Today officially marks six months since my double bypass heart surgery. My heart surgery journey starts here if you’d like to follow along from the beginning.
I’m truly amazed at how much better I feel since the surgery. I feel empowered and strong and have more energy, for sure. I wasn’t able to return to work until 3 months after surgery. I was really self-conscious about my scar and debated at first whether or not I should cover it up at work because I didn’t want to freak my young students out, but when I was finally able to return to work at the three month mark, I talked with each class, they saw my scar, and they didn’t make a big deal or seem upset about it, so I decided to carry on as usual. One of my sweet little kindergartners asked me if I took my scar off at night to sleep! Ha! I wish!
So, here I am at the six month mark, rocking my zipper:
My cardiologist seems pleased with my progress. I go see my surgeon for a check up in a couple of weeks. I don’t go for another stress test until next year (at the one year mark).
Physically, I’m still being careful about how much I lift, but I’m doing things I never thought I would do again like mowing the yard and digging a garden all by myself. I still feel a few funny flutters from time to time, but really getting my heart pumping with physical activity makes me feel better. I’m off for the summer, so a regular exercise regimen of walking is about to become the norm, as it should have been months ago. I’m also about to switch to a mostly plant-based diet, starting slowly at first with maybe only eating lean meat two or three meals a week. I’d eventually like to switch to an all plant-based diet. My scar is really starting to itch here lately and I can’t see a whole lot of healing up with that. It’s very pronounced and I’m anxious to see if the surgeon thinks this is normal looking. Also, I can tell you almost within a few days that rain is coming. It’s like they’ve installed a barometer in my chest. My sternum really starts feeling tight when the weather changes.
Emotionally, dealing with this surgery has been tough, and it’s a battle I have to fight every day. I never, ever wanted to be a heart patient (who does?!) and I’m still in a little disbelief that this is my life now. I still cry occasionally, but I’m trying so hard not to let myself slip into a depression. It takes me a little longer to do the everyday things I used to do and I was really ashamed and hard on myself about that at first. It’s getting better, though. I also have a little trouble remembering the littlest things and I also give myself a hard time about it, but I shouldn’t. I still worry every single day about my arteries failing and having to go through this again. I really think this is a normal part of the whole process, but I’m really trying to focus on my blessings and stay positive.
Overall, I’m doing pretty well and have resumed a mostly normal life. I will still update here and I definitely plan on writing more blog articles about heart surgery to share my experience in case someone else might benefit from it.