Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I've been thinking a great deal about them lately, this bestowing, or infusion of grace and goodness in our lives...

(Sorry, no photos this post, just rambling.) :)

Speaking from a strictly personal point of view, we've experienced many blessings these past months, despite some rather serious challenges we're facing at the moment.

As friends and family, and those who follow here regularly know, my husband John underwent heart surgery about a year and a half ago to repair a damaged mitral valve, and has since had issues with heart failure and COPD. Well, despite the success of the surgery, he's now developed something called mitral valve stenosis - a complication that can arise from scar tissue making the valve too tight, cutting off blood flow and resulting in constant exhaustion and breathing difficulty. The only fix? Another heart surgery, this time to replace the faulty valve with a mechanical one.

An unexpected challenge on many levels - physically, financially, and certainly emotionally. But truly a blessing as well. There was a time not too long ago when a diagnosis like this would have been a slow death sentence; when the patient would have been told to go home and stay as quiet as possible, until the heart and lungs finally gave out. What a miracle to live in a time when they can stop a beating heart, replace the faulty valve, and start that heart back up again stronger than ever...I'm old enough to remember a time when this would have been something out of science fiction, but here we are. Amazing, isn't it?

We're further blessed with a daughter now living closer to us, and with friends and family who've stayed in close touch, offered prayers and positive thoughts, sent emails and cards, and who regularly inquire as to John's well being, and for this we're grateful.

And financially, while much of my strategy consists necessarily of procrastination, I tell myself that at least I have a job where the more I work, the more potential for income there is, but one which is also flexible and will allow me to spend time at the hospital those first few critical days. To this end, I want to thank all of you who are supportive of my work from the bottom of my heart; you have no idea what it means to me - to us - especially now. An incredible blessing, and we're so thankful for your kindness.

We still have a couple of weeks before the surgery, during which time I'll be painting madly (both Halloween and Christmas/Yule pieces) and John will be resting as much as possible and gearing up for another hospital stay.

If I owe you an email, it's coming, it just may take a day or two. Shipping will still go out several times a week, and I'll post updates as regularly as possible on facebook, and here on the blog.

We love you all, and so appreciate your continued prayers and positive energy!

~ Carolee


softinthehead said...

You are in my thoughts and spirit. Even though communications are few just know I carry you guys with me everyday....Here's to us going out and dancing at the next Ghoultide, well maybe not dancing but I will definitely be up to a few drinks and a lot of laughter....Pam

LYNDY WARD said...

Hi Carolee, you guys are always in our thoughts & prayers.

How many operations has John had for his heart? Seems like he has had quite a few... Be strong & keep the faith!

Blessings Be Positive & Bright Filled With Good Health,

Linda said...

SEnding Love to You and your family. Lindax

Jennifer Hepler said...

Blessed be!
Your Family will be held in my thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Just so you know we are all thinking of you at this time from across the pond. xx

Carolee said...

Thanks very much, all...Lyndy, this is his second major surgery (where they actually stop the beating heart, put him on a heart/lung machine, long recovery, etc), but he's also had several "procedures" at various hospitals; transesophageal ultrasounds, cardiac catheterizations, etc. He's been through quite the wringer in the last year and a half, but we're praying this is the last hospital stay.

Diane MacNaughtan said...

John and your family have been through so much. You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers.


Kathleen Coy said...

Thinking of you and your family and sending love and hugs.


paynterfamily4 said...

Hey there -
I'm thinking about you and praying for you. Your spirit, heart and mind are in the right direction - thinking positively with faith running over. We sometimes get weighed down by the heaviness going and don't look at the good when times are tough. Your overcoming that! I remember I once heard that in Psalm 23 it is states 'though we walk through the shadow of the valley of death' - it is merely a shadow of troubled times - the 'shadow' cannot overtake us! I try to remember that often right now in my life with all it's troubles - it is merely a shadow!! And when it states that His staff will protect us - our Good Shepherd will...
"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven...A time to plant...And a time to pluck what is planted...A time to break down...And a time to build up...A time to weep...And a time to laugh..." Ecc3:1-4.
We can accept what is happening - or be crushed by it - if we trust and rest in Him, He carries our troubles for us until that shadow has disappeared, and we are no longer in the valley - but on top that mountian !! You halfway up that mountian !!!

Createology said...

I shall add your family to my prayers and keep good thoughts for a full and quick recovery. I have been following your blog for some time and you are such an amazingly talented artist. Keep painting :o)

Madeline77 said...

Carolee, you're handling the pressures of your husband's health and the holiday season, at the same time, remarkably well. What incredible strength you have. Your ability to see the positive in your situation says it all. Take care.

By Way of Salem said...

Indeed Carolee, we are living in a miraculous time for medicine. I have Mitral Valve Prolapse, which really can be symptom free, but oh no, not for me! I just had a recent surgery (removal of some colon - another miracle surgery) and while the surgery went just fine, a few hours after, my cranky little heart was none too pleased about being stressed and decided to beat to her own rhythm! Talk about scary. I was out of my mind when the Rescue team came running down the hall of the hospital! After a night and day in critical care (why I don't know!), I'm all fine, but it definitely makes you count your blessings for all the good things in your life! I'm sure John will be just fine. The new valves are so much better and so much more knowledged is gained daily. I tend to look at things as a "blessing in disguise" at times. Maybe this is one of those. Take care, and my thoughts are with you both. J

HowlingMoonDesigns said...

Hi Carolee..
I will keep you & John in my thoughts and Prayers. I'm old enough to to remember when this type of surgery was unheard of, and it truly is a blessing that we live in the times we do!
Big Hugs,

Sarah said...

Hi Carolee!! I was so thrilled to see you pop up on my blog today..I am and have been a huge fan of your work!
I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers hon. So sorry to hear all of this going on!! Take care of him and remember to take care of you!! Breathe!
Namaste, Sarah

Designs By CK said...

Hope John will be OK Carolee.

Take Care,
Chris (-:

Bonnie said...

Hi Carolee: Just read about your husband...will be keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers... Take care.