Back in January, March 23 seemed far, far away.
On that date on my calendar, I had written “last rehab.” A date that I always had in the back of my mind, each time I drove to the local hospital to do my rehab, but little did I know that it would be such a bittersweet day.
Thirty times I have driven to the hospital, to help strengthen my heart. Thirty times I have jumped up on the treadmill and bike to try and get my body and heart back to health. Thirty times I have sat in a room with others who were in the same boat as me. Discussing the trivial things in life, but also here and there, having those heart to heart talks too. Those thirty times ended up being some of the most influential in my recovery from my open heart surgeries.
Cardiac rehab is not a place you ever want to end up. But if that is the type of care needed, trust me, it will be worth your time. Yesterday I felt I was leaving my support group. I felt I was leaving my teammates. I felt I was leaving my medical cheerleaders. Saying goodbye was much harder than I anticipated. Those 30 times gave me the confidence I needed to keep going. To keep pushing myself. To keep my head up. To keep looking at the bigger picture.
As Dan reminded me, if I wasn’t graduating from rehab, then that would mean I wasn’t getting better. I can thankfully say that God has done a whole lotta healing in my life. At times I can get discouraged and pretty bummed (for lack of a better term), knowing that my heart isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing quite yet. I am still retaining fluid and just this week, I had to take a few extra diuretic pills which isn’t always fun, but I know that my heart went through the ringer. It will just take time. And I’m not a patient person. And you’d think I would’ve learned to be a patient person by now.
As I walked out and heard the door shut behind me one last time, I knew that NOW, started a new chapter. All of my routine “appointments” since surgery, are behind me. I went from the visiting nurse program that came twice a week and physical therapy that also came twice a week, straight into rehab for 10 weeks. I turned the key to our van and on came the song “Your Praise Will Ever Be On My Lips.” I started to tear up. Indeed, I have an incredible amount to be thankful for. No diagnosis can ever steal the joy that God has given me in Him. No diagnosis can ever steal the praise that I can proclaim from my lips. God has done miracle after miracle in my life. How can I NOT praise Him?
I have my moments when I let my limited perspective in life get the best of me. When I sometimes wish that I could wake up and not have to think about all of this. But when I think about the praise that God so deserves, I can’t help but turn those discouraging thoughts into words of gratitude and praise. It doesn’t come easy. But when I take a look back, I don’t have to look far (just had to look back and see what I did on the treadmill in jogging), to realize His plan and grace far exceed any of my expectations.
Now I have the privilege of implementing what I learned at rehab into my own life here at home. And home is where my heart really is. Where my family is. Thanks to my Mom who watched Mazy so faithfully while I went. Knowing that every Wednesday and Friday, she was there shortly after 8, so I could go to rehab. For 10 weeks, she committed two mornings a week to watching her. I know that she did it so willingly, but I can’t talk about rehab without talking about the help my mom gave to us! On cardiac questionnaires, a common question is about the support system one has. Every time I can say EXCELLENT. Our family, friends, and church family have just been incredible through all of this!
Thank YOU for the constant encouragement! And wouldn’t you know it, next week is supposed to be warmer outside, which makes walking 10x easier. Once again, God’s grace showering down.