Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks For Making Me a Fighter

Often times when I am having a rough time with my heart.
(no seriously, my heart. The actual muscle within my chest that pumps blood through my body)

I get so incredibly frustrated and ANGRY.

Here I am trying my best to stay healthy.
I eat healthy things.
I exercise.
I take all my medicine.

But sometimes none of that works.
I still get REALLY tired very easily. I still have trouble breathing at certain points during the day.  And the BIGGEST thing that makes me SOOOO MAD is that it is hard for me to sleep on my side with this stupid pacemaker* in my arm.  I am a side sleeper. The darn thing rubs against my collar bone if I am snuggled up on the left side and makes my heart beat funny if I snuggle up on the right side. I just can't win with the thing.  I end up having to do this weird prop up on a pillow thing to actually go to sleep.  Makes me mad.

I get so annoyed that I have to send in all of these electronic checks over the phone every 3 months to make sure the pacer is working.  It make me mad that my regular heart beat is SO LOW that I have to have a battery hooked up to my heart to keep me alive.
It freaks me out when the doctor has trouble in the office finding MY heart beat without the pacemaker.
I just know one of these days I'm no longer going to have my own heart beat and I am going to be paced 100 percent by this battery in my shoulder. Did I mention that I hate it when I have negative thoughts like the sentence that was right before this one?

IT MAKES ME SOOOOOOOOOOO MAD that I have all of these cardiologist bills.

It makes me mad to think of my mortality. That people with this same condition have already passed away from heart failure.

These things and other  pity party thoughts make me so incredibly angry.

But ya know what?  I just don't think about them that often.
seriously, I really don't.
I live my life like any other person and when obstacles come my way I fight through them.

When I was 15 years old I had a VERY scary moment. I fell on the living room floor with a plus of 40. My heart was beating so slowly that I could barely get a breath. I thought I was near death.   My parents quickly drove me to the ER in Somerset and I was taken from there by ambulance to the ICU at the University of Kentucky Hospital.  From there I was taken to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital and had my first pacemaker put in.

Was I scared?  You bet ya.
Did I cry like a baby when no one was around?
you bet ya.
In fact I begged my boyfriend at the time (who happens to be my husband now) to marry me before the surgery. I was convinced I was going to die.
I have always been a bit of a drama queen.

But I didn't die.
All was well.
Actually all was even BETTER then well.
I could BREATHE!!!!
I could walk up a flight of stairs without having to sit down to rest halfway through.

And you know what I did as soon as the doctor gave me the OK? (wasn't allowed to use my left arm for a while) I went back to playing the sport that I loved, Volleyball.    I played before the surgery (at times turning VERY purple on the court and having to sit out) and after the surgery.  I had a ton more energy after getting the pacemaker and was AMAZED that I had been playing volleyball before having it.  I even got a special motion sensitive pacemaker so the thing would notice that I was playing a sport and would speed my heart up like a natural pacer does on a heart when you are physically active.

Pretty awesome!

I have NEVER let this heart condition define WHO I am as a person.
And I have never  lived my life in a constant state of poor ol' me.

Yes there are limits to what I can do.
But every single person in the whole wide world has limits.

I am not defined as Jessica, the girl with a congenital heart defect.

I am Jessica, the girl who is obsessed with reading and writing.
I am Jessica, the girl who is super crazy about knitting sweaters for all of her friends.
I am Jessica, the mother of two healthy children and wife to one smokin' hot preacher man.
I am Jessica, the chick who doesn't think its healthy to take yourself too seriously.
I am Jessica, the crazy lady obsessed with farm animals that doesn't care much for dogs or cats.

If anything, I am blessed to have this heart condition.
It has put my own mortality right in my face.
From a very young age I was well aware of the fact that this day, this hour, this second, could be my last.

I don't know that I would be cherishing the days as much as I do without it.
I don't know that I would be so welcoming to new experiences and challenges in my life without it.
I don't know that I would be able to patiently enjoy each stage of my life, my children's lives or my husband's life,  if I wasn't born with this condition.

And I am pretty sure I would not be as capable of finding humor within the gloomy days.
Laughter really does help me through so many things in life!

But there are days when I am down and out because of this darn heart condition.
On those days I have found that listening to Christina Aguilera's song Fighter puts a smile on my face and helps me to realize how ridiculous my small little pity party is.
It cracks me up that I am listening to a song by Christina Aguilera and the giggles just keep on coming.

It is mainly the first verse:
After all that you put me through,
You think I'd despise you,
But in the end I wanna thank you,
'Cause you've made me that much stronger

And the chorus that helps me:
Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

The song is actually about a man treating a woman awful. My husband treats me VERY WELL.  Let me tell ya, that man is the butter on my toast!
But I really like the chorus and first verse in that it makes me think of my heart condition and how I have never really let this condition get in my way of living this life to the fullest that I have so graciously been given.

It's a wonderful song to listen to while running at the fitness center!
I smile and say to myself "you go girl!!!"  and the mere fact that I am talking to myself while running on a treadmill CRACKS ME UP even more.

But ya know what? I go to the fitness at the same time as all the old men go in the late mornings and let me tell ya, they talk to themselves walking on the treadmill just like I do.

Those old men crack me up!

Who in the world sips coffee while they walk on a treadmill?

There is one little old man that likes to treadmill hop. Any time a new friend comes in he hops on over to the treadmill right beside them for a quick chit chat before hopping onto another treadmill to catch up with another friend.  The man talks REALLY loud and is VERYopinionated and thinks he is the funnest person in the world. He laughs REALLY LOUD at his own jokes. HA HA HA

It is quite entertaining to watch him!

He makes my mornings better!

*I actually love my pacemaker! He is my best little buddy!

No comments:

Post a Comment