Author Topic: FREE Article- A Divine Mission Ordered By GOD, the spiritual story of Doug  (Read 34316 times)

Doug Varrieur

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Hi Val, welcome to the party :) The file is a standard pdf, I'm sure you're devices have a way of reading them but I can't coach you through it so.... here's the story :)

A Divine Mission ordered by God
The spiritual story of Doug Varrieur
 
It was 8 am on a beautiful summer morning in August 2007 at our cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Western NC. As usual my wife Sherri and I had our coffee in bed and caught up on the news. Our next stop was a quick dip in the hot tub. Sherri beat me there as I was slow to rise. I noticed a slight bit of heartburn that seemed unusual and an odd pain in my neck. It wasn't severe, just "different" and I chose to lie back down for a moment. Sherri had caught me in the window laying back into bed and came to check on me. She knew it was out of the ordinary for me to lie back down once I was up. I explained the odd sensation I was feeling to her and we looked between us for an explanation. I don't smoke, drink or take drugs of any kind and we hadn't eaten any spicy food that may explain heart burn....no, this was out of the blue. Sherri suggested a trip to the hospital for a checkup.  I thought about it and at first said no way. You see this was also the day Sherri needed to be at the airport by 11am flying out of Asheville NC to AZ for her family reunion....she was to be gone a week. Sherri insisted we go see a doctor and I found myself reluctantly agreeing with her. Heck I proclaimed, it's only a little heartburn!

 We arrived in the emergency room of the hospital 30 minutes later and within short order I was attached to an EKG machine. The doctor also ordered blood drawn to check certain enzyme levels that indicate a heart attack had occurred. To my delight both showed normal results. I still didn't feel quite "right" however but I kept that to myself chalking it up to the entire episode. The doctor saw through me however and suggested I spend the night at the hospital for observation. Of course this put a crimp in the planned trip to the airport, Sherri's departure and her long planned reunion. The clock was ticking and after a while I had convinced Sherri I was OK and she should allow a friend of ours to pick her up at the hospital and take her to the airport. Her bags were already in the truck, packed from the night before and I was in good hands....she could do nothing, go I said....reluctantly she agreed and 20 minutes later she was gone. I said a quick prayer for her safety and settled into my hospital bed.

An hour later Jason, the emergency room doctor came back to speak to me. I convinced him I was feeling OK and he should release me to head home, I had chores and pets to attend to. Jason agreed to allow me to leave under one condition, that I schedule a nuclear stress test with the heart center next door so a cardiologist could take a better look.  I agreed and headed home, visited with a neighbor for dinner and turned in early.
 
At 3am I woke up from a dead sleep with that same heartburn feeling I had that morning. I wondered, could it just be that....heartburn? I looked in the medicine chest and located an antacid, took it and 5 minutes later the feeling had passed...heart burn, I knew it. The next morning I called Jason and explained what had happened and how the antacid had cleared it up.  The doctor still insisted I schedule the appointment for the nuclear test explaining that "at rest" heartburn is a very serious sign of a pending heart attack. I took heed in his warning and called for an appointment at the heart center next to the hospital. The soonest they could see me was 6 days later, the day Sherri would return home.

 The week had progressed without incident and quite frankly I thought the up-coming test was a waste of time. I had spent the week working on my book FAT TO SKINNY and getting it ready for press. The book was available only as a computer download at this time and requests were coming in every day for a printed version, I still had work to do. Today was going to be a wonderful day, the love of my life was coming home and I couldn't wait to see her, today was also the day for....the test... I picked Sherri up at the airport and headed for the heart center where I would meet Dr Gross. At this time I had no idea that my life was about to change forever.
 
"Can you pick up the pace a little" asked the male nurse. I was running on the treadmill with wires dangling from  my body while nuclear isotopes flowed through my veins. The big injection I received prior to getting wired for the EKG allows a chemical to flow into my heart which can then be read by the scanning camera. This allows the doctor to see if any blockages were evident by analyzing the flow of the isotope. "How much faster?" I asked.  The PA (physician’s assistant) explained the heart rate needed to get to optimum levels for my age bracket to secure the best test results...speed it up.  Five minutes later I was asked to stop and I was glad, something didn’t feel right and apparently it wasn’t.  As it turned out they had seen something on the EKG that concerned them and they instructed me to rest while I waited for the doctor. What could they have found I wondered? It seemed odd to me they wouldn't explain it to me.
Dr Gross came into the room and I felt immediately at ease. The Dr had the look and presence of a "real" doctor complete with the gray hair and experienced stature. I also knew his credentials and he came very highly recommended, a practicing cardiologist for over 25 years.  Little did I know that feeling was about to be shattered. He introduced himself and sat down beside me. He had a model of a human heart and some pictures to show me. He started off the conversation by telling me I had experienced a “heart episode” during the test and he wanted to explain to me why. Dr Gross went through his model as well as his test pictures calmly explaining to me the main arteries in my heart. He then focused on the left anterior descending artery, known as the LAD. This is a major artery in the front of the heart providing blood to the pump. “This is where you have a major blockage” he explained. “I believe it’s blocked as much as 95%”  I heard him without recognizing the severity of his statement. Looking at that artery the first thing I noticed was the small size of the vessel, to me it looked about as big around as the ink insert for a pocket pen.   I remember saying to myself…how bad can it be? “How serious is the problem doc” were the words that escaped my lips. What I was told next took my breath away. Dr Gross went on to explain that I was inches from death and needed immediate surgery….immediate, that word still shocks me today.  The Artery known as the LAD is also known in many circles as the “widow maker.”  Men are more prone to blockages in this artery than woman and many men ignore the mild symptoms until it’s too late. I asked Dr Gross what the next steps were and I was told to go immediately to the Asheville heart tower…they were waiting for me. Immediate, there’s that word again. The Doctor put a spray bottle of nitro in my right hand and instructed Sherri to not stop along the way for toothbrushes or pajamas, it’s too dangerous. Go directly to the emergency room door he instructed and off we went.

I marveled at the strength of being my wife Sherri demonstrated as she drove the 30 or so miles to the Heart Tower. It was during that ride that the severity of my situation became evident to me.  My loving wife demonstrated unwavering self control under these circumstances even as she listened on while I said my goodbye’s through tears to our children and parents. All the while the doctor’s words “inches from death” “immediate action” “don’t stop…too dangerous” still ringing in both of our ears.  As the Asheville Memorial Mission Hospital Heart Tower came into view I felt the pressure release in the cab of the truck. I and she knew the next steps were not to be in our hands, what were in store us we did not know.

His name was Wilber, a funny name not too often heard. He was a kind gentleman with dark leathery skin one only gets from many years of hard work outdoors. “Down the hall to the elevators and up to the tower with you” Wilber said in a soft North Carolina drawl.  As Wilber pushed the wheel chair down the slick hospital hallways I couldn’t help but wonder how they get the floors so darn shiny. When the elevator door opened we were greeted by a nurse who led Wilber and I to my room. For a guy not used to doctors or hospitals it all seemed foreign to me. I thanked Wilber for the ride and entered the room on foot.

The sun had set and I could see the lights of Biltmore Village out the window. I had just started to day dream when the silence was shattered by a noisy cart entering the room. Within minutes I was in a backless hospital Johnnie and wired up to several machines. Needles came next as blood was drawn and intervenes ports were installed. It became evident very quickly that this was the real deal, I was officially a patient, and there was no turning back now.
 
The room cleared of people as the young doctor came through the door and introduced himself. He could see the concern in my eyes and he knew exactly what to do. This wasn’t his first rodeo and he knew I needed answers to some pretty big questions. One of the biggest was, can I expect to make it through the night.  After we spoke I knew exactly what the plan was and how things would progress early the next morning. He left me with a blessing of a good night’s sleep and strolled out the door. I could hear the occasional squeak of his rubber sole shoes on the shiny hospital floor as he disappeared down the hallway.  I remember his answer to my big question clearly to this day, “don’t worry you couldn’t be in a safer place to die, we’ll bring you back”
Facing death is a strange place to be when nothing really seems out of sorts. I wasn’t in any pain, bleeding or in any obvious distress. I knew my widow maker had a plug in it and it needed to be removed but I felt comfortable that I was in the best workshop for job.  Reflection however slips into your thought process and you start to ask yourself questions.
Have I done everything I wanted to do in life?
Do I have any regrets?
Is there anyone else to speak too before I die?
Are all my business affairs in order?
Am I ready to meet my savior?

I found myself in a fairly comfortable spot when I was done my reflection.  I determined I had been a good husband and father, a faithful  and honest friend, had lived my life to the fullest each day, followed the ten commandments  and tried my best to be a good person.  I only felt one regret, my book FAT TO SKINNY wasn’t in print form yet to be shared with the world. Other than that I felt I had lived a full life and was ready to go if it was my time.  I said my prayers and surprisingly enough fell off into a deep sleep, dreaming throughout the night of my children growing up.

Have you ever woken up extra early for a trip or an event? As the nurse stood over me at 5am announcing it was time for a shave I looked back with dazed eyes.  Shave what I wondered, my wife loves my beard and it certainly wasn’t coming off this morning.  C’mon Mr. Varrieur we have to get you ready for surgery, you’ll be leaving soon….shave what I asked?  The nurse explained the area in need of shaving for the up-coming angioplasty and asked to be allowed to do it. I thanked her and proclaimed that I wished to do it myself, she gave me the razor and I got the job done. Thirty minutes later I was lying on a stainless steel operating table surrounded by a room full of people. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t scared, there were too many things to see, I was cold though…cold enough to shiver

Dr John Lawrence looked particularly chipper as he welcomed me into his surgery dept. The doctor assured me he would explain everything step by step through the entire procedure so I knew what was going on. This would be the first time I had learned that I was to be fully awake and un-sedated through the operation, that was a freaky thing to find out.  “This will only hurt a little” he said as the pin prick of the needle poked into the shaved area of my inner thigh.   Within short order I was watching the inside of my heart on the TV monitor above me as Dr Lawrence maneuvered the balloon catheter into position. It seems without fan fare an incision had been made in the numbed area of my groin and a long catheter had snaked its way up a major artery and found its mark inside my heart. “This will feel warm” he said as he shot the dye into my heart. The doctor and I watched the flow of the dye as it stopped right where Dr. Gross had diagnosed my blockage. “you’re lucky to be alive Doug, Dr Gross was right on target, you’ve got a 98% blockage in your LAD, we need install a stent”  Dr Lawrence then showed me a tiny stainless steel mesh tube about a ˝ inch long. He explained this tube would be inserted inside the LAD artery opening up the blood flow to my heart. As the Dr. progressed I couldn’t help but think of the advancements medicine has made over the years, what was happening almost seemed surreal to me. I knew he was inside my heart but other than the warm flushing sensation I felt when the die was shot and the tiny pin prick I felt no additional discomfort…..other than being cold, very cold.

My trance was broken when the Dr.  told me we have a problem. “ I’ve attempted three times now to insert your stent and three times it has failed to deploy.” It seems that my LAD artery is ˝ millimeter smaller than the average and this was causing the Dr. a problem. “Here’s where we are Doug, I’m concerned that if I try again and force the stent into place your artery may split and you’ll experience a massive heart attack right here right now….you may die. I feel fairly certain we’ll be able to save you however we’ll be faced with open heart surgery and a bypass at that point.” And then he asked me the question; “what do you want me to do?”

I heard his question, I understood the situation, I attempted to answer….but could not, my mouth was frozen shut. Instead I found myself asking a question not out loud and not of the doctor. No my question was being asked of our Lord. “What do you want me to do” I asked in my head. The answer came immediately very clearly and without hesitation;

“Stay alive and devote your life to helping others from ending up in this position”

Suddenly my mouth opened and I answered the doctor. “Proceed without fear, all will be well” seconds later to the doctors delight the stent slipped right in and it was all over, I had been given a new lease on life.  Within a week 3000 copies of FAT TO SKINNY Fast and Easy were on order and my divine mission began in earnest.

God had given me my marching orders.

Notes- The type of blood plaque I had built up over the years was caused by extremely high triglyceride counts. Triglycerides are blood fats formed by amongst other things high levels of blood sugar. Even though I had already lost 100 pounds and my blood profile was in good order the damage had already been done.

For details on the nuclear stress test click here- http://www.heartsite.com/html/isotope_stress.html
The “Widow Maker”- http://www.heartsite.com/html/lad.html 
Keep The Faith, Stay The Course, Spread The Word on Facebook and Twitter  8)

Val Copeland

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Thank you so very much for posting this for me to read. What  an amazing story. What an amazing mission! I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say thank God for you!
"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."

Doug Varrieur

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Thanks Val  8)
Keep The Faith, Stay The Course, Spread The Word on Facebook and Twitter  8)

mouseissue

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Obeying the Lord has HUGE benefits! :)
God bless you Doug for being obedient!

Tony
What you do today is what matters!




izzet

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For some reason I was lead back to this article again.  Tears in my eyes.  God has a plan for us all.  We just need to listen for Him.  So glad you listened to Sherri and went to the doctor so you would be able to fulfill your mission.

Hugs and wishing you and Sherri a happy and blessed Christmas and holiday season!
Peace and blessings,

IzzeT

Total Lost on FTS 37lbs: Maintaining size 8 and feeling great!



Doug Varrieur

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Thanks guys,  Hi IZ...miss you girl  8)
Keep The Faith, Stay The Course, Spread The Word on Facebook and Twitter  8)

mdanziger

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Doug,

Reading this started me thinking about how long it has been since I saw my doctor.  It has been quite a while.  I guess, considering I control my blood pressure with medication and I am a good 50 pounds overweight and sedentary, I think of myself as healthy, so why go to a doctor?  Well, I have seen the error of my ways, and I have made an appointment.  Thank you.

Mark

izzet

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Miss you both as well.  Trying to get settled into my new job and my schedule is all over the place with the holidays and Chihuly exhibition.  Lots of events at the museum so they want me working at all of them apparently. lol  Try to make more time to get back on the forum very shortly.  Miss everyone!

Peace and blessings,

IzzeT

Total Lost on FTS 37lbs: Maintaining size 8 and feeling great!



umpa

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What a great job you have! You look great Izzet! How is the book coming? :)

izzet

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Umpa I have not written one solitary word since the last time we spoke about it, I am embarrassed to say.  I can make all the excuses in the world but I just have not made time.  Days off are spent cleaning and errands.  All other free time spent with Hubby if we are both home at the same time.  When I had the time I didn't take advantage of it...now with the new job my schedule is so erradic...I'm finding it difficult to sit down and concentrate. Wait, I just thought of some time.....when I do contractor escorts and I'm sitting all day...not very often...but that's some time to write.  Funny how these things come to you when discussing with others.
Peace and blessings,

IzzeT

Total Lost on FTS 37lbs: Maintaining size 8 and feeling great!



umpa

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You seem alot happier than when you were with Hallmark! :D What a great job! Writing is challenging.Just open a word document and type the first word.Then as you have moments add to it.It took me over a year to write the Fat to Skinny Bakery Book! I have a childrens book that I still can't find time for but the word document is open ;)

izzet

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I actually have a couple of chapters...I think that is a great suggestion...keep it open and when I reread it I often think of more to add to it.  Thank you for sharing your struggles to write...I am  very happy at my new job!  I just wish I could find something there that is full-time.  I keep thinking God you put the desire in me to work there now what do?! lol  I feel he put me there to position me for another state job.  I'm just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.  I guess God will let me know. ;)
Peace and blessings,

IzzeT

Total Lost on FTS 37lbs: Maintaining size 8 and feeling great!



umpa

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I think when we are making the right choices things just fall into place.Its always worked that way for me. ;)

mouseissue

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I think when we are making the right choices things just fall into place.Its always worked that way for me. ;)

That's right, Umpa! :)

We know we are doing what God wants us to do because He will have already gone ahead of us to clear the path. ;)

Tony
What you do today is what matters!




ereino

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I am having trouble downloading your article, but from all of the inspirational  messages here, I have come to the conclusion that the Good Lord has put you in a spot to help people regain their lives back.  I have always been impressed that you place this forum out there for all of us to participate and YOU ACTUALLY DON'T CHARGE US A DIME like other forums feel compelled to do.  Praise God for you and Umpa!  I love the Lord with all of my heart, soul and mind and you will be in my prayers every time I am on the forum and when I am off of it.  Keep up the good work.  We all want to hear the Lord say at the end of our journey here on earch...WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!