When doctors tell you that you are going to die unless you have heart surgery, it’s a big test of your belief system. There is no way that you are not going to consider your beliefs about the existence of God, the afterlife, etc., as you make these decisions.
Here is my recent experience:
I woke up early one morning in late September and began my day. After about an hour, my chest suddenly felt like it was in a vice. I thought I could just “walk it off”, but it was persistent and unlike anything I’d ever felt, so I knew I needed to go to the Emergency Room. My EKG was normal, but an echocardiogram showed that my aortic valve was shot due to a birth defect that I was completely unaware of.
I’d had a heart murmur my whole life, but I’d never had any problems with it. On that September morning, I was told that I was lucky to feel pain. Some people don’t, and I was told that I was very close to just not waking up one day.
The doctor said I should have been told to have echocardiograms years ago, but I was never given this advice.
I had to have an angiogram to see if I had blockages in my heart. If I did, that would call for a more complex and dangerous surgery. It was a huge relief to find out that I had no heart disease or significant blockages and did not need any bypasses. They said that my heart was very strong and healthy, all except for the one valve that was trying to kill me!
I was still having chest pain and in imminent danger of having a heart attack, so I had to be hospitalized until there was an opening in the ER and ICU so that my surgery could be scheduled.
There were many decisions to be made. A mechanical or tissue valve? Open-heart surgery or a TAVR procedure where they insert the new valve through a catheter in a blood vessel in the groin to the heart? As soon as we heard about the TAVR option, Julie and I thought that sounded great. Let’s avoid open-heart surgery and have a much shorter recovery time. But then the doctors explained that really the TAVR is only recommended to people who are too old, frail, or sickly to handle open-heart surgery and that it only allows placement of a small valve. They said I was much too young and strong for that, and they expected me to handle open heart-surgery just fine.
Julie’s Note: Scott’s new cardiologist told us he is a fan of Solar Roadways and said they had to save him so he could get back to his important work. That meant so much to both of us.
A few days later, they were ready to do my surgery.
Both the night before the surgery and early in the morning before Scott was taken to the operating room, our pastor joined me at the hospital to pray with us. Scott was authentically cheerful and had a level of true faith which was an inspiration to behold.
I was ready to get on with it and looked forward to seeing what the operating room would look like. I never got to see it: They wheeled me into the hallway and I waved goodbye to Julie and our pastor. Apparently, they put something into my IV right then to knock me out as I don’t remember seeing the O.R. at all.
I knew that, when I opened my eyes again, I’d be looking at the face of Julie or Jesus – both good options! Several hours later, I was wheeled back to the cardiac ICU.
I was grateful that our pastor sat and talked to me in the waiting area to distract me from the knowledge that my husband was having his chest “cracked open”, his heart stopped, and a team of people working on it.
They said it would take about five hours and the surgeon was supposed to come and find me when he was done. Too much time passed, and he had not come to see me. Now I was really beginning to worry. Finally, I went up to the desk and asked if they had heard from the surgeon. They said they hadn’t, but right then the phone rang. They said it was him and he wanted me to go wait for him in a particular conference room which was away from the waiting area. Um… this made me very nervous. I texted our daughter who was waiting in the parking lot. We didn’t say it out loud but both of us were thinking this is probably where they send family members who are about to receive bad news so that their hysterical tears don’t upset the other people. Finally, the surgeon came in and said everything went great! He directed that we should go out to lunch and then I could see him in the ICU. I went down to the car and shared the good news with our daughter. What a relief!
The nurses put me in charge of waking Scott up and getting him ready to breathe on his own again so he could be free of the ventilator. I kept telling him the surgery went fine. I would ask him to nod or squeeze my hand in response to questions. At first he could barely squeeze my hand, but once I asked him to squeeze my hand as hard as he could. It actually hurt which really made me laugh!
Then Scott pointed at my cell phone. I asked if he wanted to try to type to me on it and he nodded. He typed a question, asking if I had told everyone in our family that he was alright. What he typed next made me feel like I was in the Twilight Zone. He typed, “I want to exercise!” I think he might be the only person to ever ask to exercise while on a ventilator!
I was walking that same day and, on the following day, walked twelve laps around the ICU. The doctors and nurses were surprised by the speed of my recovery. They had said I would need to stay about a week after surgery, but four days after the operation, I was home – bruised, stitched, glued, sore, and grateful.
When Julie and I first started on this Solar Roadways journey, we felt that God had dropped the project into our laps. Everything I’d ever done (professionally) seemed to be leading to this project. In our early presentations, we even had a slide of the Blues Brothers saying that “We’re on a mission from God” – it was a humorous touch, but we’ve firmly believed it from the very beginning.
I don’t believe that it was luck that I felt the chest pain. I have to believe it was devine intervention. Julie had posted a prayer request on social media, and I learned that people from all over the world and two entire churches had been praying for me. I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer and that meant a lot to me.
My doctors tell me that once I’m fully recovered they expect me to feel better and to have more energy than ever. They expect me to live a long life.
I was an atheist for many years, but I look back over my entire life and realize just how good God has been to me. So many of my life experiences prepared me for Solar Roadways. With my newly upgraded heart, I’m committed to seeing the mission through to fruition and bringing Solar Roadways to the world.
36 Thoughts on “A Bump in the Road”
So thankful you are doing so well. This world needs you and Julie and so many others like you. I am counting on you to help make this world a better place. You are traveling your path with the person you were meant to travel with.
Thank you Debbie – that means so much to us!
So pleased and happy that all went so well. We all prayed for you. You have a mission, so I was sure all would be good. My best wishes to you for a super speedy recovery are being answered as well. Prayer is powerful and magical. Just take your time, and don’t overdo, because you need some time to rejuvenate to go onward with your mission to change the world with Solar Freakin Roadways. lol Seriously, give yourself time to heal properly. We aren’t going anywhere, and we’re all standing beside you. Big hugs to you and the family. the holidays are nearly upon us. Relax and enjoy
Sheila, thank you for your prayers and your kind words. We share your belief that prayer is powerful and magical. So happy to have you with us on the journey.
That was a beautiful, inspiring story. Praise God!!! Thank you for sharing!
Rhonda Blair Perry
Thank you Rhonda. So glad you enjoyed reading the blog post.
Lucky guy! My brother John was born with the heart murmur as well! He went to the store and then came back to rest and never woke up! He was 55. Follow Doctor’s orders now. Happy Christmas Season!
Oh so sorry to hear that Brian. We know how close Scott came to being in the same situation. Thank you for being with us. Merry Christmas.
God was with you guys, every step of the way! What an awesome God and a very touching story… I hope to see Solar Roadways come to fruition also, so the world can be a better place.
We believe it Obrien. Thank you for your kind words – glad our blog post was meaningful to you. So happy to have you with us. Merry Christmas to you.
It is a wonderful experience (as I experienced in 2004) to have your “chest cracked open” and as my granddaughter said “your heart taken out!” and then have the surgeons given the gift of healing hands give you “A NEW LEASE ON LIFE thru the GRACE, MERCY, AND GOODNESS of OUR LORD!” Continued healing and save you ‘heart pillow’ for a wonderful memento.
Thank you Ruth. Now I’ve joined the exclusive club with you. We are both lucky to be living in this time when we have the option of repairing our hearts with brand new parts. I am definitely saving the pillow too. All blessings to you.
Welcome back now get to work!
Thank you John.
Scott and Julie
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You continue to be a huge inspiration to us. May you have a wonderful holiday season and recovery.
All the Best
David and Sarah
Thank you David and Sarah. We’re happy to have you both along on the journey.
I glad to hear everything went well and you are feeling so much better. Now it’s time to get Secretary Pete Buttigieg on board with the awesome opportunity Solar Roadways presents to the United States and the world.
Thank you Mary. We’d love to meet with Pete. We sent him a package but didn’t hear back. Hopefully, he’ll soon become aware that we’ve successfully passed 3 USDOT contracts. He could be instrumental in helping us to make the country greener and safer.
I am encouraged to know that you are a man of faith, as am I. That tells me a lot. I am happy to jear that they caught your issues in time to take appropriate action and quickly. Regarding Solar Roadways – I am really hoping that some of these trillions of dollars of “infrastructure”, and/or build-back-better funds translate to some major highway developments via Solar Roadways. Any encouraging news on that front?
Thank you Raymond. I am indeed. Happy to have you with us. No news on that front so far but praying there will be.
You look great. Makes us all appreciate life more then ever. Glad you are mending rapidly. Don’t push the envelope on what the doctors have laid out for you. This investor is very patient, so don’t rush to jump back in the saddle. Plan, think, and delegate more, rush around less. 😀
Thank you Charles. So glad to have you as a Shareholder and thank you for caring about my health and need to recover.
All glory and honor to our God. Everything happens for the glory and manifestation of His greatness. I am thankful for your life and I proclaim good health for you and all who prayed and worked so hard to get you where you are. Quick recovery and back to work.
Amen Lillian. It was truly incredible to know how many people all around the world were praying for me. Merry Christmas.
Happy to hear so many good people were close to you to keep your company. Wishing you a safe and quick recovery so you can get back to your family.
Thank you Elaine. Our granddaughter has arrived for the holidays. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.
Congratulations Scott and Julie! So glad for you both, and for Solar Roadways. Also appreciate your sharing: how the pain felt, the choices you had to make and the waiting.
Thank you very much for your kind words Sally. I’m glad the blog post was meaningful to you.
Hi Scott & Julie,
I have my Shiley aortic valve for 40 yrs. Now 71 and doing fine. Can’t run anymore but that’s a knee issue not cardiac.
I bought a Roche CoaguChek XS Coagulation Meter on ebay to check my PT time at home. This meter has saved me from having to go the lab for PT tests which is
time consuming. Ask your cardiologist what your PT range should be and adjust your coumadin accordingly.
That is encouraging to hear Jim. Thanks much.
Dear Scott and Julie,
Joan and I thank you for the update and we want to thank you both for your strength of faith, your loving family, and the wonders of what your surgeon and the entire team at your hospital were able to accomplish for you.
Many blessings to you and I know you will have a Joyous Christmas!
Steven and Joan
Thank you Steven and Joan. We’re so happy to have you both with us on the journey. Merry Christmas.
You’ve probably received many supportive comments, but I’m adding one here, to both you and Julie. You are indeed supported by God/Source/Spirit/Universe, and here to have a significant impact on the world. I’m thrilled at your outcome and look forward to continuing to be with you on this wonderful journey (life AND Solar Roadways). Hugs to you.
Thank you for your kind words Holly. We’re happy to have you with us.
So glad that everything turned out well. You do have some awesome work to be done so no getting out early, lol.
Best luck and speedy recovery.
Looking forward to great things coming out of Solar Roadways.
Thank you Wayne. You are right. Just came back from an appointment with my cardiologist who said everything looks great, so I expect to continue with this earthly mission for many years to come. Merry Christmas.