Yesterday I lay back in my hammock after 3 hard hours of yard work reflecting on what a difference a valve makes! My only health concern was whether or not I had been in contact with any poison ivy! It felt great to be out working in the yard and I can't wait to start planting. It has been a long 7 months since my surgery and lots of time to contemplate what's next! Wow, this heart surgery business is not for sissies that's for sure. But we are stronger than we imagine and just like planting a garden or just about anything worthwhile it is a process that can't be rushed. Prior to surgery I had no idea what the challenges I'd have to face would be so each step has been a small victory and a success that has propelled me forward. Everyday feels special. The birds sound chirpier, the grass looks greener, the squirrels flying freer or is it just me enjoying life just that little bit more?
I am sure I'm not alone in my attachment, dependence and love of my cardiologist! He is a wonderful, wonderful man who has cared for me and my heart health, and literally kept me alive for over 20 years. He has been my "go to guy" time and again. Last week he told me the news I have been dreading hearing.......he is retiring! I stood there and burst into tears and cried all day. What a way for a friend to re-act as I do consider us friends after all we have been through. Instead of being happy that he and his wife will have time to play golf and enjoy their golden years I selfishly felt nothing but panic!
This heart stuff is such a team effort. I am so grateful for the nurses who also know me so well and are such an integral part of my life and well being. Although I'll miss the most re-assuring, calming and steady influence my friend and cardiologist has been I am fortunate that there are other fabulous doctors in his practice who'll have my back! Now that I am thinking a bit less selfishly I wish my friend well and am so grateful to have had his guidance all this time.
In response to a question I saw posted on the anxiety of how to deal with everyday living prior to having this major or major surgeries here is what I responded.
I totally get your situation and am happy to share a couple of suggestions that really smoothed things out for me prior to having my surgery that might help and they also applied to the recuperation period after. As I had friends willing to help out, I had to let them. I made a list of what I needed done and divvied out the chaos. The last thing I needed was more stress when all my energies should of been going towards my mental prepartion. I was lucky to have one of my sisters come to stay for 7 weeks and had to allow her to do everything while I focused on myself. She cleaned house, did the laundry, changed the linens, shopped, cooked, cleaned up, picked up my meds, had my favourite "comfort" foods available etc. I told her what I needed done and she did it all.
I also made an e-mail list of "Friends of Carole" for my sister to keep in contact with daily telling of my progress. This was without a doubt a key factor in my recovery as I heard from so many of those friends who sent their love and encouragement. But I was the one who had to let them in and they responded gladly and lovingly. It hadn't been my nature but boy am I glad I reached out. What I also came to understand is that my friends were relieved and really happy to be kept in the loop. I also posted updates when I was able on my FB page and so enjoyed the comments and words of encouragement.
I hope this helps. It has been over 4 months since my MV replacement and I am loving living! All the best, Carole