Getting Back to Abnormal after Surgery

Today Callie and I did our first 2 mile walk since last summer. It may not seem like much but it was a bit of a push when you see it in context. To put it all in perspective let’s take a look at the past several months. It all started last July on my trip to Dallas, Texas on business.  My immune system decided to poop out on me and I broke out in hives all over. By the time mid-August rolled around, my heart issues had increased to the point that I was spending most of my days and nights in bed. Many of those days I couldn’t even lift my head or sit up. Some days I would make it to the couch for a change of scenery but, once again, I couldn't hold my head up or stomach watching television because the movement on the screen made me nauseated and dizzy. It was apparent something unusual was happening since this was becoming an everyday thing. As it turned out, my pacemaker I’d had in my chest since I was 23 was on its way to dead. The energizer bunny battery inside was dying. Here comes the other problem that isn’t really a problem. See, I have really great insurance thanks to my husband’s job at the State Credit Union but the insurance won’t cover a pacemaker change (aka, a new pacemaker) until the computer that reads my pacemaker’s recordings said that it absolutely had to be changed. So from August until early January I barely left the house or my bed. Let me just tell you how fun that was NOT for me. I hate being bored and stuck somewhere but to be honest I felt to crappy I wouldn't have been able to get around anyway. Before all of this happening in July I had been doing a lot of exercise every day and had even started a Walking for Wellness group in my area. I was walking 4 miles or more with ease. When the health problems started rearing their ugly head I could barely make it half a mile before I would get chest pains, couldn’t breathe, and felt like I was going to pass out. This was not good at all and I began to realize I was going to have to cut back on physical activity. Here came the stomach issues again! I have a condition that keeps me from digesting many foods (including healthy ones, like beans and broccoli!) and when I was all gung ho about my walking and eating healthy, taking my supplements, and drinking my meal replacement Protein shakes I was doing great. I was having almost no digestive issues at all. Fast forward to Thanksgiving night and I was in so much pain and had such a severe stomach attack I almost died. Back to the doctor I went and he put me on a strict diet known as the FODMAP diet (just Google it) and gave me another pill to take in cases of an acute digestive attack.  If you know me at all, I take as little medicine as I can to keep me alive without overdoing it on the side effects so the addition of another little pill was not ideal but thankfully I have only had to take it a couple times in these past few months. With the new, stricter diet my digestive issues have gotten better but I’m still not out of the woods yet. I believe I will always have some sort of issue but when I was exercising so much those abdominal muscles were also getting strengthened and that really helped out. The heart issues I was having kept me from my exercise and feeling healthy (or even good) at all. Now we all have those times when we “don’t feel good” but I was actually “feeling bad.” I mean I was feeling really bad. It got to the point I was visiting the cardiologist for pacer readings every few weeks instead of months. Finally in April of this year the tech said, “It needs to be changed!” Greatest words I’ve heard in years! The doctor came in the room on that Tuesday and said he could change it Thursday. I opted for 2 weeks later so everyone who would be caring for me after surgery could make plans. When Thursday (2 days later) rolled around I was so sick that I wished beyond any rainbow that I had just agreed to have it that day. I had my pacer change on April 24th and all is going well so far. My scar is far uglier this time but much smaller so I guess that’s a trade out. The new pacer is doing great and I feel so much better now. I’ve been doing at least 20 minutes a day of exercise since the first week of May so I can build my strength back up. I believe I’m doing well, but of course Callie was still bored. Today I decided that since the weather was nice, Callie and I needed exercise, and I need a little creative inspiration from God’s green earth we would head to one of our favorite parks and go as far as we could. We did the whole 2 miles and it felt so good. I always love the feeling of accomplishment after a long walk or hard workout. The smell of the honeysuckles, cut grass, and the release of the endorphins from physical exertion are something money can’t buy but if they could bottle it up it would never stay on the shelf. Now I’m on my way to a wonderful recovery. My wound from surgery is healing nicely. I can breathe. My stomach doesn’t constantly feel like its housing razor blades. Most importantly, I have a nice, tired, happy puppy. Callie doesn’t get up before noon…except for walks.

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