I could not sleep so I did some things, got a shower and as I was on my way back up, the nurse called to say they were taking Jon in for the procedure.  You know I prayed all the way there.  When I got there, they said they were almost done and a nurse would come and get me.  I knew there was a problem, that was way too quick.  So when the nurse came out to take me to the doctor, I started shaking.  I've been around medical things way too long and I knew if there had been no problem, the doctor would have come out and told me.  Instead she took me to a room where there were screen shots of Jon's heart everywhere, the doctor was on the phone in a deep conversation and two other doctors were in there.  He was straight forward and told me that Jon had 5 vessels blocked and was on the verge of a fatal massive heart attack.  He also told me the hospital could not do the surgery and I had 15 minutes to decide where he should be transferred.  I was leaning towards a large hospital but time was of the essence and the doctor had concerns about how quickly Jon could get the surgery done, often there is a few days wait just because they can only do so many surgeries a day.  He felt Jon would do best in our local hospital in our town.  They specialize in heart surgery but have a smaller number of patients.  So with reluctance I agreed ( I'm so glad I did but at the moment I was not sure at all)   He was working as hard as he could to get Jon transferred, he had everything sent over and was in conversations with the other hospital.  He was very persistent and worked hard but there were issues that came up and I got the feeling he pushed things to get Jon the help he needed.  I appreciate that man!
 
So as we were waiting, Jon began to get worse and worse.  He go to the point he could not communicate because of the pain.  Nothing they were giving him was keeping the pain down.  They gave him Nitrogylcin through an IV & had the dosage high.  That did help to open his blood vessels which probably kept him from going into a full heart attack. 
 
To be honest, I thought he was going to die before he could be transferred.  Our nurse worked so hard and was very patient with me as I was pushing for things to be done.  She was amazing & I even realized it at the time.  She was very worried too.  She even called and checked on him after the surgery. 
 
Anyhow FINALLY the transporters came .....they looked like three rough guys.  By that time, I just had to say "God Jon is in your hands, there is nothing I can do"  Well the guys were great and helped Jon despite their rather non professional appearance.  Maybe they'd just had had a long day LOL
 
BTW I was alone....my oldest brother in law had been with us for most of the day but he had an important doctor's appointment and had to go to it.  He left right before things went down hill so I knew they were coming back as soon as he was finished with his doctor.  One of my best friends was with me for hours but needed to go home as her daughter had just had dental surgery and was not feeling good.  My youngest brother in law was in court- he is a felony probation officer and was coming to meet us at the hospital where the surgery was going to take place.  In fact he beat us there and was waiting but as thing went downhill I was alone with Jon.  I will tell you I was terrified.  That is no lie, I though my husband was going to die.  It seemed like he was on the verge of going into the massive heart attack and he was, the only thing that stopped it was the meds and prayer. 
 
So once transporting guys got there, I went and got my van and drove to the hospital where the surgery was going to be at.  I WAILED all the way there.  I most have looked like a crazy lady to anyone who was looking in my van.  I'd held it in since I first talked to the doctor so I let it go!  Actually when I talked to the doctor the first time, I started throwing up.  I retch violently when I'm upset and I shake, tears are just a by product for me.  It's quite funny afterwards but not so much when it is happening.  I have thrown up on someone's shoes before when Sam had had to be life flighted because he quit breathing. ( My retching would become legendary before the day was over )
But on the drive over to the new hospital, I cried, I was so scared that I was going to lose my husband. 
 
When I got there my younger brother in law was there, I was so glad to see him.  Then another one of my best friends got there, along with Jon's warden from the prison who is a friend also.  I was so glad to have them there with me!
 
Things moved FAST!  The surgeon came in and talked to us....let's just say he had a surgeons' manner (reminded me of Trump but in a good way) I liked him right away, he was very confident but said it was an emergency heart surgery and had more risks but he was going to get in there and get it done.  He then described what he was going to do....I started retching again...he quit talking LOL  After it was all over he said that in 30 years he had NEVER  seen that reaction he kidded me and we all laughed then.  I told him he had better be glad I could not eat all day or he would have been really sorry.  He told me he would have joined me because he hates to see throw up LOL 
 
I was able to hold Jon's hand all the way to the surgery door, they were almost running him down the hall.  When I let go I yelled "I love you" and he said it back.  then I went in the waiting room and WAILED some more.  For the record, I don't cry....I push it in till it comes up like a fountain and it quit dramatic. 
 
It was 8 pm when they started.  We didn't think they'd be completely done till about 1am but things went good, all the reports we got were wonderful.  The surgeon was out to talk to us by midnight, said everything went absolutely perfect.  He does think Jon had a mild heart attack while on the verge of a major one ( mild because he was being treated) but he was not 100% sure.  He did not see any heart damage nor were any of the tests showing any which was an absolute miracle.  He also assured me that it was not Jon's lifestyle that caused this, he said that Jon was a fit man, his heart muscle looked great but he had lots of plaque.  The doctor said only genetics cause something like this.  The doctor that did the heart cath said the same thing, he was shocked at the amount of plaque and did not expect given Jon's healthy appearance.  I've been told over and over again how shocked the doctors were at the severity of Jon's heart disease. 
 
So NOTHING that has happened has been "text book"  Jon had jaw pain only but really mostly in the chin area.  That was his only symptom until right before surgery when his chest began hurting.   Every EKG he had before surgery was NORMAL even though he was in terrible situation.  He is otherwise so very healthy and his cholesterol while a little elevated...is not off the charts.  I think his last blood work - his overall cholesterol was 218.  It should have been under 200....that's nothing in the scheme of things.  He was almost a vegan and exercised almost daily......he just passed a visit to cardiology. 
 
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE SYMPTOMS!
Don't be embarrassed to seek medical help.  If nothing is wrong then just be glad but don't take chances either!
 
If Jon had ignored this, he would have probably died in his sleep Wednesday night or if things had subsided a bit, he might have had a heart attack at work on Thursday.  All the doctors have told me that that if he'd had a heart attack, it would have been fatal, he had too much blockage.  They gave him 24-40 hours at the most before it would have happened.
 
Now looking back there were some small signs.  Monday night Jon came home with a headache so bad he had to lay down and take some Advil.  I don't think he has ever had a headache like that.  But the meds worked and he got up and ate supper with us and watched some tv.  Tuesday he had the jaw pain a little after brushing his teeth that night and it actually woke him up but he thought it was his teeth.  It went away.  He's seemed a little tired lately but we have been going and going.  That's it!
 
So where we are now, he is doing perfect, everything is right on schedule.  He's doing all the breathing into things just right (he breathes into a tube and has to raise a little ball) He got in a chair last night and he's already up today and will be walking.  He's not in much pain.  Every few hours they take off or out a different tube.  The doctors feel he will make a full recovery and live a normal life span.  He will be taking a lot of meds which he hates and probably going Vegan.  But that is a small small price! 
 
The nurses love him:)  One said he was her nicest patient ever.  Everyone was kidding him because he has never had a surgery....my girlfriend said "Jon Clanton goes big" when he does something LOL  No tiny little surgery for him! 
 
Our family and friends have just rallied around us in tangible ways and always with prayer.  It's been beautiful to feel the care of our peeps.
 
Jon will probably come home Thursday and then will have 6 weeks of recovery and cardiac rehab. 
 
Right before he went into surgery I tried to break the tension by telling him that if he'd behave himself in there we'd go on a cruise JUST me & him No kids!   He'd been wanting to do that but I'd worried about being away from the kids and the costs but I figure we only have ONE life so why worry about all the reasons not to do something! 
 
In fact, I thought that about a lot of things on Thursday.  I'm a really responsible person-it's hard for me to let people do things for me or my family .  It's hard for me to let go of any responsibility even things at the church....things that aren't even fun but I feel responsible for....  But that makes me a rigid person and it's hard for me to relax.  It's not that I don't enjoy life, but I'm sort of a project, fix it type person and I'll put off fun things especially for me and Jon as parents.  While I'm sure I'm not going to change complexly I'm sure going to listen more when my husband wants to do something and I'm going to quit finding excuses to why we can't do something.   Life is too short!  this situation made me realize it to a depth I never have before.  Jon's more the fun one and I'm more the "no we don't need to spend money or it's too hard to find someone to watch the little ones or I need to do this project instead of the fun thing"   So I'm fixing to change and become the party girl LOL!
 
So getting back to the saying "God is Good"  He is good.....even if this outcome had been different, God is faithful.  This morning I was thinking, had Jon died, we might would have been having his funeral today.  Would I have the peaceful happy feeling I have this morning had Jon died?  I would not have been happy but I would still know that God is a good God.  He is a God who has given us eternal life. 
 
And if you think I'm being silly just know I've walked through many valleys of death where the outcome was not the outcome I wanted it to be.  I was abandoned by my parents and my great aunt and uncle raised me, both died before I reached adulthood.  My mother in law died just months after Jon and I married.  I was heartbroken!  I had finally found a mother and we were growing close and she was snatched away in a car accident.  Our twins died and I almost died....Sam has never been healed of his disabilities.  Selah is still in a coma from the accident.... I've had many tears over the years but I KNOW that God is still Good
 
I love an old song called Through it All
 

 
I've had many tears and sorrows
I've had questions for tomorrow
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That my trials only come to make me strong


I've been a lot of places
And I've seen so many faces
But there've been times I've felt so all alone
But in that lonely hour
In that precious, lonely hour
Jesus let me know I was His own

 
 
Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to trust in Jesus
I've learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to depend upon His Word


So I thank God for the mountains
And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He's brought me through
Cause if I never had a problem
I wouldn't know that He could solve them
I wouldn't know what faith in His Word could do




Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to trust in Jesus
I've learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to depend upon His Word
Yes, I've learned to depend upon His Word
I've learned to depend upon His Word
 
 
This song sums up my whole life.....
 
So I just want to encourage you that if you given your life to God, please do so.  Life is short.  None of us know when death may overtake us and we then would face eternality and God.  I don't want anyone I come in contact with to go to hell. 
 
Second if you are a believer, I want to encourage you to trust God in the midst of your life.  You may be going through something or life might be easy right now for you.  But I encourage you to trust god with your life, because there will be a time when a storm comes.  Decide now that you will cling close to Jesus and not rail against God when life doesn't go your way. 
 
Sometimes people say we are public examples and I and I didn't like that for a long time but I've embraced the fact that for whatever reason we seem to just go through crazy stuff.  .  So let me show by my life that god is a good faithful ever present Help in times of trouble.  god is exactly who He says He is in His word.  He has never failed me, He has never abandoned me nor has He turned his back on me. 
 
God has revealed His character to us in a way we would have never known had we not faced the things we have faced.  He has not been faithful to us because we are such wonderful spiritual people but because He is a good God and we have thrown ourselves into His arms knowing that He alone could deliver us and walk with us through times of trouble. 
 
If you never get anything from what I write, just know that God is real and He fulfill His promises that He gave in His word.  You need to know He dose not promise us a "rose garden" the scripture is clear that life can be hard.  We live in a fallen world, we will all die one day, God does not promise eternal life to our bodies.  He does promise us a new body one day but this one is going to the grave.  He doesn't promise that we won't walk through the "valley of the shadow of death" but He promises that He'll walk there with us.  I KNOW that is true!
 
Please feel free to share this post, I want people to know Jon's experience- it might save a life- someone might have similar symptoms and go to the doctor rather than ignore it.   
 
And please do not think something like "well look at how hard Jon worked at being healthy and still has heart disease"  For the records both of our main doctors said that had Jon NOT lived his life like he did, he would have probably died years ago or at least had been disabled with heart disease that affected his heart muscle.  So for Jon to live a normal life span he will have to be very careful but it is worth it to me!  I think God wants us to live our lives healthy and for him as we have relationships and reach out to other people.  He  created us to live, sin came in the world and brought in sickness and death.  While we look forward to eternity, when a person has a family, who still needs him, it's just not time to go yet!
 
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask, No HIPPA rules here :)  If this can help anyone physically or spiritually I'm happy to share!
 
And if you are wondering.....next week there will be a few "come to Jesus meetings" with the first hospital and how things were handled.  I've already submitted a formal complaint about the ER doctor.  I'm also going to have all his cardiac testing reevaluated from two weeks ago.  I'm not bitter  but hopefully if mistakes were made, in the futures they won't be made again on another patient who may not have the same outcome that Jon has had!