Monday, November 7, 2016

You are NOT a Good Candidate

Tomorrow is election day.  If you were running for political office, you may be offended if someone said that to you, but you'd get over it.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

That's not the kind of candidate I'm talking about.

Some years back, I was in the room while my friend's brother Peter heard these words from his doctor.  The doctor had to tell him, "I'm so sorry, but you are not a good candidate for a liver transplant. Your liver is failing, and there are no other treatments available."

Peter didn't get over it.  He died of liver failure, just as the doctor said.  There were no other options available to him.

I recently heard about a heart sister of mine.  I've never met her, but she sounds like a lovely person.  She was young, married about 10 years and had little kids.  She was told those same words:  "I'm sorry, but you're not a good candidate for this procedure."  It was a procedure that she had hoped would save her life and solve her heart trouble.  She died waiting to discuss what other options might help her.

You can hear these stories, but they don't really prepare you for the reality. You hear of a procedure that sounds like it can cure your ailment.  For me, it was the promise of a procedure called an ablation.  I mean, imagine it!  If this works, no more heart disease!  My only reason for not running will be laziness!  I won't be controlled by a handful of pills and a machine in my chest.  I'll be free!  I can go back to assuming I will live to be eighty!

So I had the test, and waited.

...And waited.

And I silently prayed.  And I hoped that this would be the cure I've been waiting for.  And I allowed myself to actually imagine what life will be like if this works out.  For real.

But instead I heard those words, "you are NOT a good candidate...."  Sorry. (Can you hear my hopes crashing into the ground?) There will not be a simple fix.  There will not be an end in sight.  This heart problem will not go away. I'm stuck with it, and after that experience, it feels even more heavy and more oppressive.  I am not a good candidate.  This will not fix my problem.

That was a few years ago, and I've accepted my situation.  If I have 3-6 bad days a month, I'm still in the A- to B+ range.  Not bad for a formerly dead girl.  However, I'm sometimes still haunted by that day in Peter's hospital room.  My heart still goes out to those who are hearing "I'm sorry, you are not a good candidate for this life-saving procedure." It's not the doctor's fault.  There's only so much they can do.  That doctor was deeply affected by telling Peter that news.  He would have loved to tell him some treatment or surgery that would turn back years of mistreatment and neglect of his health.  Just like so many heart docs would love to know a way to turn back the clock so we could stop smoking and start eating healthy and exercising while we were still healthy enough to do it.  Not all heart disease works that way, but 80% is preventable.  We have to make ourselves good candidates while we can.

Tomorrow is election day.  I'll be praying for ALL the candidates.  I'll also be praying that more of my heart family WILL be good candidates for life-saving procedures and transplants. I'll be praying that we can all be filled with hope,  



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