It has been 7 months since the brutes slashed my chest and sawed my sternum in half

I was too young for open-heart surgery. The diagnosis came a little over a year ago–I had a faulty aortic valve. There was no real rhyme or reason, it was just bad. With this news also came the order to back away from all things physical until we could assess my condition. I was reasonably active. I lifted weights 5-6 days a week. Big change, especially since I jogged or walked to the gym and back home every day.

After the initial “What the heck is going on here?” passed, I started praying for God to heal me. Every day.  I would pray and many of those days I also read some scriptures about healing. I did this for months with the help of my wife, family and friends. With much disappointment, the day finally came for me to enter the hospital for surgery. Did I mention that I am a missionary in Paraguay, South America? Yep, I had the surgery here.

I entered the hospital thinking “Oh, ok, HE wants to heal me in the hospital in front the medical types to make it even grander than I had imagined.” I went through the preliminary testing to verify that I did, indeed, have a jacked-up valve. I suffered through a femoral catheter in an effort to give the surgeon a peek-a-boo at my innards. All the while without concern because I knew that God would not fail me. Sometime through the night I just knew that I would find that the “Great Physician” had made a house call.

That never happened.

What did happen was I suffered the horrific experience of my body being shaved,


My body (neck to thighs) was a virgin forest of what appeared to be bailing twine cut haphazardly and strewn across a glue board. Painful? Indeed, to the trifecta, mind, body and spirit. I reasoned, “We all have to suffer for the Cross.” Maybe God wanted to make it VERY close to show who He was. Cool. I guess.

The moment arrived–and so did the orderly–to wheel me out of the room. Off I went. He wheeled me into the OR and they promptly removed what little dignity I had left in the form of my gown.

I remember thinking “Holy crap, I am in the operating room! You are cutting it close, God.”

The surgical team began to prep me by tying my arms down and putting lines in my veins. Panic assaulted my mind.

They are actually going to cut open my chest and sternum and stop my heartI am not prepared for this. I didn’t tell my wife and kids anything before I left the room. I forgot to pray (just in case). Um, um, if I should die before I wake……………………………..

Then BAM, I was out.

I woke in recovery with a male (Paraguayan) nurse speaking, very loudly, what he thought was English. They later brought my wife in to “soothe” me.

Thank God, thank God. She is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Thanks for not making her pay for my foolishness.

I never considered that there may be another alternative to healing before surgery. Sure I had those well-meaning lunatics who beforehand said stuff like, “Maybe God will choose to heal you through the surgeon,” or “You don’t know what He is trying to teach you through this trial.” Screw that. I didn’t want to have to do it.

I needed God to come through in a big way and He didn’t. What now? Did He fail?

I don’t think so. I think He loves me. What do you do when you pour your heart into a prayer and you get nothing? Not a “Not now,” not a “NO,” not even a “Try back at 8.” I still believe He IS. Simple as that, HE IS. He has the power to heal, He created the universe, He sent His Son to be the Lamb. I still have all the faith in the world to pray for your need. I’m not sure about mine right now. I don’t think that there is a recipe of scripture, actions and thought life that we can use to wedge God into answering our petitions.

However, He loved me enough to let me try again.

 Did you ever have a prayer go unanswered?

11 thoughts on “Broken-hearted

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  1. Your description here of having your body shaved and then relinquishing your gown made me think of my last C-section. I’m strapped to the OR table and Eric’s taking pictures while standing by my head. I can SEE my intestines in the photo as well as my everything else. No gown, no sheet, no nothing from my neck down. In the picture you can see at least 3 pair of gloved hands and in the distance, you can see our Nurse Practitioner standing by in the window of the stabilizing room and behind her, a team of neonatologists. ALLLLLL within full view of ALLLLL of my nakedness.
    I am telling you the truth, I would have put the kabash on the whole procedure had I had ANY idea of the spectacle my insides as well as my uncovered outsides were making.

    You have my empathy with that most bare-all experience. Handing over your clothing is a true reality check. The difference is that I had NO idea that I was that exposed until months later when I saw the picture. You had full knowledge that you were in your birthday-suit glory. Fortunately, you were zonked out quickly. If I’d put it together that I was showing off my nether-regions while AWAKE (spinal anesthesia), I would have FLIPPED OUT!!!! You know how you can intellectually know something as being a certain way – how else are they going to get Julia out of my gut unless they expose my belly? But did they have to expose my everything else too? Really? That’s the plus of having a C-section — some parts of the anatomy can be left unharmed/ unused/ unSEEN!!!

    Subconsiously, this whole scene might be a contributing factor to Julia not getting another sibling.
    The ultimate point of your post here isn’t lost on me. But, I thought the shared-shame might be worth sharing.

    Love your blog!


    1. I guess, like me, you are not a “prancer.” In the end I left the hospital in a wheelchair to the parking lot and not a gurney to the morgue. Let me know if you decide to blog.


      1. Since y’all are on the “bare yourself” talk, I’ll chime in. I guess the fact that Angela got Julia out of the deal and Ken got to live made it worth it, but I’m no fan of the naked surgery, either. I remember the last thing I said as they were wheeling me in: “Please see to it that they leave my socks on. I get very cold in my feet.” This is, of course, completely true. However, my request was as much due to the fact that I hadn’t planned this accident and surgery and my toes weren’t nicely painted. Important stuff! 🙂


  2. Ken …I love u bub …this one hit close to home with many of the same questions I ask now. Your in my prayers …both of u ….good Lord man …I got to have time to process this !!


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