October 2018 feels like such a distant memory, or perhaps more accurately, a nightmare. The only problem was that I was living out my nightmare. Waking up was not an option. I was living it. The heart failure hit me smack in the face in early October 2018.
To this day, I have vivid memories flying through my head, with me in the back of an ambulance flying down the local highway, heading to the hospital. Pictures of how that dark day started are too real and remind me of how I struggled and what led up to it.
A lot of things have changed in that short time frame. It is hard to comprehend that it has already been more than two years since my heart failure.
While I have made an excellent physical recovery, there’s still room for improvement. According to my cardiologist, my heart shows no signs of heart failure. I feel strong and healthy and manage to keep the weight down.
I was by no means obese, but I was certainly not in a healthy weight group either. Overall, I have shed more than 50 lbs of fat, bringing me to a level I have not been since my early twenties – more than two decades ago.
My body slowly transformed into a more fit Viking. Not the body of a berserker Viking or the Scandinavian version of the Rock. Just a more normally shaped body. I swear that I, at times, can see glimpses of muscles on my stomach. Granted, it might be the light and shadows playing games with my mind.
Reaching and cutting your toenails might seem normal, but not for a fat bastard as I was before the heart failure!
Mental Awareness Level 3
On the flip side, mentally, I still have challenges. I doubt I will ever fully recover mentally. There were too many challenges with the experience that have increased my anxiety levels. I have written posts on my site about PTSD and truly believe that heart failure victims have mental scars that are borderline PTSD.
Many people suffering from various serious illnesses are absolutely more vulnerable to mental issues such as anxiety and depression. Both are serious. They can have a prolonged effect on your overall recovery process. It is vital to find ways to deal with mental recovery. Otherwise, you will struggle longer.
Personally, I found comfort in God early on. Actually within 2 days of ICU.
My condition was severe, but I had absolutely no idea how to move on from here: too many questions and fears circulated in the darkness of the ICU unit. Fellow patients were in agony. I was being monitored 24/7 and had a few scary visits from nurses in the middle of the night, who thought my heart rate was off. Being in ICU triggers and fuels anxiety levels.
24 hours into my ICU adventure, the resident priest visited me and asked to give me my blessings. It was at that moment I realized that I was too close to the pearly gates. In secret, I started to pray when I was alone with all the beeping machines – although I did not know how to pray.
We Deal With Challenges Differently
There’s no manual for how to recover and how to deal with mental issues due to a traumatic experience. Individually we try to adapt to the new situation and do our best to recover. It is all about a positive mental attitude and believing that you can make a change. That change will help you recover and keep your mind focused on healing.
For me, it has been writing posts on my web site, making healthier food, continue praying for something higher, and appreciate what I have. The family is vital to a positive recovery.
Do no lock yourself up in a corner or room. Do not deal with your anxiety alone. You need to share and seek help from family, friends, and doctors. There’s plenty of help out there if you ask or seek it out.
If people around you are not aware of your struggles, then people can not help you!
For the past two years, I have attempted to share my experiences, recommendations, and stories to inspire some readers. There’s plenty of hope that you will do well in your recovery, but all change starts with you.
Feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk or share your story.