Matters of the Heart
Losing my dad was one of the hardest, if not the hardest day of my life to date. It is something that I really struggle to talk about - for me there seems no point. Many people have told me that I should talk about it and that it will help me process. I am still deciding on that, all it seems to do it open up the pain and make my heart hurt. The heart is such a strong muscle when it is in top condition. Importantly even when it is not in top condition it still does its very best to give you the very best and to keep you alive.
My younger years
Since I was a little girl and for as long as I can remember, my Dad had heart problems. His family came from a line of heart troubles. Heart failure, heart attack, and the like have been the cause of passing for many. I can clearly recall rushing to the airport and flying to where he was as he had just suffered a huge heart attack, he needed surgery. We did not know if he was going to make it. I remember feeling scared and wishing for him to be okay. One quadruple bypass later and he was ready to go home. This time however his heart would not be the same again.
The heart attack he had suffered had caused huge damage to his heart and we were told that the heart would not function normally again and would without a doubt be in a perpetual state of heart failure. There was medication, so much of it. These pills kept my dad alive for another 20 years. Some days were harder than others. He fought every day, to stay with us and to give his heart the best chance.
Being a farmer his job was deeply demanding, physically and mentally. He worked hard at eating well and always taking his medication, these were the tools to keep him alive. The tools that made sure I got a call every Sunday. In August 2018 on a rainy day, I got that call. It was about my dad, it was his heart and he had not made it this time. The grief and pain I felt could only be equated to a volcano erupting inside of me. Like in the movies I sank to my knees, a guttural cry of pain erupted from deep within my soul and it tore something that will never be whole again.
Am I next in line?
Shortly after everything had been said and done, life was supposed to back to normal. I felt a cloud hanging above me. Is my heart alright? What was that pain? Why do I feel so tired? I started to question everything and went to my doctor a few times. We checked and rechecked. It would seem that I am in perfect health. For now. Knowing that heart failure and heart attacks run in the family is not comforting. It leaves you with a restless feeling that something might not be right. You second guess every physical symptom that you feel.
The positive is that I have become even more aware of my health than I was before. Trying to give my body the best tools to do what it needs to do to keep me alive.
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?