Well, it’s now been 5 1/2 months since my open heart surgery on March 25, 2010. I’ve been back to work for over 2 months and am feeling good overall. The first month back to work was rough as I was still struggling with some fatigue but that has improved drastically. I now feel almost normal except there are some days where I get run down when I try to overdo it.
One thing I have been trying to come to terms with is the fact that I’ve still had some angina. My physicians are attributing it to coronary vasospasm as it seems fairly predictable (comes on only at rest and lasts 5-15 minutes usually). In fact, upon researching it further with my surgeon we’ve found that it appears to be hormonal and occurs once or twice a month, always in the afternoons. I carry sublingual nitroglycerin with me to treat it, but initially I was very reluctant to “give in” and believe it was real. After one recent episdoe that occurred at work with nausea and sweating I’m out of denial and ready to move on and deal with it. Psychologically it’s been tough to come to grips with the fact that I’m 40, have had major heart surgery, and still have to deal with chest pain. But, that is the cards that were dealt to me and I can’t dwell on the negative. My doctors have made some adjustments to my medications so I’m hopeful that will help.
On a positive note, my son started kindergarten 2 weeks ago and is thriving. He was quite stressed initially when I had surgery back in March but was able to overcome it with support from family, friends, and his wonderful preschool teachers and class. Kids are so resilient and while he still mentions things related to my heart from time to time he also answered, “mom that was a long time ago” when I asked him if he was scared when I went in the hospital. Clearly he’s over it!
My focus now is just trying to lead a regular life, I’m learning to listen to my body a bit more and not overdo it like when I first returned to work. I’m going to start training for a 5K run that is in 7 weeks and I know this will give me a great goal to shoot for. My husband said, “oh honey, you can walk it too, it’s a walk-run”…well, screw that, I’ll show him that I can run it just like the next person! We’ve always enjoyed some healthy competition so this is no different!
We also took the big step this summer and got a dog. Her name is Sally and she’s now 7 months old. She’s a 35 pount pit bull mix who is all baby. She’s super sweet, gentle, and relatively calm for a puppy. My son loves playing with her and the two are best buds. She’s a lot of work but it’s all worth it when I get home from a long day at work to her wiggling and wildly wagging tail!