How do you react when you get informed that you have heart failure, a heart attack or heart disease? The doctors might as well smack you in the head with a shovel, as the realization or incident will leave you emotionally damaged.
I was certainly not expecting to have heart challenges at this age. It’s something that I associate with high-risk groups, with individuals that are not eating well, morbidly obese, or elderly people with weaker bodies.
My initial reaction was – I’m too young to die and too young to even be considered a high-risk person. Being faced with my own mortality, at this phase in my life, was an experience I did not want to experience.
My life should revolve around my family, seeing the kids grow up, attend sports events, camping, Christmas joys, holidays, teenage years, hanging out with friends, tailgating, concerts … anything that resembles a normal life.
Death is something that we normally encounter with older people, accidents and violent events. It is an event where we celebrate the life of a loved one, but not an event we should encounter with kids and young people.
So, when you get close to death, your perspective on life changes. At least mine did. I got scared (rightfully) and was not sure how to digest the news.
I cried when lying in the hospital, all alone, thinking about my lovely kids and beautiful wife. I had bad thoughts and they focused mainly on ‘what if’ scenarios and not the positive moments. In the midst of these dark hours, it was all I could think of.
Being confined to a bed in cardio ICU does that to your mind. Such a setup allows your brain to think up worst case scenarios.
I really did not want to have a date with the Grim Reaper. He’s an arse and meeting him would ruin all the plans I had in mind for my family.
It also became a little more nerve-racking when the resident priest came to my room to offer me a blessing and oils. That in itself caused my blood pressure to go up. I initially feared that he knew something I didn’t and that he wanted to prepare me for the afterlife. (In essence, that’s what priests do after all, to all of us) Of course, it wasn’t why he came to visit me so I accepted the host and received a blessing. I took this as a sign and that went towards my spiritual side. I had to put my faith in Jesus and ask him for help.
Let me be clear, it does not mean I’m a new found Christian, as I’ve always been Christian. It just meant that I got closer to my spiritual side. Putting my faith and hopes in the Lord helped me move forward. Accepting that death is part of everyone’s path is the beginning of accepting and healing.
It made me determined to beat cardiomyopathy and it would only be possible with faith and positive thoughts.
Although my mortality came to my door, I chose not to open and let it into my life. I made a conscious choice to beat this.
There will be more trials for me, where I would be tempted by the dark side and where my thoughts would attempt to trick me into thinking that I was running out of time.
This is not the case. I chose to live and recover.
What was your experience?
What are your pieces of wisdom?