Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy to be here!

In September 2011, I underwent open heart surgery to repair my clogged arteries. I had cardiac bypass surgery which involves taking a vein out of your leg and using it to "bypass" the clogged arteries. My father died in 1973 from this same ailment (which is hereditary) and I have been aware of my condition for several years having been treated for it with a "stent" in 2001. My mother also had this disease and had bypass surgery in 1999. My surgery went well and they bypassed six (yeah 6!) arteries. The first days of recovery were the toughest days of my life. I was bloated up and looked like a big puffy clown. I could hardly move and had several blisters the size of golf balls behind my knee that continuously drained. If they told you that you would feel like this or that they pump about 40 pounds of water into your body, you would never have this surgery. I was in such pain & discomfort that I spent the first six weeks sleeping upright in a chair (when I could sleep). Initially, I remember thinking that I had made a bad mistake. If this was my quality of life, that I should have just died. My "Angel" was with me every step of the recovery and without her I don't know that I would have made it through this. She bathed me, wiped my butt, helped me stand up & sit down, waited on me hand & foot, fixed my meals, regulated my medications. I am diabetic and I have to take insulin shots. It is dangerous to have surgery when your blood sugar is not regulated and it also slows the healing time. I had to keep a close watch on my blood glucose. Somehow, I made it through this. Now, almost four months later, I am starting to feel better again. It takes time to heal when they saw open your breast bone, take your heart out and fix it, then sew you back up with wire! My leg was a problem too. Once they remove that vein, your leg takes a long time to heal, my leg still swells up daily. I continue to feel better everyday and life is bearable now. This operation is truly a miracle of modern medicine!
It is true what people say - what does not kill us makes us stronger!