KNOCKED ON DEATH’S DOOR TWICE AND IT DIDN’T OPEN
It started six years when by divine intervention they found an aneurysm in my abdominal aorta. It came about because a substitute PCP suggested off-hand that I get a scan on my abdomen since I had reached the age where something like this may occur. He was right. They found an abdominal aortic aneurysm. But it had not grown large enough to pose any threat, so my vascular surgeon suggested that we give it a year and check it again.
A few months later I woke up with a terrible stomach ache. Nothing I did would ease the pain. So off to the ER we went. They couldn’t find out what was causing the upset stomach, but in their scan, they saw that my aneurysm had suddenly grown to the point of 5 cm where it was considered dangerous if not treated. As soon as the surgeon saw the scan, he told me they couldn’t wait, something had to be done immediately.
So I was quickly scheduled for surgery and they were able to surgically repair the aneurysm and remove the threat of any rupture. My precious wife who had been with me every moment was told she could go home now because everything was okay. We only lived a few blocks from the hospital, so she was glad to get home and get a good night’s sleep. But that didn’t last long. A little after midnight, she was called and told that after they put me in the recovery room my heart stopped beating and I was coded. She needed to return immediately to approve any procedures that might be necessary in keeping me alive. By the time she got back, they had started my heart again and placed me in intensive care. As my younger sisters said, “Someone touched heaven for me.” It was my precious wife’s prayers and the prayers of my family and friends touched the heart of God and He refused to let death open its door.
Now, six years later, it took another intervention by my heavenly Father to keep me here for a little while longer. Let me tell you what happened, and you’ll see how miraculous that was. Anyone who would call these incidents anything other than miracles does not know our living God.
It began when I woke up early Sunday morning two weeks ago. I had a dull ache directly between my shoulder blades. As soon as I realized my sleeping position, I assumed that I had somehow strained my back. I rolled over and waited for it to go away. It didn’t. After about an half an hour, I asked the joy of my life if she would kindly get me some Tylenol, which she graciously did. By morning, the pain had subsided.
So we were up and off to church. Later that day, the pain returned. Only this time, it was in the middle of my chest. So as it grew stronger, I asked my wife if I should take some Tylenol and she agreed. By bedtime, the pain had subsided and I looked forward to a good night’s sleep. Got up bright and early Monday and went for my walk with my Bro. Rudy. Felt good! That was, until the afternoon. The pain returned. But now it was in the front of my chest just behind the breastbone. As the day progressed, I dealt with it until it was time to take some more pain medication.
Woke up Tuesday morning feeling strong and good again. But by noon the pain was back in my chest. This time, Tylenol did not phase it. So I eventually told my wife that I thought I needed my Nitro. That always works. But, it didn’t work this time. Following the doctor’s orders, I took a second Nitro after five minutes. That didn’t work. The doctor’s instructions were that if the second pill did not work, go straight to the ER. And that’s what we did.
Now here is where God’s miracle-working power kicks in. After telling the doctor the same story I just told you, and after the lab work came back, he informed me that it looked like I had a urinary tract infection. So they were going to treat it with antibiotics and send me home. But first, they wanted to do something about the pain. They gave me another Nitro but that had no impact. Then they gave me a short of morphine. When the nurse came back to check, I told him that the pain was still the same. So he gave me another dose. But that didn’t work either.
The doctor was mystified as to why the pain was so persistent. So he ordered a chest scan. When it came back that’s when I realized the God’s hand had gotten involved. They discovered that I had a thoracic aorta pseudo-aneurysm just above my heart. The size was already at 5 cm and in danger of rupturing. Had God not made it impossible for all the painkillers I received to deaden the pain, I would most likely not be here to tell you this story. Sometimes God says “Yes,” and sometimes He says “NO!”
My cardiologist was called. She came to the hospital. She was very direct. We only had two choices. Leave the aneurysm alone and try to control it with blood pressure medication and risk a rupture with certain death, or have it surgically repaired and run the risk of my heart not be able to withstand the trauma of anesthesia and surgery and die of a heart attack. We looked at each other, and without saying a word agreed that having the surgery was the best option.
I was transported to the Cardio Vascular Intensive Care Unit at Hoag Heart Center in Newport Beach, CA, some 14 miles away. They immediately began to run tests to see the severity of the aneurysm and if it could be repaired. The clock was ticking and they had to make a decision soon. Finally, all the specialists agreed that the surgery was possible but they were unsure if my heart could take the added pressure.
So it was agreed that one more test should be done. They did an angiogram, and that’s when they saw the second miracle. My heart had partially healed itself by putting out collateral veins to bypass the 99% blockage in my descending artery so that needed blood could be sent back to the heart. As soon as they saw that, the green light was given to go ahead with the surgery.
At first, it was scheduled for the next morning, but after the team discussed the matter they moved it up to that afternoon. Time was of the essence. The blood that had seeped in between the thick inner wall of the aorta and the thin outer wall was pushing out like a big bubble. They knew they had to act right away. Praise God they were successful! The stent was inserted and a rupture was avoided.
As each team member visited me in the CCU and Cardio Vascular ICU, they told me how surprised they were that everything had gone so well and that I was recovering so quickly. That’s when the third miracle was revealed. I told them that from the beginning, my family, my wife’s family, friends, and relatives plus hundreds of Facebook friends had been praying. It was their prayers that made the difference between a normal recovery and the one the doctors were seeing.
After being moved to a room in the hospital, each team doctor came by to tell me what they saw and how it pleased them that everything had turned out fine. Each time I pointed to the sky above and said that it was God who made the difference. The last doctor to come in was very straightforward. He told me I could have easily died before they were able to repair the aneurysm. Again, I gave all glory to God and to all the prayer warriors who had been praying for me.
If you have ever thought that you’re prayers don’t make any difference, think again. Remember, you are praying to a living, prayer-answering God. Some people may say that what happened was a matter of luck or good karma, but that’s nonsense. God loves His children, and He’s the only one who could have decided to keep the pain going until the aneurysm was discovered, and touched the heart to grow its own veins to bypass the blockage. So my second knock on death’s door went unanswered because it’s not His time for me to go.
God bless all of you for your love, care, and prayers. You are part of the reason I’m still here and able to continue teaching God’s word on the internet. And my loving, caring wife also made a big difference. Sleeping on an uncomfortable chair night after night; getting up with me each time the nurses came to check my vital signs; making sure I was fed and kept warm. She didn’t have one night’s sleep for 9 nights. She is a jewel and my most precious possession. For me, all of this means that God has something great in store and I’m excited to find out what it is! Love all of you. – Dr. Robert R Seyda