This blog is a whole new world to me, I am so nervous about what to say. I have written in a “diary” since I was 15 yrs old and I have to say 21 yrs later, going online to write all my thoughts is a little scary. It’s scary what people are going to say or think about my thoughts, I hope to reach out to people with this blog but in a sense I am writing just for me. The title that I have chosen “writes from the heart” is perfect because it’s always from my heart and what I am feeling that particular day, week, month.
Like I said earlier, I have written in a “diary” since I was 15 yrs old (even thou I do not say “diary” anymore it is a journal now), the reason I chose to write was because I wanted to write what I had done that was important to me.
I was born to deaf parents, my mother is completely deaf and my father was considered hard of hearing, (by the way I am not deaf) I learned sign language before I learned to talk, when I was about 2 yrs old my Grandma taught me to speak properly. Other wise if my Grandma did not teach me to speak properly I would have spoke like my father who was able to speak but not clearly.
Age 12, at a school track and field meet, I was running the 100 metre and right at the finish line I just dropped to the ground and fainted. I remember the teachers waking me and asking me if I was alright and I said “yes” and went on with my day.
Later that same day I had mentioned it to my parents that I had fainted and they said that I probably didn’t eat or drink enough, since it was spring/summer and it was a hot day. A couple months later a friend of mine discovered that I had a lump on the back of my right knee. My parents were very concerned and took me to the doctor to find out what this mysterious lump on the back of the knee was and it ended being a “baker’s cyst” which is a buildup of joint fluid (synovial fluid) that forms behind the knee. The doctor said that there were two things I could do with it, which was either they would drain the fluid with a needle or put me under anesthetic and remove the fluid.
Well you see at 12 yrs old I was so scared of needles that I chose to go under the anesthetic route. I know, I know you’re probably thinking “huh?’ but that’s even more needles, well yes it was but I did find out at the hospital that I has a heart murmur, and that they had to do more tests to see what it was exactly that I had, at the time my parents did not fully understand what was wrong with me, I remember my mother saying to me ” you had blue lips when you were born”.
So after all the tests they had done, I had found out that I had a Mitral regurgitation (MR), mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence is a disorder of the heart in which the mitral valve does not close properly when the heart pumps out blood. Doctors said that they would watch it over the years to make sure that the valve was functioning properly, but they also did say that had to be careful on what exercises I could do and know my limits, due to shortness of breath and dizziness, they also said that eventually depending on how hard the heart would pump, I may have to have surgery on the valve but also said “do not worry, it probably would not happen until you are old, like around in your 70’s” so I always kept up with my regular checkups with the Cardiologist, same thing would happen every year, “everything is good, see you next year” ……………..until 2004.
End of June 2004, was my regular check up with the Cardiologist and did all the necessary test like the EKG, Echo cardio-gram. My Cardiologist said again if you “do not hear from me in 10 days you know you are good until next year” I would say yes of course and be on my merry way. But on July 5th, My Cardiologist called me to give me the news that I was going to have open heart surgery because my heart was enlarging too much and that it was necessary to go in and operate on the valve. Well I was a basket case for 3 days straight I could not stop crying I was in real denial for the week, thinking that this isn’t that serious and that I wasn’t going thru with the surgery. The Cardiologist said “No this is serious, that the surgery was booked on July 16, 2004”. I was so scared! Well after talking with the Doctor about the risks involved, (by not doing the surgery) I decided that I was going to go thru with it.
I was slowly preparing myself for the consequences that I could face like not making it out of the surgery, how long I would stay alive if the surgery was not a success. So on July 13, 2004 (which was our son’s 5th birthday) I had to go in for my pre-op, what a day that was! I was such a wreck! I could not even concentrate on what the nurses were explaining that the Surgeons were going to do, I just kept on crying. Thank goodness my wonderful husband, best friend in whole world was there to console me and support me. Needless to say I did go thru the pre-op that day but was worried about the 3 days that were coming so fast.
As I was at home preparing for my surgery for the 16th, I got a phone call from the Hospital telling me that they had to postpone the surgery to the 27th!! I was mixed with different emotions when I heard this, first I was really happy thinking phew! I don’t have to deal with this tomorrow but then I was angry because, I was at the point of accepting the surgery and wanted it over.
On July 27th I ended up having my surgery, the Cardiologist told me that they would not know the extent of the damage to the valve until they went in and took a look. They told me that I had to decide on what valve to choose from, should the valve needed replacement. The two different options were a mechanical valve or a pig’s valve. After all the pros/cons of each I had decided to go with the pig’s valve. I went in that morning of the 27th not knowing what was going to happen to me and if I was going to come out alive to see my three beautiful children or my husband again.
Surgery was only 3 hr long and I did not know what they had done to my valve for 2 days, until my Cardiologist finally came to see me and I asked him what they ended up doing to me, he said that the valve was still in very good condition. They did not have to replace it and instead just repaired it with a ring in the middle to hold it together tight, the surgery was 95% successful! I was so thrilled!
So I was released from the hospital on July 30 th and from that day on, I improved each day, I got to drive again, and begin my regular routine. The Cardiologist said that I had to have my regular check ups like I did when I was a child. I have had the same Cardiologist for almost 17 yrs, when we lived in a rural town in Alberta, then in 2007 we had a change……………..
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