When I was in second grade, a family friend bought me a diary to write in. I wrote a grand total of one entry, and it went something like this:
I hate diaries!
Clearly, not much has changed as I have pretty much failed as far as this blog is concerned. I’ll admit, when I first got home from the hospital, everything felt too overwhelming and every time I tried to write after that initial entry, I just couldn’t do it. I also received an outpouring of support, which was incredible, but also several stories from families who had experienced similar situations. I was not emotionally ready for that. Honestly, I’m only really now at a point where I can process things of that magnitude. I apologize to anyone I didn’t respond to.
But, I am happy to say, I have an update! And it’s a good one. After a rougher-than-anticipated summer with some scary episodes and nearly passing out, I finally am running again. Just typing that sentence almost made me cry. I’m that happy about this development.
Prior to the surgery, running grew increasingly hard for me. As someone who once was a pretty decent runner and athlete, this was devastating and one of the many reasons I went ahead with the surgery. I had lofty expectations for my recovery and said to a number of people I was hoping to run a 5K in the near future.
However, every time I tried to run during my cardiac rehab sessions, my heart rate would, without warning, just drop to half the rate. It felt like literally hitting a wall, and caused me to nearly pass out. To say, it was disappointing, and scary, would be the understatement of the year.
But, thanks to the incredible diligence of the nurses at rehab, my cardiologist at Hartford Hospital and the pacemaker nurse, we finally determined it was pacemaker-mediated tachycardia. When my heart rate reached its designated limit, it just dropped in half. Pacemakers aren’t designed for young, active people as it turns out. But after a few rounds of tinkering with settings and (unfortunately) being put back on daily medication, it seems we finally have it right.
Last week, under the monitoring of the nurses at rehab, I finally successfully ran. I’m sure it wouldn’t be impressive for a casual observer, but I managed to do four two-minute intervals of running, at a very slow speed, with five-minute intervals of walking in between. I nearly cried I was so happy.
Since then, I have successfully run two more times on the treadmill and even played my first round of tennis since surgery over the weekend. I lost, but not too badly, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone ever look so happy to lose. I was genuinely just thrilled to be back out there.
It’s been a hell of a journey to get to this point, but it feels so amazing to be here. All of the setbacks and challenges have made this feel that much sweeter, and I am the proudest I have ever been of myself. I don’t think I could have worked any harder, and I managed to stick with it despite everything.
And I’m not done yet. Maybe that 5K is in my future, after all.
Thanks for all the support!