September 19, 2021

Wake-up calls

I got a call this week from the surgeon who was doing a routine heart procedure on my husband Philip. It was not the call I thought was coming. Ah, pesky expectations. Nothing good ever seems to come from those little buggers. They remind me of mosquitos — super annoying as they buzz around and then they have the audacity to bite me and leave a red bump. 

I’ve been scratching at this one all week. 

Philip needs a massive heart bypass surgery and soon. When the doctor told me, I had one of those moments where everything comes to a screeching halt and I feel myself hovering outside of my body. Utterly still. Shocked. Feeling the earth shift under my feet and realizing that everything is changing. 

As the doctor prattled on about his findings I tried to listen but my head was spinning. I caught about every third word. And when I hung up, I sat down and cried for a few minutes. Fear is funny — I find giving it a voice, allowing it to rush through me and then releasing it easier than pushing it down. 

And then I stayed sitting there, blew my nose and expressed thanks for finding out this news because of a test, not a desperate, emergency ride to the hospital. I do see the blessing. 

I also know that open heart surgery is not what it once was. It happens every day and with great success. I know first hand the physical healing power of sanctuary. Once he comes home, Philip will be in the very best place he could possibly be to get back to full health quickly. 

The doctor mentioned that his heart had already performed its own small bypass, allowing him to get the blood flow he has needed to share these past ten years with me. It’s not enough for optimal health and continued quality of life, but it’s actually a miracle that it happened at all. 

His heart found a way.

Of course it did. 

My funny, magical, musical man. I have treasured every single one of our days. I never could have imagined someone who could be such a custom fit for my crazy life. At this point, it’s hard to conceive of a time that we weren’t figuring it out together. 

Through all of it (and no, it hasn’t always been easy), not only did his heart find a way, we found our way together. 

I share this experience so that maybe you will pause for a minute today and hug your spouse or significant other. Laugh with your kids. Pet your dog. Call your mother. Life is beautiful and unpredictable and conspires to help us find a way. 

I got a wake up call this week. Maybe reading this post is yours. 

With love and gratitude,


Logo flourish

18 responses to “Wake-up calls”

  1. Lisa and Phillip – you are in my thoughts and prayers!! I thank you for sharing this personal story to remind us all of what is precious. You are so wonderful together and I have no doubt the outcome of the surgery will be successful! Sending lots of love your way!

  2. Deana says:

    So beautifully said Lisa, and how lucky Philip is to have someone like you, so loving and caring and wise, helping him navigate all this.

  3. Deborah Main says:

    Oh Lisa, you’re right, that is not the kind of call we want. But yes, thank God there is something they can do so his heart keeps pumping strong for many more years to come. Will be thinking of you and wishing Philip a successful surgery and spoiled recovery with the gentle loving soul, his wife. ♥️

  4. Gail Doby says:

    I am so happy that the routine test revealed the truth so you can handle it in your thoughtful and peaceful way. Philip will feel better and have more energy when he’s recovered, and he will be with you for a very long time. So happy to know that he’s in great hands. Sending you lots of love and healing. XO!

  5. Good morning Lisa- I wish for the best outcome for your husband – and you are right- It is much safer these days with such advancements and am sure all will be well. I had my own wake up call similar in 2020 when my husband came home and said he had cancer. It is a humbling, nerve wracking and scary experience to see ones you love go through a health crisis. My own man is in good shape now and I know Philip will be as well. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • Lisa Kahn says:

      Thank you Cheryl! I am so glad to hear that your husband is doing well. I know there is a bigger plan here than any plan I have made. I’m going to flow with that. <3

  6. Cindy says:

    So sorry to hear the news about Philip. I pray for a successful surgery and for his healing. Love that your mind went to the blessing. I wish you strength, peace and hope. Love you!!

  7. Jeff Oestreich says:

    Lisa and Philip….thank you for sharing this journey and praise God that it was found and not in reaction to an emergency. Sending prayers of love, peace and guidance for your and the surgeon.

  8. John Strauss says:

    You and Philip are in my thoughts. I think you know I went through open heart surgery last December, and have shared some of my experiences with Philip. He will make it through and be better than ever afterwards. The recovery takes some time, so take it easy and slow. I am here for you both if you want to talk further. xo

  9. Linda Monteleone says:

    Lisa, although I only know you here as our “voice of sanctuary”, I feel I can tell you as a nurse that you are indeed correct about surgery today…miracles and second chances often grace us when we most need them. I’m sending thoughts and prayers that Philip will do well and this “shock” that we all feel in these moments will be like a life recharge for your loving relationship. I cannot think of anyone more qualified to care for him when he comes home….right there in the beautiful sanctuary that I know will be waiting. The one you created for moments like these……God Bless.

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