My Heart Surgery Recovery Time (Good and Bad Lessons that Nobody Warned Me About)
June 7th a big day for me. It was on that day, seven years ago, that I had open-heart surgery to replace a rapidly failing aortic valve.
It was the scariest time of my life, and I struggled through a wide range of difficult moments from the time I learned I needed to have surgery at the end of April 2012, to the day of my surgery on June 7th.
I couldn’t have gotten through it without my then VERY new girlfriend — and now wife — Kristie. She stayed by my side during a time that I was frazzled and beside myself with worry.
I couldn’t have done it without her.
I thought that getting through heart surgery would mean making it through a grueling physical recovery, but that was not the hardest part.
It was the mental recovery.
The aftermath of heart surgery was emotionally awful
It was if my soul had been broken open and latent anxiety and OCD tendencies came bursting out.
The Mayo Clinic gave me plenty of good training and advice post-surgery, but not once did they talk about the likelihood of severe mental health issues after invasive surgery.
Apparently, it’s quite common.
After the surgery, I stopped sleeping and dealt with suicidal thoughts for quite a while.
But in the end, this surgery was a rebirth. I made it through thanks to good people and the marvels of modern medicine.
I’m very, very fortunate.
Now I consider it the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I mean that.
It propelled me into becoming the person I was always meant to be.
Mental health is my passion, and I feel it is my mission to educate others and change how we talk about mental health issues. I write, tweet, or blog every day about mental health because it’s too important not to.
I even have some new writing projects in the works on top of working a challenging startup job that has given me the opportunity to learn every day while we work to make autism treatment more accessible for families across the country.
When you find what you love to do, you’ll know it.
The real challenge is keeping at it, pushing yourself forward despite the doubts that never really go away.
What I’ve learned is that the human spirit is indomitable
We all are capable of remarkable things, if only we take the time to figure out what it is that we truly want.
I’m sharing this with you to inspire you to figure out what that is for you.
Don’t settle. Take bold actions. Life is fragile, but that doesn’t mean you have to be.