A milestone not a tombstone

I can’t quite believe it has been so long since my last blog post.  I’ve not shared anything because I’ve been in a strange place emotionally the last couple of weeks and feared my writing wasn’t positive enough. But I was reminded by Jennie (my wonderful personal trainer and friend) that I can be honest without being negative.

I can be hopeful and grateful and plan for the future.

Her kind, thoughtful message got me thinking. Can I do those things?

Be hopeful and grateful maybe, but can I plan for the future?

And I realised that a part of me still sees my upcoming heart surgery as a tombstone.

Perhaps I am feeling this more at the moment because I’ve been focusing on the things my heart condition is stopping me from doing?

Last week I made a decision to defer the next part of my law training for a year instead of continuing in September.

I guess I had a bit of a reality check.


All the exercise I am doing to get fitter for the surgery is making me mentally tired because of my  issues with oxygenated blood. This means concentration is becoming harder. I also need 3-6 months to recover from surgery. I told myself I’ll do it in 3, and arranged to have spring term away from uni.

But what if I can’t do it in 3?

So I decided to take the pressure off myself.  I’m still in the process of organising it with the university but they are being extremely supportive of my decision. As is my doctor. And everyone else I’ve told so far. In fact I’ve wondered whether people thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t be studying in the first place. But that’s just paranoia.

I hope!

Anyway I can’t help but feel frustrated right now. A bit angry even.

There’s a part of me screaming ‘Why can’t I have a normal heart?’ ‘Why can’t I just get on with stuff?’ ‘ Why can’t I be more resourceful? Stronger?’ ‘Why am I so crap?’


I know my demons well enough to know that these questions aren’t helpful. They are the wrong questions entirely.

What would be really good to work out is why am I seeing this heart surgery as a tombstone?  A tombstone to my dreams, my passions, my life.

No.  Why, is still the wrong question.

The right one is what do I need to do to be able to see beyond it? What else do I need to change?

I’m already reducing my hours at work, taking a year off law school, doing a physical training programme, spending more time with God.

As I sit here in the coffee shop at the gym, post pilates class and pre personal training I can feel the penny starting to drop.

Romans 12.2 says ‘Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’ (NLT)

The previous verse tells us to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, this worships him. But it is changing the way we think that transforms us!


A few months ago my beautiful, wise friend M, referred to my heart surgery as a milestone.

A milestone is a marker on a journey. It maps something, marks something. It can tell you how far you’ve come and how far you’ve got to go. It can make you stop and take a deep breath, look around. Pause…

then carry on.

A milestone is not the end. It is just the beginning.

download (2)

There is an adventure beyond the milestone. A continuation of the journey but better.

I’m getting a chance to live life without a broken heart.  The surgery is a necessary part of that.

And one day I will be sat here at the gym, physically and mentally stronger, with a super fit toned body that can jump and run and dance easily,  looking back to this milestone knowing that I am a survivor, a fighter.

And I can start that fight afresh right now by choosing to see a milestone not a tombstone ahead of me, no matter how tough this feels.


Thank you for supporting me on my journey.

Love Lou x


9 thoughts on “A milestone not a tombstone

  1. G&TandENT says:

    Yesssss! I enthusiastically endorse the conclusion of this post. And what a milestone it will be – I truly believe you will look back on it in years to come and be grateful for all that you learn through this experience. It won’t be easy – but it will be valuable.


  2. livinglifewithadamagedheart says:

    Such a wonderful post! In many ways I can relate to how you are feeling or how I once felt, especially the fear and anger. But now I’m filled with hope and excitement for what the next chapter will bring, as you said to finally be physically and mentally stronger. You are brave, a fighter, and a survivor already in my eyes for the many obstacles that have been thrown at you. You have yet given up and keep pushing forward in hope and faith. Hang in there and God bless!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s