Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Dear!

13 short years ago, we were standing before James Armstrong, a man of God, professing our love and promising forever to each other before family and friends.

13 years ago, how could we know we would have 3 beautiful children together?

13 years ago, who would have thought we would be more in love now than we were then? Shouldn't that be the way love goes? Your wedding day is the day you love each other more than you think you ever will but in reality not as much as you ever will?

13 years ago, who would have known we would make every home opener of the Rangers since our marriage?

13 years ago, who would have known all the firsts we would experience together? First steps of all three girls, first words, first opening day for each of them. First day of school for two of them and this year we'll see the last one start Kindergarten. First overnights with friends. First lost tooth, first haircut, first Christmases - Easter - Thanksgivings... First race at TMS...first game at the new Cowboys's stadium...I'm sure there's more but that's enough for now.

13 years ago, who knew the people we would bury, the illnesses we would see each other through.

13 years ago, how could I know that the man I married would surpass every expectation and every wish I could have for a husband?

13 years ago, I married my best friend. I'm still married to him...

13 years from now, I will read this and think "you only thought you loved him then...".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Last post about this heart stuff

I'm sure y'all are tired of hearing about all my illness stuff but I want to share with you the things that have happened lately.

One thing is that I realize I am not nearly as young as I think I am. I thought I would just bounce right back from this. Not so much. I am proud of myself for knowing my limits and instead of working until 6 on Tues. I went home at 4. I did work until 6 today and it did kick my hiney but I didn't give out until close to 6 instead of the earlier 4 and 5 of earlier in the week. I came home and went to bed and let Cornad worry about dinner. I'm still in bed and will be until I take my shower, then I'll be back there until I get up in the morning. Yep, Mumsey, I'm learning how to slow it down.

Another thing is that for whatever reason people are happy to see me back at work. I'm guessing they're happy when they say "You're back". Maybe it's the "Ewwww, you're back? I thought we got rid of you" but they're hiding it? Mostly, I think they're happy to see me and it's a little weird because I always think everyone hates me up there (not the staff), for making them do what they're supposed to do, like signing in, not going back into the school in the morning, you know, just following the rules up there. I've found people don't necessarily like that - finding out rules apply to them. Anyway, I digress - see why parents don't like me? I get off on that "the rules are for you" tangent and everything else fades to gray. OK, back to the subject at hand.

It's nice to feel the love/concern from the parents and staff of ACA and I have to say that while I wouldn't want to go through this again (I was going to say "to save my life" but that would have been stupid - of course I would do it to save my life), it has been nice to see how much people do care about me. Touching even.

Thank you everyone, family, friends, students (yes, I've had my fair share of hugs and "welcome backs" from them), parents and staff for all your sweet comments and concern. Sorry if I'm redundant but I truly am appreciative.

No one deserves more thanks than my mother. I just realized yesterday she was here for a whole week!!!!!! She cleaned, she washed clothes, she watched kids, she sat with me endlessly, she worried over me, she kicked my hiney at cards (more than once). She loved me like a Momma does. Thank you, Mumsey. I truly do appreciate what you did for me. I'm thinking I thanked you in my last post but I don't think I can thank you enough (besides, I doubt I said anything about the hiney-kicking in cards). I love you!

And, Conrad, you continue to support me in my recovery and I love you for hangin' tough! I see bright and wonderful days ahead! I love you!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Yesterday morning, I woke up at 4am or there abouts and couldn't go back to sleep. I knew the nurse would be coming to prep me for my "procedure" at anytime and I was a little nervous. By the time the nurse came in I had worked myself into a big bundle of nerves and was crying (not that sobbing cry but quiet fearful tears). My nurse, Nana, once again to the rescue. When I grabbed her hand and said "no one has died from this have they?" she didn't say no (because I'm sure that would be an untruth. She said "people have died from NOT having it done". In an odd way, that made me feel better. So she prepped me and then let me take a shower.

While I was in the shower, I thought things like: Surely this isn't my last day on earth and here I am taking a shower in this hospital room. Did I do everything God put me on earth to do? Is he going to say "Well done my good and faithful servant"? Does everyone know how much I love them? Is this going to hurt? What are they going to do to me? When do I get my Valium?

Oh, you can bet I asked about that Valium. I mean, I enjoyed that morphine, why wouldn't I like Valium? Surely that would calm these nerves.

After I was all showered and ready for my big procedure, Joan came and got me. I was hoping I would get to see Conrad and my mom before I went in but it wasn't looking good on that front. They weren't there when I went down to the Cath Lab.

Joan is a lovely nurse who came and talked to me and told me everything they would do to me. Calmed my nerves and also reiterated the fact that people had died from NOT getting this done (WAY more often than from getting it done, her tone suggested). Then, she did give me a Valium and benedryl. Talk about a calming effect on someone, by the time Mumsey and Conrad got there I was feeling no nerves about this.

Then they took me back. A large man, Mark, came and got me and he was so nice and turns out, he's a nurse and did the final prep work for this Angiogram. He introduced me to DeeDee and Pam and apparently they had been on the TV the week before introducing this robot that only they had in this surgical room. Don't ask me what it does but they were talking about needing to name it so I asked if I could help. "Of course!" they said. So I came up with "Robbie" and they liked it. I'm not sure if they were just blowing hot air up my hospital gown or if it's really going to be called that but, I believe they are so, that's enough for me! I feel like I did something good while lying on that table.

I don't remember alot about it, except that it did hurt (I think someone said something about the anesthesia not working quite as well as it should have with me) but only when they poked me and plugged me. Not the inbetween part. I didn't get to see my heart on the 6 monitors they had going - very disappointed in that. They know how to warm a blanket in that hospital. And, it didn't take long at all. I have no idea how long I was back there but it didn't seem long at all.

The Doctor went and talked to my family then came and talked to me. And, oddly, they have a different recollection of what's wrong with me. He told them that I have an almost non-existent artery, a congenital condition that I can do nothing about. He told me that I have a mitral valve prolapse which there's not much to be done about that as long as the valves aren't leaking (which they aren't). So, no blockage, no stints, just some foreknowledge that can come in handy if i should ever get leaky in my valves.

I became aware of some things while in recovery. I know 3 hours spent on your back will make you hurt like nobody's business. I know one of those nurses in that Cath Lab can flat rub a back. I know two darvocet will make me not care that I'm lying flat on my back for three hours and it takes about half an hour* to get them and another 20 minutes for it to work. I know you can have all the cranberry or cran-grape juice you can drink in recovery and they have good ice, much like sonic drive-ins. I know it's alot harder to go on a bedpan than one would think. I know that Joan has to be one of the kindest people I've ever run across and I so appreciate her wisdom, kindness and humor.

Finally, it wast time to go home! First, I got to get up - slowly but surely, then I got to walk to the bathroom and clean up a little. I know that sounds like not that big a deal. But, that bathroom was a million miles away when you'd just been lying on your back for 3 hours and had just had something jabbed/plugged into your leg (and up into your heart). But, then I got to put on my new "New Orleans Saints Superbowl Champions" shirt my Mumsey brought me and walk out that hospital door and back to my house. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see my house...EVER!! My bed was a welcome sight and a place I haven't left too often since I've been home. I'm to be a couch/bed potato for 2 days so I'm happy to stay here, as long as I'm HOME!

I'm happy to see my cats (and even a little happy to see Paco - as long as he's not jumping on me). Happy to be available whenever my children need a kiss or hug. And, really happy to be lying beside my sweet husband again who has been a real saint through this whole ordeal.

I want to thank Conrad from the bottom of my heart for being there for me and the kids during this time. Not complaining, not ever making me feel like I have put him out by asking for him to bring things (mostly clean underwear - in case you want to know) up to me. For just being the strong rock of a man I've always known him to be but tender enough to show emotion and show me how much he loves me at the same time.

I love that my children's face lit up each time they walked in the door of my room and in turn warmed my heart just by seeing them.

I so appreciate all the people who took the time to come see me or phone me or send me emails and prayed for me. You will never know how much I appreciated those.

And Mumsey? Thank you for being there for me. You just don't know how much you need your Mom until something like this happens. Sure, I could lay in my room all day by myself, but would I have really just laid there? No, I would have gotten up to make myself something to eat or what have you. Well, today I wouldn't have gotten up, I didn't have the energy. I anticipate tomorrow having a bit more energy so I may try to cheat a little. Mom is here to make sure I keep it in check and don't do too much. Thank you, Mumsey for taking time out of your life to come take care of me.

So, now this ordeal is over. I will, in 10 days, clear up exactly what the Doctor told me as compared to Conrad and Mom and I'll let you know what the final diagnosis is. But, I thank each and every person who had a hand in helping me through this. I love you all.

* I don't know for sue that it took half an hour to get the darvocet, but it seemed like an eternity.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Heart beats

This morning I did something I didn't think I would ever need to do. A stress test. And, when I thought about a stress test, it didn't stress me out. I really thought it would be a get hooked up to electrodes and take a spin on the old treadmill kinda thing. Well, let me tell you it was NOT.

They injected me with some sort of radio active isotope thing in my IV and immediately I felt like a big steaming bowl of crap. My stomach hurt, my head felt tight, I felt like I could projectile vomit (if it wouldn't have gotten the lady in trouble that told me it was OK to eat a little something when I went to my room to wait - yet again - on the Dr. so I could take said stress test) and I was scared. And when I say scared, I don't even mean I think I'm going to die scared. It was a I have no idea what is going on and all I can do is cry scared and that's what I did. And it all hit me at once, not a slow little creep up on you "I don't feel good" creep up, a rude minding my own business and someone pops out of nowhere and slaps me across the face with a cold wet hand kind of thing.

After the radioactive stuff ran around my body for a few minutes I got pictures made 360 degrees around my heart. They had me hooked up to a monitor that I could hear my heart beating out loud in the room. It took me awhile to figure out that was what it was but once I did, I thought "that is a fast heart beat, I wonder if I can slow it down?" So I thought about Conrad, slower it got, all 5 of my children's faces went before my mind's eye, slower still. Then "the" urge came over me and off to the races went my heart because I didn't want to do that on that table. (For those of you confused ones, if I said "BM" would that help?) Apparently, radioactive stuff is a laxative for me. It was cool listening to my heartbeat. I tried to keep it steady and slow but that didn't always work.

After the test, we had to wait for the Doctor to come give us the results. We waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, he came and delivered this little bundle of joy...I have to have an angiogram/heart cath, whatever you want to call it tomorrow. Yeah, again, I'm not going home. But, I have meals, complete with desserts, ordered until lunch tomorrow so I'm good.

I've had my moments of panic with this. I won't deny it. But when my Mumsey left this evening, she said a prayer for me and a peace and calm washed over me. Jim from the church came and read from the Bible and gave me communion and prayed with me. I have nothing to worry over, I can't do anything about what's going on so I'm going to leave it in God's hands.

My nurse, Nana, and I had a conversation about being grateful about this. And, I am. I am grateful that my Doctor didn't give up where some would and ordered this test which I thought was pointless yet may have found the reason behind the problem. Thank you Dr. Taylor (best Cardiologist in Arlington - do I get a discount now?)! Grateful that we found this while I am young (quit snickering - I am) and can do something about it and that I didn't have a heart attack because we got it early. This really could have all ended much worse so I am grateful that Jackie made me call my Doctor because, trust me, I'm not the kind that would. Thanks, Jackie!

So, worry not for me my friends. Worry, instead, for those Doctors who have to see me naked tomorrow. Couldn't possibly be a bright spot in their day. Pray for wisdom and clarity for them while the procedure is going on. Pray for peace and calm for my family during this time. And, thank you all for the prayers, visits and phone calls. They are all appreciated!

Oh, one more bright spot...I get to have my first Valium tomorrow!