“You are going to need open heart surgery to replace your aortic valve within the next 6 to 24 months. In the meantime, no heavy lifting and only light physical activity. Keep any eye out for any of the symptoms we talked about. I will see you in 6 months”. The cardiologist’s words weighed heavily on me. How could this be happening? I am a 45 year old woman who had been leading a healthy and active life. With the exception of a ‘little heart murmur” from a very young age, I never really gave heart disease a second thought. You see, I don’t smoke, I am not overweight, my cholesterol levels are good, my blood pressure is normal and I eat well (with the exception of a little chocolate :)). Perhaps, I ignored some of the symptoms we discussed such as heart palpitations and extreme exhaustion. Isn’t this normal when we lead very busy lives?
I did undergo open heart surgery at the Ottawa Heart Institute a few years ago and was very grateful for the wonderful care I received and continue to receive. I have now learned to listen to my body as well as try and live “more” in the moment. I incorporate yoga and meditation into my weekly routine and I am learning when to say ‘no’. I understand that I will have to undergo another heart surgery one day. In the meantime, I know that by taking the best possible care of myself physically and mentally, along with knowing I have access to this world class Heart Facility, I will be better equipped to deal with what lies ahead.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story.
In the meantime, Carpe Diem!