It is with a heavy heart that I am telling you I’m on a plane heading to Wisconsin today. My Mom had emergency heart surgery this week and as much as I hate cold weather, I need to be with her.
Earlier this week she had a few tests done. After a series of strange results that doctors couldn’t diagnose, they decided to do an angiogram of her heart to investigate further. An angiogram is an x-ray procedure in which dye is injected into a catheter through a vein in the leg. The arteries of the heart can be viewed closer to diagnose problems. It was at that time it was determined she needed bypass surgery.
My family and I were shocked by this news. My mother never had a heart attack. In December, she had an odd chest pain which brought her to the ER. Doctors were unable to determine the cause, but ruled out a heart attack as well as other conditions. The pain came on suddenly and left after a few hours. They released her from the hospital and recommended she follow-up with her primary care physician. My father and her then traveled to Arizona to celebrate the holidays with me.
Her PC authorized the travel and said they would do a series of tests upon her return to determine the cause of her sudden chest pain. My Mom also suffers from RA (rheumatoid arthritis) an inflammatory disease where the body attacks its own cells affecting the joints in the body. She is in constant pain with RA so it can be difficult to know at times if her pain is a result of RA or a symptom of something else.
My Mom stayed with me in Arizona for 3 few months. She was here longer than expected due to my foot injury, which I now feel tremendously guilty about. Looking back, I wish I had insisted she return home sooner to have tests done despite my injury. Should have, could have, would have…I can always look back and question my decisions but I have to believe things worked out as they were meant to be.
She returned to Wisconsin just 3 weeks ago and you would never have known something was wrong or that she was sick. There was no indication of a problem. The doctor said some people never have a heart attack and die suddenly. It’s a silent killer. Scary. I’m convinced something bigger was watching over her.
Her surgery went well and she is recovering in ICU now. Her outlook is positive. It will be several months of recovery and cardiac boot camp until she is herself again. My Mom asked me not to travel to Wisconsin due to my foot injury, but I told her I was coming, it wasn’t a question. I wanted to be there sooner, however, decided to wait until today so I could finish physical therapy this week. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I decided to travel in my boot today. My foot is not strong enough yet to handle the walking required for travel. My therapist encouraged me to continue biking, swimming and stretching while I’m out-of-town. I’ve already contacted a fitness facility in Wisconsin and meeting with them this weekend.
The last two days have been the longest of my life. My Mom is the most important person in my life and I’m not sure what I would do without her. I haven’t slept or eaten much this week. It’s hard when you’re family lives far away. You feel isolated and helpless when things happen.
Three weeks ago I was laying next to my Mom the night before she left telling her how much I was going to miss her. It’s crazy how life can change so quickly. Hold your loved ones close because you never know what tomorrow may bring.
I’m thankful I had my fitness to lean on. Spinning has given me stress relief and swimming has relaxed me. To be honest, I’m not sure what I would have done without my fitness. So you see, being active and fit isn’t about losing weight or bulking up. Fitness brings meaning to your life. Gives you a connection to something and even brings you comfort when you least expect it. Fitness is a way of life.
Friends, I sincerely hope you understand if my posts are short, sporadic or random these coming weeks. I do have several guests who will be posting on my blog and I’m excited to see their amazing posts. I’m also extremely grateful for their generosity. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact me. I will gladly pay it forward.
Does your family live near or far from you? What meaning does fitness have in your life?