This isn’t what I envisioned for vacation

You never know when a word of encouragement, a phone call, or email will brighten someone’s day. Today is a very good day to say thank you to so many of you who have encouraged me.

I believe one of the greatest assets to have is wisdom. When I question my own wisdom, I run to those who have it. Some days it is staring me down, if I will only take the time to look for it.

About two months ago, I shared a medical concern with a friend. We exchanged a few comments, but I soon felt better. The matter was dropped.

This past week looked like most weeks – a mountain of medical appointments. My pulmonologist noted that my blood pressure was elevated and my ankles were swollen. He had no idea what insight he added with just a few words. He would not have been acutely aware that my family has an extensive history with heart-related problems. I hear the words ‘swollen ankles’ and think ‘heart attack or stroke’.

The next day began with more physical therapy. By now I had one of the worst headaches I could recall. At the end of the appointment, he took my vitals again. I was officially in the danger zone. My internist had me on blood pressure medication in no time.

It really felt like a low blow. I questioned what parts of my body weren’t going to fail me. Since I was headed down a slippery slope, it seemed like a good plan to continue on that path (said with a heavy dose of sarcasm).

I got out some family photo albums. I looked at photos of my family for several hours. There is my older brother at a birthday party. He died of a heart attack at age 42. My dad, grandparents,. . . you get the idea. Can I just note that this was such a bad plan!!

When I finally came to my senses, I realized I was having severe chest pain. The mental jumping jacks game began. Do I go to the ER and look like a hypochondriac? Am I going to play Russian roulette with my health?

Words of wisdom flowed from a good friend who is an ER physician, and we were off. My husband had a last-minute change in his schedule and arrived home just in time. Miracles were being woven throughout this journey.

An EKG ruled out a massive heart attack. My sigh of relief could be heard throughout the hospital. I wasn’t off the hook completely. The EKG did indicate there was some problem. I was scrambling for words. ‘Thank you, God. A mild heart attack is a warning, and I promise to not waste this.’

Test after test ruled out several scenarios. We were down to the end of tests when the answer stood shining brightly like a star. I didn’t have a heart attack at all. I did have a gallbladder begging to be released of its duties. Who knew that symptoms for an infected gallbladder could mimic a heart attack? Not me! I have never been so happy to have surgery.

There were some modest complications that will lengthen the recovery time. That is a small price to pay for a healthy heart.

I did make an unsuccessful bid for the surgeon to perform a little liposuction while he was already in the same general area. Oh well, I can live with the satisfaction that I tried. I am doing the happy dance of gratitude. I still believe I was very fortunate to have a warning sign of what could be. I am blessed!

It was so wonderful to return home and read so many comments from my blog of people who expressed stories of hope and gratitude. Thank you for sharing your personal stories.

Words of wisdom, words of encouragement, words of hope. Healing comes in many forms.

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36 thoughts on “This isn’t what I envisioned for vacation

  1. transformedbythejourney October 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm Reply

    Sorry you are facing this but grateful (with you) that it was not as you feared. Thanks for your openness and honesty as you walk through uncertainty and both good days and bad. May you enjoy a speedy and complete recovery! Don’t ever quit sharing.


  2. simplyjuliana October 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm Reply

    So glad you are alright!! Praise God!


  3. Dip It Black October 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm Reply

    You just had a massive surgery
    and your body was filled with pain
    and you still feel blessed! You really are a woman
    to admire! I hope you will feel better soon and I bid with you for never getting a heart attack.

    Get well soon.



    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:27 am Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I pray I can undo the genetics in our family. It definitely inspired me to make some serious changes in my diet!


  4. Melissmor October 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm Reply

    Most certainly. So welllllll said. You got me cracking up with your “bid for liposuction” and right there I’m thinking, even in the midst of scare, it’s good to know we can still laugh and sigh relief, even if it’s for a quick moment. You are WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY to much a great person to undergo anything extraordinary. God really has you lady. I’m really happy that you are back and kicking. God bless you. Continue smiling, continue being overwhelmed by joy!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:28 am Reply

      I think I asked about that liposuction several times ~ just a little medicated! One physician even took me seriously, bless his heart. 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement!


  5. bravesmartbold October 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm Reply

    The only place to look when you’re down is up. You don’t really have a choice. The pain will hang around much longer if you don’t. I’m so glad you have people encouraging you.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm Reply

      That is so true. Very wise words.


  6. Irene Tron - Joyful in Christ October 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm Reply

    Thanking God that it was not a heart attack. Praying for a quick recovery.


  7. yepirategunn October 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm Reply

    A post full, full of life, tension, relief, but..relif with a dark side. Amazing writing.


  8. purplepug13 October 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm Reply

    Ah, I had that same gallbladder that felt like a heart attack pain, so I can definitely sympathize! Yes, MUCH easier to yank out the gallbladder than try and fix the heart! Take care!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:32 am Reply

      With my medical background – and just generally being a little odd – I thought it was very interesting! Thanks for letting me know I’m not completely crazy!


  9. Clanmother October 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm Reply

    When you feel a loss of control over your health, everything stops and your life is lived in seconds. As Virgil said many centuries ago: “The greatest wealth is health.” So glad that you are feeling better!!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm Reply

      Thank you. That is such a true statement. If you have all the money in the world but don’t have your health, you are a very poor person indeed.


      • Clanmother October 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm

        Well said….it gives a new definition and meaning to wealth.


  10. cythereandreams October 15, 2012 at 12:39 am Reply

    I’ll add you to my prayers for healing, and I hope that your physical recovery is as quick and easy as possible! Your spirit is already inspiringly beautiful. Thanks for sharing your complicated journey!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:21 am Reply

      Thank you, I appreciate your prayers and encouragement very much!


  11. stephen October 15, 2012 at 7:42 am Reply

    thanks for the reminder. i have people to call….


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm Reply



  12. daydreamdaisies October 15, 2012 at 7:57 am Reply

    I admire your attitude endlessly, your gratitude and courage. Thank you for writing such inspirational posts. I hope you will recover of your surgery well and continue to enjoy your life to the fullest, and have no doubt you will. Take care.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:22 am Reply

      Thank you, I appreciate that greatly.


  13. writerwannabe763 October 15, 2012 at 9:29 am Reply

    I am so happy that even though you had a severe problem it was not the one that was constant in your mind….Hope you feel like your healthy self once again shortly…Diane


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:35 am Reply

      Yes, I am thankful that I was wrong (along with my neighbor!). I am looking forward to getting some mobility back soon.


  14. Katie Glenn October 15, 2012 at 9:40 am Reply

    What a scary experience…glad you’re on the road to recovery now. 🙂


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 9:42 am Reply

      Thank you. I’m feeling very fortunate today!


  15. It's a matter of prayer October 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm Reply

    Many your blog means more since I have been struggling to get back on my feet since another mild heart attack a couple months ago. I have had some very adverse effects to medication. We always question why. Maybe this Scripture will help.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    The Message (MSG)

    3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

    I have a growing list of individuals living throughout the world. I feel strongly about adding your name. For the past five years I will wake up in the middle of the night to pray. When I ask the Holy Spirit to show me what and for whom I should pray. Something always comes to mind.

    God bless you and continue to share your heart with others.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm Reply

      Thank you, that is so encouraging. I appreciate your prayers so very much. That is one of my favorite passages from the Bible!


      • It's a matter of prayer November 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm



  16. ruleofstupid October 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm Reply

    You are awesome 🙂


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm Reply

      I don’t know about that, but thank you for the kind words. Some lime sherbet is making things a little easier tonight! 🙂


  17. rachelmeeks October 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm Reply

    I am going to hug my mom today – I don’t know how common that saying is, but my boss says that whenever something reminds him of his mortality. I am going to hug YOU today by Jove, what a story! I would have been doing my scream-crying the entire time if this happened to me. I’m glad you didn’t play russian roulette with your health, because it is so hard to go to the doctor when you’re having trouble separating fears from reality.

    …another hug for you! You are a brave soul, and you handled this with grace and yes, wisdom! I hope the recovery goes well.

    P.S. – is it totally messed up that I felt like this was a great October post? Life with illness is definitely akin to a horror movie at times… I know I was on the edge of my seat!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy October 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm Reply

      I hadn’t thought about it happening in October! Sometimes I just have to be dragged to the doctor’s. . . even worse if it is the ER. They actually discovered a heart condition while performing an EKG, so I am doubly thankful I went in. I’m waiting right now for tests to be run so we know what we are dealing with. Having my gallbladder removed may have just saved my life. And I should give my own mother a hug! Great advice!!


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