In life we all come to a crossroads or point in life where we need to trust that the decisions we make are the right ones. For me that decision like this surgery has mentally weighed me down for months, although fortunately I've had family and friends to pick me back up. My surgery and decision is now only days away.
My surgery is scheduled for a robotic mitral valve repair which now has become more routine (so I hear) although this is my heart and I really hope the repair is successful. Before I go into surgery I have to let Dr. Siwek (my heart surgeon) know if I want a biological or mechanical valve if the repair doesn't work. I've read endless research articles and talked with others, although this is my decision. The list of Pros vs. Cons has consumed my thoughts lately. The reality is that I won't know until I wake up after surgery of the outcome, so I've tried to prepare for both outcomes.
So, what would you do? I hope everyone reading this doesn't ever have to decide. I can go with biological valve and probably be fine for the next 10-15 or so years, although it would eventually have to be replaced. Ultimately just like anything in life there is no guarantee. I could get the mechanical valve and it might last the rest of my life, although it might not. If I decided to go with mechanical valve I'd need to take blood thinners for the rest of my life and I already don't like to take anything. This really is the most difficult decision of my life and I hope by Monday morning I can make the decision with more confidence than I have now.
I've had so much on my mind lately that I feel I'm running the race of my life mentally everyday. This surgery is serious business and as much as I'm trying to pray for positive outcomes my life will literally be in the hands of another. Scary thought! I know the surgeon is excellent, however like anything in life there is no guarantee.
I find myself for the first time in my life truly reflecting on my journey through life from a different perspective. I'm asking myself questions that I've never really thought much about due to the fact this major surgery and I have more anxiety than I've had at any time in my life. I've tried through this process to maintain my spirit, focus on the things I can control and come to understand that god truly does have a plan for all of us.
But the questions are still there.....Why me? What am I suppose to learn from this? What will I change in my life moving forward? How did I go from feeling in the best shape of my life in June to heart surgery? How can I use this experience to help others? Are my parents/wife/son/family and friends proud of me? I know the answers to some of these questions and plan to resolve others after surgery.
OK, OK.... enough of these questions. My point is that I think all of us take life for granted at some point and forget to enjoy the little things or small successes along the way. I know I have a long life to live, so I pray god will let me continue to inspire and touch the lives of others. It may be through supporting my family or helping teach people to live a healthy life of balance with goals to be all they can be. I encourage everyone to find a way to give back and take time to enjoy the journey through life.
Did I think at 37 yrs old I'd be having heart surgery? Of course not, however one thing I've learned through this process is that life is completely unpredictable. All I can do is maintain a positive outlook and spirit as I put my life in the hands of others.
I'm going to Sacred Heart Medical Center on Monday, Nov. 15th at 4:45am to prepare to have surgery at 7:15am. I'll be in the hospital for 3 to 4 days. Thank you to everyone that has supported me through this bump in the road journey through life. I feel so fortunate to have such an amazing support system of family and friends that will here for me when I wake up after surgery.
Thanks for reading and remember to enjoy the journey!