Today is the third anniversary of my heart attack.
|edited/enhanced photo of a moss-covered heart stone in the forest behind my house|
Often, people ask me if I've changed since that early-morning wake-up call on January 8, 2010. Initially, without hesitation, I adamantly said, "No!" because that's what I wished was the truth. But, after three years of rebuilding my health, I must honestly answer, "Yes. Of course."
A heart attack is a life-changing event.
I'm a different person now than I was on January 7, 2010, the day before my heart attack, when I still thought that I was invincible. Isn't this what most people believe until something happens that changes their health, their mind, and their life?
I can't say I'm a better person now. All I know for sure is that I'm changed in large and small ways that markedly define and affect my life:
I no longer spontaneously lift my grandchildren (or anything over 25 pounds) without giving my effort a second thought. I always carry 4 baby aspirin somewhere on my person wherever I go. (My cardiologist says these tiny, low-dose chewable aspirin might save my life in the event of another spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and heart attack.) I wear a heart rate monitor when I exercise strenuously. I don't "push the envelope" in exercise like I may have formerly. I'm more body-aware; any chest discomfort or shortness of breath would register immediately as an emergency.
I surround myself with positive people who enrich my life. I move away from discord, anger, judgement, and competition. I try to release tension in ways that won't hurt myself or others. I attempt mindfulness so I can understand and appreciate life's twists and turns. I express love and appreciation more readily. (Who knows when my time to do so might run out?)
I write my thoughts and feelings both to keep a record and to forge connections. Writing has always helped me be more myself, but since the heart attack, it also serves as a healing therapy.
I've written about my initial SCAD event and also my healing process in the hope that my journey might help someone else. Today, feeling strong and well, I write again.
I consider January 8 a positive anniversary celebrating my heart.
Blessings from my Heart to yours.