So a month ago I wrote that my blog was back in action. Then I did nothing. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. Quite the opposite, I have so much to share I don’t know where to start. Finally, I decided… just start already.
I created this blog after I was out on the transplant list on St. Patrick’s Day of 2015. I wanted a way to ‘sign off’ each time and after much deliberation decided on,
“Courage, dear heart. ~C.S.Lewis”
I can’t pinpoint the time. Maybe it happened when I picked this phrase. Maybe after. At some point I personified my heart. I can still see it in my mind. Elderly and trying to hard to make it each day. Working far past its physical capabilities to keep me alive. Thinking of my heart this way made me realize something, it could quit. Like someone doing any job, there are support systems in place to may the employee happy, take care of their physical well being etc. Even though you treat that employee the best you can, they can always quit. Knowing that my heart was dying and yet still pushing though each day was humbling and terrifying all at once. I would picture my heart in my mind and think, ‘courage, dear heart’. Please continue to have the courage to fight for me, with me.
On February 15, 2016 I got the news that I would be receiving my life saving donation. I was thrilled beyond belief. I looked into my children’s eyes and knew I would be there mother for much much longer. At the the same time, I was overwhelmed with grief for the family who was losing someone they loved so that I could live. I knew that I would dedicate myself to taking care of this new heart just as I had the one I was born with, maybe even better. Finally I felt guilt and sorrow. I was giving up on my heart. I know it sounds weird but I felt like I was leaving someone behind. Someone I had loved for 31 years. Someone who had stuck with me through thick and thin. Someone who had put me first and was sacrificing themselves so that I could live on.
On February 16, 2016, I received my new heart. It made an immediate difference in the way I felt. I felt stronger and safer. Six weeks after my transplant I started cardiac rehab. Baby steps. I think it was about the time that I was really getting comfortable at rehab that I realized that I personified this heart as well. I would find myself on the last hill of an interval work out thinking to myself, “We’ve got this”. I have a new teammate. She’s got my back and I’ve got hers. We have a long road of balancing medications, continued healing, and so much more.
The fear that my heart could quit is gone. While I still personify my heart I know that we are a team. We are constantly pushing each other to try a little harder, eat a little better, dig a little deeper. I do feel a loss for my first teammate however; the overwhelming pride and gratitude I feel for my new teammate quickly quiets those thoughts. I still picture my heart in my mind. No longer elderly and struggling but strong and vibrant red. When I picture my new heart I still think, “Courage, dear heart. We have a long road ahead of us.”
Courage, dear heart. ~C.S.Lewis