Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feeling Joyous and Grateful

I am hopeful, oh so hopeful today. My wonderful pulmonologist, Dr. Gilbert, did my pulmonary function tests and they were greatly improved. Numbers such as 43% changed to 80%! I don't know who was happier the doctor or me. She had to fax a note to my employer today. I won't be able to return to work until winter. Once I have the surgery which wouldn't take place before July's end, it will be along recovery, including cardiac rehab. I am so hoping that my company will allow me to be on long term disability until that time. Financially, it won't be much at all but what is my life worth? Certainly worth more than the money I would earn if I worked but watched my health steadily decline. There is a window of time a diseased valve can be replaced but once things happen that would make the surgery unlikely to have a good outcome, that option is gone. I cannot wait. This is a big surgery. I will go into the details at another time but they will be doing two or three things at once. What I have is serious, but there is a "fix" to at least make it much better if not fix it altogether. The people in the doctor's office were surprised when they saw me. In the past month I have lost 24 pounds. Most of that was fluid that had accumulated because of the heart problem. About seven pounds came out in the chest tube and the rest has slowly come off with medication. I had to buy new clothes which has been fun except that my short term disability money has been exhausted. No pay unless I get approved for long term. Even so, that will be a fraction of what I made. Over the past two years we have lost so much income and had so much medical expense. Thankfully, I have had some money put away for medical emergencies such as this. We'll get by and what good is money if you don't have your health anyway?

Even though I am facing another heart surgery (and it's scary) I am so thankful that I live in a place where I have this option. I am so thankful that Dr. Gilbert went the extra mile and brought in cardiologists so we finally learned what the real problem was. The glass isn't half full, today it is brimming with hope. :)



You said this is a big and serious operation, but there is a potential "fix". Based on that there is an abundance of hope. I have guarded optimism about your upcoming surgery. You will be in my prayers. Hang tough. Be strong. All of us here in Blogger will be with you every step of the way as you as you move forward.

Virginia said...

Nelle, even though you have surgery ahead, I am very happy for you that you have an opportunity for a path forward and lots of reasons to hope for the best. We are routing for you every step of the way!

Ronni Gordon said...

So glad you have a plan. My father had a valve replaced and did very well. Later after my three Caesareans when we were comparing pain, I said that my recovery was hard because the surgery involved stomach muscles that you use all the time. He said his hardly hurt because the breast bone area where they went in is not a part of the body that moves a lot...for what that's worth. Anyway love that glass half full feeling!