I was at an appointment the other week and the lady asked how things were going with parenting. I said with a bit of relief, I felt like we were figuring things out and kind of have it together.
She looked at me with almost a look of disgust, as I tried to back peddle and say that we do not have it all together, but that things are just a bit easier. But that didn’t really help, and so I left feeling a bit guilty.
Though really, I feel so incredibly blessed. Blessed to just be alive and blessed to have a healthy 18 month old. Much like EVERY parent, the road necessarily isn’t easy. After having Mazy, being told that my heart was failing and that open heart surgery needed to happen the next week, I really did not fully comprehend what that meant because I was so caught up in just loving our new baby girl. To say I lost sight of what was really going on with myself wouldn’t be far from the truth. Mazy had her fair share of struggles and tears, and my goal was to make sure I was doing the best I could, to ensure a safe and secure environment for her.
Yet I was failing to make sure I was putting my health as a top priority too.
It was a scary time. Looking back, I at times almost wish they did just hospitalize me so I could think about what was really going on (odd thought, I know). I remember my heart doctor said to me on the phone – can you live 2 weeks like “this” and then have another recheck of the fluid levels around your heart? Of course I said yes, and I am glad I did, but those two weeks were so tough. I felt horrible and that is what ensures us we will not have another child because I NEVER want to feel like that again. Losing 27 pounds of fluid in 4 days was a bit quick on the body.
I couldn’t walk up stairs without feeling winded. I had a hard time sleeping because I couldn’t lay down. I was trying to breast feed and it wasn’t working.
After a few months past, I started to feel better as my body adjusted to the new normal – very leaky valves, that were slowly improving. At my 6 month check up after having Mazy (so a year ago this month), the fluid levels were still not where they wanted them to be, so on a higher diuretic I went. I was on 2 high blood pressure meds (even though I didn’t have high blood pressure – purely to protect my heart) and a diuretic, and that is a tiresome combo. I should’ve recognized the signs quicker, but I didn’t. It took awhile to get my body adjusted.
It wasn’t until a year later (this past May), that I started to finally feel like myself again. And with another miraculous healing, my heart was even HEALTHIER than before I got pregnant! No wonder I was feeling better!
And that is where I am today. Looking back on a year and a half filled with so much JOY, but a year filled with trying times too. A year where I felt I lost a bit of myself because of my health, but I am done letting that stop me.
Since May, since finding out my heart was healthy once again, I realized it was time to lace up the shoes and really care about ME again, health-wise. We have been trying to eat healthier, just because we just feel better when we do (though let’s be honest, when you are in youth ministry, eating healthy is often on the side burner – just think about what teens love).
I have also tried to care about my health more. A year ago, I struggled to walk and talk at the same time. That is taking some time to get back, but I want to get my heart into shape again and take advantage of the health I have. God has miraculously healed my heart twice (leaky valves typically do not get better), and it’s time to thank God for it through caring for ME.
I will never be a marathoner (it would probably kill me b/c of my heart past), but I know I can do other things. I know that God has given me the gift of health (which before I didn’t appreciate enough), and I want to capitalize on that.
So, ALL THAT TO SAY…
I am typing this post as a promise to myself to continue to care about my physical health. With winter coming on (and in Minnesota, it gets pretty frigid), I do not want any excuses to stop me. Mazy LOVES to be outside, so we go on numerous walks and bike rides a day, which makes exercising easy. Plus, I want her to grow up with a lifestyle of knowing that exercise is important too. So if that means we walk at a snail’s pace because she wants to “be like mom and dad” I am fine with that. I want to take advantage of what God has given me – a time such as this.
Health that may one day be taken from me again.
So, I wanted to tell this lady who questioned my bold statement about having things figured out, that really, I feel GREAT, Mazy is HEALTHY, and we couldn’t be more thankful.
I have not set any goals for myself because I want to give myself time. No weight loss goals, no mileage, no weightlifting goal, nothing. I just want to ENJOY getting physically healthy again.
Are you in the same boat?
It is a gift. It truly is. When I was not healthy, I missed what I couldn’t do. And now I have it back.
AND IT’S TIME.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings. I just needed to make this promise to myself known.