Sometimes it scares me that life has the ability to change in less than a second. One minute my biggest problem is which pairs of shoes I should take on my vacation and the next minute, my biggest problem is my Mom making it through open heart surgery. Little bit of a difference there, huh?
Her surgery went well on Monday morning. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so scared in my life. I know it’s a common surgery but it just sounds so scary – I mean it’s the heart, you don’t want to mess around with that. Since Monday, some of the anxiety has subsided but it’s still there. She’s getting better but not without some bumps on the way. After a surgery like that, your body is pretty much in shock but my mom is young and she is trying as hard as she can to recover as fast as possible.
It just has been taking an emotional and physical toll on me. I went back to work today and I could barely stay awake. Part of me wished I had taken the day off to get some sleep but I need to save my days in case she needs me when she gets home.
But let me rewind a minute back to Friday, when I was going back and forth on whether I should try to go on vacation still. My mom was pushing me to go, telling me she’d be upset if I missed it. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t leave her…or my sister… or my dad. I just kept thinking there will be other vacations, other cruises but I only have one Mom. I realized that if I went, I could really end up regretting going and then I’d be stuck on a boat for 8 days feeling guilty/upset/stressed. But I would NEVER regret staying because I would know that I had been there for my family. That’s when I knew for sure I wanted to stay. And I really haven’t had much time to be upset about it. I am 100% sure I made the right decision.
Right now, all I can be is grateful. Grateful that the surgery went well. Grateful that so far she has been recovering well. Grateful that she knew to go to the doctor when she did. Grateful that she has an amazing cardiologist who got her a great surgeon. Grateful that she could find out she needed this before something worse happened.
This story really begins back in June. One night she got sick, she was nauseous and she had a weird sensation in her chest. She thought she better go to her doctor and make sure everything was okay. Test after test, bloodwork after bloodwork, and then a final test and all was not okay. Three arteries were clogged. Her cardiologist performed angioplasty and stents were put into two of those arteries. It’s not a very invasive procedure and recovery was very quick. It scared me but in comparison it was nothing.
Four months went by and she was doing everything she was supposed to: taking her medicine, eating healthy (as she always did), exercising (again, as she always did) when out of nowhere on Thursday night, she said I need to go to the hospital NOW. When she had the angioplasty done, her doctor somehow blocked the artery so she could feel the sensation of the clogged artery and told her, “Remember this feeling. If you EVER feel this, you need to come to the hospital immediately. Do not wait to see me in the office.” So she remembered and she did not mess around.
When I spoke to her on that Thursday night while she was at the hospital, she said the feeling had subsided and her EKG had come back fine. She thought she would be going home that night or at least in the morning. We thought everything was fine but the next morning when they took her in for the test in which they can see the condition of the arteries, the stents they put in were clogged. Her heart disease was too aggressive and her only option was the triple bypass.
The crazy thing is my mom is one of the healthiest people I know. She eats so healthy, she exercises and she doesn’t smoke. But heart disease runs in her family. And I guess when it comes down to it, you can do everything right but if you have aggressive heart disease through genetics, you only have so much control over it.
This situation has made me realize how very important it is to LEARN the symptoms of a heart attack. The symptoms are different in men and women. My mom has never felt pain, it almost feels like indigestion. That’s why it is such a big killer of women, because they don’t expect it to be their heart and they wait too long to get help. So ladies and gents, learn the symptoms and if you EVER think you could be experiencing a heart attack do NOT chance it. Because if it IS a heart attack every single minute, even second counts.
And to all my readers who left me comments and well wishes and for those of you who kept my mom and my family in your prayers I thank you. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.