My journey of an Unexpected Heart Condition: Juggling All Of The Emotions Of The Heart!
This post has been a long time coming. A lot of you have asked for updates about my genetic heart condition, but I have been waiting to write this article and answer those pressing questions when I am in a more “positive frame of mind”.
I have come to realize I am not in a “positive frame of mind” everyday like I want to be. Even though I work on it daily, I am not perfect and my positivity falls short somedays. I have sat down to write this blog post several times and slowly my attitude changes, because all of the emotions start taking over. All of the emotions I have felt the last nine months start taking over and I stop writing and typing, because that isn’t encouraging at all, right?
Or is it?
It honestly is! When people come clean and say life blows some days and some days are just too long and hard…. that is when the encouragement begins. When we hear others’ talking about their shortcomings and struggles, we start feeling human and realize we are not alone in this journey called life!
I have come to realize it is okay to answer the pressing questions and the little questions even when I am feeling all of the emotions and wondering why this is happening to me. So, in all honesty and venerability, here goes nothing!
How Am I Feeling?
Physically, I feel yuck:
I am on heart medications that are not kind to me. They are reeking havoc on my body and they are not kind to say the least. Along with that, I still have a heart condition that the meds do not totally help, so I still have symptoms.
I hide my discomfort very well and I do not say that because I want a cookie, I say it because sometimes I even look in the mirror and do not recognize the person staring back at me. I am so used to the pain and discomfort that I even kid myself and hide it from myself somedays. I look in the mirror and am reminded of the hell my body is going through. I see tired eyes, less muscle tone and a few more wrinkles than I had 9 months ago.
Mentally I have all kinds of emotions going on:
I am angry. Angry that all of this is happening to me!
I am sad and morning my “old” heart and life. Morning life 9 months ago, before heart meds, heart monitors, IVs, PICC lines, ambulances, hospital stays, surgeries and blood pressure cups.
I am happy. Happy, because God has spared me and allowed me to continue my journey on this earth. Happy, because He has helped me through three surgeries. And will continue to help me through a fourth surgery.
I am grateful. Grateful that we have found a great team of doctors. Grateful that they are always advocating for me!
I am tired and weak. I am drained physically, mentally and spiritually! I am completely drained and I feel somedays my purpose is lost.
I am discouraged. Discouraged every time the doctors are stumped at my condition. Discouraged when my body will not allow me to do things I want to do and have grown accustomed to doing to stay active. Discouraged when people don’t understand when I cannot do something, because you cannot always see my condition. Discouraged when I come out of surgery only to hear I have to do another. Discouraged when I have to let down my kids, because I cannot do a certain task for them.
I feel alive. I feel more alive than I ever have before. I know sounds crazy, right? Not in the physical sense, but more in the grateful sense. It’s because I am more grateful and aware how precious life truly is. God is showing me everyday how much of a gift life is. Even though I do not feel my best everyday, I am grateful to have another day. Chris and I have seen me near death too many times to not appreciate how precious life truly is.
I feel hopeless and lost. Everything I have known and have started I have had to stop, take breaks from or go slower than I had anticipated. But, that is okay in the end. That is the way God intended it to be and it is working out for the better, but somedays these feelings overwhelm me and I forget.
I feel loved. Loved by a great community of people around me that are always willing to help out spiritually, mentally and physically. I do not know where I would be without them!
I feel like I am just surviving somedays and not thriving. This one may be the most brutal, because it isn’t true, I am thriving! My businesses and family are thriving and flourishing even through this crazy season of life. I have kept going and doing what God has asked of me. I am alive, so that means I am thriving! I have found a great team of doctors that God has introduced me to, so I can thrive. But somedays, all of that is lost and all I can think of is that I am not thriving and doing my best. BIG FAT LIES we tell ourselves somedays!
I feel blessed, blessed to have such an amazing husband and kids. No matter what I type right here it would not bring justice to how I feel about them. Their worlds’ have been rocked too! Their wife and mom has a condition that has put a halt to certain things in our everyday lives. Life has changed for them so much, but they have done it with grace. A lot more graceful than I have, actually! I am so blessed to have them.
My husband has been my rock and has stayed so strong through all of this. I am reminded everyday of why I married him in the first place. All stages of life have been an adventure and amazing with him! Early love was exciting and light, it was so easy to love in that stage of our lives. But, love after three kids, infertility, twin pregnancy, financial struggles, job changes, overcoming obstacles, the mundane everyday life stuff and now a heart condition; now that is true love! It’s form of agape love that can never be replaced. It’s a love like no other and I feel so blessed to have experienced it this far in life!
Spiritually I am tired:
This one is hard to admit, but spiritually I am tired. Now is the time that other people have been standing in the gap and praying when I don’t know what to say or pray. I really don’t know what to say or pray somedays! But, my community has gathered around me and have helped me through this time with prayer!
You have heard me say a thousand times over, “community is SO important”! This is a prime example of that! Surround yourself with like-minded people that are willing to help you in your time of need. People that have your back no matter what! And lastly, but most importantly, people that you would want to do the same for in their time of need. People that you would want to return the favor for!
It’s Okay To Feel All Of The Feelings
It’s okay to feel all of the feelings and emotions. It’s okay that one of the feelings shines brighter than the others somedays. It’s okay to not be okay!
I was waiting to feel “okay” before I wrote this, but I have realized more and more through this long journey that we have these feelings of loss, sorrow and lack of hope somedays and it is okay! This season sometimes last longer for some than others, but again, it is okay! (Let’s count how many times I can say “okay”! 🙂 )
So, here I am in my brokenness being honest and truthful in hopes that it will bring hope to someone else.
It is okay to not be okay!
But, what is not okay is to ignore your emotions.
Do Not Ignore Your Emotions, Embrace Them & Work Through Them
Be okay with the fact that you need a good cry one day, or a shouting match with God another day. Be okay with being sad while feeling blessed all at the same time. It’s okay to embrace your emotions. You actually need to, so you can decipher how you are truly feeling! This helps you truly feel okay. Okay with the situation and circumstances. Okay with the route life has taken and okay with God!
It’s more important to feel okay, than to say you are okay.
How Do We Start Feeling Okay
Own up to your emotions and start feeling okay and more than okay!
- Going through the emotions and allowing yourself to truly feel them. Don’t feel guilty!
- Pray through the emotions.
- Don’t stop moving forward.
- Have grace on yourself.
- Lastly but most importantly, do not wallow in the negative emotions. Don’t get trapped! Again, keep moving forward!
I Will Be Honest
I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But, I do know I will have a huge testimony to tell at the end of my journey. I already have many testimonies wrapped up in these last nine months. (When the time is right, I will share all of them with you.) God hasn’t left me. He sends miracles my way everyday through this madness. Heck, it’s a miracle I am even alive. I had lived with this genetic heart condition for 38 years before we found it. I do not believe for one second that He would see me through 38 years of miracles just to drop me now.
Life throws us obstacles and on trails we aren’t always prepared for. Life isn’t always a bowl full of ice cream, but it is so much easier knowing there is something bigger than me that can help me through, guide me, teach me and nurture me.
I can take that with me through this walk and thrive, not just survive!
What’s Next For Me
I will be undergoing a fourth heart surgery sometime in the near future. We will know more details as we travel to meet with doctors very soon. Thank you for being along this journey with me and most importantly your prayers!
Until next time…
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