I feel so stupid sat here with my laptop and tears spilling down my cheeks, so ridiculous. Even though I know that suppressing my emotions is not good for me, this is still so hard. I don’t want to feel like this. I want to be happy. I’ve got a lot to be happy for. But right now I can’t stop thinking about what is wrong with my heart and the open heart surgery.
I’m scared. And I know that I need to feel this, to face this, to allow myself to process my fears and feelings instead of pushing them away with food, or masking them with laughter. I am giving myself permission to feel scared without feeling guilty about it, so that I can wade through it, deal with it and press on.
So what am I scared of? I’m scared of the surgery itself – of having complications like a stroke or heart attack during the operation or in recovery. I’m scared of it not working and going into heart failure. Basically I’m scared of something happening which means I am left disabled, or sick, and losing my independence. I’m scared of getting severe depression or memory loss – possible side effects of being on the heart-lung machine. I’m scared of being out of control. Of being entirely vulnerable and exposed as I lay unconscious with my chest cut open, my heart stopped, reliant on machines and strangers to stay alive. I’m scared of being stuck in my house, alone. It makes me feel sick, panicked.
I’m scared of having the surgery, but I’m also scared of not having it. I know I am already at a higher risk of stroke and heart failure just living with my heart as it is. And now I’m feeling some symptoms of my heart being enlarged, although it is horrible, it helps me to know that surgery is the right choice. It gives me a fighting chance.
And I will fight.
I’m taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s My Marathon this month – to help raise money for them. The idea is to walk, jog or run 26.2 miles over the month of May. Whether you do it in one go or a bit each day doesn’t matter. You can follow my journey with that too if you like by following this link
On Saturday I went for a walk with my bestie who came up north to visit me this weekend. It was so good to see her, and great to get outside in the sunshine. We walked along the canal path, through woods, up steep steps, down big hills, across little bridges. It was frustrating to be getting more out of breath than I should be – not because I’m unfit, but because of my heart defect. And about half way through our walk, I noticed that my hands had swollen up – my fingers were full of fluid, like fat sausage rolls and it was hard to bend them.
Regardless of this, I wanted to carry on, and we walked 10km – a huge achievement. I did feel good for doing it, but was completely exhausted later on. I balanced it out with complete rest – laying on the sun lounger in the garden for a couple of hours – which stopped me from feeling ill. Praise God for sunshine!
My bestie said that she didn’t think I was as breathless later on in the day as I was the evening before. And that is apparently a benefit of the exercise. So even though it does completely zap my energy, it really is helping – making my heart stronger, ready to be fixed!
So on Sunday, after my bestie had left to go home (boo hoo) I walked another 6km. And today, even though I feel physically tired, I will go to the session with my personal trainer. Of course I will have to balance this out with rest too.
So this is me fighting. This is me doing my best not only to face my fears, but to push through them and press on. I know that I am well supported by friends and family, I just need to share with them, and ask for the help and support that I need.
And most of all I need to focus on trusting God, for He has promised that He will never leave me or forsake me. When my heart is laid bare, it will be in His hands. I won’t be alone.