12 min read


The report continued to be the same while my life was being pulled from the brink of death, back to life, only to feel that horrific wrenching in my chest over and over again while the battle between life and death ensued.
Ever So Powerful in Battle
Photo by Joshua Chehov / Unsplash

He Fights Our Battles

I have spent much of my life reading, studying and teaching the word of God. But, not until the events of this past week have I ever felt such a level of personal involvement in my life by the God of all creation. I've always known Him to be personal, but never on such a level, never so powerful in battle ... never! As each day goes by, I'm seeing more and more of the power of God's sovereign will that refused to let me go. It's like He held me so tightly that no enemy anywhere could rob HIM of a life He ordained, fashioned, formed and anointed for His purposes. Somehow He still has a purpose for me, the thought of which reduces me into a pool of liquid humility. I don’t deserve such mercy. I don’t deserve anything God has ever done for me. I don't deserve to be alive after a heart attack.

As I was going through a period of time literally being pulled between life and death -- the only way I can describe it is to say it felt like my life was the ultimate prize in a tug-of-war like none other. The following is a description of the events as I remember them beginning early Sunday, October 2nd, through Tuesday evening.


About 2:30 Sunday morning, I suddenly woke up with severe cold sweats and my heart racing and jumping, missing beats, etc. I laid there for a while, tried deep coughing and it didn’t change. I got up to take 2 aspirin (I always did this when I had problems with my heart racing) and to go to the bathroom, but walking or changing my position didn’t help to change anything. I did this twice. After a bit, I felt my stomach craming, so I tried getting up to go to the bathroom once more and barely made it without passing out, holding myself up with the wall. I  may have bruised my back when I hit the doorframe going into the bathroom which would account for the large, deep bruise.

I sat on the toilet for an indiscernible amount of time and had a difficult time getting up. Hanging onto the sink, then the door, then the wall … all I could think of was getting back to the bed. I wasn’t sure I could. Slowly with hesitant steps, stopping to regain my focus, I finally made it to the doorway of the bedroom and just stood there, trying to determine if I could even get to the bed. After a few minutes, I took a deep breath and tried to take big fast steps, but passed out and fell between Josie’s crate and the bed. I couldn’t move and my heart was still out of rhythm and racing. It felt like it was just bouncing around in my chest struggling to keep my body satisfied with oxygen-rich blood.

Drenched in my own sweat, all I could do was sit there by the side of the bed and whisper the Name … “Jesus!”  I didn’t feel the release to let go, but merely remained there in what I can only describe as “The Presence”. I saw no form. I felt no breath. I saw no streets of gold. I heard nothing. I saw only Light … White Light surrounding and penetrating me. I remember bowing my head in surrender while on the floor. While the pain was unbearable as my heart raced, there was a peace that blanketed me. The peace that passes understanding. I knew it wasn’t my time. This heart attack was not going to be the end.

Ron, my husband, has COPD and sleep apnea. With both his oxygen and CPAP machines running, he was unable to hear anything that was happening; he was sound asleep and there was no way to wake him. I just sat there piled up in a heap on the floor for a good 30+ minutes until I finally had the strength to pull myself up and lay back on the bed, my heart still racing, cold sweat dripping so profusely as to drench my entire body.

I remember laying down and the bed was soaked. It was a horrible feeling to lay down in a cold, wet bed. My pillow was soaked. The bottom sheet was saturated. Although my phone was right by my bed, I didn’t even have the strength to reach it to call 911, and even if I had, I would never be able to get to the door to unlock it. There was no waking Ron at that time and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure he would believe me if I tried to describe the horrible situation I was in. So, back in the bed, I laid there trying to be still and just pray through the heart attack. I took two more aspirin.


Finally by about 5:30am I fell asleep as my heart seemed to have calmed down. I woke up a little later vomiting — Ron must have been somewhat awake at that time because he grabbed me and began praying; he was truly concerned, not even knowing what all I had been through during the night. I remember him telling me if I was sick to go to the bathroom. I told him there was no way I could make it there – I knew I was still too weak. Once my stomach was emptied I felt better — all I threw up was stomach fluid and aspirin I’d taken when all this started. As I vomited, I remember thinking, “Oh, this is just Covid! I’ll be fine!” I also knew better, but it was the best explanation I could think of at that time other than admitting what I already knew – I’d had a heart attack. I finally settled down and slept for a bit staying in bed for a couple more hours before I finally got up. This attack left me weak and exhausted.

One the main things I kept worrying about was that this was Pastor Appreciation Day and I had a lot on my plate. I didn’t want to miss (I totally love and adore my pastors) but, even more than that, I had supplies and things in my car that needed to get to the church! I kept thinking that I had recruited Heidi to pick up the chicken (luckily I had prepaid for it on Saturday) but with the size of her family, I wasn’t sure she would be able to stop by our house, pick up what needed to go, and get it all there on time.

I emailed Chris with a list of details that needed to be covered, sent him files that needed to be printed, gave him instructions for the Guest Speaker, and tried to relax about it all. I remember texting Steve & Theresa to give them my regrets, but there was no way I could make it to church. At this point Ron wouldn’t even have entertained the idea of allowing me to go even if I had felt up to it. I didn’t. He knew it.

I stayed home Sunday and didn’t do much — I had no strength but figured if I’d truly had a heart attack, rest would be the best remedy. I admit being concerned but not having a local doctor, worried that the local hospital wasn’t in our insurance network (and had a not-so-good reputation), I felt like I had no options other than to try to handle this myself. I sat Ron down and told him everything that happened but not sure he really understood. His comprehension has diminished through the past few of years suffering with COPD.

Sunday night, I posted a prayer request without being specific about a heart attack but rather that I had a major health concern and needed prayer. Family and friends all began praying and I was able to get some sleep. Monday morning I woke up but still had very little stamina or strength. I was just fairly certain I just needed to rest and allow my body to heal.

As the day went on, I felt weaker and weaker. I spoke to Andrew in the evening and he could tell something was wrong — even he was concerned which gave me a good sense that I might be in trouble. Before I went to bed, I made sure I had washed (as best I could), put on clean pajamas and underwear, brushed my teeth and went to bed early, taking my potassium and magnesium. I figured if there was an imbalance, it might help adjust things and help me recover from everything that happened Sunday morning. It didn’t work.

I fell asleep quickly. But about 12:30, my heart started racing with an irregular heartbeat. I woke Ron up and told him I thought he should probably call 911.  He held me, praying for me and trying to comfort me, but when he finally reached for the phone, the pain had subsided and I felt like I was back in normal rhythm, so I told him to wait. It wasn’t but a few minutes later, however, that it all started again but even more severe. There were episodes of feeling like I was going to pass out, everything turning white, then it would relax a bit but nothing would get my heart back into rhythm.  I told him to go ahead and call 911 … I desperately needed help and I knew it.  He also called Dana to let her know we were having a problem. It wasn’t long until two sheriffs showed up to keep an eye on things until the EMT’s arrived about 15 minutes later; Dana arrived about the same time. They began to monitor my heart and noticed a few things on the EKG but I wasn’t in horrible distress at first — the pain and arrhythmia would come and go. I’m not sure what they were thinking but when the severe pain and racing heartbeat struck again, they saw me in true crisis. They knew they had to get me to the hospital as soon as possible.

Once they got me in the vehicle, they attempted to start an IV but couldn’t … my veins kept blowing even after several attempts. They even stopped the vehicle for a few minutes at the corner of Townline 12 and Rt. 99 so they could try to get a line started to get some meds into me but with no luck.  So they hurried to the hospital.

We finally arrived at Willard’s Emergency Room where a team was waiting. First attempts at getting a line in were fruitless but finally they got one in and started pumping meds into me. My heart was racing, sometimes well over 200 bpm (those were the times I was seeing white); at times my heartrate was over 300 bpm. The ER team tried everything they knew to get me stabilized but they couldn’t. The poor doctor (Dr. Sizemore) was at his wit’s end feeling unable to help. In the meantime, they called for life flight to get me to St. Vincent’s in Toledo where they have a great cardiac team. But heavy fog prevented them from taking me by life flight so they brought a cardiac ICU unit on wheels. The ride took well over an hour during which I was having repeated episodes, with my heart rate totally erratic. I remember frequently telling the EMT’s when I was about to pass out when I began to see white. The pain was unbelievable … I was in a battle for life.

By the time we got to St. Vincent’s in Toledo, Debbie was there waiting. Dana soon joined her and they witnessed the team frantically working on me to try to stabilize my heart. By this time, this heart attack had been going on for hours without any signs of being able to resolve my situation. Thankfully, the Cardiac team was in the room as soon as I arrived at St. Vincent’s.

Back and forth, hour upon hour ... the doctors tried but couldn't stabilize my heart. Their warnings to my children brought clarity to the desperation of my situation at a level no one ever wants to experience:

"We've tried everything we know to do!”

“We can't stabilize her!”

“We're going to lose her!"

Not just one doctor's exasperated reaction. Not just one cardiologist’s panicked warning. The report continued to be the same while my life was being pulled from the brink of death, back to life, only to feel that horrific wrenching in my chest over and over again while the battle between life and death ensued.


When my heart repeatedly ran away like uncontrollable wildfire, everything became white. At times, that place where all was white and where life seemed to stand still would last for what seemed to be hours while other times it was only moments. The longest time was while I was on the floor where I had fallen to my knees in the midst of a prolonged episode Sunday morning. But now, it was back and forth, hours upon hours ... the period of time spanned across 2+ days.

As I look back, I can easily see a battle raging in my body. The Sovereign Lord refused to let go while the enemy continued to wreak havoc on (and in) my heart. This is what I can only describe as a tug of war — thank the Lord for Victory that had already been won. He had total control and was not about to let go of me. I felt like I was being pulled into death, but even the moments when I was in the presence of “white”, I felt peace and not panic. I remember questioning the Lord:

“Is my time up?”

“Are you done with me?”

“How can I leave ____ unfinished and who will take care of ____?”

“What about my children and who will take care of Ron?”

Questions like that were bombarding my mind; the uncertainty of my purpose became entangled in the battle going on for my physical body. I really cannot capture some of the questions I was having — things didn’t seem to make sense.


After trying one medication after another for what seemed like forever, they were able to stabilize my heart rate. The troponin levels in my blood indicated massive damage. A massive heart attack. The prognosis didn’t look good, even if I survived.

At most, troponin should only be found at trace levels in a normal heart. If a woman’s level measures as much as 10, she is diagnosed with a heart attack. When I arrived at the Willard ER, my level was 1,911 ng/L. It peaked on Tuesday at 2,388 ng/L in Toledo. The higher the troponin level, the greater damage has been done or is being done to the heart during a heart attack. Elevated troponin levels usually indicate cells in part of the heart have died from lack of oxygen.

Once my heart was in a stable rhythm, they took me to have an echocardiogram; the ride on the gurney seemed to take forever. I was so tired, scared and weak by this time I didn’t care what anyone did to me just so I didn’t have to experience the pain of a heart attack again! I’ve always been a private person but my privacy no longer mattered. I didn’t care who saw what or who did what … I just wanted this behind me.

There had been a concern for several years about a heart murmur (aortic stenosis) which had been diagnosed a few years previously. My last regular checkup in June with my primary care physician alarmed the doctor because he seemed to think my heart murmur was worsening. I just assumed everything that I had been going through was because my heart couldn’t deal with the lack of blood flow due to a faulty valve problem. After all, I was told that I’d probably have to have a valve replacement; I refused to accept that and that’s why I waited until after the first major episode on Sunday to even set up the appointment for a new echocardiogram. I’d already had a few previous less significant but similar episodes with my heart but attributed them all to the heart murmur. But, it turns out that the valve, while not working at 100% isn’t a major concern and they’re just going to watch it. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the heart attack I'd just experienced.


After the echocardiogram, they took me immediately into surgery to do a heart catheterization; they found one artery was 80% blocked, another was 50% and the other two were 20% blocked. They inserted a stent to open up the major blockage and examined the rest of my heart.

That’s when they found there was no damage to my heart from these heart attacks I’d been having. A true miracle!!! After recovery, I was taken to my room. They continued to adjust meds to keep me stable as I continued to have brief episodes of arrhythmia.

Dana and/or Debbie were with me most all the time … I don’’t know what I would have done without them!!! I’m so thankful for my children — all of them!

My biggest challenge now is to keep my stress level down and to regain my strength. I’ll be followed by a highly recommended cardiologist and they’ll keep an eye on the one artery that is 50% blocked as well as the leaky valve. They said putting a stent the artery that’s 50% blocked would probably not do much to help, if anything. But they’ll watch to be sure it doesn’t get worse. My new meds should help prevent future problems.

Home Health Care is coming to follow up, just to keep an eye on my heart, vitals, etc.  My church, Potter's House Mansfield, has been marvelous to help with food so I don’t have to get in the kitchen and feel the burden of that responsibility for a few more days yet.

The prayer support has been incredible. I’m so humbled by the loving response I’ve received by friends and family alike.

Ultimately, I've been diagnosed with Hypotrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM). The thickness of the wall inside my heart prevents the mitral valve from opening and closing properly and likely at least partially to blame for the heart attack.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me, showed concern and reached out with help and assistance over the past months. Six months later, I would once again be in crisis but this time with a stroke.