Reminder of the Power of Prayer.......Month 10, celebrated
Journal posted on June 21, 2015
It is the 20th. and my 10th Month the other side of surgery. Days/weeks/months of healing & recovery. I have a mere29 minutes to go and this special day is over and a new day of continued healing will take its place.This morning was a typical Saturday. For a week now my heart felt like it was breaking. My dog Hunter had been acting "off" for awhile and as he will be 14 years old on July 4th. I am aware that for an English Springer Spaniel he has had a good and long life but has also entered into a
time when dogs start to have their own medical issues. we have been keeping up with his health issues and lately it looked like we were about to lose him as it is difficult for him to keep up with Kat and the simple things he has been able to do and looking like his hips were going to fail him and made an appt. for today this morning. We waited out the week similar to the week before my own surgery knowing that Hunter was going in for specific tests hoping that the ailments that took his brother Sherlock away from us in 2012 hadn't found its way to Hunter.
Our appt. was at 10:30 this morning and I took him out first thing to the front yard while it was nice and cool out and as usual Kat heard the screen door open and met us there and you can tell that She was being gentle with Hunter as if She picked up on the fact he wasn't well. I sat on the porch and drank a cup of coffee and watched the two of them. My heart felt like it was being pumped up like a big balloon and I haven't found breathing hard since before my surgery and funny, today on the 10th. anniversary I was overwhelmed with the tightness and fear of losing one of my best friends as Gary and I had sat up the night before and discussed how bad Hunters back legs had gotten in the past 6 months and all that it might mean. Of course entering into it is the fact you don't keep an animal you love around just so not to lose it, and you certainly don't want to make a dear friendly pet hurt and extend that time here on earth if it is just the truth of facing "their time" has come. In Hunter's case he has been aging in a pretty normal way until recently and the suddenness of his condition wasn't something we were ready for(nor of course was he and you see the frustration of his getting around in his body language and his face more and more). I know many of you know from where I am coming from as we have talked of our best friends, our dogs and cats, horses, etc. and what a tremendous source of support and love they have been especially leading up to and during our
recoveries. I guess that was what hit me hardest today was the fact that Hunter has always been a large part of my world and such a blessing to have here while all alone during recovery to make me laugh and help me get moving, especially when He has joined forces with Kat and between the two of them given my a source for writing and journaling my progress mentally and physically during my journey. I guess as my journey continues I want it to be with my "Boy"
Hunter.. So, today my morning was spent praying for people in our community and adding my prayers for Hunter and deciding to feel at peace handing those prayers to God and letting him know I understood my love and trust in Him and I added that I know that Hunter is one more prayer I had to pray for in that if God felt his time was ended I would try to find peace in that but had to say I didn't think his time here was done, just my opinion and oh by the way it would be such a blessing to have him along for more of my Journey......................
So we dropped him off with a big hug and a scratch on the head and told him how sorry we were that the first thing the Vet did was put a thermometer you know where to which he managed to wag his tail.......What a trooper..........
Off he went ad today was a day for blood tests and x-rays of his hips, etc.
We couldn't pick him up until 3:00 p.m. so we left and went in search for a "cucumber green"
paint to paint the kitchen this week. I wanted a project to get started on in case the vet gave us bad news. This is also what I do when things get complicated in life......Have paint and a free wall and life is good again. Then we walked in the 100 degree heat at Home Depot and looked at
plants to add to our growing list for our drought tolerant/ plants natural to this area. I thought about the day I came home from my surgery and kind of "fell forward out of the car" and headed for the front gate where Hunter stood waiting for me with his whole body shaking in excitement to see me. Even Gary and I knew that getting home and being together was going to
be the greatest gift......the greatest tool I would have nearby as I started to heal up and from day one going outside(see my photos)Hunter has been the one by my side daily to reassure me that all was well and make me feel safe and balanced at a time that at first went from difficult and unnerving to me being supported without doubt and confident in my movements and smart about setting goals I knew I would have keeping. He had been my greatest ally next to
Gary and my friends online here from day one until this, my 10th. month. I didn't want that to end and his back legs today, this morning made Gary and I both feel the vet would tell us it would be kinder to let go.
Well 3:0 p.m. finally came and we entered the building and were ushered into his office. I
could not stand any more as the heat was still 100 degrees and the offices were muggy even with the air conditioning.
The vet entered and took one look at us and said" Well we did better than we were thinking we would and the good news is that Hunter has some quality time left with you if we make some changes, give him the proper meds and see to it he gets the right exercise to help his back left leg which is atrophied from arthritis which is common for his brand of dog and at this age. He can stand to lose 10 lbs. which will be easier as we have 3 different meds to help with his liver function, arthritis, beginning of hip dysplasia that hadn't shown up until today in xrays. It is the arthritis that made such a difference in the past 6 months and Gary and I thought it was hip dysplasia and so had the Vet at the time but we were worrying more about me with my heart journey and hadn't noticed him as much as he wasn't acting uncomfortable or like he was hurting just getting stiffer in the legs which we thought was only age. So now we area going to be getting him shots to help the arthritis as he doesn't respond well to the "tablets" they
have given us, and he will be on a low dose pain pill for a time, losing weight and a med to help dissolve the bladder stones they also found. Pardon me for jumping around as it is after midnight and I am tired from a long day of worrying and also now very relieved that Hunter should still be around to help complete our daily lives and those with pets will understand my taking the time to journal this day down here as the night takes over and we all get a much needed nights sleep. So I end this just letting you know how Anniversary #10 month went and how happy I am that my prayers this day for Hunter were answered. (For those of you who might thing this an unusual topic for a heart journal let me just say that Hunter fills my heart, keeps me feeling consistently loved and helps me feel Happy to be alive so it's the perfect place
to give Hunter mention(and Kat). Love to you all and Bless you all as well wherever you are on your journey. Terrie, Hunter and Kat
If anyone is tries calling this morning we are having electrical work done all day and power will be off in one hour! (Phones are connected, so I will be on my cell! Just me, Hunter and Kat staring at the walls. No t.v., music, phone, computer! Nice quiet day, huh! Hope all is going to go super-smooth for Lynn Jeffreys, Susan Wozniak, Eddie Patton and Kim Schurman today. Today is going to be a "Big" day! I will have plenty of time to send out prayers to y'all. Big Big Super Prayers as well to "Duane" today. Mary Myers, thanks for updates and good to hear from you today. Everyone have a good day today and may your Hearts be Healthy and Full! Terrie, Hunter and Kat.
As most people who know me realize, I live across the street from a small community park.
As I was doing up some dishes in the sink who's location allows me to see the park directly
across the street from me.
Well this morning I watched the hummingbirds hitting on the hanger that is next to my new
lavender star plant and I noticed a man in the park near the corner who seemed to be struggling.. I notice he was on crutches so threw on my tennis shoes and my baggie jeans, a bottle of water and proceeded to stick my nose into his business to see if he was ok.
By the time I got to him I was standing on the corner looking over and said "good morning" to him. He grumbled and I noticed he was sitting down by my favorite tree and his crutches were a foot away from him. There he sat on the grass stretched out and with a weird look on his face.
I, being curious couldn't leave him without asking if he was ok as I had noticed that he had one leg that had been removed below the knee that he made great pains to cover up. That fact of course did not mean he was helpless so I went ahead and asked him if he as OK. He rather rudely said he was "Fine" and turned away. I took the hint and began my walk around the park. My goal was just to make it around 3 times and then get my bike and ride 9 times around. I usually do 15 times around but today I was still nursing a dog bite just the other side of my knee so I set out slow. One, Two, Three times around and each time a snarley look from the tree man. Try as I might, I couldn't get a smile or conversation going. I decided one more time around and I would go home. It worked. He said "I don't know what you are doing but "good work!". So even though I felt lazy I was proud to get past the heat of the day beginning to slow
me down and do my 5 miles of exercise today. As I put my bike away, the man got up. He looked across the street from me and waved goodby. So I guess I met another one of my neighbors today and seeing him "crutching it" down the street I knew that once again, I am grateful for what I was able to do today. Was happy to meet a new face and that I didn't give up on the goal I had set for myself as a big part of recovery is pushing yourself to do first a little and then push our bodies to do a little more until we realize our strength, that we are breathing ok and that our pulse rate is at a reasonable place. I find more and more that I have to change up the type of exercise and follow a daily plan or I can easily avoid doing any sometimes just sticking to gardening and the housework.
So now I am heading out to the garden as it is still cool. I hope wherever you are you are enjoying the day and that out there in this wide beautiful world everyone's surgeries are going well.....those of you in recovery are doing what is needed to get you one step closer to going home and that those readying themselves for their surgeries know how delightful getting back into a simple walk, a bike ride can be once you are back home. "Patience" is the word of the day. Prayers going out to you all.
I just took the garden hose and soaked my husband out in the front yard.
His screams could be heard for miles.......My laughs too.........
You see, Gary and I joined the "In shape fitness gym" and yesterday
was his day for all of his "trainers" new exercise plans to start "hitting".
Today he came home complaining of aches and pains in his shoulders,
under the arms, etc. from lifting weights, kettle balls(whatever the hell
they are) and the elliptical workout that he did Monday after work.
NOT the day for him to come in whining. Today was my first official
after surgery MAMMOGRAM as Kaiser. Let me tell you now that it is
done that the woman who gave me my exam was gentle but asked me
if I really wanted to do it as they usually recommend having it done at
least a year post-op. (I had checked with my cardiologist about whether
or not this was too soon and he replied "OH you should be alright". I
will mention that my surgery will be a year on August 20th.
So I faced the machine with my "full sternotomy incision complaining
with the first "lift" of one breast. Not fun. End result of the lifting, placing,
squishing and shifting around to fit into the machine for the correct allowances
was that she was able to get the images completed but that for every twist and
turn I paid for it and have little flying saucer red welts about the size of a large
coffee cup both under and on the up side of my "girls". So, my husband knew I
was driving in this morning to get this done and comes up with his whining.
No comparison and drought or not I hosed him head to toe. (It is 92 degrees
and he had changed from his work clothes. Hunter got in on the fun and got
hosed too. Kat flew up and across the fence as the water began to fly.
Love and good thoughts go out to y'all today.
The best thing about waking up..........is waking up!
(Yes, and coffee steaming out of your favorite cup while standing on your
front porch feeling a mugginess in the air and watching your dog and cat
circling in the yard as your handsome, brilliant, witty husband's car rolls
down the driveway-out into the street and fades into the darkness of the
morning towards work. Today I have talked like I am writing...TOO MUCH!
I am going to hear about it at 6:00 a.m. when he rolls into work being late
because my goofing around and getting him off to work a few minutes cost
him time as while Hunter, Kat and I were circling the yard waving him off
the nearby train was hitting the corner crossing and it is always a long one
which makes him off the city streets and onto the highway later meaning
that the people who join him for the ride over the Altamont Pass are already
ganging up on each other and he won't be singing his "Country Tunes" first
off until the grumbling about his crazy woman subsides. You know, the one
who made him late!
But this morning I don't care because I am celebrating this day with a great big
grin on my face! Guess what?! While my furry friends and I were out in the front
yard........Drum Roll! It began to RAIN! Timid little, pesky at first drops of liquid that
dropped and showed itself in the light of the street lamp out in the front by our sidewalk.
That same light gave a view of the rain soaked leaves of my favorite corner tree in our
Park across the street and I imagined the trunk with large eyes and a crooked nose
with its arms (of course the branches) reaching out and upwards to feel the rain. It too
had it's mouth wide open just as I did as I walked along our picket fence with Hunter and
Kat drinking in the light raindrops and letting them fall softly on my face, gathering and slipping down my nose and eyebrows to my mouth and I was able to fill up with a ton of gratitude that for what probably will be only early this morning and intermittent an end to this "drought" that happened just for us this day. Thank God for these precious moments in the morning. Just months ago it took everything in me to step off the porch and walk these same steps along the picket fence and I remember the discomfort of my very sore sternum and the staples that lined the center of my chest like a dart board waiting for some players.......I think back to when I couldn't stand the pressure of the morning air or wind tugging at my chest as I waved my husband off to work the first day after he had spent the former two weeks home caring for me
and keeping me company.....lovingly so, showing me my Faith in Him and our love for each other after 36 years was still the strongest, gentlest love I will ever know. This morning as I sit
here typing my hair is plastered along my cheekbone and the area high on the right side near the corner of my right eye is making little tugging pinched twitches as there is a tiny "train track"
running from the corner into my cheek now from the stitches that were required to close up a space where a skin cancer had reared its rather ugly head and been removed. If you know how much I love Trains you would see the humor in what most Women would find offensive, distracting and defacing(pun?). I see it as an additional thing of beauty like the railroad track along my chest that has had good time to heal and is a thing of beauty in the best sense of the word. I am pleased to know that I have survived things in this Blessed Life that have left me marked as just that. A SURVIVOR with a heart not of gold but of little bits and pieces that keep that little sucker ticking, over and over and over again. It is so amazing to me to know up close and personal just how fast that little sucker moves to keep the blood flowing and to keep my heart alive! We are so blessed to live at this time in life and the technology just keeps getting better and better. I thank God this day for all of the many men and women who work to get us through our surgeries. From the Surgical Teams who pull out all the stops and treat our hearts as if they were there own, guarding them from the time they start until they roll us carefully into the ICU and the next group of dedicated people carry on the next steps to help us awaken, see to our comfort, calm those waiting in the halls who love us early and then pass us along to another place where we can pick up where our lives left off....to a sitting chair...the first walk taking our newly mended hearts for a walk down the hallway if we are lucky! Always in the company of those beautiful/handsome people doing their jobs which is seeing to us. My first walk in my hospitals hallway was an exciting episode for me as I was walking with Gary and the nurse in between being careful not to disturb tubes and the hanging IV's that we shared rolling in between ourselves as I slowly moved forward down the hall, peeking into each doorway as I went and giving "The Queen of England's" special wave" and An enormous Grin that would not
leave my face at the thought of what my heart and I had just been through. And what an enormous comfort the people in the hospital are as they treat you like a baby learning to walk and act like a proud parent at everything you are able to do! Yes...Surgery and all that it entails for me and for most that I know who have walked those same halls will tell you the same thing I am. Our Doctor's, Surgeons, Cardiologists, all those that prep up for this Big Event, those who care for us right to the kindly hospital aides that wheel you in your wheelchair to your waiting transportation out the door for home are some of the most mighty fine people in the world.
According to me on this lightly rainy day in a drought stricken state of CALIFORNIA on this fine
Wednesday morning! Go out and make this a GOOD DAY for yourselves.
Whew! Not so hot today and there is a little Delta Breeze going on in my backyard even
though it is already 70 degrees outside.
Funny. Went outside and met another of the neighbors cats eating with Kat as I let
Hunter out to go play in his wading pool which due to the drought is his favorite thing.
As I stood there watching him carefully placing one paw at a time in the tiny plastic pool
he finally got all four in and stood with a large grin on his face (we do know dogs grin) and
over his head a large yellow Monarch butterfly sailed on the wind over to the far fence on
my right towards the two butterfly bushes that line the fence with their beautiful deep purple
and light lavender flowers. It lifted its large wings and looked more like a kite as the breeze came up strong this morning unlike no breeze yesterday and a 104 degree temperature. I wondered where the butterflies go and how they feel with that warm air and no wind to push them along throughout the many hours of direct sun and heat. I have a feeling that many of them take refuge inside the tree limbs and many green leaves of my peach tree as it is much cooler within the shade it provides. I know many of the small birds spent the day within the umbrella of the tree as they talked to me as I let Kat in and outside yesterday and will more than likely have to do the same on and off this week as the temperatures are just to hot for the animals to dilly dally outside as usual. "Kat" being a "TAK" a couple of years ago(Tossed Aside Kitty) still does not like to be indoors for long as she lived outdoors before Gary, Hunter and I
moved into this house a couple of years ago but she was happy to stay inside and hastle Hunter where he lay stretched out on his doggie bed licking his paws from the on and off big
"Dip" in the pool he did from morning until 7 p.m, last night when the temperature outside was
still at 100 degrees, Hunter has hip dysplasia so he really enjoyed his little excursions out to his pool and it was fun to watch he and the two cats interact. The dragonflies were out in force like tiny helicopters on a search which left many of them landing on the many stakes of the tree roses and sunning themselves among some of the larger rocks out in the garden on the shady side of the house. I love to watch them flying in formation sometimes dipping down to make a dip in for water at the bird fountain looking like a rescue helicopter at a fire dropping quickly and rising up with their containers filled with water to circle over the fire and dropping it from the sky like some spontaneous invisible waterfall that came out of the clouds. Their big bulging eyes seem to take me in as I am nose to nose with a giant rusty colored one who has landed on the rose stake like a "copter pad". I am also met out in the garden by many bright little Lady Bugs which take the time to land on my arms and shirt sleeves. The roses are lovely and blooming all over the place! I make it my duty to stick my nose into each and every bush as I pass by taking a sniff of all of the delicious scents they produce even in these drought conditions. Hunter watches me as he is never far away and my stopping and starting leaves him
a little confused on when I will continue to make it to the porch door to let him in so he can escape the playfulness of the cats who have made him their "Toy". I am now on a mission to do
what I do every morning at that time and that is to start up the computer and check on my heart brothers and sisters to see how all is going. It is a feeling like when you are waiting on the
kids to get in from a date...you just want to know they are safe and all is well. This is how I feel each morning as I look up those who went in for surgery(Duane, Chris Larry, this means you!)and check for news of those in recovery and feel realllllllllly happy knowing that someone else
is going home to continue on the healing path that I once took back in August! So here I am and
pardon me as I catch up on what is happening in our Heart Community! Prayers continue to go out to all in recovery and headed for home as well as our people in surgery today and those who love and care for them. I hope that all of us trying to exercise for at least 30 minutes today that we make our goal, those in re-hab do well and that good nutrition is on our minds too as we take care of our mended hearts and get back into LIFE! I pray a prayer for PATIENCE WITH DEALING WHEREEVER YOUR RECOVERY IS TODAY. Today is going to be another FINE DAY!
Hi there everyone! It is 5:31 p.m. here in California and 104 degrees outside as we speak.
I have been getting inspired recently by some of the stories posted in our "News" section and thought I might throw a couple of things out to get some input.
As my heart surgery was back in August I haven't spent time doing some of the things I know I can try now like (swimming) which I keep shying away from and know it is time to take the plunge! Gary and I signed up for a "gym" and will be working with a personal trainer starting this weekend. I am excited to get into an atmosphere other than riding around my "park" and my outdoor and indoor biking. As I start I was wondering if any of the "recoveries" use a gym and what specific exercises they feel benefit them the most. I have a trainer who I will only work with two times a month and who I can call if I find something isn't working. I want to make sure I don't overdo it at first and pull something that might not want to slip back into place! While biking and walking has been most of my exercise I really need to concentrate on my "core". I also have free weights and those "stretch bands" I got for Christmas and haven't done much with but will begin to use soon. The free weights will be part of the training I receive so I don't again, over do. If anyone wants to chime in on things they find have gotten them to a stronger "core" since surgery do share!
I haven't gone into the exercise the way I intend to now as I had to catch up with the garden issues and painted inside the home. Painting the last of the outside(that I painted up until surgery)and it will be finished this Sat. with Gary and I finishing it off and then celebrating!
I really want to get into a pool soon with all of this heat of late1.
I hope this post hits all of you when you are doing well in your own recoveries or if you are getting ready for your big day. Duane, Chris, Larry and soon Donna I wish you all well with your surgeries and will be, along with everyone else, sending good wishes and prayers for you all.
I have to run get "Kat" from under the butterfly bush where she finds it cool in this heat and let her come back into the house with Hunter who has been in and out of his doggie wading pool since 8:00 a.m. this morning. Take care everyone.
I am a Dreamer...A Believer.
Daughter of a family of Dysfunction
One of Five children who fought her life always managing to come out OK or as one
might say "On Top". and as a child I many times went to a place of my own creation, a world of
fantasy where my best friends sometimes were imaginary. Not so with "Kathy" my best childhood friend. For me this world was safe and Kathy and I lived with very active imaginations.
I had too, at an early age a very large belief in God. I was always praying to God even though I lived in a Family that were not Church goers I based my beliefs in all of the Families in our neighborhood as I ran with all of their children and picked up on religious information from them. My block was filled with mostly Catholic, Protestants, Jewish people. Through this interaction with these important families in my life, I grew to have an awareness of our God. I picked what I wanted from each religion and ran with it. My Faith has always been strong.
These neighborhood children who seemed to be loved by parents without question and to whom early on let me into their lives like I was one of them. Yes, they let this little blonde , blue eyed neighborhood kid into their lives with open arms, open hearts.
Many days I would follow "Kathy" home from school and follow her timidly through her front door greeted by the smell of chocolate chip cookies wafting from the kitchen and curling scent that made its way filling each nostril and past the growing smile on my lips! Shortly when we were on a stool at the snack bar with our feet dangling back and forth in anticipation of that tiny piece of chocolate melting on our tongues as we bit through the warm cookie that still was hot enough to taste a little "doughy" followed with a large gulp of cold milk that had been placed before us with a little plate of cookies for each of us. Boy was I special!
These were special times with a special family! Times I knew what family was.
I also learned to love my Heart. In this house I knew the Heart would lie quiet-beating with a normal rhythm even though it had already been detected years after the affects of Polio had subsided that I had a Heart Murmur. In this house I was just another one of their kids. I had my own special place where my imagination was free to be.....
I spent many nights at sleep overs across the street at this house. Camping nights on their front lawn or inside the house on the family room floor by the fireplace during cold rainy winters with the fire burning brightly both of us hunkered down in our slumber bags warm and comfy with cookie crumbs still sticking to our faces and trapped between our pajama buttons as we were warned by voices coming from her parents telling us to shut out the lights and to stop giggling and go to sleep! Boy oh boy did I BELONG!
This was a place where the children were loved. Where I was included and my imagination was free to roam, where Laughter was to them "Key and Central" to survival! As I grew up close to this family my Heart grew stronger. I learned to listen to my Heart carefully. Conscious of its tiny defect, I learned to listen to my Heart carefully. I relied on its beats to make decisions when things weren't "right" like as it had moments of "fight to flight" that gave me time to run or avoid confrontation. I just Loved my Heart. Instead of being frightened of it due to the talking by parents and neighbors about it behind my back I knew from my Doctor that many people had this "Murmur" and lived long and full lives with it. Not to worry.
One of the things I also learned from my sleep overs at my neighbors was about Angels.
It is a dear memory. Me walking down the hall with my waist length curly blond hair spilling about my shoulders as I padded down the quiet hall towards the bathroom and was met by something that made my heart beat a different kind of gentle rhythm. I had never seen such a thing of beauty.
A painting on the wall outside of the bedroom where my friends parents lay quietly sleeping.
My eyes rested on "Hers"...this beautiful portrait of an Angel with long blonde hair like mine.
With blue eyes like mine. Wearing a beautiful long white robe with the most beautiful feathered wings I had ever seen with the yellow gold ray's from a sunset and puffy white clouds that circled overhead in what clearly had to be "Heaven". I wanted to walk right up to the Angel and fall into the robes where her long graceful arms reached out as if welcoming me inside. It was then and there I decided if God would let me I too, one day would become and Angel!
I padded my way from the hallway back to where the embers of fire were barely visible and wiggled my way back down into the depths of the sleeping bag feeling my heart beating slowly, regularly within my chest with a feeling of being so happy. Life was good as I looked over at my friend who had drifted off to sleep before me. In this house I had no doubt Angels watched over me too as we slept. I knew also with certainty that these same Angels would follow me across the street tomorrow and that they would watch over me and my Family too. And nearby them always within reach was Our God. I will always remember this Family with Love in my heart as it is thru them my interest and imagination learned to accept the teachings of my grandmother "Abe" as She opened up the world of Goblins, Fairies, Dragons and more but that is another story.
Today at the age of 66 years I made it through the years with my murmur and I survived Valve replacement surgery and have been blessed in life by many things. One of which is being loved by my husband Gary, a few mighty great long time friends, a few mighty great NEW friends some of which are part of this community.
Today, I wish for this community and beyond to all of those with Hearts that are about to be mended...Hearts getting ready and tiring of the "wait" and to those Family & friends supporting your Journey....Those of you dreaming of Angels-Praying into the Universe, to your God as you go to bed this very night your Hearts are filled with Confidence and Faith, that you listen to the Greatness of Your Heart and feel its Love for you and its Strength and know it will not let you down that it too looks forward to being mended and that you rest tonight after having had a giggle on your lips, perhaps cookie crumbs down your shirt front and an empty glass of milk on your bedside table.........Love to all and Blessings.....
Wishing smooth surgeries tomorrow (June 1st) for Ann Martin, Kimberly Rednour, Bruce Burnett and any people that are having
surgery tomorrow that might not have made the upcoming surgery "List". We will be thinking of you all and waiting to hear from updates! Be strong, have Faith in your Medical Team who will do their best to get you to the other side to your recovery and home again soon! Love and hugs!
I remember this same date last year, sitting at the same computer desk as Hunter laid at my feet(just as he is doing today only this time it is near noon. My mind last year was in a dizzying place as I wrote to a friend or two letting them know that my surgery was definitely going to be in August of 2014. I was, like many people are the closer they get to the day of surgery, trying to imagine sitting at the same desk in 2015, with the surgery a year behind me. Wondering if I would even be alive to sit and type and knew that I was really ready to get it over with. I also remember waiting the next almost three months as the days passed slowly by. I spent a lot of time asking questions from our Heart Valve Brothers and Sisters as the more information I received the more empowered I became. I grew to become friends with many of the people who took the place of family people who had left me behind long ago. Tempted many times to reach out to those family members I had grown up closest to, I knew that they were not interested or capable of giving me the support I needed as the days grew closer and closer. It pained me that life had turned the love we once shared in the direction it did and I had never needed them more than I did the month of and the days after my surgery. A dysfunctional group as we were(are) I made the right choice not to wade back into the greediness and pain that I would have to revisit to reconnect and instead was drawn deeper and deeper into the real lives of those who were facing the same surgeries as myself. It was the best move I could have made as the love, faith, friendship that was offered up here in our community did not come with a price tag, nor expectations in my future. I will forever be grateful to all of my heart Brothers and Heart Sisters for paving the way on my journey, helping me build strength and see the beauty in people the closer my big day came. Just when I felt I couldn't be more alone, I found my core strong, my faith undeniable and unwavering. I also through it all found a new feeling of Validation with my position in this wide, vast, beautiful Universe. There are/were several of the finest friends a Person could have who also followed with me through this Journey and never side stepped from start to finish. Friends that are still giving their love and support as with each day I grow stronger, healthier. For all of those who shared themselves with me from beginning and even now I will be eternally grateful. You have my respect and love as well as nightly prayers for continued healing each and every day. You are and were the only Family that I needed then or need now! As for my siblings that remain distant, I believe that the Universe will continue to care in my absence. God bless us all.
As I celebrate the day.....May 26, 2015 I am now 66 years old. I have two baking chocolate cakes in the oven that Gary and I will share with the neighborhood friends today in the afternoon.
We are also celebrating our 37th. Wedding Anniversary together with Hunter and Kat in the Park across the street. It is a beautiful day here in Manteca and I am enjoying the job of making the two cakes. One for Birthday and one for Anniversary which will be whip creamed filled and to which I will have to keep an eye on Gary that he doesn't disappear behind a park tree with all of the cake, chuckle! I have made him an Anniversary cake every year since we have been married. Our tradition.......I love him with all of my Mended Heart!
I am also hoping to add to today's celebration that David is able to move Robyn to LTAC today as they had hoped. (Wish I could send cake to them too as with all the whipped cream it might be easy to swallow! I am sending out continued prayers for the healing to continue and would love to hear by the end of the day that the move was made and they are safely in the other location!
I am very happy to be past the ninth month mark of surgery and pleased to be able to say that this has been an education to Gary and I in life that we will never take for granted nor forget. It is getting better all the time. So from Gary, Hunter, Kat and I we hope you all are healing well or ready for what life has in store! Take care, Terrie
I would like to wish all of those people who have served or are serving their Country today a Happy Memorial Day. To all of the Families who are currently separated from their loved ones, Wives, Husbands and children that hold down the Fort at home while their spouses and Loved ones serve their Country away from home thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you to all of the disabled Vets who have given up
so much so that we continue to be a free nation. Thank you to all those who have lost their lives
that we continue to survive due to their and their families sacrifices for us. Let this be a day we and count our blessings as well as Pray for Peace in every Nation in the World.
I want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mom's out there-especially those of you who are headed for surgery soon, that you have been in touch with your children, grandchildren, families.
I hope that your Children have been able to help you get ready for this big event in your life and that you feel the Special Person that you are and very, very loved. I hope this Love follows you into surgery and back on out into recovery where your Children/Child/Family will lift you up and help you through it all!
I hope that all of you Mom's who are in the Hospital this day(and the days ahead until you are able to head home you have the knowledge of all the love and just how special your being a Mom IS!
For all of your Mom's already home and on the mend I hope you have a fun-packed Special Day and either get a chance to see or hear from your children.
To all of you out there who know of some "Mom's" who could use a Happy Mother's Day phone call or post, take the time to give them that time they deserve and have earned!
For those (like Myself) whose Mother's have passed from our lives let this day be a day of
Remembrances, a day of Joy and happy smiles and good feelings deep in our mended hearts or if need be a day of Forgiveness.
Whatever Mother's day means to each of us, you, my prayer for you today is simply that it is
a Healing Day all the way around.
Well, well, well.
It is Monday morning and I once again got up at 2:30 a.m. even though Gary is in Illinois on business and I didn't have to get up with him today!
I had trouble sleeping as I was having a time of it in Dreamland..........Crazy, goofy, dreaming going on the kind of dreams you want to wake up and grab a notebook to copy but I wasn't awake enough for that. Instead, I got up and stuck my pedometer on my nightgown and begin walking around the house in the wee hours of the morning with Hunter watching me curiously and at times joining me as I rounded the kitchen pole. You see it is from bedroom to hallway, kitchen and kitchen to hallway out into garage(extra points as there are two steps down) and up again, hallway to the left hallway to the back bedroom, out to the computer room, back to the hallway and pit stop to the bathroom and out again to replay it all again. HEY! Small house but every STEP Counts in recovery, eh? Besides, It is better than staying in bed trying to analyze my dreams!!!!
You see, last night I was tossing and turning in my sleep due to the fact I was dreaming of Heart Sister Robyn and David. We were all in the middle of a HEART PILLOW FIGHT! Nurses, Doctors, David, Robyn, Gary and I with many bright red heart pillows, stuffing flying, spilling out the door and into the hallway where I stood in the doorway clutching my pillow and yelling to Robyn it was time to get up and take a walk in the hallways of the hospital and let Gary and David clean up all that mess! Now, you can see why I chose to get up and walk inside the house at midnight.
I suppose I should mention that I have picked up a "cold virus" for the 3rd. time since Dec. and I am tired and frustrated but working through the "stuffiness" of it all and the cough be damned!
So, maybe my head is packed and that is a reason for all this goofy dreaming, eh? Hunter is certainly not amused by my recent lack of sleep. I went from walking around the house with the pedometer driving me nuts as it kept clicking and bouncing up and down on my upper incision area(healing nicely thank you very much) but still sore in the upper area after almost 9 months.
I have gone to bed for many nights thinking of Robyn and David, saying prayers and I am sure many of you out there in the community are feeling the same. Yes, you would agree that David has earned himself his very own Heart Pillow, for seldom have I read about a Spouse so dedicated, so involved with a partner as we have read the continued Journey of Robyn and David!
Robyn. I am so thankful that prayers are being answered. That David loves you as he does. That he has taken the time to share the Truth and ups and downs of your Journey thus far helping us as a community band together in your honor as you fight the fight that brings you one step closer to those walks out in the hospital corridor and one day soon out the hospital doors and into the healing sunshine. What a love story. The posts and updates have kept me up at night before bed, making sure that David gets something to eat and enough rest as he waits patiently one day for you to be well enough to talk to him, to walk together and it is coming! I fall asleep with a big smile of encouragement on my face by the news that you are doing better and my God, how many of us struggled with the knowledge you still had the vent in but it was coming out. Oh, dear thing. I wanted to hop a plane and take it out myself!!!Anyone else feel the same?
Then too, having the husband of 37 years that I do, I now understand by David's sharing his updates from the beginning, more of what it is like for the spouse or caregiver to be on the waiting end of our surgeries and I have a new and revised respect for all that they do. I also know by my experience too, how invaluable the nurses are to our getting from ICU and onto our Recovery Path. Each and every shift of people so important to our mental way of facing the minutes as we go from one phase to another. Thank you God for these dedicated people who care for us, who love us.
To all of those people who are waiting for their surgeries or who are on the way soon I would like to also mention how overwhelmingly amazed you are going to be given my own experience.
Of course, yours will be unique, as you are but please listen up to these things....
Be at Peace. Be calm. Think as you are wheeled in that you are in the best possible hands you could possibly be. Those people who get you ready for surgery are some of the kindest on earth. Look solidly into the eyes of your surgeon and know that he/she is the best person for the job and while you may be frightened, they are not and they are ready to get busy with the
job of making your heart complete again. From the moment you are wheeled in you will notice that you are the one thing everyone is and will be focused on until you are wheeled out again and into a room where MORE caring people will take over where the other part of the TEAM left off. Like handing off a baton, the next thing you know you will be waking up with such an immense knowledge that you made it through and now the healing time will be all that you focus on yourselves. Yes, we have seen that there are bumps with every surgery having risks but the truth is that most go as planned and those that don't have a "backup plan" and as we have seen with Robyn and David, everything that should be will be done to assure that you are well taken care of. Whatever happens, there are reasons for everything and God only knows.
I guess what I am saying is that my mind has been on Robyn and David as a great example of
two people who have stepped up and shown us all that with enough Love, support and comfort
we can all face anything that Life puts before us. And I want to thank all of you from the bottom and top of my Heart(which is still mending well by the way) for being there for each other, most recently doing overtime with our lovely heart sister Robyn and David for it shows us all we are so not alone in all of this.
So I am going back to finishing my hallway painting with Hunter curled in the sunshine by the front door screen(Kat is over at the park hunting gophers with the other neighborhood cats) I can see her from our doorway! Happy Healing people and peace to those getting ready for surgery. It will be ok.
To ANYONE WISHING TO SEND A CARD TO OUR HEART SISTER "Robyn Tatu" here is the address: Robyn Tatu
1968 Peachtree Rd.
Attention: CVICU UNIT
(Robyn is not allowed flowers in the unit but "Memia" one of the nurses said that cards are welcome!
I thanked her for taking good care of our "heart Sister" and by now She and the Nurses caring for Robyn and David should be receiving some snacks by way of thanks from all of her heart brothers and sisters! (I took the liberty of sending them up from us because I know how concerned all of us have been and wanted to get an address as well as do something for the nurses taking such good care of her. By the way, Robyn will be receiving a
cuddly soft "Cat" to hug on as well and it is from her heart brothers and sisters so that she will think of our heart community
who are all sending her prayers, good thoughts and happy healing wishes too. I don't know about you people but I am sending Robyn and David a card off today! Thinking of you all-
Terrie's block print of Terrie hiding out in Bill's
Not an evening at the Opera
Journal posted on April 25, 2015
For all of you still having to support your sternum with pillow
advanced warning: this update in journal is not for you..........
Last evening, Gary, Hunter and I were bracing for the "storm" with wind and
finally some rain forecasted for Manteca, California at a time of serious drought.
We were waiting for a Medium size expectation of rain and as the evening grew
near, news on t.v. promised rain was coming soon.
Hunter began getting "spooked" outside as the wind increased.
Kat also opted to trot around the yard chasing flying "anything's" for hours
as the sun got ready to set. Clouds, great white and grey puffy ones grew nearer
and some passed over our roof with not a bit of rain.
Suddenly, the sky began to "spit". Literally. Split, splat, nothing. Split, splat, nothing
and a shock for Hunter and Kat who began running and ducking for shelter.
Then, we all opted for inside and warmth as the air became cooler and the wind was
up to 20 miles per hr. in the back yard and was helped along by adding to the already
present Delta breezes we had experienced all day.
Well, evening went fast and after we all chose our spots in the house to wait for the rain.
Kat chose to stay in her "Igloo" which is fitted with several warm blankets and near her sheltered food dish. Since her "abandonment" while less than a year old and months before
we moved in, Kat has chosen us as her "main squeezes".
Our neighbors allow her space and time in their yards for gaming and shelter and she enjoys the"shared custody". I am happy to point out that Kat Loves us the most, especially Hunter who
is her absolute favorite.
With Kat securely tucked away at the back door window on the back step where Hunter has
chosen to watch, Gary and I continued the going about making sure that things were tied down or closed up out in the side yards by the shed and out in front. The spinning flowers I bought
in an effort to bring color to the yard were going crazy. Purple, orange, hot pink and bright sunflower yellow spinning flowers were fun to watch, almost dizzying. The light had left us to
the early evening shadows now and all of the solar lights began clicking into action and the excitement actually began to make my heart beat faster as the clouds had turned to a purely
black floating mass of darkness above the neighborhood. But the rain had stopped as suddenly as it began.
(Those of you who have been battling the snow, hail, rain and wind, tornados(shout out to
Ginger in Kansas!) will think it silly I believe, for two adult, grown-ups to be anxiously awaiting
for the drops of rain to begin but take in mind, we in California have been in a "Drought Mode"
for quite some time(over two years since we have enjoyed the kind of rain you can dance in........
So, once inside, I went to my corner of our "Petite" living room where my power lift chair awaited me .......left in a uplift stance and ready for me to ease into the comfort of it, settled
back-pushed the button and lowered my tired self, reclined and set ready to watch a little mystery movie with Gary. He came over with a beverage and some popcorn and then retreated across the room(other corner) with his bowl of popcorn. He let Hunter out one more time for the evening and returned with Hunter and the announcement there was no sign of rain yet.
Hunter padded down the hallway, made a step down in to the living room and walked to the window looking for Kat but didn't see her due to the fact It was now pitch black. I turned the outdoor lite to the motion detector and it sprang to life showing us that Kat was outside the igloo and had climbed to her Kat tower(also directly outside the window) so that she could look in on us as well! She was sound asleep at the top level facing us with her paws hung over the edge, tail hanging over the side.
Gary went over to the other side of the room and decided to move Hunters bed between the
two of us just in case we also had thunder or lightening. Then, he came over and threw my cuddly warm throw blanket over me to make me cozy, stepped back over and pulled his blanket to his lap and place his bowel of popcorn.
Not long, Hunter was in his doggie bed curled up snuggly. Kat had returned to her Igloo and the movie was getting GOOD!..... We munched, watched and waited for the promised rain but low and behold, NOTHING.
I looked at the back door and remembered the brilliant colors of all the roses and the limbs of the peach tree earlier all dancing in the winds throughout the day. Lifting their petals to the wind with branches rising to the air like arms reaching out and the center of the flowers became faces and life-like all seemingly excited that Mother nature was about to touch their outstretched arms with a much awaited for, much needed steady stream of raindrops from the heavens! I know, I know I sound like a 3 year old and felt much like one as the movie played on
and the munching of popcorn was the only sound in the room other than the t.v.
We settled into the evening discussing during commercials how we would divide up any mess the rain had made in the yard and I was feeling very snug and pleased that we would not to have to use up water for a few days that we really needed to save as we also have been put on water restrictions and there are people driving around already set to give us fines for overuse of water that will be here in place until the drought situation changes.
Gary changed the channel as I took off for the computer to check up on all of my heart brothers and sisters before bed and especially look in on David and Robyn for any changes I may have
missed in the afternoon.
Growing tired(and I have probably put you all to sleep as well by now!) I turned off the computer and headed for the living room. Gary turned off the t.v. and we looked at each other thinking the same thing....where was the rain? I walked to the front door and peered out the storm door screen. Not a sound other than for my spinning flowers-spinning in the increasing
power of the nights wind. Closed the door defeated and at 11:30 p.m decided to go to sleep in
the living room with Hunter(who does not like thunder and lightening) and as Gary was almost asleep in his recliner I asked him whether it was bed or stay where he was. He opted for the living room with Hunter too so off to sleep we all went, cozy, warm and still hoping to be woken up in the early morning hours by the sound of rain or hail hitting the metal patio awning outside
our back patio door.
The last thing I remember was looking up at the clock on the t.v. and going straight to sleep.
Next thing I remember was Hunter whining softly. Then a kind of soft thud. A deeper whine.
Another "thud". As the whining increased the sound became clearer. I was seated nearest the
back door and realized what I was hearing was the tiny thud of dripping water slowly dripping large, thick drops on what seemed to be the rug outside the back door.
Then I turned to look at Gary in the dark and with the night lite in the hallway noticed he was
snoring loudly with his mouth wide open and kind of whispering to himself, then mumbling apparently telling Hunter "It's Ok boy, just a little rain. He appeared to go back to sleep and I
tried to follow but there it came again. Thud, whine, thud. thud, whine, thud, thud, thud, faster now. The rhythm continued, sound continued and I could not go back to sleep.
Frustrated I turned on my table lamp to see if Hunter was ok. He wasn't. He was looking at me with this aggravated look. Dark brown shiny eyes looked up at me with his head cocked and the look is "What the hell is going on here" Whine, thud, thud, thud. Then my eyes popped wide open for a very Large drop of water was splatting down on the center top of Hunter's head.
Then another. Then another. Then another. Then three smaller and softer drops. The water was
rolling down him now and he wasn't moving but laying there looking at me and the water was
coming from our ceiling fan-dead center in the room and directly over Hunter in his bed.
Guess what???? We had "RAIN"!!!!!!!!!!! leaking from the roof and now into the house via our
ceiling fan and dripping not only on hunter but our rug, his bed and him......
I woke up Gary who sat there looking at me like I was nuts and he wouldn't get what I was saying. Then more whining, more drips and Hunter now looked at Gary(who had turned on
his light to see the little waterfall of drips coming down and silently gathering on our carpet.
We both got up and ran for buckets out in the garage, waste baskets in one of the back rooms and proceeded to move Hunter, move his bed, put down towels and place the buckets under the drops of water coming from the attic.
It was 2:a.m. in the morning and luckily this was a minor leak with water coming in slow methodical drips. As the rain grew heavier the drips got thicker and quicker. Hunter had gone off to the other room and gone to sleep, bored with the whole thing.
Gary and I however opted to stay put in case there came new leaks and it appeared the dripping was to grow stronger and turn into a waterfall.
So, this is my story of Rain coming to California into my home. Not the evening we had
planned but I am thankful it was isolated and the we finally got some!
(Note: A roofer came early this morning and told us that there is damage where the
air condition unit was placed just before we moved in two years ago and that there
appears to be a minor problem in one of the corners that wasn't repaired at the time
of sale properly. We are covered on our home warranty and they will repair it next week
as the rain is over and we are headed for an 80 degree week ahead.
I know, I know, Long story and anticlimactic! But in the morning lite, humorous. It is 8:40 p.m.
No rain in sight and I am headed for bed. Good evening everyone. God Bless us all!
Well David and Robyn- it looks like since night has fallen here in Calif. that Hunter, Kat and I should get ready to do an Evening Dance of Healing around the Peach Tree in the back yard. A Dance around and through the roses too and past the golden iris's that line the corner. This is how I feel as I read the post that has let us know that Robyn seems to be moving forward and her body is fighting to heal and be well again. I applaud you David for all you have done thus far to keep your Lady safe, informed and never for a moment doubting the greatness of your love for one another. I have seen for quite some time the people of our community lend it's support for all of the heart brothers and sisters that make up this village. BUT never have I too felt my spirit moved by anyone as much as the two of you and your story as it unfolds day by day, evening to evening. Now I hope you are feeling what a lot of us are hoping and that is that soon, Robyn will get the Vent out and be able to communicate better and shortly thereafter she will hopefully get back home with you after her "stay" at the hospital is over.
Hope you get a good nights sleep and that tomorrow is even better
than it was today for the two of you. Keep up the Faith and
know the prayers and good healthily thoughts continue going to the two of you and those you love. Night!
Eight Months and Four Days have gone by since my surgery and the healing continues.
Upon waking up with a cup of coffee and bare footed I followed Gary out to his
car with Hunter right behind me. Gary held the screen door open for us, briefcase in hand,
computer in his other hand and shoulder against the door I watch him as he watches Hunter
amble down the front porch steps. There are only two but it is painfully obvious that it is getting
harder and harder for him to take the stairs up or down without losing the balance of his back legs. He makes no sound but you can see in his eyes how much he is trying to keep up with things on a daily basis. All in all Hunter has been doing pretty well for a springer of 14 yrs. this July 4th. The saving grace is that he has Kat around to nudge him into activity that otherwise he would not do. One of his favorite moments and mine too, is seeing Gary off to work every morning. Hunter, Kat and I love to get out this early as we are the first on the block with our lights on and with any activity. We claim each of these days together, the three of us lined up behind the garden fence, standing aside as Gary heads out the gate, into the car and off down the street this morning with an 18 mile and hour wind helping to push him and his car down the street his car lights fading as he turns the corner.
We stand there in the wind, the three of us. The wind is passing through the many leaves in our neighbors trees on the corner as well as the numerous trees directly across the street in our Greystone Community Park. The smell of wood smoke is in the air from a nearby neighbors home and I can envision them inside waking up with their first warm cup of coffee too. Our neighbors wake up nearly as early as we do and are usually the next house on the block to come to life this early.
It is still dark out but daylight is nearing. I can see the silhouette of the trees that line the sidewalks framed in a gray sky and my walking path around the park is coming into view. The many trees and their leaves sound like paper wind chimes- a sound I have become accustomed to this time of the year. I sip my coffee and watch Hunter and Kat mosey around the front yard. Kat's attention is caught up with the spinning flowers I have in the planters that line the front and side of the house as they area spinning recklessly and she sits at attention, not quite sure if she wants to pounce or not as they are spinning fast in the wind and I think she is waiting for an opening and then God only knows what she will do.
Hunter's nose is pushed through the fence as just on the other side where our lawn continues to the sidewalk in front of the park he is looking for the gopher that has come to continue digging his hole. It won't be long more than likely until Kat joins him there but my coffee is gone
and the wind is beginning to get stronger pulling at the hem of my flannel nightgown making it waffle and I begin to feel like a human parachute that has fallen to the grown, drifted onto the lawn and needs to be reeled in before I take off into the wind.
I like being out here right now as my mind has drifted, being in the company of my two buddies I love most because they bring out my imaginative side and minute by minute remind me to see the humor in life, and the love in companionships.
I remember this time last year when Hunter was walking better and was stronger so that I could get him on his leash and walk on this kind of morning before the sun comes up and we
could walk the little hills up and down the park lawns together and then return home and begin the day. It was then that I would join my neighbor "Tobi" on our bikes and we would begin biking along the streets of Manteca together. It was a good time for me as I had someone to help me focus on building up strength in my legs and core for the surgery that was growing closer. We worked hard at sticking to a routine of morning exercise and I realize that it was a great bonus to have my legs and knees in such great shape as in my return home from surgery it was necessary to use every bit of that strength to get up and down and make my walks as I began those first weeks of recovery and my own implemented first weeks of re-hab.
As I went back into the house this morning with Hunter eager to get back in out of the wind, I glanced once more onto the city street that is directly in front of my kitchen window and remember the first couple of times trying to walk after surgery. How lucky for me to have a small home directly across from this beautiful, park as a place to begin to heal, wasn't it.
I tear up at the feelings of love I felt as I remember the first days of walking beside Gary, me holding my heart pillow to my chest and the twinges of pain as the heart pillow reminded me
that I had staples in my chest and not to squeeze too hard as I held on to it stepping up and down on the curb. It seemed at the time to be like climbing a mountain at first. That first day, how patient Gary was when I had to stop to catch my breath and then once again resume the
walk and I could not believe how awfully tired I became-so quickly. The first day I could only make it to the end of the block and back but I was so pleased and proud that I even made it that far. It seems so long ago and it was only 8 months! And each day I got up and made myself
go down that street and for the first 2 weeks Gary was at my side each time so that I felt confident when he returned to work to continue down the same road by myself. It is amazing how after surgery, you learn what your body tells you about whether or not you are "doing right by it". And what a celebration to find that each time you take a walk you have been able to
go a little farther, move a little surer. Then pretty soon you are pushing the cart at the grocery cart, able to reach and shop for yourself, drive your vehicle not have to depend on anyone for
those things that seemed so simple back when I first returned home for the hospital.
I am thankful as I sit here at the computer table that we were able to get past some troubling times, find this home just at the right time to get me prepared and ready for this important life saving surgery, time to make new friends of neighbors and get a chance to wade in on finding a new family of people(both here in Manteca as well as the one I formed here in our Community.
Gary, Hunter, Kat and I are truly blessed with all that has transpired in these last 8 months from surgery.
The sun is trying to break out and I hear the wind outside growing stronger. I am not sure how much a chance is that the sun will come out much today. There is a prediction of snow in the
hills up North from us and we will possibly get a shower or two in the early evening and in the night while fast asleep. The drought in California hasn't let up. My peach tree in the back has already shown there will be many peaches this summer to enjoy and share with friends/neighbors. The iris's are in full bloom and my "happy wanderer" vine has begun to crawl up the arbor in the front-side yard. By this winter it will be covered in waxy green leaves and tiny purple flowers and I can hardly wait to train it along the side fence.
I am just getting started with catching up with some of the digging, planting in the back yard that came to a halt because of the 100 degree weather just prior to my surgery. Yes people.
There is LIFE after the "interruption" of surgery. A joy that comes across "splat" to your heart that is so overwhelming to feel the first time you begin to feel that things in life can and do get
back to normal. And my God. The knowledge of this second chance in life. The appreciation of everything and everyone I just can't hope but pray you all also feel or will feel when you find yourselves on the other side will lighten your heart-make it soar for the rest of your life if we are lucky, eh?!!!
Tomorrow Gary and I will drive to the art store up in Sacramento, Ca. where I will by my first blocks, buy my printing inks and paper for my firsts projects. I will begin printing again next month after I have carved my first blocks since surgery and I can't wait.
Gary and I are joining a gym too and I hope to finally get back into the water. I know it will be slow at first as I still have some issues with the upper part of my sternum but know the swimming will help. My favorite stroke is the breast stroke and I will be happy one day to be able to continue with lap swimming.
Next month I will celebrate my 9th. month post op and the goal is to get out kayaks out(see my photos) on the nearest lake( on my 66th. Birthday and our 37th. Anniversary together) that has any water in it and that welcomes kayakers! We have Hobie kayaks and they allow you to use pedals that are placed inside the kayak or paddle.
I hope to be able to do a lot of pedaling and get a good start on paddling as well this summer. Isn't it wonderful to "LOOK FORWARD TO LIVING YOUR LIFE"?!!!
I am going to throw on some warm clothes, a hat and my sun glasses to prevent the bugs
from flying in my mouth with this wind, and get on my bike and RIDE LIKE THE WIND!
(My thoughts are with Robyn and David today as well as all of those Heart Brothers and Sister's
what ever your heart "place" is, waiting, recovering, healing. Peace be with you all.
Hunter is paying special attention to me today...has been since I woke up this morning and went online to "Our Community" hoping to see news from David and Robyn.....
Before going to bed last night, I checked in like many others to see if there was any word from them and noted that I was not the only one worried as it is noticeable, the update missed due to the timely updates we have gotten as to Robyn's Journey.
And so, like many of you I went to a place of prayer, realizing that there are many reasons that could have prevented David like others who are also in the middle of entering and coming out of surgery from posting and letting us know how they are doing.
Since I began my journey with my heart, it has been years of waiting and watching like most of us here in the community, I started alone here, added my name to the growing list of Heart Brothers and Heart Sisters in the midst of finding my way through the maze of information one goes through once they have learned that their precious hearts need mending.
You would think it is always the same but indeed, each heart is unique. Time for each of us seems sometimes at a standstill as one by one, we have had to put our lives and those who love us most on a holding pattern while we have had to wade in on the mountain of information, intense emotional ups and downs as the Journey begins and takes its course leading up to the surgery, recovery and eventual healing time.
While we attend to the many things that have to be addressed, those of us in this community, this village to which we joined have formed a sort of Heart Family.
People from all of the World. All Colors, All Shapes and Sizes, and Ages. Each with Social and Economic Differences. All with our own unique stories to tell, News to share, Photo's to show
who we are and how we live.
Yes Adam Pick gave us the place to turn to. Gave us a place to gather. But dear, dear people of this Community- it is to you I write this Post about today, proud to be a part of it all. This site which Adam designed with us in mind would be nothing without all of you/us.
It is the dedicated people who form relationships with each other and our families as we go through the most intense changes of our lives that I feel so much love for today.
As I go about my day today, thinking of Robyn and all of the other people in for surgery or who have gone about the beginning of recovery I know that many people are saying prayers for someone too, sitting down and taking time to post notes to one another, informational and encouraging, using facts, humor, experience to help someone out there find their way back to a Healthy Life and most importantly, letting them know they are not alone going in or coming out.
IT'S WHAT WE DO.....
And make no mistake, I am thankful to Adam, his wife and son for all they have done and
all they continue to do to make this site available to all of us. It has truly been one of life's
And...... as I sit here typing, Hunter is still laying here at my feet sound asleep.
We have been outside where it is cold and windy visiting with Kat who has been on
the prowl for gophers in the garden.
The roses have all opened up. The iris's under the peach tree have just opened up its
first flower of spring and they are beautifully set in a long row and about to all bloom.
The butterfly bushes at the end of the fences have begun to take of in growing spurts
with many green and variegated leaves leading to the beginning of their "flowering time".
The smell of roses everywhere. Caught sight of my first dragonflies over the many baby
pink roses on my climbing vine near the bird bath. Like tiny helicopters zipping in and
out of the branches and often time landing on perches and with their big bold beady
eyes watching me with as much intent as I them.
Little Addison is swinging on the swing next door. She is telling her brother Gabrielle
she wants to go higher. She tells him that she doesn't want to stop. I am thankful to "BE".
I can hear her from the computer room and the fresh air brought in with the wind
is a welcome distraction but my heart comes back to all of you today.
I thank you all for all of the help you have given me since I joined this Family of Good People.
Thank you for your prayers, love and friendships I have acquired and to those too who came into my life and have moved on back into their busy lives taking a little piece of me and my life with them. Thanks for making my Heart Journey......DOABLE!
I am going to head out and begin painting the entryway. I have set goals for myself today and
I am really happy to be this far along with my recovery to be back into living a pretty darn normal life again.
I end this post with thoughts of Love and Prayers for Robyn and David and those in recovery and in for surgery. May this be a good day for all.
Love, Terrie, Hunter and Kat
Today marked the first day outside on my "outdoor bike" since my surgery on Aug. 20th of
2014. Not wanting or needing to go into detail I have been using my indoor recumbent bike due to sternum issues that are no longer and issue!
Gary, Hunter, Kat stood at our picket fence, camera ready as I crossed the street with my bike.
The weather here in California is warm, 77 degrees at the start of my ride around our little Manteca park. Back just before surgery I was biking 15 times around the park to ready myself for the "Big Day of Surgery" and believe me, every 5 miles that I wrote indeed helped to ready me for the "walks" up and down the hallways of the hospital as well as the first few weeks home to recover.
As I crossed the street today I was thinking of all of the wonderful people we have in our community that were helping me ready myself as I entered the last weeks of waiting for my turn
to have my valve replacement. Gary took my picture as I made my way out to the street and I decided as I took of down the street to try and do 5 miles as before and since this was a celebration of getting back to my "Norm" I started my first lap around the park dedicating the first lap to "Bill" (hence the spinner sun-flower!), 2nd. to Robyn and David, 3rd. to Ginger French, 4th. to Eleanor R., 5th to Karen Pineda, 6th. to Bob O, 7th. to Mary Mia, and her butterflies, 8th. to Mary from Cornwall,UK, 9th. to Meredith, 10th. to Tammy P. 11th. to Popeye(Steven Hustad), 12th. to Tony(Anthony)Copeland, 13th. to Robin S. 14th to our Heart Sister Lisa whom we lost recently and 15th. to Gary, of course my husband.
It was fun to put a name to the "Lap" as the sun was hot, all the trees have blossomed in and around the park. Bee's buzzing around my head, birds chirping from all of the tree branches, cars slowly making their way around me with neighbors stopping to give me the thumbs up, say a few words and a couple of neighbors joining me on their bikes as I went round and round. I think because it felt so good, wind in my hair and with enough force to make the ride against the wind a challenge after so many months of not being fit enough to do this outside.
What a difference it is to be off the recumbent bike indoors facing the television or playing music(not that there is anything wrong with working out indoors) but I prefer to be outdoors and getting a chance to join in on the "life" happening at the park was a very good thing!
Kids were over at the playground sliding, swinging, laughing, screaming, taking turns going hand over hand on the monkey bars in the jungle gym and today I got to be a part of it! What an absolutely beautiful day to be alive..........For all of you out there going "in" for surgery soon, especially Dan, I hope that you can see the days after the "waiting" where your body will be healing and recovering will lead you back to the things you love to do, the Life you want to Live.
Blessings to all in our community, family and friends. (As a footnote, tomorrow morning when I get on my bike the laps will start out being for: Maggie, Cousin Mike, Betty and I will throw in a lap for our fearless leader Adam Pick!
Biker "Mama" is back!
First day since surgery
on outdoor bike!
There is Dew on them there Rose Petals!
Journal posted on April 8, 2015
The rain dance I did on Monday was mighty Powerful and worked for yesterday we here
in California got a mighty wet taste of rain, snow in places and lots of wind tossing the clouds above here and there as if watching a ping pong match above our heads. In the afternoon there was even an alert of funnel clouds touching down in some of the Northern Cities not
to far off.
Hunter, Kat and I started off the morning as usual with Hunter heading out the front door with Gary and his Computer and briefcase to be met by the meow's of Kat who was already out hunting gophers at 4:00a.m. in the morning in the darkness that stretched across the front lawn on the other side of our picket fence by the gate.
She was damp and cold and wanted "IN" so we made a hasty retreat up the porch step and
back into the house which was welcoming with its' warmth. One wild "Wave" to the big guy as he drove off and the three of us settled into the front room for a bit so that Hunter and Kat could snuggle up together by the "phony fireplace" we bought at Christmas which gives off just enough heat to make the room comfy! (I have photos of the two of them which I will have Gary post tonight...so sweet.) I will never understand how a dog that used to chase cats all of his life
became "taken" by this sweet addition to our life. But it is exactly what my heart needed and I, like Hunter, accept Kat with all of my newly mended heart which by the way, grows stronger every day and I grow even more thankful for as the months slide by!
Yesterday, I was braced by what the newscasters foretold to be a storm that was intended to start here in California during the night but in fact didn't show itself until near noon here in Manteca. There was a point where Hunter, Kat and I worked in the yard, me bundled up as there was a cold wind blowing as the clouds formed thicker and bolder overhead. There were warnings of lightening and Thunder but that didn't scare us yet as we made our way from one end of the yard to the other....surveying each plant and sizing up the need for water as we (me)
took the clippers to the roses and added cups of rose systemic to the base of each plant knowing the rain will wash in the granules so that every plant would be at it's best when blooming soon. So many buds and actual flowers showing already! We have large orange roses which for some reason Kat likes to "Box" with. I am thinking if she keeps it up I will box her up and send her off to "Duane" who I am sure would love her disposition!
I watched her box at the full petaled rose until nothing was left but a stub and her hanging off of a large extending branch which is what drew her to the rose in the first place. I quickly snipped the large branch off and added it to the green waste pile adding up in my garbage bin.
I have a beautiful purple rose in bloom that has the scent of "cloves" which I am extremely happy to smell this morning as much as the oncoming scent of rain approaching! Not too far off
there is a formation of clouds that take my breath away with the beauty of it. I always say to myself as I watch the different cloud formations....How can one person look to the heavens and witness such cloud formations such as these and believe there is no God?
Cloud watching is one of my favorite hobbies. Many times there are so many surprising "finds" I have witnessed...Pieces of artwork that if I could reach up with my glue gun and piece together
several of these puffy clouds, ahhhhh would grace the walls of any gallery or perhaps look fine upon one of the gallery ceilings??????
Anyway, I have a rose that you can see in my posts as it is this same rose that appears with my posts and one of my favorites( My favorite changes every day too). I have now a blooming white rose, soft baby pink roses In a climbing rose form, soft pink and white roses as well as tiny red roses on a rose tree at the end of the fence line! Hunter lays at my feet and Kat wanders in and out of the rose trees and bushes as I work. I like her warmth as she rubs along my back legs as I work with my shears to rid the plants of unwanted twigs or the occasional snail (which I gently toss over onto the lawn hoping they will find there way to another's yard).
I am patiently waiting for the 15 iris bulbs to unfurl over under the peach tree and I love the way the tree has bounced back from losing 3 of it's prettiest limbs during a wind storm last summer while I was fresh out of the hospital and Gary was away for work for several days.
Being of Irish decent and stubborn, I couldn't bring myself to ask for help as I saw the wind
doing damage thinking Gary would be back in time to save them. Amazingly, recent trimming down of the tree has shaped it better and there are already many peaches forming buds on
the limbs that remain which will afford us many peaches again this year in spite of my neglect....
Mother Nature leaves me awestruck once again!
I watched as Kat grew increasingly agitated and had to put Hunter back into the house as the wind begin to make us all a bit edgy. Kat didn't want to go into the house and opted to jump up onto her "tower" so she could continue to watch me work in the yard.
Not long after putting Hunter in there was a large rumbling in overhead and the crack of thunder and a bright streak of lightening lit the area overhead. Kat jumped from the top of
her tower and followed me to the back porch door(covered with a large metal awning). I went in and another rumble shook us up. I stepped inside but Kat doubed back into the yard, across the lawn and into the corner of the fences and scrambled up and over the fence into the neighbors yard kitty corner to us (pun intended). There are two cats living there that the neighbors all believe are siblings of Kats as she spends a lot of time inside that house and she
can be seen on bad weather days joining the other two cats in the family rooms window ledges with them. I know that is where Kat is headed as she will go through their tiny dogs "doggie door" and be safe. The family that lives there seem to be nice people but keep to themselves and have no problem when Kat shows up unannounced according to the other neighbors and what we see. We also feed Kat and she continues to sleep here at our house too. She is just a little wandering soul who is loved and cared for by many. You have to love her.
Over by our shed is a little crepe myrtle tree that has grown 5 ft. since my friend Cindy P. gave it to me last year as it was being eaten up by deer frequenting her property up in Placerville, Ca.
Hello Cindy(in case you are reading my posts!). It Is a happy little tree and has enjoyed the place where we chose to plant her! I named the tree Podsy and I am looking forward to the added color we will have in that corner of the yard this summer! It has a few branches strong enough to withstand the weight of a small hummingbird feeder which I will be able to watch from the corner of my living room window.
Well, yesterday as I said, the rain came to California and with water restrictions due to our drought, it was a welcome thing. The thunder and lightening was fun and I spent the next few
hours inside re-working a sketch in honor of our hearts that will soon become my next heart carving. Because it is so special to me I find I keep making changes to it but I know it is getting near to being completed and then the best part will begin. Hours of small detailed carving while sitting either outdoors at the park bench or inside by the kitchen window where the light to carve by is an awesome thing! Just the thought of getting back to carving fills my heart with a fullness that is hard to describe. I am going to have to travel this weekend to Sacramento to the art store that sells the wood/linoleum blocks that I will transfer my sketch to. After the carving I will be printing on the paper I buy as well that is made in japan and the paper I chose due to it's special texture(like the one in my dog and frog prints in "My photos". It is mulberry paper. I really love the feel of working with it and the feeling I get when removing the paper from the inked block as you can feel and hear the separation of each print as it is taken off the press to hang to dry. Yes! I am back! I am strong enough to stand and work at my press, hang my work and enjoy this important piece of my life! Think of that. Of returning to a place where your heart once had you restricted. Overwhelming the Joy of becoming one with your mended hearts. I am blessed. We are blessed. Today I pray for Robyn and David as before she went to surgery she told me how much she loved my "stories" and I can't help thinking about them and sending silent prayers to each. They all add up, don't they.
Blessings to all of those entering into surgery and to those dealing with bumps along the way.
Also to those in recovery and re-hab. May your days with any "storms" like yesterday be days where the storms pass and the sunshine flows into your hearts and lives.
Well shucks folks. Our City didn't get the forecasted rain for Easter but we did have some spectacular clouds form overhead the entire day. Early morning I went outside to weed a bit
and to talk with my roses to tell them how beautiful they were dancing in the wind, many of them looking disappointed with the lack of moisture as Hunter, Kat and I were! We are on water
restrictions here in Manteca. Since it was early when I rose up (No pun intended as IT WAS EASTER MORNING!) and the wind began to howl early in the morning and it was tough getting
Kat to stick around for feeding as she hates the wind but not enough to come inside the house as she has her annual gopher hunt going on these days and her favorite thing to do is run like a maniac and jump onto the peach tree, clinging and climbing one by one up the limbs and getting lost in the leaves that have formed speedily this spring already. There she sits looking down most mornings as I drink a first cup of coffee and work on my "Heart Block" that I hope to begin carving one day soon and printing not that long after.
She watches the growing mounds of dirt that form daily now by the busy gophers who are just as active in the park across the street and in the other neighbors yards and if there is the slightest movement she is down like a shot and on the edge of the mound in her "waiting" or meditative state! They don't stand a chance in our "hood" as she is usually accompanied by other neighborhood strays for the "assault". Hunter on the other hand could care less about the gophers as his back legs and hips have long ago become to stiff and slow to join in this kind
of a hunt. He seems happy sitting outside on the porch step where he has another dog bed or
when the sun pokes through just stretching out, lying in wait for Kat to return home and either
curl up beside him in the sunshine on the lawn or walk up to him and "nail" him in the face with
her fast maneuvering paws. She is like a boxer as she stands up drawing herself up to full height, rounds her shoulders and pounces down on the unsuspecting Hunter who will fidget
slightly but almost grin in amusing at her show of love for him. He so enjoys her company and it touches my healing heart how good she is for him now that he is growing older and in need of just such company. Sometimes while first home from the hospital and resting in my power lift chair in the corner of the living room by the patio door windows, I remember sitting with my eyes closed, sun pressing through the glass and seeing the two of them side by side in the shade of the peach tree and remembering Hunter when his Brother "Sherlock" was alive. They were so very close as Brother's we had them shortly after they were born. I remember the day I went to pick "One Puppy" up out of a litter of 10. The Mother met me at a white picket fence similar to the one at our new house here in Manteca. First came the mother and right behind her like in the movie 101 Dalmatians came lumbering the 10 feisty/noisy springer spaniels! Each one with their eyes on their Mom and some still wanting to feed but She and they came directly to the table where I had been asked to sit and look them over. The Mother came up and put her head gently on my arm which was resting on the chair and her eyes were dark brown and wet with a look of Please take one ......I am so awfully tired! On my foot sat a little
guy who was quite intrigued by me and I sat down on the lawn(bold an stupid move) as I had every puppy on my lap within seconds clamoring for my attention as Mom rushed off to get some treats from her owner. It wasn't long before I had "Sherlock" in the truck beside me headed for home and not long after home I was headed back as Gary had fallen hard for the dog and the owner had called and said with all the land in the greenbelt behind us and with plenty of room and love for the dogs He wanted Gary and I to take another last male in the group as within hours all of the dogs but one female and another had found homes. If he could
find a home for the last little guy (Hunter) his wife agreed to let him keep the last female pup in the litter.....Two hours later I drove the hour and a half to Chico and had Sherlock side by side with Hunter travelling home where we were all to spend the first 10 years of their lives.
In those 10 years I had learned I would need a heart valve replacement as my aortic valve was becoming extremely calcified. My first thoughts were how lucky I would be to be able to recuperate at home with the two of them. Having to move back down south for a few years prior to living here in Manteca took a toll on the "boys" and we lost Sherlock to cancer just before we moved into our house here in 2013. Hunter changed with the loss of his brother and he lost a lot of his energy growing accustomed slowly to not having the companionship. I like all of us here at the community began to have tests that showed that surgery wasn't far off and spent time doing the dance of anxiety, what ifs and what am I going to do's as the surgery grew near. Then one lovely day in the back yard this big black ball of fur leapt over the fence and charged Hunter as he lay next to me on the back steps in the back yard. Hunter gave chase and they both ended up between the irises' and the peach tree. They grew to be great friends just in time for me to go into have my heart surgery and are inseparable as long as Hunter is outside or in t he living room. I can't say enough how it "Did my heart good" to watch Hunter come alive again and the comfort that "Kat" just seemed to know he needed was immediately
His. Kat is a funny Kat. She will let me hold her and pet her, join Hunter and I in the garden but
is intent on letting five different families give her a "home" and we all equally love her back.
She is the one who came up to my chin and with her scratchy little tongue licked the salty tears running down my cheeks the days and nights before I was to leave for the hospital to have my valve replaced. It was the two of them together who while annoying Gary in his recliner on the nights especially before we took the drive to Santa Clara for the surgery that helped show me
all of the wonderful things I had to live for.....come home to and helped put things into perspective by just "Being there". Making me feel like everything would be alright in time and knowing they would greet me the way they do when I returned home.
Well I don't have to tell many of you heart brothers and sisters how important our pets are to the healing process or their value in knowing that there will be a time when we return home to recover and begin our lives again renewed, healthier.
thinking back to this morning I know how blessed I am to have the three of them: Gary, Hunter, Kat and friends who I have known for years stick by me at this time in my life. And it is an every day thing knowing all of the heart sisters and heart brothers that fall in line like pieces in a puzzle that I so enjoy fitting into my life that have me eager to push on and see what the rest of my life with this mended heart will bring. Just this morning, cup of coffee in hand, I threw caution to the wind and did a rain dance with them both, thinking of all of the beautiful things
yet to come. 15 tightly wound budded irises about ready to join the many roses in the garden in bloom! The delicate rows of planted loofah plants I am eagerly waiting to see poke up through the soil that one of my much loved heart sisters sent me are right outside the back porch in the sunshine so-ooooo Now ,if I could just get those clouds that are forming overhead to just start spitting out raindrops I would be an even happier Lady. Good thoughts and love to all of those headed for surgery this week and special gentle hugs to you all recovering at home these days.
Peace be with us all. Love, Terrie, Hunter& Kat.
I awoke this morning feeling energetic and got up at 2:30 a.m. Gary was up ahead of me and already headed for the shower. Hunter stands at the doorway as usual. Maybe it is his old bones but he has gotten in the habit of standing in the doorway enjoying the steam from the small shower as Gary leaves the door open for it to escape.
The water stops as I round the corner and step past his wagging tail and into the kitchen to turn the coffee pot on! Yes. A good day. In short hours my neighbor will be picking me up to
take me to Kaiser to the plastic surgeon who will remove the 8 stitches by my right eye and high up on the right cheekbone. It will be nice to have my eye free to blink again! In a few days I will begin the carving I have had sketched onto a block now for weeks but unable to carve due to the swelling on my face. I am looking forward to my first block carved in 2015, a celebration pc. of work of my heart valve surgery. I look forward to putting a leash on Hunter and carefully looking up and down the street, crossing with him over to the park bench which will take us strolling through one side of the park to get to the table and bench where I will sit with Hunter and carve an hour or two and probably visit with a couple of my nice neighbors. I can't wait for the tool to be in my hand and the feeling of gouging into the top portion of the block and seeing
the small pieces of it come up into view and I whisk it away onto the park floor instead of inside my house(where I always leave a mess when carving.) The outdoor carving will be especially fun as I am sure that Kat will follow us from the back yard and bug Hunter the entire time he lays at my side, poking him in the face with her little paws and pouncing at him too, one of her favorite pastimes. I will enjoy the fresh air and the openness and freedom of carving underneath the tall maple trees that stand above this corner of the park.
As I stand outside in the front yard with my cup of coffee with Hunter, I hear the small meowing from the side of the house where Kat is making her way along to join up with us as I sip my coffee and watch Hunter stick his nose between the pickets in the fence.
I have recently been to Big Lot's here in town where feeling sorry for myself because of my "face surgery" Gary had said to stop and buy myself some flowers to cheer me up! So being that it is a Drought here in California I used my noggin and entered the Easter section of the store, knowing I would find some colorful "spinners" to place in my flower pots out in front that contain some brilliant pink flowers(rock roses) and could use the added color of a spinner to make the garden come alive with fun, movement and color! I came home with a giant sunflower in yellow, one in orange and a purple flower, magenta rose and hurriedly put them together over last weekend and put them in place. Two are sitting in large planters that contain two already budding roses. I have enjoyed them spinning in the wind(I will take a photo of them this weekend to add to my photos and make you all smile!)
This morning as I finish my coffee, Hunter has made his way over to the planters sniffing at the spinning magenta rose and Kat has finally stopped meowing at us and joined him at the front fence. It is cool out this morning but will turn out to be 81 degrees by the middle of the day.
I am working on painting my "Gnome" in the backyard as the color after 10 years of the sun beating down on him has left him colorless. Perhaps I will move him to the shade of the front and finish painting his hat, pants and shoes out in front so that Hunter and Kat can wander around where there is shade and water from the garden fountain to drink and play in.
I also have a small bird bath that has a fairy blowing bubbles in that the garden birds especially like to visit. The two visiting doves from the "hood" especially like to bathe their as the water isn't deep and Hunter and Kat pay little attention to them there, high up on their ledge splashing water.
It is still dark out and the outline of all the trees in the park across the street give way to my imagining all of my garden fairies hanging from the branches and limbs doing fun things like trapezing limb to limb, tree to tree in the dark knowing that I am out here straining my eyes to catch them at play. I think I see one now with a balancing bar, one tiny foot at a time, one step at a time balancing their tiny way across a fat limb of a sycamore tree as through the leaves the
beginning of light peaking through the slowly moving clouds will make him scatter momentarily among the leaves with the other fairies hiding higher up into the trees.
I can't wait to get home today free of the stitches that have prevented me from carving and come out into the yard and hear the fountain bubbling water as I sit at our little table sipping some of the jasmine tea I bought yesterday and maybe give Hunter a good long brushing out!
I can imagine all of the garden birds already making nests nearby hovering and gathering all of the fir flying in the wind as I brush him to add to their nesting materials as they did at this time last year. Oh. Last year at this time when I was hand painting the house outside and just beginning to place plants along the kitchen windows. Knowing that my heart surgery was coming up just 5 months away in August and how quickly those months came to be. AND NOW!
over 7 months past the surgery and feeling so much better. SO much in balance, breathing better, back on my recumbent bike and ready to head out on my outdoor bike maybe by Sunday this weekend????? I remember as I walk up the two short steps on the porch and open the door for Hunter and Kat to enter ahead of me, just how hard it was when I returned from the hospital to make even those two steps and how easily I navigate them this morning! So much has changed in such a short amount of time. The wait for surgery so mind consuming for so many days and nights and now, each month comes and goes and I enjoy more and more the promise of tomorrow and the joy of being a survivor with the awareness of my incision in the center of my chest there to remind me of all this beautiful body has been through in the months gone by. Challenges and many achievements as the healing continues, day by day, week by week. So much to look forward to. My first roses opening up. My new plant in the corner by the arbor called "The happy wanderer" whose vine will travel over the arbor and along the fence with small happy purple flowers adorning it shortly attracting butterflies, dragonflies and bees. Lots of hummingbirds too.
I close the screen door behind us and head in for yeah, another cup of coffee and my recliner in the corner where I will revel in my recovery "corner" of the front room with Hunter and Kat until they make it know it is time for them to go out into the back yard!
I will leave with thoughts of Cindy White who will be having surgery today that her surgery goes well. I will be thinking also of LaDonna and her Donkeys with the bird on her head(love it) for maybe she has a tiny fairy climbing up in there too, climbing onto the bird and waiting for the winged creature to take off and take him God knows where!!! And soon Jim Hernandez, Susan Nelson and Justin DE Wolf will be having their surgeries and joining others on the healing path.
Spring. What a glorious time to have a surgery and return home to mend, Isn't it?! God Bless them one and all. God Bless us all in this ever changing thing called LIFE..........
Prayers going out to Conrad and David today. Thoughts also to their families. Hope and pray for both surgical procedures to go excellent and we hear in time they are both well and on the "other side" ready for healing!
Meant to post this entry yesterday as it was 7 Months celebration since my Heart Valve Surgery! Got held up as I had plans for the afternoon that involved a minor procedure and the focus went from celebrating to the procedure.
The morning started out with me sneezing due to a reaction to all of the pollen in the air- Peach tree in the back yard is covered with beautiful pink flowers and the promise of many tasty peach's are evidenced by the baby shoots already showing themselves along the beautiful flowering branches. The hummingbirds are overhead when walking along the garden fences and winging their way, tiny wings beating furiously as they wander among the rose trees with me doing their own surveillance of the many buds making ready for an early bloom. Yes...Happy Spring to everyone and there is time to celebrate spring...for sure!!!
Hunter and Kat follow me like the Pied Piper which makes me smile as they are always a welcome twosome to any walk with me in the garden. All I can see is the areas of land that need overturning and the iris's need to be relocated and there are over 30 rust colored flowers to be looking forward to in the coming months.
I am readying seeds for planting also and the weather is so beautiful I want to start but know that I have to prepare myself for leaving for the "clinic" and my procedure.
I think a lot about the past 7 months and of going from the early days of recovery, week by week leading up to where I have come to and I am pretty pleased and surprised that I am doing so well and have come so far. I sit on the porch steps out in front of the house now, Hunter standing at the picket fence with his nose sticking out in the direction of the park across the street, his little tail wagging furiously at a neighbor walking her dog and his long wavy brown ears are partly making their way through the fence posts and I hope he
doesn't get his little snout stuck as he watches the large German Shepard called "Fritz" plods along among the trees with his owner.
Kat is up on the porch step at my feet, crooked long panther like tail swishing back and forth as She keeps her cats eye watch on her friend at the fence.
There is a peacefulness in the early morning hours in our "hood" this day that I relish. On the lamp post at the front of our property sits a couple of mourning doves who look down from their perching place on the lamp. They are watching Kat
watching them, her eyes not missing any and all movements that they are making as it is often that the pair are sitting in the bird bath in these early morning hours with the early morning sun streaming down at them. The two rose bushes in planters on either side of the bird bath look as if they are yawning themselves awake and it won't be long before the blooms of sweet swelling blossoms fill the air welcoming all who pass through our tiny white gateway.
As I sit with Kat I am wondering if I will be able to spend my Saturday and Sunday out in the yard, enjoying the sunshine or if yard work will be restricted. (I am to find out this afternoon that yard work is not going to be advised for the next 4 weeks unless I am extremely careful.
And as the afternoon runs into the time of my procedure I headed out and got to my destination by 2:30 and didn't have to wait long until being issued into a small procedure room at Kaiser. Clean and quiet.
my wait is not long and the tech. comes in and readies the surgical area and shortly welcomes my Dr. into the room who introduces himself. I feel a stirring of nerves. First time today. Guess I was thinking then that I have been through an open heart surgery and this is nothing in comparison. I needed and was able to do as I did then, put my faith, trust and confidence that the Doctor knew what he
was doing. My biggest fear was that I would begin to sneeze as I had been doing off and on all morning, as he was doing his work. Today's procedure is to have a squamous cell lesion removed from the right cheek area of my face (very near the edge of my right eye) and hoping that the Surgeon and pathologist would agree that they by going layer by layer of skin would be able to remove the cancerous parts and send me home with the area "clean".
Immediately the urge to sneeze was upon me as the surgeon placed his "tools" on clean toweled off areas upon my abdomen. My hands had been folded across the front of me and I was clutching one of Gary's white handkerchiefs just in case I sneezed but I was tucked into the area with no access to my nose so that if I sneezed no doubt I would send all tools flying into the air and I began to feel a little bit panicky. Then I thought of my surgery. Thought of how I talked to myself and had a little conversation with myself and God. I
thought of how this would soon be over and how I would be able to move on with this and get going on the carving I had sketched at home celebrating my heart surgery and I became calm again. I realized how simple a surgical procedure this was going to be and remembered this great day being the 7th. month since the big surgery and told myself to deal with it.
To just do it and get home to continue the celebration of the day.
90 minutes and 7 stitches later the Doctor came back from the pathologists office with a thumbs up and a beautiful smile.
"We got it all"!. Another thing to add to the celebration!!! I was a very, I AM a very happy and thankful person as I sit here today at the computer. Puffy, swollen, a bit black and blue, not able to see much out of my right eye and with stitches from the corner of my eye and out onto my right cheekbone resembling a train track and there for a week more I am happy that the procedure is over. I am going to be out in my garden in no time but wearing one of my funky hats and being sure to apply sun screen as being blonde and with very light blue green eyes I am going to have to have to show a renewed respect for my skin from here on out.
As Gary and I head out on the Lake this summer in our kayaks I will be very much aware of the brilliant sunshine on my skin and take great pains to honor my intake of it! I have spent many years out on the water most recently in the kayaks taking photographs and making sketches as the kayak rocks far from shorelines on lakes with little regard to the sun damage to my skin. I won't add to that now or in the future and mention this to all who read this as well.
So I am in for the weekend nursing my "little but important" wound and being thankful that another fine surgeon did their best along with help from his nurse to remove this threat to my health.
As the sun went down today and Kat and Hunter along with Gary and a large glass of Iced Tea sit together in the back yard patio I think of all of the changes in the last 7 months since I became the proud recipient of my "bovine" heart valve
and all of the work that my body and I have done to "do right" by it. I feel blessed.
I want to shout out a very large "thanks" to those heart brothers and sisters who have kept offering up their love and support since the beginning of my journey here at
HVS. and wish you all Happy Healing and
Prayers wherever you happen to be on the Heart Path! Might have a new photo posted tomorrow! Love, Terrie, Hunter and Kat
Reflections of days gone by. Of a day-standing in the windows in our second story rental....an old Victorian home. Sun shining on crystals I have woven into macramé chords strung up and wound by half knots across the sea salted piece of driftwood we picked up one day along the Alameda shoreline. Hanging down in rows of knotted twine, half way done-this work of art. Remembering Joni Mitchell playing in the background. Me singing along. This work of art intertwining with hours leading into days and ending up months of work. My fingers picked the beads and added the pieces of crystal to the ends of jute, carefully sliding each one into place, tying and weaving it into knots of plenty, knots which will pull it together while the sun sets and the sky peaks through this woven tapestry. Hours of Joy.
Such must be the joy, the love, the heartfelt dedication and satisfaction of a surgeons hands, gazing down at us as taking deep breaths, letting the focus begin and end in each work of art(Us!)
Intense, confident, aware his/her movements hold the life and future of each beautiful body before them and we trusting them enough to open us up! Each one of us beneath the delicate fingertips. Each a piece of "art". Trusting, faithful, hoping and praying while we sleep that these gifted fingers find their way to the "heart of the matter". Fingers that like working my macramé, find their way into our bodies. Working with a team of people as dedicated to making every moment of these delicate and complicated surgeries a completed work of art. Moving effortlessly in unison. This Blessed TEAM. All eyes on us as we lie still before them as the surgeon with all his instincts and knowledge, their gift being delivered with these loving hands, artfully placed fingertips moving to repair and replace damaged pieces of hearts that were in such need. Surely guided by God, they make their way in and like macramé tying up the loose ends, mended hearts before them---all eyes watching as the bones are woven back together and tied off, sewn up or stapled together. Precise....What satisfaction, like slipping the last few beads and one last crystal piece and typing off the one last night and standing, looking up at the finished woven tapestry on driftwood...the surgeon and his team breathing big breaths of joy that they have completed yet another work of art. Complete.......
The surgeon completes his task. One delicate heart at a time. One life at a time. A life that hours before struggled with the "unknown" A feeling that no one who has not experienced what leads up to heart surgery(any kind of surgery) can realize the complexity....
A heart who enters daring to dream the dream. A body that drifting into unconsciousness has filled it's heart with bittersweet images of those we love and of visions of what awaits us on what we call "the other side". Feelings and emotions that rush us as we wake to realize "WE ARE AWAKE'!
JOY! AT THE FEELING OF OUR HEART BEATING...each beat signaling that life continues....Knowledge that our prayers have been answered........ Gentle breeze of air surrounding you like angles surrounding your bedside. Their wings in motion, hovering as with their prompting, we begin again to breath on our own and the beating of our hearts continues to grow in strength.
To those reading my journal today.
May you be ready for your surgeries with confidence and open hearts.....with dreams of dreams yet to come true but on their way...Of the love in your life growing to heights not known before, growing stronger with each day of your recovery along with the gratitude in the true miracles that have taken place or are about to take place in your life or the ones you love. Be thankful to God, the Angels who are His Team, or whatever you believe in that makes your Universe and Life feel whole.
Wishing you Peaceful and Loving reflections of your own.
Love and hugs along with many prayers...
Terrie, Hunter, Kat
Good DAY ! I just checked in (phone) with Peter to see how Sandra is doing and he asked
if I would update for them one more time as he will be updating as soon as he can and it will be either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Peter wants you to know that he saw Sandra this morning and that She is doing well. The Dr. is pleased with her and she was sitting up in a chair. They are adjusting her pain medications to keep her comfortable and says she "has a pretty pink glow about her". She said that other than feeling "hit by a truck" she is ok! She has a good heart rhythm and he stayed for 2 hours with her before they both opted that he head home for some much needed sleep as that was what Sandra needed as well. She didn't get much last night as she woke up and just couldn't get back to sleep. He is keeping a journal of the events for Sandra and said to tell all of us in the community that both he and Sandra appreciate all of your love, prayers and support. He will get back on to the site to give the updates soon so please continue leaving messages to: PETER'S GUEST BOOK (So Peter can read them to Sandra or She can read them later). They also want people in recovery or just heading in for their surgeries to know they are sending their prayers and love to all. (So this update is once again me, Terrie Syvertsen and should be my last. Sorry it I am confusing y'all but didn't want you to worry about them. I told Peter there are many messages from the community for them to catch up on as soon as he gets back to his computer! Thanks folks. Have a great day/evening.
Hello again from Peter at the Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida!
Peter wants you to know that the surgery is completed and they have just moved
Sandra out of surgery. The Surgeon came out and spoke with Peter to say that Sandra did well and although She will be sleeping now Peter would get a chance to see her in about 20 minutes. Peter said he realizes She will be sleeping but can't wait to giver her "A kiss on the head and tell her he loves her. He can't wait to dance with her again and take a walk on the beach. He is ESTATIC! He wants to see her briefly and then he will step away(as he will be within a block of the hospital)so he can catch a much needed "cat-nap"! He said he appreciates all of the love and prayers sent their way and that Sandra is sleeping and continues to be "In God's Hands! He also repeated that he wants all of you headed in for surgery to know their prayers go out from He and Sandra and the same to those of you in recovery. I believe that this will be my(Terrie's last post for Peter as he will be able to use his computer a bit later from now.
It is10:00 here in California so I think it to be around 1:00 p.m. there in Florida. Peter also said to tell all of us in the community they both appreciate all of the prayers and support you have given them to get to this place. Good Day!
Peter asked me to update you about Sandra and her surgery!
As of 10:17 a.m. the nurse told Peter that they have just removed Sandra's "Old" valve. She is responding well. The old valve was in bad shape. They are now in the process of replacing the old valve with the New One and Sandra is doing very well. Peter said that it will be another 1-1/2 hours or 2 before surgery is complete. He just went out to update waiting family members and sounds very positive.
He will keep us updated! (Once again I am posting for Peter and Sandra since he is dealing with a computer issue)
Good morning Community- For now due to computer issue, Peter Duplin has asked that I post an update for he and Sandra Trotta. Sandra is in surgery today in Clearwater, Florida- He will update when the computer issue is clear but will use me to post(Terrie)for now.
Peters Message is that Sandra was wheeled into surgery at 7:00 a.m. this morning. He said "just a tear" and that she is being very courageous(and I will add that with Peter there She went into surgery with abundance of love from him). The Nurse who will be updating Peter let him know that they were making the incision and she would update him every 2 hrs. (Peter is very calm and confident!) He said there would be more to come!
He wanted me to add that to all of those having surgery today or on the mend that their thoughts and prayers are with them as well.
So until he receives more to update He will get back to us! Needless to say, all prayers and good energy for Peter and Sandra will be welcomed and appreciated!
"Grass in the Wind" all I had was Grass (not Gas)in the Wind
Journal posted on February 23, 2015
Well. on my mind today" Well, I want to tell you about my day yesterday.
Being Sunday and having the sky remaining blue with gorgeous puffy clouds mixed with
"tinges" of gray at the edges, I got up early with Hunter and made a cup of coffee for me and
a hot cup of tea for Gary who selects tea over coffee on the weekends because he says being alone with me on weekends is enough to wind him up and keep him rattled for hours that he
is off from work on weekends. (Maggie, I can just hear the snickers at that comment!)
It has been wonderful lately on the weekends as I have found that I am feeling more and more
like hitting the garden and catching up (slowly) with things that I haven't been able to do for awhile now during the recovery path I have been on. I think that getting back into the biking regularly is a big part of it but the fact I am able to participate more and more without incident in the daily activities here at the house, makes me feel more a part of Life and not just a spectator. I know this will make sense to many people out in the community.
So, this weekend, Sunday primarily I cornered Gary in his recliner first thing with his cup of tea and the fire glowing in the backround keeping us warm. I say us including Hunter who has his doggie bed exactly in the middle of Gary and I in the living room and is center to the fireplace unit we bought ourselves for Christmas. (One of those fake electric fireplaces that you can put
a TV on.) Our house is small so that this unit once turned on, heats the room brilliantly instead of running the gas heater into the rooms in the house where no one really is occupying them with need for warmth. This little fireplace also is off the kitchen which keeps both rooms as warm as one needs to be and helps Hunter and his old aching bones very, very comfortable.
Anyway. You get the picture. Gary trapped, Hunter at his feet and the blinds opened up so that
Kat(who is still sleeping in her Igloo with 4 blankets ) will eventually wake and join us inside by the fire(which fascinates her). She still as an abandoned cat in our neighborhood, elects to sleep outside, rain or sun. Well, I decided to make a things to do list of what we could do today.
Gary was thrilled. At the top of my list was for him to get the gas mower out for me from the shed and fill the gas, roll in out so that I, yes ME! could get back into caring for the back yard!
I really miss the mowing. The walking back and forth, emptying the basket and beginning the same back and forth, back and forth until the job is done and the lawn is free of all the little
weeds that grow and produce those little scratchy "burrs" that love to attaché themselves to both Hunter and Kat and to which I keep an eye on as they first pop up in the sun that returns after the gray skies have left for spring. For some reason they have popped up early this year and I knew I needed to get outside and begin the "fight". I don't like using chemicals unless I have to and although I am able to bend at the waist and touch the ground at 6 months out of surgery, I still wince at the ache it brings to my sternum. Maybe some of you out there in the community can tell me if this is true for you at this point in their recovery. Anyway, Gary is also in the middle of putting support 4by 4's up on our old fence surrounding the back yard. While he wasn't looking at a recent trip to our Big Lot's, I grabbed 6 black metal "hangers" to screw into the four by fours so that I could hang either potted plants, wind chimes or whirly gigs! Yes, this is a thrill for Gary who will forever then be banging his 6'4" frame on "whatever" I have hung and cussing me out accordingly BUT, I WILL LOOK OUT FROM THE BACK WINDOW AND
REPEATEDLY SAY " Look how cute it looks".....................
Since we moved in two years ago I was not able to mow the lawn close to the surgery date. I was however able to take a four inch brush, paint can and climb up an 8 foot ladder all summer while Gary was at work, and paint the house with the goal of finishing before I either fell on me head at one side or the other of the house or finished BEFORE THE SURGERY! As it is now if you can picture in your head(look at my photos and you will see the house color done in the front yard where I am showing Hunter my heart pillow). What you don't see is that I began getting to dizzy toward the end so that I could not get either side of the house finished at a point where I climbed to the top of the last rung of the ladder and on tippy toes, could not reach any further.
So this Sunday, my husband who stands 6'4" CAN and DID climb the ladder where HE COULD reach and finish the Center portions of the peaked areas of the house to the delight of the neighbors who thought(think) I am a bit daft for doing it anyway!
So the big rush yesterday was that after coffee, I was able to assemble my "Crew", Gary, Hunter and Kat for my first serious day of gardening since my surgery on August 20th. 2014! Very big day. Equipped with screw drivers, Hangers for the 4X4's, hammer, nails I went out into the backyard while Gary headed for the shed and began getting the mower ready for me to start.
A cool wind blew up and I could almost smell the water off the Delta as it pushed past me as I waited. I love the Delta breeze that comes to our backyard whenever the wind is up. Usually I am able to smell a variety of smells from the rose trees and rose bushes that line the back fences but for whom I will have to wait until spring. I still get the lovely scent of lavender in the air as the morning dew settles between its branches. The two butterfly bushes have made it pretty much unscathed through the winter months as we have had little rain nor the winds that usually accompany it making damage the norm at this time of year. Our Peach tree took several hits just before my surgery from a relentless wind that while Gary was away on business for several days up North claimed three of the major branches leading to the trunk and they once laden with peaches could not hold the weight. A neighbor kindly came and used his chain saw and I spent a couple of weeks before surgery removing tons of peaches from the fallen branches that went to neighbors and the community center gratefully taken by neighbors. So....my venture with my "team" out into the yard today was to start off by going to the peach tree and offering up apologies that I was not able to take better care of it before the "Mighty Winds" in one week claimed it as it's Victim. I noticed new growth has come from old and that the shape of the tree will better suit it's life span. I will still be afforded shade in the summer heat, the birds a place to flit to avoid "Kat's" stalking and s nice little shaded area off in
the corner where Hunter loves to lay and watch me wander the yard.
Oh. Did I say how grateful I felt with the opportunity to be outside and just "DOING"?
I was hesitant at first with the mower as the lawn in back is an uneven one. I think the excitement of mowing was picked up by the many birds as they decided to line the fences and hang out on the bird feeders and bird bath to watch me work. I began by pulling the chord to start the process! *+#@#@#!!!!!!!! Holy ----! That did not feel good and rippled pain to my very "core". The great sternum stretch. Didn't work. Not ready for the pull of the chord. GARY!!!
One pull from him and the mower sprung to life. Kat joined the birds at her corner of the fence, Hunter ran to join Gary by the Shed and Terrie was in her GLORY! Oh, the great smell of grass!
Watching as the flying bits of grass and weeds were taking down like the "enemy" Take that you little buggers. I AM BACK! Walking, walking, walking, walking. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Tiny little black beady eyes. A dozen or more-lining the fence posts and one big black furry CAT with Large beady eyes. Watching me, watching them and then springing up to a quick cat walk along the 2x4's along the entire back fence, scaring off every bird in it's path to the peach tree in the corner. Dozens of tiny bird noises as they announce to Kat that they did not like the disruption of their "watching" the noisy thing going back and forth near their food source. Then, the unavoidable thing happens. Not once but several times in a row. AHHHChoooooie!
AHHHChooooie!, You get the picture. The dreaded SNEEZING began and lasted awhile. The mower moved back and forth and I loved feeling the way my body enjoyed getting out in the fresh air and moving! No pain. No out of breath. No fear of putting the heart through too rough a pace. No dizziness. Just wonderful exercise and the joy of getting something in my lovely garden accomplished. Yeah. I have become a PARTICIPANT IN LIFE! Gary has grabbed some bottled water for us and is sitting in the patio with Hunter at his feet and Kat wandering around Hunter and pacing under the patio table and to her "tower" by the back door. It wasn't long ago that I watched Gary mow the lawn. Sat and watched him bring one load of laundry up and empty the dish washer thinking how "useless" I had become. Independence is a tough thing to lose, even for awhile. BUT I AM BACK! I can't help but see the smile on Gary's face as he has known how difficult it has been for me to need him to fill in for me and my usual routine. The yard smells good. It looks cared for. I continued for over an hour to visit each rose bush and do a little clipping and bent often to pull a weed or two, something I will begin doing regularly now that the weather is changing again. A little at a time. Listening to my body who I hold in a more respectable way than I did before surgery. Seeing these slow and subtle changes come to be, months after the waiting for my body to accept the bending and the stretching. I feel a pride in the scar, that glorious piece of art that lines the center of my chest each time it begins to pull in protest at each new movement that I willingly test it with to see if it will join me as I celebrate this Sunday. Each new day. A Gift, and don't I know it. What a blessing it is to sit in the patio with the man that I love. The dog that I love. The cat that I love. The birds that I love, knowing
that soon we will be joined by the butterflies and dragonflies. The flowers blooming. The scent of roses in the air. How nice just to "Look Forward". How great to feel......CAPABLE!
LOVE AND PEACE TO ALL.
SIX MONTHS ANNIVERSARY OF SURGERY TODAY........HOORAY!!!!!!!
Journal posted on February 20, 2015
As I wake up at 2:30 a.m. with my husband Gary every work day in the week there are many of those mornings I do not want to get out of bed and some that I don't so I sleep in instead. This was one of those days, yeah! Gary slipped in to say goodbye and head off into the fog. How he managed to make toast on his own beforehand is beyond me! He leaned over and Hunter slowly got up out of his doggie bed and came between us as he has done these many months every time Gary gets near my side of the bed since I arrived home from Heart Surgery. He has been my little protector. Not happy when I would struggle to get up the first week home. Used to me either screaming out some unrepeatable words if my exit from bed was not that graceful, tail wagging out of control as each day became more and more successful at the little things. One of his favorite games was "Retrieve the rolling toilet paper roll and bring it back to "Mommy". Hunter's way of returning the roll was to nose it around in the hallway which is where it would rest after my failed attempt to hold onto it had led me to drop it in the first place. Those first couple of weeks were not as funny as the weeks that followed. The days He met me in the hallway as I struggled past him in the dark(I know, not very bright) but I tried most days to let Gary sleep and not keep waiting on me which I learned I usually paid for one way or another!
So today Hunter and I grabbed my robe hanging on the door(Yes, I can reach up for it without the squeaky "eek" that followed the effort for so many weeks when I had not begun my stretching exercises allowing my arm movements to be so risky!
We opened the slider door and turned on the back motion detector light which immediately was met with a muffled and disturbed "meowing" from Kat who sleeps in an "igloo" house right outside the door and gets a direct "Hit" from two very bright lights at any motion. Hunter edging out the doorway brought her up and out after several long and lengthy stretches in her doorway. I had slipped on my slippers at the door which always delights Kat as she loves the black furry things that so resemble herself! I think Kat thinks she is related as I step out and down the one stair to follow hunter out onto the lawn as he takes his familiar scouting route around the yard. Kat takes turns weaving in and out of my black furry slippers and Hunters brown and white furry four legs tripping us both up from time to time. It is foggy this morning and pretty cold. I am looking forward to retreating back into the warm house and pouring that cup of hot coffee, sitting in my chair by the back door corner and reminiscing about the last 6 months of my life and how happy I am to be feeling so well today, my six month anniversary of surgery at Santa Clara Kaiser Hospital(August 20th. 2014. I re-enter the house and Kat has decided to join us and leads Hunter back in quickly zeroing in on his dog bed that is to the left of my recliner. I quickly go to re-heat my coffee a bit and watch the two of them, Hunter trying to keep an eye on me as he feels the excitement in the air. I have a celebratory energy about me in the air and I know he has picked up on it. He watches me cross the room and wags his tail at me while Kat tries to pounce on it(one of her favorite play toys!) and as I settle back into the chair and add a small blanket on top of my very cold legs, she decides to climb onto my slippers and crawl up to my lap and stare eyeball to eyeball with me as the steam swirls around the cup and into her face. She meows and settles for the edge by my knees, lifts her paws-kneading the soft warm blanket. Up and down, up and down , ouch one of those sharp nails has slipped through and grabbed my skin! I wiggle my leg and she meows in protest. Who do I think I am juggling her lightweight little self when she is trying to get comfortable?!
I remember how she was in the same position my first week home with me in the power lift chair clutching my beloved heart pillow to my chest every time Gary let her and Hunter in and
out of the back patio door! Fearful that either one of them might bump or jump in some way to
cause great discomfort I remember some of the sounds, new to Hunter especially that slipped out in moments of pain along with some of the swear words that invariably came out that I haven't uttered since I ran a book department in a warehouse years ago where the people I worked with deemed necessary to complete their jobs and words I couldn't help but use myself from time to time as it seemed to get my point across quicker than not.
I remember thinking that the frustration at being so limited in what I was able to do was hitting a new low and I had to just smile this morning at the memories of thinking I couldn't take it much more being stuck in some position or not being able to contribute to the daily routine.
I think back on how much patience Gary had while letting the dog and Kat in and out, filling the water bowls, dong the clean up, hand watering the many rose plants, lavender, peach tree in the back yard as I watched from the window. Oh how pitiful I must have looked from outside looking in as Gary(who stayed home the first 2 weeks) went about his business with Kat and Hunter following close behind-happy to have him home which was a totally new experience.
How much guilt I faced when he did the laundry, washed the dishes, vacuumed around me as out home is small and there were few places I couldn't help but leave myself center to. I remember, sitting here sipping my coffee just how much I hadn't planned this recovery nor had any notion it would be so restrictive nor just how much Gary loved bossing me around!!!
As I sit here today, six months into recovery I remember many big tears of self -pity and rightly so I shed as I went from Painting the outside of the house on an eight foot ladder just weeks prior to the surgery to this helpless rag-doll perched in her mighty power chair, the only power she possessed other that "mental" which kept trying to be positive and picture how it would be when the weeks had passed where they would run into months to put me where I am today!
Who would believe that after someone tore down the center of my chest and mended my heart that in six months I would feel this good?!
So, sipping the last of my coffee and listening to Hunter snore I have to tell myself, self......it is good to be here. Good to get past all of those weeks of uncertainty and having to learn the hard way what is now 6 learning and grateful months behind me so that looking forward, one day at a time as I taught myself to do as I began this Journey with many of you walking this path beside me will probably agree that it has been a Journey of enlightenment in so many ways and I can only look forward to all of the little daily accomplishments and successes and be truly amazed at what the Human Body is capable of Surviving.................Today at 6 months up the Path there is so much to look forward to. Time to kick Kat off my lap and let her out into the garden to be followed by Hunter as this New Day Begins. I thank the Universe, God, all of my Heart Brothers and Sisters' for being a part of my Life, My support team, my Journey and "My Story". Good Day to all......
Well....A Mighty Big Thank you and Hug to Ginger French for being along side for my 5 Mile, 35 Minute, Resistance 4 Bike Ride as I pedaled out in my garage area here in "Cloudy" California as She walked indoors round and God knows where inside her Home talking with me on the telephone there in Kansas, land of OZ! Recovery does have it's amusing and somewhat delightful moments. Glad to have one of my Many Heart Sisters along for the ride! With the window open and the overhead ceiling fan on it was "wind in the hair" FUN!
Happy exercising heart brothers and sisters for those of you in recovery and I will say to those just heading in for surgery "It won't be long until you are sharing your exercise journeys with us all here on site. Stay strong and the best to you all! Love, Prayers and many heartfelt Hugs!
It was a rainy afternoon and she had just gotten home from school. The walk holding a paper bag over her head did little to hold off the rain from straightening her shoulder length blonde hair and it weighed cold and heavy on her shoulders as the water continued to drip down the center of her back. This had been an unexpected day of rain but the weather would not distract her from the mission this afternoon.
She entered the house, threw down her books and trashed the soggy paper bag in the garbage and ran into the dining room to the bag that lay in the center of the table.
Heart pumping in excitement and with much anticipation, she ripped open the sides of the bag and let the contents slide out and onto the table. There It was. A Large Box...Huge box of Valentine's. Just the one's she wanted. Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Many hearts surrounded them. All of the cards with just the right words she wanted to share with her class mates tomorrow. Valentine's Day.
She had made her list of classmates earlier in the day as that was one of the assignments to be done in class.
And as she rifled through the many cards her eyes caught on "the one". The one she would give to the Boy she loved. Kurt. Oh. Just the thought of his wavey hair and his dimpled smile made her heart beat fast and brought smiles that went on forever.
She pulled the list out of her school bag and began to separate the cards into piles and then to fill them out. One by one. She got half of them signed and sealed the nasty tasting envelopes as she went.
Dinner came and went and she took the remaining Valentine's cards up to her room and sat at her Sister's small desk in the corner of their shared room. One by one she wrote and sealed the envelopes until the "one" special one was left staring her in the face. It was one with Mickey standing with a Valentine Card tucked behind his back in hiding from Minnie. He was rolling back onto the heels of his shoes smiling lovingly at Minnie who stood before him in a little red polka dotted dress with tiny black shoes. Little white laced socks!
Carefully the little 5th grade girl took her pencil and wrote his name on the inside of the card bearing down so hard on the pencil that the lead broke twice! Then, she carefully wrote her name on the bottom of the card and placed a carefully drawn heart over the "I" in her name.
Sleep was tough that night and the little girl's heart already showing signs of a heart murmur, eagerly awoke to overcast skies but no rain in sight. She ran to the kitchen and ate her cereal, carefully packed her valentines into her bag and ran to catch up with the neighbor kids headed to school like herself.
She was happy. Laughing and skipping along with the quick pace that the others had set. Today was the big day. Today the girl would run into the classroom and enter knowing that she and all of her friends and classmates were to spend the first few minutes before the bell running up and down the rows of lift-top desks sliding valentines to each other. Lids of the desks were lifting. Little white envelopes were secretly deposited as she watched the clock carefully as the valentine's all had to be deposited into the desks before the bell and not a minute afterward. Teachers rule.....
She looked up at the smiling teacher who was getting his own valentines cards from the students as well as some little gifts of apples and candy. She walked up clutching his card in her left hand and the special card that would be delivered last as it was the one for Kurt. Down on the desk she slapped the teacher's little white envelope and then a quick turn and 3 desks from the window she
saw several girls placing their white envelopes into Kurt's desk. Her heart felt heavy. She almost ran across the room and quickly added her card to a growing pile of envelopes under the desk top. So many. Her's went into the pile and she slowly backed down the row and took her seat and waited for the bell. Kurt came in soon after and took his seat. He was laughing and fooling around with his best friends and his eyes caught hers. He quickly dropped his gaze and continued laughing and talking to his friends and when he took his seat at his desk he once more caught the gaze of this little girl with her favorite blue dress and fluffy petticoats on. Blonde curls streaming over her shoulders. Heart pumping. She was afraid that all in the room could hear the beating of it. Like it might spring from her chest and everyone would know that she was in love with this boy. The first boy. Her first Love. The first boyfriend? She sat with her back against her chair wiggling her legs back and forth with her shoes locked together, feet clicking and all of the other children's laughter and conversations getting lost in this mass of noise that seemed to be like bee's swarming overhead. Oh please bell ring. Ring so that she could see if the one valentine she wanted most might be found. Ring...Ring Ring went the bells sound that seemed to have taken forever!
The ringing stopped and the teacher let them know that they could take time to look into their desks and gather their Valentines before they started their lessons. He walked up and down the isles and gave each one of them a brown paper sack to place them in and said that they would have to wait until noon to open them.
Noon came and the girl lifted the desk top to
find many valentine's. Once again she looked over at Kurt's desk to find him starring back at her.
Noon came and went and there was no Valentine to be found for the little blonde from Kurt. Her heart sank and the tears couldn't help but slide down her cheeks as all of the other kids continued to boast of all of their valentines. Finally the bell rang that ended this horrible day and the girl got up after grabbing her bag and she ran out the door, along the chain linked fence and ran for the sidewalk and the direction of home.
She was half way home when the sound of boy's running behind her made her stop and turn around. It was Kurt and Dick running up
to her and laughing. She grew embarrassed and turned to continue towards home when
Dick asked her if she wanted to see his new
tree fort in the back yard. Encouraged by Kurt
the girl followed them into the backyard and there was in fact the nicest tree fort she had ever seen. There was a ladder that went up into a deck and an open door at the top that Kurt had quickly already climbed up to.
Waving down and telling her to climb up she hesitated as she was wearing a dress. Dick said that He would go next and that no one would be looking up at her and laughed. She
watched him climb and decided to follow. Dropping her schoolbooks her heart was still heavy as she knew that in her bag was no Valentine's Card from Kurt. She decided to get to the top and ask him Why he didn't like her.
Once inside the little house she went over to look out one of the windows and saw that both Kurt and Dick were laughing and she began to think that she best head for home.
As she turned for the door of the house Dick told her to wait and stepped out onto the tiny deck and started down the ladder. Behind her Kurt stood with a big smile on his face and she felt that tug of the heart and the disappointment of not being his Valentine. He
extended his hand that held a thick white envelope. Drawn in red crayon was her name. "TERRIE"! In the envelope was a beautiful silver I.D. bracelet with the word "KURT" on it. He said "Will you go steady with me?" Of course she said YES!
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO YOU ALL EVEN THOUGH IT IS LATE IN THE DAY.
May all of your Hearts be as full as mine was on that day with Love, Love, Love.
(and if your Valentine's didn't show up on this day today, don't worry-they will!) In the meantime, know you are loved here by all in this Heart Community. Love to you all my Heart Brothers and Heart Sisters!
"To Exercise or not to exercise----- ---- That is the Questi
Journal posted on February 10, 2015
Good morning Heart Brothers and Sisters! I have been up again since 2:20 a.m. here in California! This is our routine as if not known, I get up with Gary and putz around helping him
as he readies himself for work which requires a 2 hr. drive(hence the early hours). This morning, Hunter, Kat and I were on the porch when he took off down the street, standing in the coolness of these early hours and watching the stream of exhaust trail out of the exhaust pipe rising up into the cold air. The park across the street only a black patch before us with no visible outlines of the trees I have come to love so well these past two years. Even in this early morning darkness I can hear birds nearby chirping and watched as Kat became immediately on "alert". Getting up is different now-these mornings as the joy of rolling to the side and standing up for the first time
each morning is a movement unaccompanied by pain. So different from the months before as I began my recovery and had to ready myself and my "sternum incision" for any and all movements. I learned early on to proceed with caution instead of my usual springing up to beat Hunter to the back door for his first "Let Out" of the morning(which I always look forward too! Yes, the early morning "send off of Gary for us 3 has become a very special time and it is hard for me to think that since waking up from surgery in August(2014) I will every look at waking up as anything short of a miracle! Difficult at the beginning of Recovery Road, I am amazed that I can't remember a morning since Aug. 20th. that my heart is not filled with an appreciation level not felt before. Looking down at Kat watching Hunter as he travels the small yard brings such joy. Simple things bring such pleasure. Joy to the new day and the awareness that the fear has left that preceded surgery those few months ago. All the fear and anxiety that was part of " the waiting time". All the what if's. Stress and uncertainty difficult to processe daily during that wait.
The wait that each Heart Brother and Sister understands and the wait that many are experiencing now. What a Blessing it is for the wait to be over and in this New Place of Healing.
Speaking of waiting, Hunter has just "nosed" me from behind to let him out now while I am writing here at the computer desk so I am off to let him join Kat in the backyard this time! Hope I don't hit a button sending my post to God knows where! Back again and Hunter is curling up at my feet as I continue to write to y'all. What I was trying to share "in so many words" is that from the time you are wheeled out of surgery until you wake up there seem to be too many special, magic moments that you remember(yeah, not at first) but the waking up knowing that you are on the other side is such a huge rush or at least it was for me and many I have spoken to since my surgery.
Along with the knowledge that you are getting this new opportunity to live also for me has the added keen sense of awareness that this very special gift should not, will not be squandered or taken for granted. As I rise each day and since I have been home now for over these 5 months it has been a slow and sometimes tedious road forward but by no means unappreciated that I am here to continue up the path. Feeling less burdened. Breathing far better. Sharing a new awareness of the total awesomeness of this new phase in life. Each and every day I am also aware that to heal I have to commit to making 30 minutes or more a day spent in some form of exercise which is why I started writing this post. I found that in getting started this morning as I do most mornings, I still have to sort out the when and what form of exercise I will commit to each day in order for my beautiful heart to heal properly and for me to continue to get mileage out of it as I continue this path of healing. I have found and I admit this in all honesty that I have found I am giving myself excuses to lose focus on the exercise putting it off further and further in the day and yes, at times just getting the home "chores" done and being happy that I was able to do it. I find that emptying the dish washer, 3 loads of laundry washed, folded and lugged upstairs and put away can sometimes be enough to to start me tiring. I have learned to listen to my body and take a 10 minute break in between starting each new project. I have also found that by paying attention to it, my body is able to continue through the day with the walks, biking in the garage or whatever keeps me moving. I have recently begun the stretches and small free weights and have been careful to start out being gentle to the shoulders and sternum signals that say they have had enough. My biggest set back was not having an organized re-hab program set up for me by Kaiser which mentally set me off in a mountain of frustration but finally worked its way into a productive mission to set one up for myself to which the goal has recently been attained. Another miracle as I have to admit that the weather has partnered up with my lack of daily organized "focus" in making me anger at myself for not using this healing time wisely. Cardiac depression has also woven its way in and out of the past months that adds to the inner turmoil at times but I have finally learned how to navigate around it better and amazingly the more I push myself each day to include at least that 30 minutes of exercise, the less time I spend chastising myself for what I didn't do at the end of the day, dispenses of any beginning to depression and I can applaud myself for each and every thing my body was able to work thru. I have currently decided to stick to making sure I use the bike and have worked in a 43 minute ride with a resistance level of 5 and riding for 5 miles. Like a child, I bought little star stickers(soon to be hearts) that I place on the calendar when my ride is completed and It tickles me how simple a task as I place it on the paper this brings me to a "happy place". As I ride, aware of the small aches and pains that my right shoulder and chest wall provide that tell me I am still in recovery and still needing to be conscious not to abuse this time while I continue to heal. The stretching motions have got to be continued slowly and I have to remind myself to stay at a small free weight and not push too hard as I feel it each time and for now it is not something I am real comfortable doing. But I do it as just one more thing my heart will be happy for in the long run and my cardiologist (whom I see on the 12th)has recommended I do to get back into shape. Not trying to keep up with others who are able to do so much more is crucial as I have a history of beating myself up thinking I should be able to as well as them. Not so. I do what I am able and expect no more. I know the days will come when I can increase or change up on the exercises. Yes there is a day soon where Gary and I will be heading out to a nearby lake for some kayaking again! Can't wait for the warm weather to return but seriously hoping for more rainfall here in California to ease the drought.
As the Upcoming Surgery list grows I can't help but wonder how people in our community are doing with their preparations and wish them all well. I visualize those in the hospital working hard to do what they can to get out and return home where the recovery can continue and pray for all that it is soon and safely accomplished. Please everyone take each day One Day at a Time and enjoy the day wherever you are. The sun is out here now. White puffy clouds surround our home. I really, really, really feel like a walk is in order! I will carry each of you in the community with me in spirit!
I will continue today with a renewed vow to take the exercising seriously and make it as much fun as possible for Hunter, Kat and I.
Good day to y'all.
Jon, Jason and Jimene- Will be thinking of you and sending prayers of love and support to all of you today. May you all be watched over and the surgeon's hands be guided smoothly throughout your time in surgery as well as all of your teams unite to get you all to the other side and into recovery! Many prayers and Strength to all of your Families and Friends waiting to love and support you as well.
Good Morning to all our Heart Brother's and Sister's.
Wanted to share something with y'all about what I did yesterday with Ginger, one of our heart valve Sisters. I have been writing back and forth to Ginger since I first joined this community of wonderful people who with some have become new life friends. In particular, Ginger and I have enjoyed the friendship but just as well, the enjoyment of sharing many pieces of our journey right into our recovery phase.
My point in writing about this today is I have been putting off getting into my exercise program. Feeling "Ditched" by Kaiser not having a re-hab program set up the likes of which most of you out there were offered with your Medical. Many of you have been kind enough to report the processes you entered into post surgery and I began to follow my own made up program with the ok from my Cardiologist until a nasty virus hit our house and Gary and I spent a good deal of time going through the Holidays sick and not able to continue the path I had been headed on.
Then I got caught up in the "junk" food portion of Christmas and to be darned honest, just sort of set aside all of the focus I had once I became able to move around more, able to stretch without so much pain and indulged in the fact that I was entering into the time after surgery where I really began to feel like "My New Self was here to stay". So yeah, I got off track. Maybe you did too? Choice yesterday as I realized that beating myself up for it wasn't constructive or going to get me anywhere so I did a pretty darn smart thing. I phoned a friend, chuckle. I decided to go plug in my recumbent bike out in my work room (that took me the past few months to get into shape for a work out room when the whether turned too cold to go out there to do other than laundry and I just walked but even that didn't happen as often as I should have.
So yesterday I phoned Ginger and grabbed a bottle of water and my tablet and a pen and headed out into the room where I turned on the machine and settled myself up on the seat, set in motion began what was to be a delightful 45 minute bike ride. Resistance set at 3 and then 4.
Bunrt up calories while checking my Oxygen level and BPM. Good news was that my oxygen level stayed between 98&99 even though Ginger and I talked the entire time I was on the bike.
Did a lot of laughing too which at times had me finding myself a little short of breath as I pedaled. It was quite fun to imagine myself back up on my outside bike with the wind in my hair as I had the overhead ceiling fan on and it made the ride comfortable. I loved getting focused on how many body parts this biking affects and realized that "I was back". Next thing I thought about was Sandy Wooten(sorry if I misspelled your name)and the fact that just returning from surgery you are at this time where all you can do is manage little things, sleep, take little walks and deal with the frustrations of being so limited while at the same time dealing with what all the many ways surgery helped confuse our body and minds as the anesthesia and drugs take their time leaving our bodies as we hang out in whatever chair we feel comfortable in and wish this part of recovery could move a little faster. Hang in there Sandy as the shifting of moods and emotions will pass. (I remember at one point I tried to use painting my front room with a small 4" brush as my exercise plan for each day and it took days but my front room got done day by day.(I had Gary move the 8' ladder from spot to spot and he walked off to work each morning shaking his head and telling me to be careful and to please quit dropping paint on Hunter and Kat as they wandered beneath the ladder also keeping an eye on me!
So here I was just thinking this morning that it was so much fun talking to Ginger while biking as I got so into the conversation and realizing that it helped to spur me on and I got in my 45 minutes of exercise, drank my water, watched my vitals and for the first time since being home stopped being afraid to be alone and exercise. (Need to remind y'all that I had been experiencing SVT's while out walking which sent me to the ER twice as the heart beat wouldn't reset itself.) Now I have been on medication to keep that more in check(channel Blocker) I have not had any serious incidences so I think yesterday was my maiden voyage and I am looking forward to continuing on with a series of other exercises. I got some of those stretchy bands to use out in the front room and began those too, much to the delight of Hunter and Kat who thought the bands were something she should attack whereby she was sent packing(back outside in the sunshine) Hunter soon followed as I also tried doing leg rises on my mat and Hunter kept licking my face and making me laugh so I only got 7 raises each side done4 times each. So what started out as a simple conversation with my friend Ginger ended up being a bike ride for 45 minutes, leg raises on my side(which I have to admit were tough as my sternum still complains to certain movements, but I was careful and respectful to move slow and precise. getting up off the floor was the worst and I won't describe where body parts were placed and how they managed to get up off the floor for fear that many "fresh "post oppers might laugh so hard they loose their staples or stitches! Let me just say as I got up I could swear that both the cat and dog were smiling at me thru the patio window!!!!
So the absolutely wonderful thing that happened yesterday is that by last night I had gotten on the computer and formed a daily chart to fill in so that I can show my cardiologist my improving activity as I continue on recovering which I hope will soon include swimming on the sheet. For now I am just proud of myself that I see how important the need is to follow through with a program and stick with it now that I have recovered far enough along to realize and feel the benefits. So one new plan. Talk to someone while I am on the bike to make it go fast and enjoy some company and keep the mind occupied with what I can do, am doing instead of mopping around hesitating due to aches and pains that at some point I used as an excuse while knowing I should and could work carefully through it. I say that only as I had seen my cardiologist and had full go ahead but was honestly at a point where I just walked and kept getting into things like house work rather than making a "plan". So I am a very happy Woman today looking forward to getting back on the bike in a little while and I will make plans to talk to people off and on and work indoors until the weather changes where I am safe to ride my outdoor bike again which should be soon. Also, I bought the movie "Frozen" as the neighbor's daughter "Addison loves the music and is always playing it next door and her singing at the top of her lungs is contagious so I have learned most of the words and tried belting out the top tunes after Ginger and I had hung up for a little while and found that singing lifted my spirits even higher(although "Tiffany" the neighbor asked me to kindly shut my window next time I
decide to give a spontaneous "Concert"). I shall comply........Her loss!
So to everyone out there I hope that post-surgery you can have as much fun as I am getting back into life, getting back into activity as you mend and please be aware to mind your "body" and what it is telling you as you go-don't expect too much of it at first and then realize how wonderful a job you are doing-getting through each day, growing more stronger and most important feeling that the mending is actually taking place and life is once again moving forward. And "Thanks Ginger for riding along my 4 mile ride with me(By the way, Ginger is going to move her bike into a place in her home where we can bike at the same time so that
once a week or so we can accomplish this together..
Anyway, have to run let Hunter out- Have a great day!
I am up at 2:30 a.m. this morning, awakened not by Gary's alarm but by the squirrely symptoms of "hypoglycemia" slyly telling me to rise up and get my glucose level checked before the lull of the warm bed and coolness of the room let me slide on back into the darkness of the room, the quiet, and the chilliness that is certain to hit the moment my bare foot reaches the cold floor ruining that lovely deep warmth that goes with a hole I have to crawl out of to begin this new day. But....I am filled with gratitude as I reflect on not two many months ago(5 months)
the thought of leaning over, sitting up, turning to the side(having to do so in many motions emitting tiny little screams-OK SOMETIMES LOUD ONES! covering the airwaves from the pain of a recovering insulted sternum, pain that almost came unwelcomed but expected with the chore of getting up and starting the day. Lucky I was for the understanding I received for some need of help just getting out of bed each morning. How pleased, being able to roll forward onto my toes and gather the strength to roll forward ( I have a Butt J-Lo would envy) causing me to rolling back & sometimes having to make the attempt several times before getting to my actual feet and moving forward to begin the day. How many times did I call out to no one(but Hunter) My God, My dear God will this ever get any easier? And oddly enough, "Self" said you dummy! It already is getting easier! And day by day that is the way it has been. Wake up, Greet Gary and Hunter usually not in that order and find a way to stay focused on the fact that each day the surgery experience falls further and further into the past and every day something pops into my mind at how fortunate these kinds of days are here now, like today, where life has settled back into old and comfortable routines but with this hidden feeling of proud accomplishment that so far, every challenge thrown at me in my journey I have faced and not backed away from brings a great wonderful smile to my face. Proud I am too of all of my heart brothers and sisters facing the same or similar challenges!
What a genuine surprise. I think to myself that not too long ago my life was consumed with so many fears and concerns about the upcoming valve replacement I was being scheduled for. I never thought the day would come when it would get here. How long ago it seems but I bet my heart brothers and sisters know exactly what I mean and just think!!!!!!!!How many more will be feeling this way in future! The day will come. The day will Pass!
Addressing my blood glucose issue this morning(I was at 52 so I made toast and coffee, gave myself insulin) settled in the recliner in "my corner" and watched Hunter lolly over to the patio doors to find "Kat". I say "Lolly" as this is what he mostly does these days thanks to being 14 yrs. old this June! Kat is perched upon the top of her "Rug Tower" almost nose to nose with me at the window. She chooses to ignore Hunter for the moment who has wandered off into the yard by the fence-drawn by a large blue Jay and its mate to which he hates and has hated since a puppy due to the fact of their aggressiveness and loud language. As they squawk to each other I watch him watching while the Jays pop-fly their way around the yard as if it is like a little race track making sure to drop in front of him then pop up in the air, fly a foot or two then down to the ground getting just close enough to Hunter for him to want and maybe attempt a "chase".
Naw. He notices me in the window and sees that "Kat", unbeknownst to him is silently standing in the frame of the patio door next to me now. His old dark brown eyes search my face for some kind of dog/ people signal as to what he should do next. I laugh and look him eyeball to eyeball. Like superman with his x-ray vision, I stare my "Boy" down sending out rays of love that somehow feel as though they may make their destination and he might just absorb all the love I feel for him and have felt for all these many years. How blessed I am as I stand in the doorway with Kat at my side, almost on my right foot, tail waving and dipping as I sip my coffee and we two girls wait to see what our Hunter is going to do next! Not a long wait for he is beside Kat now and together they head out into the yard as the jays are back and have captured both of their attention. Kat is nestled behind the irises soon and Hunter is walking in circles around the trunk of the peach tree in the corner of the yard. How fortunate we are, don't you think? to have our animals along this path that life has chosen for us. Wonderful when emotions well up because our bodies are going through so many changes while we are engaged in this time of "recovery"-a time that is unique to each and every one of us heart people, isn't it? One minute happy to find a place that is comfortable to sleep, another happy we made it walking for an additional 200 ft. Getting back to emptying the dishwasher, returning things higher up into the cupboards. Getting back out into the garden, oh yes! The garden. Letting go of the fear of walking outdoors on our own with all of the fresh air all around you and not the four walls! Driving again! Then there is also facing first the happy time just BEING. Then dealing as the sneaky waves (Of Gray) settle in as we fight to take the depression that just damn demands itself to be let in......Relief when just the sight of a hummingbird as it wings its way up to your window as you hold your steaming coffee as if it wishes to flit through the steam but instead you walk a step out into the patio garden and it surprises you by appearing by your face-so close you can feel the tiny fast moving wings beating against your cheek. So close that you can actually hear the beating of it's tiny delicate heart! Suddenly, moments like this seem to invade my day in a welcome accumulation of moments that make me feel the preciousness of this one, very day. Yes, recovery is something to drink in. To be thankful for.
To pray for others to go exceptionally well! To look forward to. So many people out in this beautiful world recovering from something. How grateful to be in this very place today. To feel the love from a few very old and very dear friends deep within this healing heart, to have the heart brothers and sisters to continue growing and learning from/with while on this journey. To have the continued medical care and support from my health care team(whom by way told me yesterday I am one of his favorite patients(Gary and I, chuckle) which also gave me confidence my heart will continue to be watched over and taken care of as this recovery continues. By the way Doctor G., the feeling is mutual and you have our love and thanks for sharing and organizing this journey with us.
Well the day is almost half over already and it is time to get out and enjoy the day itself. Blue skies for a change where there has been fog and grayness for weeks. My sternum still isn't happy when I get out into the colder/damper temperatures. Even Kat and Hunter find their way inside the house for warmth when that cold dampness hits. Kat has gotten more comfortable staying in my "art room" and I am looking forward to finding what mischief she and Hunter will find when I am set up at my table in front of the warmth of the sun that is able to stream in through the kitchen window given an opportunity for both of them to investigate the length of the table while seeing what I am up to with my sketching and carving tools. It is going to be interesting soon and enjoyable getting back into my work.
Have to head out for my walk. Still only doing 2 miles when the weather permits but with the
warmer weather this will increase. I am happy just to get out as often as I can and keep moving.
May all of you out there in our Heartland enjoy your days and nights and may the loving Universal energy we all share on this Planet be "Positive". May all of our Prayers find their mark.
Love from Terrie, Hunter and Kat
I just wrote a call for OUR prayers to our heart Sister Robin Szymanski. Please read my note to the community that is in our updates-& this post today.
Robin is celebrating her anniversary of her second year from her Surgery by being back in the Hospital today. Not what She had planned, and while we wait to hear more by way of update from her She could really use any and all prayers you can pass along to her while they look into her health and hopefully are able to get things turned around so that Robin can back to the process of healing.
Robin you have my prayers and love that they are able to help you and your Family to can get back on that Path of Healing.
I know you will keep us posted so Keep up
that Mountain of Faith you hold within and we
your brothers and sisters will walk beside you with all the prayers love and support you can handle. So everyone, please take the time NOW to drop by Robin Szymanski's guestbook and leave her a note to "lift her and her spirits high" into this Universe.
I know her Family and She will be thankful.
Attention Brothers and Sisters of our Community!
I am sending out this request to you all who believe in the power of prayer to send heartfelt prayers to our Beautiful Heart Sister Robin S. who has ended up in the hospital on this Her 2nd. Anniversary of her
Heart Surgery. Yes, today of all days people!
There are some issues with her blood count again and her cardiologist has ordered an ultra sound of her heart today and I am sure that between the cardiologist and her Family they will get to the bottom of what is going on and will be able to update us soon. So she'd really appreciate prayers from her Brother's and Sister's here in the community so let us lift up to the heavens and direct them all on their way, shall we? Robin is a constant source of love and prayers to this community so I do believe that God will have his hands full with all of ours!(If I have any more updates and have permission I will pass them along)
So for you Lady, and your Family keep the faith and Love and Prayers your way. Your Friend and heart sister-Terrie, Hunter and Kat
Prayers be said for the Dr. who was shot at Brigham and Women's Hospital and all those involved both patients and workers there.
Special Prayer to HVS heart sister Judy Aylward who was scheduled for her surgery today at this hospital at 7:30 a.m. this morning that all is going well with her and her family. I hope we will get a post from her daughter soon if she has the time and the surgery went on as scheduled. Be Well everyone.
HAPPPY 5th. MONTH SURGERY ANNIVERSARY TO ME, HAPPY 5TH MONTH ANNIVRSARY TO ME, HAPPY 5TH. MONTH ANNIVERSARY MY DEAR SELF........HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DEAR TERRIE, HAPPY DAY TO ME!
I hope someone out there was singing along with me.
I am here in very Gray, soggy, foggy not Quite raining Manteca, Calif.
I am happily sitting at the computer with (of course)Hunter at my bare feet wondering why on earth I haven't put some warm socks on.
Done! Much better now. Hunter is looking left out as all four of his hairy paws are soaking wet as we had taken a walk outside the back and it is very wet and soggy for those long hairy paws of his and he came back in looking a wee bit disgruntled. Kat came inside with us and she is fast asleep on his other side. Occasionally she lifts a lazy paw up to lick her fur which is thick black and glossy from being out in the yard roaming through the various plants that comb her fur as she slides between all the branches and leaves. The yard looks barren now and this fog has continued every morning and up until the afternoon for over two weeks now. It makes me wonder what all of the people who have snow and ice are having to face . Guess I am glad it is not any worse here in California.
I got up this morning and realized it is my 5 Month Post Op Day and then "OH MY GOD!" ANOTHER IMPORTANT REASON TO CELEBRATE TODAY!!!!!! it is KAREN PINEDA'S BIRTHDAY TODAY! So I am giving a shout out from me, Hunter and Kat to Karen and her best buddy "Trance" for a wonderful Birthday and also want to thank her for all of the wonderful support She has given myself and others on this site of ours for quite some time prior to and even now as we make our way on our HVS Journey's and know I will be there as yours continues as well, Friend of Mine!
And for those who might be interested about how it feels to be at 5 months for me......
For the most part I am doing well. I never did get any help from Kaiser by way of a programed re-hab. Pretty much got into walking and began recumbent biking. Had a couple of problems that were minor with a-fib and SVT's. I am on meds for the SVT's and have to date been to the ER 4 times but things moved right along other than last month I had one of the ER trips due to pain in the chest and back. Had a contrasted "photo shoot" of heart and chest x-rays and a thorough "look at" and it was decided that the chest wall was still pretty irritated from the surgery and told the heart looked good and that there was no problem with fluid. I have been doing a bit in the garden and painted the front room back in Nov. and I suppose many of the things I do daily at that point my body wasn't ready for so it continued not to be supportive of the "chest wall". I have learned my lesson and will continue to behave myself. So it is back to some serious walking and learning to fear less going out for my walking alone in my park of the SVT's "I might experience" as the medication I am on is working well to date! I have to admit that I do allow myself to rest when I am tired and I mean small naps when I think I need them followed by activity mostly indoors due to the weather. With Hunter, Kat and Gary there are always blankets and towels to wash up from all the kitty, doggy and human muddy trails going in and out of the back from all the traffic in all this wet/soggy/muddy weather so I am going up and down stairs into and out of the garage, front yard and back yard.
In the afternoon two days ago I had the best walk ever! I was bundled up wearing 10lbs. of clothing and one of my new snazzy hats that is knitted with a grand crocheted flower on the side, a long scarf, jacket, flannel shirt and warm socks and shoes to take care of the35 degree foggy greyness I was walking in as I headed out for the park across the street. The hat felt wonderful as it covered my ears although I have a sneaky suspicion that had I stood in place too long, one of the many birds buzzing overhead might have begun gathering nesting material, dive bombing down and into the flower to rest. The entire 6 times around the park(2 miles) they seem to follow me around my "square"
path I take and the noise brought great consciousness of their numbers in this park of ours that sits with over40 trees all bare of leaves with tons of tiny branches for them to take off, land, talk among each other only to leave again and sail past me and often times look as if my hat would become one of their landing places.
And what a reminder I have had to mention on this 5th month of
recovery how blessed I am to walk around and through this park as
part of my self-imposed re-hab and just how much I know I feel blessed to have had my dear old friends, new HVS family along for each and every one of these walks while I mend day by day, hour by hour. This is one of the special ways I spend my days out here in my park(Which by the way is called Greystone. When I walk alone, there is a special tree I think to be "The Prayer Tree". As I come upon it in my mind, I go over the names of folks headed into surgery and think of them and say a prayer for their surgery to be successful. I make it around again and this time I pray for those whose surgery is complete and that they're beginning their recovery time. Yes, the third time around the park(which is one mile) I pray for all of those involved or part of HVS (including Adam and his Family) and thank you all for popping up here and there checking in on me and sharing stories of our journey's here speaking of which I would love to hear from "M" from across the Pond, Gabi, Julia, Meredith! I am so excited that I will be able to kayak when the weather clears and bike outdoors with the
wind in my hair and bugs in my eyes! This will be the first year I take my carving tools down to one of the two cement park tables and benches and carve while being able to visit with neighbors and meet up with a lot of them who will be bringing their dogs along to play and walk. For now I am just working on the sketches that will be transferred to the block for carving.
I have to say that the surgery was worth it. Breathing is much better and it certainly is nice not having to "wait" anymore for something to be done and I am happy that even though I am still sore in the sternum area I am able to sleep well now and see that my body is getting stronger and stronger every day.
So I will continue to talk to myself all day today in remembrance of that time not to long ago I was just beginning to heal one day at a time, one new step at a time like many of you.
Life is good. Healing is wonderful and remember to take it slow and respect the limits of your body so that you can heal safely.
Good Day y'all. Love and good wishes from the "Hat Lady"
I have had a slow start to the day and it is already 12:41 here in foggy Manteca, Calif. where the fog finally lifted and I will tear myself away from the computer and our site right now to begin a much needed walk around my "Greystone Park" across the street.
I have put off the walk for two hours now and I will tell you a little truth of mine. I am afraid to walk outside by myself today as from time to time I have episodes of SVT's. Supraventricular
tachycardia which I have medication for but has on occasion landed me in the ER due to the irregular heartbeat it presents. Since my surgery (and it has nothing to do to the aortic stenosis or the replacement of the valve. This was going on as of some time in Sept. of 2014 and I am still not sure why but after my heart has a little more time to heal I will be going for an ablation to see if it can be corrected. So for now I just keep on going and hope it keeps correcting itself with the medication which so far is working. I think it is that I am on my own and not walking with anyone today as my neighbor is sick and no one is around today in the "Hood". So I have been procrastinating by interacting with our "community" until I make myself go.
THEN. My thoughts went to Lisa Fuller and I sat with some mighty deep thoughts and a prayer for Her and Her Family and realized that I had to push through the fear and anxiety and the "what ifs" circling my brain and get up off my ---- and get outside to walk. I think about the wonderful energy that Lisa projected and her posts on running and exercise itself and the zest she seemed to have for life while with this community and I am suddenly ashamed that I have the opportunity to have this day, this gift and I am here, now hiding from this time when I should thank God for being where I am today and having the choice to move forward with my journey. So here's to you Lisa and I thank God, the Universe, YOU and your memory for helping set me straight RIGHT NOW and I will take these thoughts of you, bless you and your loved ones and make myself go. I am out of here............Love and Prayers go to all of you heading for surgery and those on the other side for smooth healing.
At 3:35 a.m. in the morning and Hunter and I have witnessed Gary just disappear around the corner of the house y our garage in a thick blanket of fog, brief case in hand. The car door closes and an eerie show of the rear lights cast a small red glow into the air that gives the impression of a floating menacing face in the mist. I quickly call on the presence of my garden fairies and elves to come out and scare it away....Soon the lights seem to bloat away down the driveway and are swallowed up by the ever thickening fog. I say a quick "Travelers'" Prayer for the safe travel for all who are headed for the road this morning and turn to close the door but Hunter insistently pushes at the storm door and I allow him out onto the porch, grabbing my thick "hospital robe" and scarf on the way out. I am happy that the robe is being used this winter as I was too warm to use it in the hospital at surgery time.
I wrap the warm scarf tightly around my neck and step down the two steps and onto the lawn following Hunter into the fog that is not unlike walking into a dream and I find I am still tired from lack of sleep last night.
A sudden blast of light hits me from the side as the motion detector has detected Hunter and I stealing across the yard just as I believe to have just caught site of one of my favorite garden fairies taking a ride in the mist on Hunter's back, leaning over the back of his neck with a tuft of fir for dear life. I hear tiny giggles as she rides along. Her name is Zanita and She is a visitor often from the town of Redding where Gary and I once had a home up on a small mountain off of Quartz Hill that backed up to a delightful greenbelt with a creek which was also part of Gary and mine's property. This was the greenbelt where Sherlock(Hunter's Brother, Hunter and I first encountered "Zanita" as She lives among the greenbelt tall Oak Trees and Manzanita trees that are spread up and down the greenbelt. Zanita and other fairies and elves from the area have followed us from there to each move we have made since the "Time of Financial Crisis" hit our country forcing us to Short Sell our home in Redding rather than lose it to a Foreclosure like so many had to do in such a troubling and disheartening time. So along Zanita continued to visit us(although I have to admit that Gary nary a time has met or seen her!) She has followed us from Redding, Ca. to San Lorenzo, Elk Grove and now to our new home in Manteca, Ca. She was actually with me in the back yard on our house viewing day one dark, damp and foggy day much like this morning and She assured me that this was the "right place" to settle into as She adored the Little Peach Tree in the back yard and assured me also that the soil was rich from being an agricultural country space that had once boasted acre after acre of strawberry fields and whos land boasts still fields of vegetables and fruits that can be bought along the road side stands in this and nearby towns. She was right of course as before my heart started to worsen I was able to plant tomatoes, my birdhouse gourds hung plenty on the vines and I had a good harvest until I began to tire to easily in the sunshine of summer and had to lessen their growth area. The gourd vines however, made and excellent place for Hunter, Kat and I to dance in the moonlight while giving chase to Zanita and some of her friends that she flew down from Redding with. Zanita also had many dragonflies as travelling companions. (I have a carving I did of Her and one of them I will post tonight before I go to bed where She posed for me one evening while I sat in the gazebo that Gary and I constructed on the side of the mountain side that overlooked the greenbelt area where she lives.
The dragonflies especially love the backyard as well and butterflies busy themselves among the butterfly bushes and lavender plants we brought down in the back of our moving truck when we came here. I loaded 27 different roses, shrubs, trees when we departed Redding as the "Banks" would not water the property when we vacated the property while it sold and the 113 degree heat of summer would have and did kill many of the plants on the land. I was happy to either dig up and give away, sell at garages sales or take with me like a gypsy in a caravan all of the plants we could handle and it broke me and I am sure hurt my heart health but we and they survived-----Just as they and my heart survived now! Yeah, RECOVERY. Can't you all just taste it!!!! Bless Your Hearts!
This is also the time where Hunter and I met Kat for the first time, an abandoned little soul who
seemed fond of the area at the far right corner of the yard under the peach tree. Easy to see why Zanita has become so fond of Kat as She delighted during the summer days before my surgery playing tag with Kat and Hunter who liked nothing more than raising her long crooked tail and chasing after the dragonflies, butterflies and chasing down the frogs in the early evening after the ground had cooled down. Hunter especially loves Frogs. He used to chase them with his brother Sherlock(I will put a photo of his brother Sherlock tonight as well) as his Spirit is with us to this day and he deserves to have a place in my journal too! Rest his gentle soul!
We are surely blessed to begin again with this older home in Manteca across from this little Park which I can't wait to see in the spring again and begin in earnest to ride the bike trails to and from all over town! Today I will rides my recumbent bike in the garage and watch a movie while Kat and Hunter fool around and keep me company. This is a joyful part of the recovery process now. Finding out what I can and cannot do as the time goes by. I am blessed to have good friends who are keeping track of me from other towns(Betty, Vicki, Maggie, Lois) and neighbors and friends now here in Manteca(Tom, Mary, Tobi, Codi, Greg, Nick, Tiffany, Jessica,) as it is important in a new town to have people around to watch over and encourage your progress who can help you up when you feel things aren't going as quickly or well as you feel they should go! Recovery is an adventure in itself. Example. One planting of a Blue Spruce was all I could handle digging and planting last week as the old sternum said "Wait a damn minute here girllie, take it easy and a bit slower! It got done and is beautiful in it's new little resting place and has become a great enjoyment for Kat to play with as she sniffs it and bats the little
limbs about like her own little punching bag! Hunter has learned to follow her round and round in circles looking for the right place to "poop" which is hilarious as he is so slow in his old age that Kat sometimes gets a bit to close behind him and you just wait for something to land on her head! Oh well.....She will learn, chuckle?!
Yes we all love this house and are especially grateful that we were here and I had a chance to paint the outside of this house(all by myself with a brush and an 8 ft. ladder with Hunter and Kat watching close by). One day at a time while my cardiologist chastised me about working too hard while I knew since I was largely asymptomatic that I would reach my goal of finishing before my surgery and as Adam would say"Wha Hoo! I did! Just as in Recovery now I think we learn what or what not is wise to do with the assistance of our heart Sisters and Brothers as well of course as our medical team most of the time.
While I love having Kat and Hunter around to dance in the moonlight nights in our new yard(we will have been here 2 yrs. this month.) I especially appreciate their help to me in my Heart Recovery Days which allows me to feel the true Miracle of what you going into surgery today or going in soon or those headed home to heal will fully or do fully understand my meaning and my feelings.
Well, Kat has long since jumped down from the fence to join us in the fog and is happy to follow us back inside the house together with Hunter together to cozy up in front of the fireplace for warmth as she stays out all night in her "cat house" on the back porch and still only enters the house by light of day or early mornings such as this after Gary has left for work. Sometimes She sits by the corner of the garage and waits until the car has retreated down into the street to scamper back in and over the fence to be with Hunter and I.
Meanwhile, Zinata has disappeared back into the fog- last seen leaping and dancing along the pickets of the fence and headed for the tree tops in the park across the street which is one of her favorite hiding places from the neighborhood kids and dogs and cats as she sits peeking out from one of the deserted birds nests where She is Safe. Later, Zanita!
Back inside I am writing up today's Journal page now with a fresh cup of coffee warm and accompanied by Kat and Hunter who are here in the computer room cuddled in a corner together as I write. The coffee goes down warm and has shaken the dampness from my body of the earlier walk about in the yard!
I am happy to be back inside now as the coolness in the air made my healing sternum ache at the incision site.
Yes I am blessed just thinking of all the days almost 5 months now) in this recovery time.
I run my hand gently down the length of my healing incision and am still amazed at the healing powers of our bodies to go from being cut open to awake new and with the awareness this marvelous body of ours has had strong/gentle and talented hands inside of each of us repairing and replacing the 'ailing" parts of our hearts then sealing us back up and gently passing us along for the "angels" take over until we wake up sometime later.
The wake up is a moment I will never forget as well. Fluttering of eye lashes-Ah yes...I have awakened and it is over- Thoughts of Gary immediately circulating in my brain. My husband and best friend whom I have spent half my life with. The love of my life.. Images of his dark brown eyes and long eyelashes looking down at me with a kind, smile. Is this a large tear sliding down his cheek? or my wonderful, treasured imagination? Is He really there? Thank you Power of the Universe. Thanks be to God. My, my, my I am alive.
To all of you in recovery, To all of you headed in for surgery. Do not fear. Wait for your time to feel all of these feelings(minus my husband and his tears) for you will experience your own unique calmness and awareness. Just Believe and have confidence that a better, healthier YOU is in the making. Have Faith. Just as Kat, Hunter, Gary and I are wallowing in this New Day of Recovery there is within reach, the same and more for you all. I send you all my love today and thank you for being a crucial part of my recovery as you were for my "entry into surgery". Let this Day Begin!"
Patricia, Bill an Dave. (And anyone who might not have made it on the list for tomorrow's surgeries!) As silly as it sounds I hope you can rest easy and arrive for your surgeries with some form of calmness after having a good nights sleep. I hope you enjoyed the day today with good people and/or loved ones who pumped you up with love and confidence tonight. Tomorrow is a new start for you and your heart and I am happy for you that you can see this is behind you after the waiting game you probably had to play. Have Faith that all will go well that the surgery will run smoothly and your healing will begin in recovery shortly thereafter. You have many good thoughts and prayers coming your way for tomorrow and they will continue into your healing time! Take care all of you.