Resurfacing

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It’s been a while since I posted a blog but so much has happened in my life these past two months.  In a nutshell, my mom had a 13-hour surgery to remove blood clots from her pulmonary artery that were blocking the blood flow from her lungs to her heart.  She developed post-op complications, followed by a stroke.  A two-week hospital stay turned into a two-month and counting hospital stay and life-changing events.

I had to temporarily stop working to be with my mom and she is in a city 5 hours from my home.  Luckily, I have friends I can stay with and that helps me and my stress levels tremendously.  I am trying to balance everything there and here while practicing the self-care tips I previously blogged about.

Things are more stable now with my mom, she is slowly recovering and will hopefully be discharged from the hospital and transferred to her hometown sometime in January.  It’s been two stressful months of tears and cheers, uncertainty and re-stabilizing.

There was a time when we didn’t know if she would make it or not.  One day I sat by her ICU bed while she was still in a coma hooked up to the respirator and wrote this poem for her while I waited and prayed.

It’s been months I’ve heard you gasping for air
In between endless appointments and tests
Your support system has been incredible as your body slid under the surface
Yet your spirit hovered above it
The human body and mind can compensate for anything
You certainly proved that to us all
After having your surgery with the best doctors, nurses, and all hospital staff
While you lay there, I sit here
Watching you
Amazed at your strength while you are weak
Waiting and praying, praying and waiting
Every day is the day of 10,000 miracles
I see you start to resurface and I am hopeful you can do it
Like watching a diver swim up from the depths of the ocean
So ready to take that first breath of air on their own
While resurfacing…

I love you, mom ❤

Jen
XO

Thank you to everyone who supported me in every way, along the way ❤

Love and Cardiac Complications

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The similarities between love and cardiac complications are endless and mind-boggling.  I think we can all recognize some of these crush and love moments whether they were brief or long; they existed or perhaps still exist for some.  I just hope you don’t recognize any of the cardiac complications!  Either way, whatever you do recognize, the important thing is that you survived.

Love vs. Cardiac Complications

You’re walking around feeling good, living your life = Normal Sinus Rhythm, good arrhythmia!

You meet someone, fall in love, heart is chaotic and skips a beat = Atrial Fibrillation, administer Esmolol

Passion = Ventricular Tachycardia, rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute, administer Amiodarone.  If you are able to safely live in this zone then you are one of the lucky ones out there.

Love is lost, abandoned, betrayal.  Heart cracks and breaks open, total absence of electrical activity.  HELP! = Cardiac arrest, Asystole.  Like in the movies; “flat line.”  Administer Epinephrine STAT!

Scared, denial, chest pain, can’t breathe, shock….

Take some deep breaths = Administer Oxygen

Friends support system is called in they take care of you, give you comfort, food, love, support = Call 911, perform CPR and ACLS.  Administer Epinephrine again STAT!

Cardiac Defibrillation – “All Clear” shock the heart to help restart it = Clear some space for yourself while you push the “refresh” button on your life and start over

When we think about cardiac surgery we usually think about the mechanics, the anatomy and physiology aspects which are very important when trying to save a life.  What about the other roles the heart plays?  The invisible, emotional, spiritual roles that can only be felt, that can change the heart rate and electrical activity by a single word, song, story or any of the 5 senses?

I’m talking about love and passion.   This is something you never see during surgery but I’ve always wondered what people go through in their love life and how they survived that type of invisible but real heartbreak.  From the outside looking in, everything looks normal, but it’s not.  People often refer to heartbreak as invisible scars, holes, or cracks in their heart.  How did they stitch themselves back together again and carry on?   Did they really heal?  Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle it?

Coping mechanisms for healing:  reading inspirational blogs, quotes, creative writing, music, movies, books, support and encouragement from friends and family, feeling grateful, finding the silver lining, learning the hidden life lessons, hugs, laughter, getting outside in nature, Zumba = these examples are the sutures that can help stitch the heart back together again.  It’s how I cope anyway…

Real friends:  Non-Absorbable Sutures – since the heart is the strongest rhythmic muscle in the body, non-absorbable sutures give the heart extra time to heal because they are in there for life, the long haul, they are flexible and strong.  These are your real friends.  If absorbable sutures were used on the heart, they would not hold it together and it would keep breaking, leading to death.  Not only that, there would be a medical malpractice case…

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Takers:  Absorbable sutures – the one who dissolved and left after all the work was done, temporary relationship.  In any case, never use these with the precious heart

Stainless steel wires close the sternum acting like a new shield of armor to protect the heart and give it extra strength.  Now you’re a warrior made of steel.

Recovery period:  sleep, get your strength back, start out slowly, exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself, be kind, patient, don’t smoke!  Normal sinus rhythm again.  Smile!  🙂

Similarity:  you survived a cardiac complication because you were well taken care of by a team of caring people and you also took care of yourself.  The heart can function properly now and your broken heart has been mended and reinforced.  It didn’t kill you; it made you stronger. Are you ready to give another try at love, atrial fibrillation, passion and ventricular tachycardia?

Love can be complicated like the cardiovascular system.  We need to follow our hearts and what we’re passionate about to live our life to the fullest.  Eventually, we can return to Love and Normal Sinus Rhythm.

Take good care of yourself and the ones you love,

Much love,

~ Jennifer

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