Lee’s Story

Site created on January 14, 2019


HERE WE GO AGAIN! Another whirlwind tour. For those of you who haven't known me too long, let me give you a little back story. I was born with congenital heart issues. This came to light when I was 11 years old. I ended up at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for my first heart surgery and my first thoughts of my mortality. It was also the first time I turned to the bible for answers because I didn't understand what was happening to me. Well,  it was a rough go for me and my family, but we made it through. Fast forward 23 years. I am now married to a woman who has more strength and ability than anyone I know. I also had two young children at the time, Justin who was 13 years old, and Megan who was 6 years old. I'm 34, strong, thin, (good looking, at least in my mirror) and operating a new business out of our row house here in Pennsylvania. We moved back to my home state six years earlier from Florida. 
 In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I am in an emergency room at 1:00 AM having a heart attack. After some testing we are told I will need six vessel bypass, and because of my previous heart surgery as a child, it was going to make this very difficult and very risky. Well, they weren't joking. I went into surgery on a Wednesday, and didn't wake up from a medically induced coma until Saturday. Everything that was listed on that release form I signed that could go wrong, went wrong, including possible death. After the second time they opened and closed me because of a bleeding issue, I coded in my room...back  to operating room where open me up for a third time. It's exhausting just writing about it! Life was hard for us over the next year. I wasn't able to work for about a year. When I left the hospital my doctors told me that surgery would give me ten years. Although I felt good for the next ten years, those words  (time frame)  were stuck in my head and I was always counting down. Until year number ten....and after that....I was still feeling good through year number eleven, number twelve, number thirteen and even number fourteen. 
But I knew this couldn't last forever, I knew I needed help. So I tried to turn to God once again, except this time I couldn't find the God that I needed. You know the one you don't even think about when you're feeling good and living the life you think is right?  I wanted the one you want around only when your life is in turmoil.  This time I found The True God, or should I say he found me. It hit me in the car one day as I was driving and while scanning the radio,  I went by a man with a Scottish accent who was just  finishing a sentence about how good you had to be to get to heaven. I continued to scan beyond this message  as his words hit me hard. I went back to the Scottish guy and for the next twenty days listened to his Truth for Life series on the ten commandments. I came to find out the man I was listening to was Alistair Begg  (If you ever have time, please try to listen because it changed my life).
 This put me on a path to a great church with a great church family. I gave my life to Christ, My wife and I are blessed to lead a group  in "THE BRIDGE COURSE" and you can Google it and listen to the messages at  thebridgecourse.org.     It is an introductory course to Christianity, it really answers some of  life's questions. Needless to say, at about seventeen years after the bypass surgery,  my heart started to give me trouble once again. We were well ahead of the coronary artery disease in the beginning with meds. But then they weren't working as well. So they started putting stents in to open up the artery. Between the next eighteen to twenty four months, I had 9 stents put in. They would last anywhere between two and six months before I would get ISR (in stent restenosis) again. 
After the ninth stent failed, I was told this isn't working for me, so my next step would be open heart surgery again. But before that I was asked to call Mt. Sinai hospital in New York. They were doing radiation treatments that was working on fifty percent of the people that were getting it done. So off we went. There we were, Kim and me on Madison Ave. (two fish out of water, or should I say out of Delco). We were nervous  and scared but God surrounded us with our dear friends and a caring staff.  I had the procedure done in May of 2018, and by November of that same year I am back in the cardiac cath lab to find out the procedure didn't work. This time I am told open heart surgery is the only thing left.  Again we make the call and when I say we make a call, or do any scheduling...it's always Kim who handles this, because during these times I am usually just focusing all of my energy to get myself to physically walk through the hospital doors.
 This time we are sent to The University of Penn. Well, it took close to a month for an appointment and two consults to hear that surgery is now too high of a risk, but we are told about a stem cell clinical trial that should be starting sometime in 2019.  We are told to wait patiently...but we are not always perfectly patient...but we wait.
 In the meantime, my cardiologist calls and says he wants to see me on January 8th.   He tells us that after getting the report from The University of Penn, he also agrees that surgery is too risky. However,  he doesn't want us to sit around and wait and risk a possible heart attack that would complicate things even further. He tells us there is a clinical trial starting on the west coast. But we have to fly to The Mayo Clinic for three or four days of testing to see if I'm a good fit.  Because life is circular,  as I started this story so too,  I will end it...
Here we go again. May God be with us because although we have trust in the doctors, our only real hope and faith is in God.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Kim Mahoney

We are home!! So sorry we didn't update you sooner...

Thursday 2/7/19
We left the hotel at 8:15 am for Rochester Airport... a tiny airport with 4 gates!  It was snowing and the taxi was coated in ice.  We arrived at the airport at 835 am...checked our bag...made it through the TSA and figured we were home free!
No....not the plan ... again!  
We boarded the plane an hour late at 10:20 am (not bad considering it was snowing out!) and if you look at the photos..the girl at the desk checking us in is the same girl shoveling the runway.  She was also seen guiding the planes into the gate with orange sticks!  She ran the airport!  😂 
We will not make our connecting flight now..but our travel agent is on it...she switches us to a new flight.
Once on the tiny shuttle plane...we sat, and sat, and sat. It's now 12:30 pm. We finally fueled up and were sent to be de-iced and anti-iced.  The red truck with the guy in the bucket heads our way.  Bucket guy gets set up to spray the plane, but starts banging the hose indicating to the plane of observers that the hose is clogged!  The pilot informs us we have used too much gas... Back to the gate...refuel...head to de-ice and anti-ice again.  Same red truck with guy in bucket heads our way.. I believe the whole plane was praying for this man and his hose by now! Success... we are de-iced and anti-iced...but wait!  It is now 2:15 pm and we will never make our 3:15 connecting flight in Chicago...travel agent switches us to a 4:50 flight.  We take off at 2:30 pm after sitting in a small plane for 6 hours.

The flight was good considering the snow storm...we landed in rainy and windy Chicago with barely 20 minutes to get boarding passes and make it to our gate for our final flight to Philadelphia. By now, I am done with traveling and inform Lee I'm never leaving home again!  Thankfully, he won't hold me to it...
All is well though, we landed safely and our friends Tony and Phyllis picked us up in Philly. Thankfully they didn't mind the almost 4 hours of "which flight...which plane...which gate..." we played back and forth as we moved from flight to flight.  We are forever grateful to everyone for their prayers, thoughts, texts, well wishes, support, and love through all of this.  We felt it tremendously and your words carried us through this journey.  We felt like a piece of home was with us and we cherished that more than you could know.

Love you,
Lee & Kim



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