difficult but healing

I know, I thanked the lifeguards for saving my life back in February, but I got a call on May 9th from the BC Ambulance Services letting me know that they were giving the three Lifeguards, the two Paramedics, and to the person who called 911 the Vital Link Award. I was so happy they were going to give them recognition for saving me. The spokesperson told me the ceremony was the following week and wanted to know if I could attend. I really wanted to see them all get the award. I told the spokesperson that I would get back to her by Friday. I had such mixed emotions during the phone call because of the questions they asked in case I wasn’t able to attend, and told me the media would be there. I know that the media wanted to show the community how proud they were of the Lifeguards, and Paramedics but it was just very overwhelming knowing they were going to be there.

I talked with DC and he thought it would be great to see the Lifeguards again since the last time was emotional. Not that it wouldn’t be emotional again but it may help me feel this way of thanking the Lifeguards/Paramedics could help me move on. I talked with my brother K, he said that if I couldn’t attend he would go on my behalf, but thought it would be good for me to come as well. I even asked my Therapist if it would be in my best interest to go. If I could handle it emotionally. She thought that it was wonderful that they were going to give them recognition for their actions, and asked me how I felt.  I told her I thought it was wonderful too, and wanted to be there. That I was thankful too. But I was really nervous because the last time I went to thank them, I had 2 ATP’s before I had even entered the building!! I didn’t want to be so emotional that my ICD would shock me. Dr. H said to remember about letting all the emotions out, not to hold it in, so that it wouldn’t get my heart rate up. It’s something that I am still learning to do. After I had talked with everyone, I knew I had to be there.

On May 15th I flew to BC to be at the award ceremony the next day. It was difficult to leave DC this time because the last time I left him I almost didn’t come back. DC reassured me, told me not to worry (DC couldn’t attend the ceremony) and I would be alright. Even thou I am sure DC at the time was worried too.  I even remember how scared I was flying that day. We had a bit of turbulence, and I remember thinking to myself “calm down S, don’t panic, don’t get your heart rate up!” I didn’t want to have a shock on the plane! I know it was minor turbulence but when you are nervous you think the worst haha.

K, M and I went to the Rec Centre for the ceremony and I couldn’t believe how many people were there! I wasn’t expecting that many people, I figured there was just going to be the three Lifeguards, the two Paramedics, the person who called 911, BC Ambulance Services and the Media. But there were Paramedics, Lifeguards, staff, family, the Radio and the Media. It was overwhelming, but it was great to see all these people who come to see them get the recognition they deserved!

I was really proud of myself, I only cried once when they talked about my story. After the ceremony was over, I met with one of the Paramedic that attended to me that day. (I didn’t meet the Paramedics when I thanked the Lifeguards back in February). She was more emotional than I was! She thought it was wonderful to see I was doing well! She said in all her 18yrs of being a Paramedic, I was the second person she helped save, survive. I was really happy for her knowing she helped me too. I even met one of the Lifeguard’s family member, and I told them how thankful I was for their daughter that day. The Media asked if I would give them a quote and picture of me with the Paramedic and Lifeguards. I decided to let them have a picture and quote because it would make this story complete. When I left the Rec Centre that day, I felt so good! Like weight had lifted off my shoulders knowing they all got recognition and another way of saying THANK YOU. Having this ceremony for the all the people that day made me know I could start healing………………………….

shocked!

After all the things that I had gone thru in the beginning of the year, I finally felt that I was going to be alright! I was healing nicely and I had even decided that having an ICD wasn’t going to be that bad. Our oldest C had come down for Spring break to visit, because she didn’t get a chance to see me while I was recovering in BC, or for my father’s death. When C arrived, we had a family photo done so that we could update the old one, plus D had her Grad photos done at the same time. It was so nice to have the 5 of us together.

The next day, I had decided to make lasagna for supper and cherry cheesecake for dessert. While I was preparing the meal, I was standing at the stove making the meat part of the lasagna and I thought I felt something in my chest. I just shrugged it off thinking it was nothing, so I just kept cooking, but then I felt something again. I stopped immediately and knew that I should go and sit down. When I was at the Pacemaker Clinic they told me that no matter what I was doing whether it was cooking, showering, walking etc, and I felt anything I was to find a safe spot and sit down.

I immediately went to the dinning room table and sat down but I didn’t have much time because I had received my first shock! My ICD did what it was supposed to do when my heart needed it. The shock was very quick, and it was not as painful as I thought it would be, don’t get me wrong it did hurt and like someone had kicked me, but not what I was expecting. The jolt to the heart was so powerful it almost threw me backwards and off the chair but DC rushed over and held my legs down so I wouldn’t. I was so thankful that DC was home that day. I was in shock for some time and tried to stay calm because I was afraid it would go off again. When I went to bed that night however was hard, I was scared that it would go off while I was asleep and what if I went to sleep and I didn’t wake up? DC was so thoughtful, he knew that I was struggling with the thoughts of not waking up that he left the bathroom light on.

I had a lot of trouble that night with my heart rate. The more I felt my heart go up the more anxiety I had. The funny part of it all was every time DC got into our bed my heart rate would go up, and I would get hot. This happened at least four times. He would get up get me a cold cloth to put on my forehead, and check my heart rate to make sure I was okay. DC wanted to take me to the hospital but I refused. I am a very stubborn, and I didn’t want to go to the hospital! after all I had just been there.
As I have said before DC is very thoughtful, after all the in and out of bed, he felt that he should sleep on the floor beside me. He slept on the floor with his pillow and one blanket all night. To this day when I think of what he did, I cry because knowing he had shoulder surgery only a few months earlier he slept on that hard floor for me…..

The shock happened on March 23, 2012 @ 2:45pm. I will never forget this day. I will never forget the feelings that I had that day, the hurt, the worry, and most of all………..
the love………………….

some say luck, fate, I say “thank you”

As I left you off last post, I said I didn’t make it to the hot tub that day………………. I am going to tell you what happened that day…………………..

You know the saying “second chance?” I had my second chance with my Mitral Valve repair in 2004. My title “some say luck, fate, I say “thank you”, well I say “thank you” because that day I got a “third” chance at life.

January 24,2012.

I remember running on the treadmill in the fitness area, at the Rec Centre and while I was running there was an elderly couple that came to exercise beside me on a couple of stationary bikes. I remember because I apologized for the heavy running noise, the elderly woman laughed and said to me not to worry, and made a joke saying that they were part deaf anyways. I laughed, still ran on. I noticed that there was a gentleman working out with the weights diagonal from me, and I still ran on. I looked down to see where K was with the boys because the fitness area was above the pool so that you could look down and watch. I noticed a gentleman in the pool that I thought was K but it wasn’t. I panicked looking around for K and noticed that he was walking with the boys. I thought to myself “uh oh they are going to the hot tub already without me” and I wanted to finish my run. I looked at the clock, wanting to know what time it was and it said about 2:38? So I still ran, knowing that I only had about 6 or 9 mins left in my run. Then I looked to my left and noticed a blonde girl coming to run on the treadmill beside me, next thing I remember was looking forward and my vision went like when a television loses connection and it goes snowy, well it did, then it was black…………

The next thing I remember was someone saying my name over and over which I later found out it was K. A few moments later I hear a gentleman saying my name and asking me if I knew where I was. I mumbled the place, and he said that I had to keep the oxygen mask on, because I remember fighting it with them trying to put it on my face and then I hear sirens. While I was in the ambulance, K was on the phone to hubby DC, telling him that I had collapsed and was on my way to the hospital. DC was in the grocery store when he got the news and he was so shocked that he dropped everything and left to go tell our children that their mom was on her way to the hospital. DC didn’t know what to do, whether to just drop everything and get to me or wait to find out what was wrong with me first, because he was three provinces away. K also had called M to let her know what had happened, and that he was coming to get her. A lifeguard ended up watching the boys,and there were a couple of friends of K at the pool too that knew the boys and took over. Which was a relief to K since he needed to rush to the hospital as quickly as possible.

I arrived to the hospital and I remember a woman saying to me it’s alright, you’re alright and you’re going to feel a warm sensation, don’t worry you didn’t pee yourself. I was having a CT Scan done to check if there was any brain damage, and a X-ray to check for any broken ribs. I didn’t have any damage to either brain or ribs. The whole time I was in and out of consciousness I didn’t have my eyes open. I then remember hearing K talking to someone about my information, my name, where I lived etc. Then suddenly it was like someone turned on a light switch and I could open my eyes! I looked over and saw K standing beside me and he says to the nurse” could you pass me her glasses? she’s pretty blind with out them” and he gives them to me. I put them on and looked over to K saying “What happened?” “What happened?”. K came over to me, cried, hugged me and said “you collapsed”. I was really shocked at this moment because I only remember running on the treadmill and now here I am in the hospital???

I asked K what had happened over and over, it was probably more than 5 times within an hour or more and K was getting worried, looked over at the nurse and she said it was normal for people to have a little amnesia. K explained as much as he could about what had happened…….

K said when I collapsed, the elderly couple noticed that I had fallen in between the treadmills and was unconscious, so the elderly woman rushed to get help. A lifeguard came and started CPR, while the lifeguard was doing CPR there was another one getting the AED kit. The lifeguard with the AED kit came opened it up and it had said that it was needed. My heart had stopped. They put the AED on me used it. It brought me back. All of this happened less than 2 minutes. Another lifeguard had called 911 and the ambulance was on their way. Ambulance came. Ambulance took me to the hospital.

So, you can call it luck, fate for that day but…..

I say “thank you” because those lifeguards saved my life and gave my third chance.

New Year’s Resolution 2011

My New Year’s Resolution for 2011 was to start running, since my brother K and sister-in-law M, inspired me. I pretty much started right away in January.  I had started on the treadmill because where I live it’s not all that great weather, plus I didn’t want to run and freeze my butt haha, I’m kinda a wimp when it comes to winter.

Like I said I started to run and I ended up getting the Couch to 5K app on my iPhone and by the way if you are wanting to start running this app is the perfect way to start! (well I think so anyways).

After about a month of running on the treadmill, the weather started to warm up, and on Feb 15th I headed outside and ran!  Let me tell you, what a difference I felt from running on the treadmill to outside! The ground didn’t help your feet and the air hit my lungs like a ton of bricks! but I did the full 5K that day and I ended doing a time of approx 44 mins! I was so proud of myself because I didn’t think that I could run at all and here I did 5K!! I was so happy and proud that the next day I did it again! I know you aren’t supposed to run back to back like that, but I couldn’t help myself, and got a time of 38:50!

I knew then that I was going to full fill my New Year’s Resolution and I signed up for the Brandon’s YMCA Spring Run. I couldn’t wait for May 29th to come! I was running at least three days a week to prepare myself for this 5K run. Each time I was running to prepare, I saw myself improving and feeling great with accomplishment! I also really started to enjoy running it almost became an addiction haha.

May 29th came and boy was I ever nervous! I have never done any running, especially with other people and so many too! I ran the 5K in 37:11, at first I was kinda disappointed in myself with the time, but my close friend who ran the 5K with me said,” why are you disappointed? you did it! you said you were going to run this year and you did it! who cares about the time!” At that moment, I totally agreed with her, I did do it! I was so proud of myself and her for accomplishing our goal that year! and we did it together!

After we had done the run, I went home and talked with K and M, they were really proud of me, then they said to me now your next goal to run a half a marathon with us! I laughed………….

writes from the heart

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……………..