Friday, June 6, 2014

The day YOU became a Heart Sister...

There was a day when everything changed abruptly.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, everything you knew changed in an instant.  You were told that your body was insufficient at doing what it is supposed to do to sustain your life.  If it hasn't already killed you, it most certainly could at any time.

So you wait.

Thankful for every passing moment of existence, you check and recheck your pulse.  You measure your life, first in heartbeats, then in minutes.  Eventually you can go a whole hour without feeling for the throbbing beats in your neck, indicating that yes, in fact, your heart is still beating.  Even though you don't want to know the answer, you ask yourself, ask your Maker, "Is this my last heartbeat? How about THIS one? This?"

You make it through a whole day, then fall to your knees, thanking God for the gift of one more smile from your husband.  One more "I love you" from the kids.  One more hug.  Just one more chance. You relish it, and cherish it, and treasure it in your heart.

But still you wait.  Because lurking in the dark quiet of your mind is the reality of your mortality.  Your pulse feels more like a ticking time bomb some days than a reassurance of good health. Your doctor already told you that the one organ that's been beating since you were just a wee speck in your mother's womb is failing.  It can't be trusted, and this is the hardest thing to make peace with.  Your own body has betrayed you!

Doctors can explain how and why your heart malfunctions the way it does, but unless they have felt the fear and abandonment of having their own heart fail them, they can't truly understand.

That's what Heart Sisters do.

I can't fathom 42 million women living with heart disease.  (Although it is true.)  What I CAN fathom is Carrie and Wanda and Erica and Georgia.  I think of Stephanie, Eileen and Sherry.  I remember sharing what a Sudden Cardiac Arrest felt like with Sue, and I remember discussing AICD shocks with a different Sue, and Julie.  I am saddened by the fear in Carol's eyes, Vicki's eyes, and the eyes of every new sister.  I appreciate what these ladies go through.  I know that the story above is their story. With a few modifications, it's all of our story.

Heart Sisters are women living with heart disease.  We are women living beyond the fear and doubt and emptiness of a "body gone bad".  We hold each other up.  We cry together, and pray with and for each other.  We help each other find a new normal.