Practice Hope – By Karen Earhuff. Member Blog, Day 10

Thirteen years ago I had the most severe headache of my life. I was experiencing the bursting of a brain aneurysm. I went through surgery where 2 aneurysms were closed with titanium clips. I was in a sorry state, physically and mentally and spent 31 days at St. Joseph’s ICU. I was visited by a Chaplain who came and prayed with me. She gave me a gift, the tiniest little crystal acorn. I did not think too much of the gift at the time, but kept it throughout my stay, and put it in a safe place at home, where I see it every day.

As the years passed I began to see that acorn as the seed that it is. It began to be my seed of faith and of hope. At the time that the Chaplain gave me the acorn, I had not been to church since I was confirmed. I think that acorn began to grow within me and give me strength and faith that I had forgotten about. After beginning to work at Gloria Dei in 2008, and seeing the faith and dedication of my colleagues and the congregation, I joined a Lutheran church in my neighborhood. Giving credit to the little acorn, as my seed of faith and hope.

Almost two years ago, I began to feel shortness of breath, and ended up back in the emergency room. My heart was in atrial fibrillation (a-fib). I was put on blood thinners to prevent a stroke. I have gone through more than 10 cardio-versions, (where they stop and restart your heart with a defibrillator). I was hospitalized to try a special drug to get me out of a-fib, which didn’t work, and finally, when they felt my heart was healthy enough, I had an ablation. My description of that procedure is that they disconnect, or burn off some electrical parts in my heart that had been miss-firing. This is a pretty elementary description of what these talented Doctors performed on me. I have been out of a-fib since September of 2016.

I had a couple of hiccups after that, I had very large amount of blood in the sack around my heart, which needed to be removed. Due to my risk of going back into a-fib, I was still on blood thinners. My history with aneurysm’s, however, made the blood thinners a risk for me. In February of this year, I became part of a trial, where they were able to place a device, called an Amulet, in my heart, the Amulet closes off the left atrial appendage, where blood clots are formed. I have been taken off the blood thinners. I don’t see another cardiologist until next February for a follow up. I have changed my diet, lost weight, and try very hard to lead a healthier lifestyle. The results of my tests show that.

While I was in and out of the office for procedures, tests, and hospitalizations, I had faith in the medical people who worked so closely with me, and my colleagues that gave me time to heal, and take care of myself. The faith I had went right back to that little acorn. That acorn started a seed in my mind, and my heart that gives me hope for a strong, faithful, and healthy future. God is great!