A New Heart, A Fresh Start

In December 2017, my life took an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, also known as “systolic heart failure.” The journey began with weeks of discomfort, pain in the upper abdomen and back, and difficulty breathing. The revelation from my cardiologist was alarming – my heart’s ejection fraction (EF) was a mere 17%, well below the normal range of over 50%. I found myself grappling with disbelief and questioning why this had to happen to me, a young adult with so much ahead.

During my hospital stay, as my family and I sought to understand God’s purpose in this trial, His peace enveloped me. Despite the fear and uncertainty, I felt a sense of calm, and the supportive medical staff and kind nurses made my stay more bearable. The prayers from Powerlighters and others who stood with us were a source of strength, providing hope for breakthrough and deliverance.

After enduring a minor procedure to implant an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), my subsequent years involved a daily regimen of medication, dietary adjustments, and light exercises to manage my compromised heart. However, in November 2021, a severe tachycardiac event led to a recommendation for a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to support my heart’s pumping function. The surgery was a significant undertaking, and we prayed fervently for a successful operation.

The initial recovery period was challenging, requiring adjustment to living with this new artificial “appendage.” My family was crucial in assisting with daily tasks, especially maintaining hygiene and preventing infection. Despite the challenges, I returned to work after a three-month hospitalization leave, continuing physiotherapy sessions to sustain my fitness level and adhering to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Six months later, having regained strength, I received the news that I was being placed on the heart transplant waiting list. The subsequent call indicating a suitable heart was a surreal and emotional moment. As I prepared for the transplant surgery, I turned to the comforting words of Psalms 23 and 91, reaffirming my trust in God’s protection and surrendering my life to Him.

The heart transplant procedure went smoothly, and I progressed well in my recovery, eventually being discharged after a week. This new lease on life prompted a significant shift in my lifestyle. Grateful for the gift of a new heart, I committed to better care for my body, recognizing it as the temple of God’s Spirit.

While challenges persisted during the recovery, I held fast to my faith, diligently following the prescribed exercises and maintaining a disciplined routine. Recognizing that we are all vessels capable of being used by God, I acknowledged my continuous growth and transformation.

I praise and thank God for seeing me and my family throughout this journey and am grateful to everyone, including the medical and nursing staff, who has prayed or supported us. It means so much to us.

I also want to encourage those in a similar situation not to give up; instead, hold fast to God’s word and promises. Thank Him for each day you are awake because He is not done with you yet.

God bless.

Debbie Soh