So everybody and their grandma knows I had a stroke last October, and heart surgery in December. I’ve tried to tackle all of it the best way I know how: with a whole lot of perseverance and a shit ton of stroke jokes. Honestly? It’s been kinda rough. Especially the past couple months, oddly enough. (Side bar: Sorry I haven’t been very chatty lately y’all – I wanted to send you some scribbles, but it’s been all I can manage to do normal stuff, and I didn’t want to be neglectful of things like the mortgage – or buying food). It’s just – no one can tell you what it feels like to be completely exhilarated that you’re wonderfully alive, then have that exhilaration followed by nearly 6 months of being able to do about 20% of what you could do before. And the fatigue – oh my sweet cheeses!! SO TIRED!! I just have to cowboy the fuck up every morning. Seriously, every day I pep talk myself, then drag my tired ass out of bed, and give the universe as much hell as I can muster. And most days things do get a little better, and I’m able to do a smidgen more than the day before.
Last week I had to drive to my cardio-thoracic surgeon’s office in Fort Worth for my “3 months post-surgery” echocardiogram. It was a full-detail one, so I was lying on my left side at an autonomous 45 degree angle, for an hour. It was like sadist pilates y’all. Anyway, I didn’t mention much about it because I wasn’t going to get the results until today. And I got ’em.
I’m okay you guys. For the first time since October 14th 2011, I’m really, truly, honestly okay. There’s no risk for another stroke. The device in my heart is working – there’s no blood moving through the hole like before. The fluid that had built up in my pericardial sac has been reabsorbed so they don’t have to jab me with a needle to the sternum a la “Pulp Fiction” to drain it. I will still have cardiac arrhythmia on occasion- for the next 3 years – because there’s a hunk of metal/mesh in my heart. And I have to go see my cardiologist once a year for the next 2 years for a heart scan. And for a couple years I have to take a honkin’ dose of antibiotics before any dental procedures. But I’m healthy. And I don’t have to go see my cardio-thoracic surgeon again. And all activity restrictions are lifted – I can go sky diving tomorrow if I want. I’ve gotta stay on blood thinners until June (no exceptions), but after that it’s my call if I want to keep taking them (doc said he’d prefer for me to keep taking them until the anniversary of my surgery in December).
I really survived it. I did it. I’m a walking, talking, breathing, healthy girl with a future ahead of her. The fear is lifted. I WILL NOT have another stroke. I CAN safely carry a baby in my belly come December. My arms, legs, fingers, toes, nose – all of it – they all work, and even better, I can feel all of them. The world has never been more beautiful than it is today.
Time to start training for that marathon. Look out universe, my ability – and determination – to give you hell just doubled. And now: