My Journey - The Final Entry...Well Not Really

So this is my final, but not really final because I'm sure there will be more heart and recovery surprises down the road, entry.  I recently saw my cardiologist and got the come back in six months for another follow up thumbs up, and I'm graduating from cardiac rehab today (technically tomorrow because I'm writing this up Thursday night, but you don't care, and I should just stop with the side commentary).

So, what have I learned?  Well, I learned that I am one lucky individual.  I am lucky that I got a great, new job with great insurance.  And I am lucky that I used that great insurance to go see my cardiologist for a LONG overdue checkup.  I am lucky that my cardiologist asked for an echo cardiogram just because it had been a while.  I am lucky that Janice and I had already planned a girls' weekend which meant that we could have a good time the weekend before my surgery.  I am lucky that my surgeon could get me in for surgery so quickly because my final round of pre-surgery tests showed that the aneurysm was even larger than they initially believed.  I am lucky that I had such dedicated healthcare professionals taking care of me during and after surgery.  I am lucky that my boss thinks that I am valuable enough to have held my position while I was recovering from surgery even though I hadn't been with the company long.  And I am SUPER lucky that I have my loving friends and family.  I also learned that surgery's not so bad.  Not that I'm gunning for another run at the operating table, but with the right support system and good healthcare professionals I came through quite well.  I was imagining that I would be immobile and in HUGE amounts of pain for weeks, but I was pleasantly surprised.  That being said, once I realized that I wasn't going to be bedridden, I was equally surprised by how limited my mobility was.  I guess I was thinking that I would be immobile due to pain, not stamina.  Yep, apparently my expectations for myself tend to be a bit extreme: close to comatose, bubble girl or marathon running, able to leap over large shrubs, super girl.  It's so cliche, but I've learned that I'm a bit of a bad a**, conquer the world warrior.  Well, maybe not so much the world as the 2.9 mile an hour speed on the treadmill and being able to lay down completely horizontally without being in a great deal of pain and then, bonus, to get back up again!  Yep, large shrub leaping here I come!  And I've learned that God has a wicked sense of humor.  Before I found out about needing surgery, I was struggling with life in general.  It was just one of those times when it felt like I was swimming up stream and straining just to keep up, much less get ahead.  I was having whiny, why isn't my life like a movie where it all just magically falls into place and you fast forward through all of the boring, hard work parts with a snappy, musically accompanied montage, conversations with God.  You know the ones where you completely forget that you are so incredibly lucky to be alive in this time, in this place, with a great family, amazing friends, a good job, a clean place to live, plenty of food to eat, and ALL of the other things that you've been blessed with, and instead focus on how everything is not going exactly how you want it to and you're actually having to do a bit of work to get what you want or where you want or both.  So I asked for a break from my life, you know, for someone to come in and take over being me, so that I could step back for a beat and regroup.  Oh, I got a break all right!  After I got over the initially shock of needing surgery and the crying, cause there was definitely crying, I had to laugh.  I mean what else can you do?!?  I asked for a break and I got one.  And I'm pleased to say that I'm back into the struggle and I'm doing my best to remember to enjoy it, even the hard parts, because it's all life and life, my life, is special and I'm lucky that I'm still here to live it.

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