OK, long serious blog post today people, but please bare with me, it's something I need to (literally) get off my chest.
So, yesterday I was at the hospital seeing a cardiac counsellor. Not one of the 'tell me about your mother' types, but one who helps people with heart conditions come to terms with what's happening. So, we were talking about how I'd not told many people about what's been happening over the last few months, won't go into details why but the general outcome was that I needed to tell people. So, at 5am this morning I was thinking of how would be easiest; telling the same story a hundred times over is just going to wear me down, so I'm going to write it all down here, then everyone knows everything all at once! So here goes:
As many of you know, I had open heart surgery back in 1999 to correct a problem with my aorta. The surgery was a success and I thought that I would carry on as normal then with a few exceptions (ie, no bungee jumping, white water rafting etc). The thing about what I've got is, it was never easily detected before, so most people didn't get into adulthood. I'm now part of the first generation that has been operated on and is living as a normal adult but, as a result, I'm a bit of a guinea pig and they don't always know what will happen.
Which leads us to what happened a few months ago. I saw my cardiologist back in February and a couple of other problems were highlighted. Firstly, even though the repair on my heart was good, it was diagnosed very late (I was 23) and so my heart's had a lot of strain over all those years. Sunsequently, there is some sign that the blood vessel near the repair has stretched slightly due to the stress on it. Secondly, they have found that one of the valves in my heart is leaking; what that means is that as the blood pumps through the valve, a little bit flows backwards instead of all passing through. At the moment this is very trivial and so is fine, but could progress over the years and so may need attention in years to come.
Anyway, yesterday, whilst at the hospital I talked to one of the cardiac nurses and later my cardiologist called me for a chat. The basic outcome is that yes, these problems are there but they're fine at the moment. I'll need to have regular tests (including the dreaded MRI) to see if they do get any worse, but if it does it's treatable. They're referring me to a physiotherapist to discuss exercise and to make sure I'm doing nothing anything to put a strain but, for now it's carry on regardless and I'm not going to keel over anytime soon!
I needed people to know; I also needed people to know that I'm OK. It's business as usual: I'm still carrying on with the teaching career, bringing up the munchkins and I will still be able to down my own body weight in red wine when required! I don't want sympathy, please don't give me sympathy! I'm a fine healthy woman who just has to watch certain stuff but I don't need kidd glove treatment, I just need people to understand.
Thank you for listening, I feel so much better!