April Newsletter: Chest Pains and Heart Attack

When we last touched base at the end of March, I promised to start sending a newsletter each month, beginning in April. I had every intention of sending one out on April 15th (yeah, tax day!).

Well, a lot of life has happened between then and now and that last blog post feels like a lifetime ago. This newsletter is going to be very different from the one I had envisioned.

On April 6th, one of my daughters started to experience excruciating pain in her chest along with distressing GI symptoms. Three doctors, two emergency rooms, multiple tests, and several medications later and we still have no answers or relief.

Having a suffering child and not being able to do anything about it is one of the most frustrating things a parent can experience. We want answers, but at the same time we are scared of what the diagnosis might be.

We have more testing this week that will hopefully give the doctors an idea on how they can provide relief and healing to my precious little girl.

And then on the morning of April 18th, I received a phone call from my husband’s co-worker that has forever changed the course of my life.

Expecting my husband to be on the other end of the line, I was surprised to hear a woman’s voice asking if this was Mrs. Ablondi. She quickly told me that my husband, who I had just chatted with 15 minutes prior, wasn’t feeling well and was rushed to the hospital.

I stumbled to the backyard, so my children wouldn’t see me, and collapsed to my knees in prayer for my beloved. The rest seems like a blur–frantic phone calls to friends and family, driving an hour north in rush hour traffic, receiving a call from a nurse uttering unbelievable terms like catheterization and stent.

My very physically fit 49-year-old husband, who eats well, doesn’t smoke, and only drinks occasionally suffered a complete blockage of his left anterior descending artery. I have since learned they call this particular artery the “widow maker.”

What are you doing, God?

I wish I could tell you that I had complete trust in God and His plan throughout this trial. The truth is that I questioned God and why He would allow something like this to happen. I felt abandoned and alone.

As time has gone on, I am starting to be able to look back and see His merciful hand of protection on my husband throughout this ordeal. Steve was at the perfect place when the heart attack began–a government office building with a nursing staff. He wasn’t on the highway, traveling out of the country for work, running through the woods near our home, or any of the other places he could have been.

The closest hospital to his office is one of the best in the country. The care he received was stellar. From the onset of the attack to the time the stent was in place was less than two hours, allowing for minimal damage to his heart.

The outpouring of love we have received from our church family has been incredible. Their prayers have sustained us. They have literally been the hands and feet of Jesus in the practical ways they have helped.

Steve spent last week recovering at home and has started back to work part-time as of yesterday. Looking at him, you would never know that he suffered a major heart attack less than two weeks ago. His follow up appointments have gone well and all of the doctors are very optimistic about his future.

I have no idea why God allowed Steve to have a heart attack, but I am so thankful that He protected him and gave him more time on this earth to be the husband and father we need him to be.

It is my prayer that God will be glorified and that this experience will not be wasted in our lives. Let Him use it to further His kingdom and to bring hope to a lost and hurting world.

I am still processing all that has taken place and am sure I will have many thoughts to share in the future. In the meantime, will you keep our family in your prayers? Our emotional and spiritual healing will most likely take far longer than Steve’s physical recovery.

Camp Willow Springs

Months ago, I excitedly accepted an invitation to speak at a mother-daughter weekend camp in NC from May 3-5th and then again May 17-19th. With the events of the past few weeks, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep that commitment.

Thankfully, some wonderful friends offered to come and spend the weekend with my husband and kids, allowing me the peace of mind to minister to these precious moms and their daughters.

It should be a fun weekend! I will be using my experience competing in the Miss America Pageant to illustrate spiritual lessons God has taught me over the years. I will even be pulling out my old wardrobe and rhinestones!

April Free Lance-Star Columns

April 5, 2019: The power of doing the impossible

April 19, 2019: Hope and healing can be found in Jesus (I wrote these words 45 minutes before receiving word that my husband had had a heart attack.)

Thank you for your prayers and please let me know how I can be in prayer for you. I look forward to chatting with you again in May (hopefully life will not be as eventful between now and then!).

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