Jeanie, Omaha, Nebraska

I’ve had a heart murmur all my life, but it did not seem to cause any problems for many years. In 2005 when I had an appendectomy, an echocardiogram was done that showed the murmur was due to a stenosed (closing up) aortic valve. Because “Life happens while you are making other plans,” I did not follow up on that as promptly as I should have, and actually forgot about it for awhile.

Fast forward to 2009, and I was becoming increasingly short of breath. Just walking my dogs a half a block had me feeling like I might faint. I was getting winded just walking from a parking lot to a store or work. Because I had sort of forgotten and/or was in denial on the heart thing, I had been thinking I just was developing lung problems. As a horsewoman for many years, I have been exposed to a lot of dust and some molds, so that sort of made sense. I don’t remember exactly when the proverbial light bulb moment occurred when I realized it was my heart.

I called for an appointment with a cardiologist, but even after explaining that my situation was somewhat urgent, the appointment was not until a month later. During that month, there were some times I wondered if I would survive that long. Miraculously, considering the extent of my heart problems, which were even worse than I had realized, I did make it that long. The cardiologist was really on the ball. Within five minutes of listening to my heart and lungs, which by then had significant fluid buildup due to heart failure, she was admitting me to the hospital.

It was also miraculous that a truly excellent and dedicated surgeon was willing to replace my aortic valve and repair the tricuspid one on an urgent basis. My prognosis was guarded, he told my husband before surgery, and the surgery itself was much longer than anticipated. It lasted eight hours and included aortic valve replacement and tricuspid valve repair.

I did something before surgery that I recommend, and that is having a guided imagery suggestion read to me by my husband, just before they sedated me, that I was safe from harm and surgery would be successful. I also gave my husband instructions for contacting Reiki practitioner Pam Sourelis. He arranged for three post-surgery Reiki sessions for me, all of which would be done from a distance. (I’m in Nebraska; Pam is in Illinois.)

[Pam’s note: The first Reiki session was scheduled for right after the surgery, but as it happened the surgery went on much longer than expected. Consequently, that first Reiki session was actually happening during the surgery—which explains why I had the strong sense that the surgeon’s hands were near. Lucky surgeon; he received Reiki while he was performing surgery. I then gave Jeanie three post-surgical Reiki treatments: one that night, one the following afternoon, and one two days later.]

I am convinced that Reiki was a major factor in a few things that totally amazed the doctors—and made me happy, too. Despite being on heart-lung bypass for eight hours, I did not appear to have any “pump brain” mental decline. More importantly, an echocardiogram done seven days post surgery showed my ejection fraction was almost normal! Considering I would not have lived more than a few months, if that, without surgery; this meets my definition of miraculous. As hospitals are very stressful places, and it is hard to get any rest in them, I strongly recommend that anyone who will be hospitalized, whether surgical or not, arrange for Reiki!