Hope you’re all having a great week! I wasn’t sure how to start this post except to be honest about what I’ve been going through. A lot has been on my mind and I’ve felt a bit out of sorts lately. I’ve been having fun writing NaNo this month when I’m not binge-watching Supernatural. How adorable are Sammy and Dean?? Anyhoo. Time to get serious. Yes, it’s going to be one of those posts where I pour my heart (ha ha. you’ll see) out in an attempt to either help someone going through something similar or just to share a part of me with you.
So… I’m going to have open heart surgery again either in December or January to replace my valve. So, pretty soon. I had this same surgery 6 years ago and thought my valve would last longer, but it didn’t. And that’s life, right? At first, I was kind of living in denial, hoping my symptoms were my imagination or something else. I was (am) extremely short of breath and can’t really walk long distances. I had no idea how bad it was until I went to the mall with my sister after a concert last month and I couldn’t walk the mall and had to sit down because I felt like my legs would give out.
It sucks to have to admit you’re weak and that you can’t do something. I’m stubborn and I don’t want to feel like this. My cardiologist recently offered a handicapped sticker to me and I was shocked. Me? I don’t need that. The first thing that popped in my head was that I was too young for that, and if I was to accept it and someone saw me, they would think… what is that healthy young girl doing taking up a handicapped spot. I know. I know, that doesn’t matter cause truly I am on the verge of a major surgery and I have earned that sticker, but it’s almost like if I took it I would be admitting weakness, and I’m not weak. I’ve already been through this 6 years ago. I can do it again, right?
But, weakness is sneaky. It leads you into believing you can’t do something. It casts shadows of doubt all around you until you can’t imagine anything else good. Until you’ve convinced yourself it’s right. You are weak.
I never knew what a panic attack was until recently. I’ve always had a problem with the unknown. And waiting around to find out if my heart valve was failing or something worse was torture. I’ve had attacks before but didn’t have a name for them. I didn’t want to admit that either.
I wasn’t weak, remember?
So my heart would start pumping fast, I would get hot, and nothing, and I mean nothing, felt familiar anymore. I couldn’t breathe or get calm. I had convinced myself I was going to die in my sleep. That my heart would go out and I wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital on time. As irrational of a thought that was, it was ALL I could think about. I kept thinking I would be okay if I did die in my sleep. I’ve had a good life. And in a small way, that would comfort me. When that didn’t work (which was almost always), I took a Benadryl and listened to this cool rain app on my phone. Now, I have a bottle of something that helps more, but I haven’t taken one pill yet, because again, I’m not weak. Yes, I know this is all bullshit and if I needed it there is no shame in taking that pill, and you know, I probably would take it. If it made me feel better. Why suffer, right?
I thought I was weak. All those attacks, all those moments. But really, I’m strong–because of those moments. I made it through and I’m okay. I’m facing my surgery head-on and I’m going to conquer it because I want to feel better. Because the alternative is giving up and letting weakness win. And that’s not me. I’m a survivor.