My open-heart story
I can’t tell you much about the actual event. I have lost a lot memory of that day. I do know that I am very blessed to still be here. It may sound terrible but I always say I was very lucky that my 15 yr old daughter was home sick and my 11 yr old son was having a hard time in middle school and I took him out early that day. Being home in the middle of the day saved my life. Around 1:30 pm my kids heard me calling from downstairs, came down and saw me crawling up the stairs holding my chest and head then rolling around in pain trying to find a comfortable position. 9-1-1 was dialed by my 11yr old and my 15 yr old finished the conversation when I could no longer talk. The medics came and I remember asking to go to Virginia Mason because that it where my neurologist is. I was thinking, “I am having the world’s worst migraine EVER!” It turns out, nope not a migraine, instead there was a hole in my ascending aorta (official diagnosis – aortic dissection/aneurysm) and I was going to need emergency open-heart surgery. I still feel weepy and so grateful that Virginia Mason ER and cardiology team diagnosed me fast and saved my life. When I goggled my diagnosis I discovered exactly how lucky I was that the Virginia Mason team got things right and I now have more days ahead.
This happened last May and I can tell you the recovery road is not necessarily a straight one. I sometimes wish for a “recovery road” Garmin that could give me directions, let me know when a “bump” in the road may be ahead and when it is going to be a clear straight path that I should appreciate.
I now rock a very cool chest scar. I wear it with pride. Not only because it is a sign that I’m blessed to have received such great care and still be here, but also because it is a constant reminder that it is okay and sometimes necessary put myself first on the list of those that I take care of. I have learned that putting myself first and listening to my heart when it has it’s “jazzy” moments, can make the difference between being able to care for my family vs. having my family have to care for me.