I HAVE been quietly nurturing myself in a cocoon because every day for the past three months I’ve been waiting for a phone call that never seems to come.
When it does I might cry, shake with adrenalin, sink to the floor in relief; maybe I’ll dance. I’ll let you know when I know.
The phone call will be from a hospital giving me a date for open heart surgery (OHS).
I AM having OPEN HEART SURGERY.
That’s a sentence I have had to scrutinise from every angle: it’s hopefully the most alien and unexpected thing I’ll ever have to write.
Nine months I was diagnosed with a heart defect. I’ve had it since birth but this 3.5cm hole in my upper heart chamber (Atrial Septal Defect: ASD) has been quietly smiling as I’ve built a business based on ‘living a confident life with an open heart,’ with only a tiny knowing of how truly authentic it is.
The ASD has never been picked up though in hindsight I’ve gone to the GP with a series of clues throughout my life that could easily have painted the bigger picture. The picture was not painted.
I’ve been living on three horse power instead of four. One day soon I’ll be a dynamo.
Back to the surgery:
There are moments where I am numb, frightened, where I want to curl up in a ball and hiss loudly at the world. Why is THIS MY path? Why do the people that I love have to watch me go through this?
There are times where I can’t believe that the hospital consultants are talking about me. Seriously? I look after my health. I eat well. I drink little. I exercise. I have a harmonious lifestyle and cope pretty well with stress. If it hadn’t been for these factors it’s likely the ASD would have caused a stroke by now (which is how many ASDs are found). There are less of THESE numb moments now.
Open heart surgery it is.
I’ve taken time to get my head round THE news, to understand how I feel (how we feel, because I am not alone), and what this means for me, and my family. I am strong, I am capable and I am resilient. I have no doubt about my ability to get through this. Your empathy, recognition of my vulnerability, your stores of overcoming major surgery – these feel good. It’s important to raise awareness of ASD’s too. It’s only affecting my life in a minor way right now, but in 20 years it’d be a very different story. This surgery is POSITIVE.
On days like today I feel positive about it too (not Julie Walters positive but I’ve accepted it kind of positive). I know surgery will give me a NEW lease of life. I think less about my breast bone being split open and strangers working on my heart, less about the 4-5 inch wound and weeks of recovery, and more about my potential for renewed energy, for a heightened appreciation of life, grateful for the love of my family and friends, and thankful for the opportunity to grow at an even deeper level. I certainly picked a MISSION, or was I chosen?
I have started to write this blog many times and talked myself out of it; who cares anyway? But there’s truth-telling in this, there is truth-telling in me. It’s important to integrate the challenging times along with the I’ve overcome them shares… I will be so happy to post the outcome soon!
I’m proud to be walking this path with the support of my fiancé, family and friends. I don’t want to live a life with half of everything, particularly nothing less than a WHOLE heart!!