“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
Sometimes I am so scared, I worry people may actually be able to smell the fear coming off me in huge revolting waves. These bouts of fear then lead to shame. It is shameful to be this afraid and I am ashamed of myself for my lack of strength! Just sometimes…
I had my first major operation when I was just a baby. The doctors discovered I suffered from a condition know as Tetralogy of Fallot and corrective surgery was essential for my survival. I have no recollection of the open heart surgery although the regular hospital trips as a child are not easily forgotten. A large scar running the length of my torso is all I have in terms of evidence and that is just the way I like it.
The childhood hospital visits spilled over into adulthood and hospitals have become somewhat of a familiarity to me. Regardless of the seriousness of this heart condition I lived a very active lifestyle, I danced and boxed and even became a personal trainer among many other things. I took on everything life could throw at me and I just didn’t stop. The heart condition almost forgotten, coming to the forefront of my mind only to answer probing questions regarding the scar running down my chest. In which case I would proudly announce “I am a survivor!”
I always knew I would need another operation. Doctors repeatedly told me as a child that open heart surgery was inevitable as I would need a pulmonary valve transplant. I was made aware of the consequences of such an operation and of the terrible choices I would one day have to make regarding having children. I never could decide… The options I was given seemed too restricted and it didn’t even seem like I had a real choice. I decided to cross that bridge when I came to it.
Every trip to the hospital however, seemed to surprise even the cardiologists and I began to think that the inevitable might not be so inevitable after all. I was a miracle! Life took over and I moved around often. As a spontaneous young woman I liked to travel abroad to other cities, sometimes not even bothering to return. Some may call that traveling although many have referred to me as a ‘rocket’. Without reason or any planning at all, I liked to just go somewhere and live for a while.
Many hospital visits were missed and upon my return I was told I was no longer a miracle. I always knew this day would come….