From Heart Failure to Heart Transplant
The biggest struggle is mental, well for me it was, and honestly still is. The trauma that came with living with heart failure as a kid, growing up, and becoming a young adult, was an experience that I was not mentally prepared for and did not really understand the effects it was having on me.
How heart failure impacted my mental health
When I was first diagnosed with anxiety I could not accept it simply because I had never heard of the word. I could not just okay doctors putting a label on me. I knew what I felt but to be diagnosed with a name and put it in my chart to me was another level.
When you are dealing with a disease no one tells you the toll it takes on your mind, body, and soul. All the pep talking you have to give yourself, that everything will be okay, and sometimes that does not work. When you are faced with a life changing situation trying to go forward is just a challenge within itself.
Having support can be helpful
You are grateful for the love and support of friends and family. The only thing is the understanding part that's lacking, which I believe is very important, but it is not always there.
I have been so fortunate to have women's groups that have helped me throughout the years, and now I have this platform which I will forever be grateful for. When you read or hear about what someone is dealing or has dealt with, it doesn't take the pain away from what you are dealing with, but it soothes it. For me that was enough with having a disease and a life I couldn't change.
A prayer that helped me throughout my journey
I keep the word and my faith close in my heart. I embrace the serenity prayer that says "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." Serenity means to be in a calm/peaceful state. The things in life that we cannot change can be looked at in a calm manner. Whatever it is that we cannot change we must be content and know that God has it under control.
Why this particular prayer? Simply because I could not change that I was diagnosed with heart failure so I had to accept it, but I needed serenity, peace, to do so. That was the hard part! I accepted it and I realized there was life after heart disease, and years later I received a transplant.
From a heart failure diagnosis to a heart transplant: What changed?
I can say much has not changed mentally and I say that because I had a sick heart for so long that when I received a new heart my mind was still set in that sick heart mindset, and many years later it is still a battle for me.
One thing I can say is from heart failure to heart transplant hope and joy came. When I realized I could walk up a flight of stairs and not lose my breath I was filled with joy and so hopeful for the future and all the success I would have with my new life. Since my transplant, life has been bittersweet but to me that's the perfect balance.
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