Spared Twice in Three Days, and Stronger than Ever

Spared Twice in Three Days, and Stronger than Ever
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/3/2018 4:45:33 AM IST

 62-year-old Dawn had come to Portland to celebrate her daughter Elisabeth’s birthday.

Dawn says, “I grabbed ahold of my daughter's hand as they were wheeling me down the hall and I'm like, ‘Just keep praying.’”  

Now she was being taken to surgery.

She continues, “Just keep trusting the Lord with me.  Keep trusting God with me.  I'll be all right.  Just keep trusting God.’”

Elisabeth had driven her mom to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center with what Dawn thought was just a bad case of heartburn.  It turned out she was wrong.

Elisabeth says, “I looked at the nurse and mouthed ‘heart attack,’ and she nodded, and I went, ‘Whoa.’”

Cardiologist Richard Sohn explains, “In her case, she had a clot in the most important artery of the heart.  It affected a big part of her heart.  And if left untreated would have been definitely life-threatening.”

Elisabeth called her stepfather, Donald. He was still at their 300 acre ranch in Reedsport, Oregon – three and a half hours away.

Donald says, “A lot of fear goes through you when you get news that says, ‘Okay, she's having a heart attack and I don't know if she's going to live.’”

Donald began praying and asked God to spare his wife’s life.

He says, “And the Lord speaks to me.  And He says, ‘She's going to be stronger than she's ever been before.’”  

As Dawn was wheeled into surgery, Elisabeth was also praying: “‘Jesus, you are the Healer, you are our Great Physician, and you know what’s going on here, I don’t.  More of you, less of me.  I’m good with that.’”

Dr. Sohn and staff removed the blockage and placed two stents in Dawn’s artery.  

Dr. Sohn says, “This is a high mortality rate.  Fortunately, we've gotten very good at opening these blockages.  The things that might get in the way of that, of course, is if the person has a complication related to the heart attack.”

With the surgery a success, Donald decided to wait for help to arrive to take care of their livestock before driving to Portland.  He was on the road heading that way when the hospital called.

Dr. Sohn says, “She suddenly developed much more severe pain in her chest, and then her EKG abruptly became very abnormal again.  That was definitely an emergency situation.  That's where our suspicion is that she's developed another complete blockage in that same artery.”

Donald recalls, “I'm praying, you know, and crying out to God, but everything that He had told me in the garden, my faith just vanished at that point.”

Elisabeth had gone home when she got the call.  She says, “Now my faith was a little rattled.  Still trusting, but really confused.”  

Dawn remembers, “As I was being wheeled into the operating room I was – I was praying cause I knew I was going.  I was – I was going.  And I was singing, ‘Upon the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.’”

As Dawn was losing consciousness she asked God to do one thing - spare her life.

She says, “All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I saw a huge white wall.  And in this wall I could see gold threads, and it was marble.  It was the most beautiful wall I’d ever seen.  

And I realized, in a split second, that there was no door.  And I believe, to this day, if I had seen a door I would have gone through it.”  

In surgery, doctors removed the new blood clot and put in a third stent.  Dawn’s prognosis was unknown.

Dr. Sohn explains, “If we had opened up the blockages quickly enough each time, then her prognosis would be excellent.  But if she had permanent damage to her heart muscle, then she might end up with a weakened heart, which would limit her ability to exercise or do daily activities and would predispose her to congestive heart failure.”

Finally, Donald arrived at Dawn’s side.  He remembers, “She was very, very sick, incredibly sick.  I turned to the nurse and I said, ‘That's about a sick a person can get and still be alive on this side.’  And he said, ‘She's still got a lot of fight in her.’”  

Dawn recalls, “I said, ‘I'm not going to be drooling in a wheelchair.  I am NOT going to be incapacitated.’   And I was going to go forward, no matter what it took, I was going to go forward.”

Amazingly, Dawn got stronger each day, and after ten days she was released.

Dr. Sohn says, “We did an ultrasound of her heart early in her hospitalization and her heart muscle looked quite weak, and I was afraid that this is what she was going to have to live with.  What we found before she was discharged from the hospital, is that her heart muscle had fully recovered its strength.  Which was amazing.  I was actually surprised, but, of course, pleasantly surprised.  So at that point I felt very confident that she was going to do well.”

For two months Dawn rested, but once she started cardiac rehab she was unstoppable.

Dawn says, “God spared my life twice in three days.  There’s got to be a reason.  And He wasn’t done with me.  He just wasn’t.”

Dawn would have that reason a year and a half later, in February of 2017.  She ran her first 5k race and won.  It was the perfect stage to share her story.

She says, “When I went to the race, I was able to tell people that God saved my life.  I had had two heart attacks.  And now I'm running.   And if I can do it, anybody can do it.  But it gave me a chance to tell people that Jesus heals!  And God is on the throne! And when you put your trust in Him, all things are possible with him who believes.”

A year later she had an even bigger stage, when she won gold in the 2018 Senior Olympics. Today she’s considered one of the fastest 5k runners for a woman of her age in the country.

Donald says, “When He speaks to you and He tells you something, even though it looks completely the other way, it's a building block and it makes my faith stronger to see that He was so faithful.”

Elisabeth adds, “God has shown me that all things are truly possible for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  

That’s not just some notion that we read about in the Bible, that’s a fact.”

Dawn says, “The Lord has given me a heart to run, and I run with all of my heart.”

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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