I want to take a few sentences to give an enormous virtual hug to everyone who participated in the Wear Purple for Mandy event on the 24th and the days following, and also to those who sent cards and texts with encouragement and support. Going into surgery I had brief moments where I thought it may all seem so silly in the end, but I can say with 100% certainty that the support and love I've received over the past few weeks has guided me to a really good place in my recovery.
I also can't deny credit to my sister who has taken on many different roles throughout this process and she's done so with worry in her heart but a smile on her face and I am eternally grateful for her, As a stay-at-home mom who works a part time job, she took on these tasks as though they were a full time job and she did them outstandingly well. Cory and the boys get some credit here too since they helped keep CT entertained and on schedule during the days were we away.
To my parents and Christos' parents who stayed by our side starting with dinner the night before surgery and through the weekend. Thank you for holding our hands through this and for guiding us during a time our marriage where for better or worse was challenged.
Which leads me into my heartfelt tribute to Christos. My heart explodes with love and gratitude for this man. So much more than I ever thought possible. We have been in the depths of sorrow, the highest of happiness and now I can say that we've trudged through some really difficult times together and we moved on from it a stronger couple than I ever thought possible. Christos' commitment to my care and recovery has exceeded all my expectations (I didn't have many doubts). From what I hear, he didn't leave my side while I was in the ICU. He was there to catch me when I fainted in the shower at the hospital and since returning home he has been waiting on me hand and foot. Literally. He tucks me into my recliner at night and lays an extra quilt over my cold feet and tucks me in until I can't move. I know he is exhausted, and his marathon training has taken a back seat, and as soon as I can start picking up some of my own slack I will make sure that his outlets and passions get back on track.
Where am I today?
Many parents at daycare were surprised to see me at drop-off and pick-up today. I had my initial cardiac rehab appointment and check-up this morning, so my mom and I dropped CT off at school. After an afternoon siesta, I was ready to feel the 50 degree sunshine again so I ventured out with Christos to pick up CT. It felt good to be out. Other than watching CT"s swimming lessons last Saturday morning, I haven't left the house since returning home last Wednesday.
When I was discharged from the hospital I had a slight collapsed right lung which was uncomfortable. They were still working through my beta blockers (blood pressure meds) so that my BP wouldn't drop so low that I'd end up on the floor of the hospital bathroom again. I'm still sporting a bruise from that fiasco. The echocardiogram showed 'trivial' leakage of my tricuspid valve which both my surgeon and cardiogologist were thrilled with. It's quite amazing to think that for 34 years my heart was working overtime to pump blood and now it can finally function as it should.
I don't recall much about being in the ICU and that of which I do it is not pleasant. I applaud the drugs they use that help erase the memory of that time. My pain has been manageable. It never went above a 5 while in the hospital and only one day since returning home was I uncomfortable but I quickly learned my lesson with skipping a dose of pain reliever. All of my discomfort is from the sternum trying to heal. My incision and drain site are almost completely healed. Which is so much faster than I expected.
Tomorrow I'll started cardiac rehab 3 days a week for at least 4 weeks. I'm fully expecting to be working out with people twice my age. From the 10 minutes that I did on the treadmill today, I know it will be hard, but I'm ready to get the show on the road. (We've added these appointments to the Care Calendar so if you are available to take me, I'd love your company.)
There is so much more that I've wanted to write about but for now I'll stick with these basics. Hopefully I'll get around to going through some of the pictures we've taken so I can share them here.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed, sent your well wishes and encouragement. I have been overwhelmed by the support and it has inspired me in so many ways.