Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Years later, a pacemaker and lessons learned

Uh oh. I'm getting reflective.  In April, I turned 32.  November 9th I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my first open heart surgery.  I didn't celebrate by having a huge party that day, but by having an electrophysiology study that was supposed to lead to a cardiac ablation. Fortunately, they found put the root cause of my problem.  I had sinus node attacks, which isn't an allergy attack.  It caused extremely slow heart rates and wasn't discovered using an echocardiogram or an EKG.  I was given a pacemaker 2 days later.  In fact, I'm sitting at a friend's house typing with one hand now.  The pacemaker isn't solving the whole problem, but tomorrow I find out if it means I can take new medication and other therapies for my irregular heartbeat.  I think it it is a pretty awesome gift.

These past 30 years, I've learned a few things:

  1. I know my body.  If I'm not feeling well, I need to listen and force doctors to listen and act.
  2. Life is a gift I treasure everyday.
  3. Never make a New Year's Resolution.  That day doesn't have meaning for me.  I make a resolution every November.  
  4. Make specific resolutions I can keep.  I never promise to lose a dress size. I promise to be up front about my condition, to ask for accommodations when needed, to volunteer 30 hours for the year, etc.
  5. Never hide the scar.  It's a source of pride, strength, love.  It reminds me that I'm lucky.  There are people worse off than me.
  6. Give back.  I feel great volunteering.  I may have physical limitations, but I can still help someone else.
  7. Know my limits.
  8. Never be afraid to ask. 
  9. Failure is not doing anything.
  10. It's ok to ask for help.
  11. Love really is the most important thing in the world.
  12. Reach for the stars. 

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