Feeling a little sentimental…

The gem on the left popped up in my memories for today and I couldn’t help but laugh. Why? Well because I realized I took a selfie yesterday making the same face. However these pictures were taken under VERY different circumstances. 3 years ago I was riding in an ambulance trying not to lose my mind because my life was being derailed. Everything changed for me after that ambulance ride.

A device was permanently implanted in my body. The very thing I had been avoiding for years. I had to admit that I alone couldn’t beat my diagnosis. That I wasn’t physically strong enough to be able to get through life without the help of a machine. I was incredibly lucky my heart started to beat in a normal rhythm on its own that day. It terrifies me, still, to realize that I was that close to it just stopping for good. I was alone in that parking lot when my lightheaded fainting spell happened. I had been alone many times before when those happened. I know now the gravity of the those fainting spells and what it now means when I get the symptoms of them. I still live life in constant fear of going into V-tach and getting shocked.

Yet, here I am 3 years later taking a selfie on my best friends phone, for her to find at a later date, with the same goofy face. I have pushed through my whole life changing. Some days I completely forget that I am not quite physically capable as the people around me. Some days my heart reminds me that it’s not normal and I struggle to get through the day. I have days where I am angry because of all the heartache having a serious medical condition causes me. Sometimes I blatantly ignore it. They do say ignorance is bliss. But everyday I get through and it’s because I keep this goofy positive attitude.

I choose to be silly. I choose to be hopeful. I choose to trust that things will happen however they’re supposed to happen. I can’t control everything and I can’t believe Friday will mark 3 years with this hardware in my chest. It seems like yesterday and an eternity ago at the same time.

I’m sure people that know me get tired of hearing about it, but I don’t care. It’s an everyday battle and I’m allowed to be proud of myself for getting through it. I have tried so hard for my heart to not define me. I wanted to find a way to define myself and make my health be a small part of that person. My health is a big part of me and the harder I fight to sweep that aside it comes back hitting harder. I have realized I shouldn’t sweep it aside. I should let it define me and stop looking at it in such a negative light. People constantly tell me how strong I am for everything I’ve gone through. Hearing this makes me feel uncomfortable. Why? Because they haven’t seen my break downs. They haven’t seen the times I sobbed on the bathroom floor, cursing my heart, tired of being sore and sick. They haven’t been in the doctors office when I get bad news and experienced the drive home with me speechless and fighting back tears in front of my mom. You haven’t felt the struggle to not freak out, to not be scared, because everyone around you is trying to do the same. At times it’s exhausting to be strong, to be positive, to smile through it all. I am not always as strong as you all assume. I have felt like giving up on more than one occasion. Especially the days and weeks after that photo on the left was taken.

My pacemaker surgery hurt worse than my open heart surgery I had at 22. Hell sometimes I still get shooting pain in my muscle surrounding my ICD. Not everyone knows the nitty gritty details. Not everyone understands the mental impact it has on a person. I’ve spent hours in therapy sorting my feelings and figuring out how to process. To have people compliment me and tell me how strong I am is weird, because I know how dark the journey has been, but no matter how dark it has been I have found a way to push through. With sarcasm, with being silly, with ignorance and with love. I have never let it keep me down for long and I realize the importance of being able to reflect on that. The importance of being able to communicate the struggle and the victories. To show you guys that throughout it all, the physical and mental anguish, I never completely lost myself. I have still kept my ridiculously charming (Devon and Erin that description is for you 🤣) attitude. And for some reason I still continue taking goofy looking selfies when I should be being serious. I guess somethings never change.

I can’t help but laugh at myself and feel a sense of pride when I look at these photos. How lucky are you for knowing me?! 😂 How lucky am I to still be able to make that goofy face and look ridiculous in selfies? Because I came all too close to not being able to take either one of them. Here’s to just shy of 3 years since surgery #8 and here’s to hoping surgery #9 doesn’t happen anytime soon 🥂.

On a serious note can someone help me find out if there’s a punch card for these? Like, “hey I have had 10 can I get the next one free?” It’s get expensive y’all.