Friday, April 18, 2014

One More Time

"I must admit that I have been a little down lately. My body is overly fatigued as I begin to taper for my marathon, emotionally I am drained, and with that combo, my stroke residual is more prominent: my face a little droopier, my left arm a little weaker . Today I had the honor of meeting Joshua Sundquist, a 29 year old ParaOlympic Skier that lost his left leg to cancer at the age of 9. His words touched my heart. He always puts 1MT1MT on his ski. One More Thing, One More Time. On April 27, when I run the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon. I will run for Izzie, Sam, Amy, Denise, Rodney, Trent, Zach, Tori, Chance, Killen, Jodi, Jaclyn, Liz, Keri, Velma, Angela, Julie, Stefani, Shelly, Michelle, and all my heart sisters. Rather it be one more breathing treatment, one more rep, one more step, one more blood draw, one more surgery, one more therapy treatment. We are here, we are alive, and we are loved. We have purpose, we have a story to tell, and we are blessed. "One person can make a difference and everyone should try"JFK. I wrote 1MT on the bottom of my shoes. It is an honor."

My friend Teri posted this on Facebook yesterday.  I glanced at my phone while I was at work and read those words.  Before I knew it, I had tears and mascara streaming down my face while I was sitting at my desk.  When will I learn not to read my heart sisters words when I am at work?  They get me most every time. If you have followed along, you should remember Teri's story as she was gracious enough to share her story with my readers during American Heart Month.  If you missed her story, you can find it here.  Teri ran her first marathon just 26 days after her stroke!  I wish her love and luck on April 27 as she continues her post stroke journey in the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon.  I will write 1MT on the bottom of my shoes that day in her honor before I go run my 60 second spurts during my walk!

1MT, 1MT.  One More Thing, One More time.  This is very poignant from the young man that writes this on his ski. I know that Liz (her story here), Keri (her story here), Shelly (her story here), Monica (her story here) and I all join Teri in understanding this.  When you have a chronic illness, at some point in your life, the rest of it is spent with the "one more".  One more time I take this medicine, one more time I check my blood pressure.  One more time I stress because it is on the higher side of normal instead of the lower side.  One more time to the cardiologist. One more time getting shot up with radioactive dye to have a thallium stress test.  One more time hoping to not have to go to the OR.  Those are the one more times that we dread.

There are also one more times that we don't dread.  One more time I get to share my story.  One more time I get to see the look of shock on someone's face when they look at me like they can't absorb the story I am telling.  One more time I get to educate others about heart disease -- that heart disease is the number one killer of American's and stroke the number four killer.  One more time I get to share what I did that made me able to have these one more times.  One more time next Friday I get to hang with my heart sisters as The American Heart Association Kansas City hosts the Go Red for Women Luncheon.  What a privilege it is!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Endless Reading and Running a 5K

I endlessly read about heart disease.  The newest studies, the newest techniques and the advances that will hopefully give me a better quality of life down the line. 

Several times in my endless reading I have read that if you have 100% occlusion, there is no way to stent.  This would require them to crack your chest open and perform a coronary artery bypass graft.  I clearly remember my doc telling me that my LAD was completely blocked yet they stented the artery. The cardiac cath and the stents took a long time and I ended up with three of them. I remember him telling me that a lesser cardiac surgeon would not have been able to place the stents and would have done the CABG. At the time I was grateful to be alive and grateful not to have my chest cracked open.  They failed eight months after being placed and I had to have two more stents put inside the original three so they could reopen them--they were 70-80% blocked with scar tissue.

Sometimes when I read things as this I really question the judgement of this first doctor.  Not that I really want to have them crack my chest open, but perhaps it would have been better than continually wondering if and when my stents will fail again. Did his ego of not being a "lesser" surgeon cause him to try something that I now get to pay for?  I won't ever know.  I was in an emergency and I came out alive.  In the end, that is what matters.

Although I find things that make me question my care, I can tell you in the endless reading that I do I also find some pretty cool things.  Things like a tiny wireless pacemaker.  Things like stem cells showing promise in stroke recovery.  The research is awesome and I can't wait to read the next cool thing!  In the end even if I question my own care there are more cool things that outweigh this and keep me reading.

I have reached a huge milestone in my recovery since I wrote last.  I have actually started running.  Granted my running currently exists of 60 second time frames woven into my walk, but it counts!  I have to start somewhere:)  I was so psyched to have done this.  I have been terrified of running.  Mostly, I have been terrified my heart could not handle it.  Well, it can and that feels awesome!  I have been attending a women's training group at a local hospital leading up to the Mother's Day 5K.  My girls are walk/running it with me on Mother's Day morning. Yay for small steps!