My Heart Will Go On Part I

Cue the music Celine! 
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on...
Ok...that may be a taaaad dramatic but hey, anyone that knows me...gets it! 
    So today marks EIGHT weeks since I had Open Heart surgery and I totally expected to do a blog post way earlier than this but for some reason, it hasn't happened. Let me start by saying how incredibly humbled and blessed I have felt with the outpouring of thoughts and prayers, cards, gifts, flowers and general inquiries on how I am doing through this journey.  THANK YOU...I could not have done it without you all!  And for those wanting to know without having to read (I feel like this will be lengthy), I AM DOING GREAT!
Let me take you back...

April 3/18

    We headed to Edmonton.  The 2 weeks prior to that, I removed myself from the store and avoided any contact with people as much as I could.  My fear was that I would catch a bug and my surgery would have to be postponed. 

Many have asked, Why Edmonton? Don't they do valve replacements in Winnipeg?

    The short answer is yes, they do valve replacements in Winnipeg but they specialize in congenital heart defects in Edmonton. As I was born with this, my cardiologist in Winnipeg knew that this is where I would get the best care and outcome.  The Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute  is state-of-the-art and an incredible place to be if you have to.

April 4/18

    Today was the day that we met my team.  By team, I mean 12 professionals that have been researching my case for months. Everyone from an anesthesiologist, respiratory therapist, nurses, a  perfusionist (the guy that keeps your blood circulating while your heart has stopped), assistant physician, and of course my cardiovascular surgeon, Dr Rebeyka. We learned that each member has their job and not all would be in the operating room at the same time.
    As I nervously registered at the front desk, I had a chatty receptionist named Lori.  As she filled out my info, she noticed that I was going to be a patient of Dr. Rebeyka's.  The moment she saw that, she exclaimed, "Dr. Rebeyka is amazing and you will be in great hands!  In fact, my daughter has had open heart three times and we followed Dr. R from Ontario so that he could perform her surgeries."  Instantly, I knew I was meant to be right here.
    While we were waiting in the waiting room for our meeting room to become available, I couldn't help noticing a young man, no more than 22 or so.  He was loud and having a conversation with his mother.  He clearly was not in a good mood and seemed to take it out on her with his answers.  From what I could tell, he was also lined up for surgery in the upcoming days.  All I could think of is, This guy is a total ass! I will come back to him later...
    One by one, we met my team...each one assuring me that everything would go smoothly the next day...and so I believed them!
It was Dr. Rebeyka who was most assuring.  He walked into the room, Starbucks in hand, wearing scrubs. He's a renowned cardiovascular surgeon who ironically, worked under the surgeon who did my first surgery in 1979, Dr Trussler.  He was honest in saying that he wasn't quite sure what he was going to do yet and wouldn't until he opened me up. I was okay with that. Although, I had just met this man, I knew he had good taste in coffee and in his words, "was going to do everything he could to make me better".  What more could I ask for??

April 5/18 5:30am

    It was an early morning! I was prepped up on the 5th Floor.  The nurses were very chipper for it being so early. I was given a little room where I was asked a bunch of questions and given a hospital gown to put on.  They never ever feel soft and for some reason, I always seem to put mine on wrong, feeling completely exposed!  I came equipped with fighting words on my BluQ socks "Give 'em Hell", a gift from one of my sales reps. Check my vitals and it's go time!

    By this time, they had given me something to make me feel relaxed.  An orderly came to up to the floor to get me and take me to the OR and then something out of Grey's Anatomy happened.  It was a surreal moment occurred while they were wheeling my bed down the halls of University of Alberta Hospital.

    As they moved me across the PedWalk to the next building, I was staring up at the glass ceiling of the hospital and I could see all of the stars and just a glow of the sun beginning to rise.  It was magical and calming all at once.  An incredible peace came over my body.  All I could think to myself was, I wish I had my phone so I could capture this moment. 

See the arrow? I was wheeled across this PedWalk.

    Now, I know what you're thinking! She just said that they gave her something to relax her.  Hmmmm...maybe it was the drugs, but I choose to see it as a beautiful moment that will not be forgotten! 

to be continued...
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I am SO happy to hear you are doing great!! Scrubs and a coffee…that’s Dr. Rebeyka!! He is Nate’s surgeon, too, for the two heart surgeries he’s had. Incredible surgeon, facilities and staff! Thank you for sharing your story….and the hope of living with congenital heart disease. We know many children in the stage we’re at, and it’s encouraging to hear of adults, like you, who are showing CHD who is boss – and fighting with all they’ve got, showing us what superheros really look like!!


You are my hero in more ways than you will ever know! 💕


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