Okay. Here it goes…
I won’t be graduating in May, like I had planned all along. Instead I had to cut a 5 credit class and my final capstone for another semester because:
It’s time [for open-heart surgery].
I spoke to my surgeon December 13th, and he asked, “How about February, or March?”
“How about May?” I bargained. I really wanted to graduate. “Uh, I guess. But I really need you to come in February/March to go over the plan and set a date.”
I got off the phone and felt relieved. I got what I wanted, to push it off yet again. Then I realized I would be spending precious time in a state of burnout as a full-time student. I wouldn’t have time for much more and I would be too exhausted to make healthy meals in between exams and papers. I would be too busy to enjoy my life.
Now, as morbid as this sounds or what some may deem as ‘negative’ is actually something logical to consider: what if I don’t make it? Hear me out: have you ever put all of your account numbers and passwords in a folder for your spouse just incase? Even if you are in great health, everyone should. It’s the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately I understand what it is like to take care of personal matters while grieving a loved one and it isn’t easy to juggle responsibility and heartache. Ultimately, I have had enough close calls to have to think about these things. If you haven’t, consider yourself blessed.
I am scared, like really scared. This will be my second open-heart surgery and more intense than the one I had 10 years ago. My first one was still a sternum crack but a 3-4 inch incision and a repair on my torn aortic valve. This one will be… (deep breath) 9 inches and a tissue valve, which I could reject. I can’t do a mechanical valve because I have a genetic mutation and do not metabolize blood thinners.
I broke up my last semester into two because I want to spend these next few months focusing on my mental and physical health. I want to be as healthy as I can, strong, build muscle memory for my arms since they atrophied last time, build my core to make sitting up with a broken sternum easier, and to get my depression under control so that I can fight for my life. I also want to spend quality time with the people I love.
In 2020 (February) I lost my dad. Just two months prior My grandma Rose passed away too. I remember thinking, “I’m so glad this year is over. It can’t get any worse.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong. 2021 came and I had multiple surgeries (I neglected to post about due to the nature of the surgeries). One of my best friends was brutally taken from this world. She was a friend I had known for 13 years. She was over 5 years sober and I hadn’t drank alcohol in over 4 years. Our friendship was growing and I felt like we were soul sisters. I am so grateful I got to see her bloom and become such a beautiful soul. She grew so much and was learning how to love herself and thrive. I miss her every day.
Now that this year comes to an end, I won’t dare say it can’t get any worse. Instead I will say that I hope we all heal. I hope 2022 brings growth, community, abundance, health, and laughter. I miss laughing.
I may have tears, I may be sad and angry. But I will wipe away my sorrow and exhale my pain and put on a fight when the time comes. For now, I am allowed to process my feelings—something I have learned since giving up alcohol years ago. I am not okay. I am scared, but I have always been resilient and a warrior.
2022 is also about getting rid of stress in my life, including toxic relationships. I have set many boundaries in the last two years and have reached a point in which I can only be authentic with myself and others. I will not allow certain behaviors to be acceptable and will no longer pretend to be okay with disrespect. Life is far too short to waste with people who don’t value my time and presence.