Sunday, January 16, 2011

Till He returns or calls me home

We finally got Carrisa's autopsy results in (over 4 weeks after she died.)  We are so thankful that we finally got some kind of answer, it really seems like it has been forever!

The final report was that Carrisa died from, "cardiac dysrhythmia."  In simplified terms it means that her heart beat went off rhythm and could not get back on.  The paramedics were at the scene within 3 minutes of Carrisa passing out, 3 minutes, that is quick!  They did use an AED, which helps to shock the heart back into the right rhythm and that did not even work, just 3 minutes later..... that is crazy to me!! Carrisa also had a secondary problem of atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries.  A big reason why she had this is from her childhood "Kawasaki Disease," which gave her high blood pressure for many years, causing her arteries to harden at a much earlier age.   My mom read the report to a family friend that is a Dr., he mentioned that there was a significant part of her heart damaged and it made her heart much stiffer, which interfered with the electric impulses to her heart, causing the dysrhythmia.   I really believe the underlying problem, what prevented her heart from coming out of the arrhythmia was the long term effects of Kawasaki Disease.   It was amazing that Carrisa was functioning at all with the amount of damage to her heart, and that she was able to deliver a baby a little over a year ago!
Photo taken shortly before Carrisa went to be with Jesus

It is strange, I thought knowing how Carrisa died would somehow make me feel better, just knowing....... but it really didn't change anything, it just brought up more questions.  I am glad for Norah's sake that we have an answer, and for the rest of the families health.   I know Carrisa was really trying to get healthier, especially for Norah and it makes me so upset, despite her efforts that it just wasn't in time.....she had not given up yet....

I asked my mom if there was anything that could have been done, if we would have known she has such a serious heart condition?  There is the possibility that something could have been done, there may have been medications or a drastic heart surgery,  or even heart transplant, but still the chance of Carrisa living a short life.  Sometimes I think, would Carrisa have even wanted to know, did she know? Would she want a doctor to tell her that she had a major heart condition and would not live for very much longer?   To know that death is near is a very scary thought, especially with a baby.  And those panic attacks, I am sure they were misdiagnosed.....those were heart problems, that instead my sister was prescribed anti-anxiety meds for.  It's just irritating that she was under medical care and none of this was caught......  My mom did say at her age, most doctors would never look for these kind of heart problems, which does make sense, but at the same time she did have a previous medical condition (Kawasaki disease) that affected her heart, wouldn't they have looked at that?  Gosh, there are so many what ifs?  I could ponder them forever and I did all night after my mom told me about the autopsy.

All of the what if's don't matter though, because she is gone and the Lord decided this was her time to go............ Inside I think, " Lord, why couldn't you just spare her life?"  But He did.......22 years ago, when she was 3 year old and almost died at home and was life-flighted to L.A.  He gave her 22 more years, 22 years to change the world!  To shine her light.  To be my sister.  To be a mother. To be a friend............  I cannot imagine what this life would have been like not knowing Carrisa?  That is why I chose to be thankful, thankful for 25 years, rather than only 3.  I am thankful that there is this little piece of her left, named Norah.  I am thankful that Carrisa knew Jesus and had a personal relationship with him, because that means someday I will see her again.
We sang the song, "In Christ Alone" at church today.  It is a very powerful song, and every single time we sing it, it touches my heart and I feel a sense of hope and nearness to Christ.  The very last verse is what I believe Carrisa knew inside.  Hearing the song is so much better than reading the verse

No guilt of life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand


  1. I just love, love, love this post.

  2. i know you left a comment on my blog sometime ago, and i kept meaning to make my way over here---but i wanted to let you know how sorry i am for your sisters is amazing that you get to adopt little norah though. what wonderful adventures lie ahead, and i'm for certain that ya'll will never forget the beauty of the past.
    blessings to you and your family!

  3. Jenni and Brett, we love you and have been praying for you and your family. We are so sorry to hear about this tragedy, and also so joyful to hear you are processing this in your life with grace, beauty, and honesty. So thankful you know the One who sees all our tears, knows the depth of the pain and loss, and will never leave that without the opportunity to stand in His presence, know His love and believe He is good.
    We love you all, and hope to see you soon. Also, we are loving the beautiful way you are responding to Norah, she is a gift!
    The Nygren Family


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