One of the hardest things about living with a congenital heart defect is the adjustment to your new “normal.”
Receiving the devastating news, planning for open heart surgery, recovery time, dealing with the physical and mental stress of it all and oh….knowing you’ll have to do again is a BIG adjustment. It affects your body, mind and all aspects of your life.
The physical aspect is truly a painful adjustment. It’s sad to say I don’t know what it truly means to be pain free anymore. I have good, great and bad days. And the frustrating part is not knowing what kind of day you’ll have till you wake up.
The mind aspect might in fact might be the hardest. To be honest, I never in a million years imagined what my life is now. I thought I would have been married with a few kids living in a cute little apartment or even a house by now. I thought I would have had my career or some solid experience in my degree field. And guess what? I do not have one of those things at all! Could I throw myself a pity party all day everyday? Heck yes! But, I am learning every hour of every day that my heart is beating and I have an incredible support system.
Living with a Congenital Heart Defect is something I had no idea would be a part of my life. I hope and pray it is the hardest thing I will ever have to go through in life because it’s HARD. But, I also think this journey of my health problems has taught me more about myself and that I can overcome anything that life throws me.
The more I have accepted my new normal, the more I have been at peace with my life. Knowing I will never have my 8 kids and or live out at passion of mine is easier to understand when you are ok with what life has handed you. My faith has played a huge role in knowing that God’s plan for my life is bigger than what I thought my plan should be.
It takes time. Lot’s of time. I’ve learned that it is indeed a grieving process. I have spent countless nights praying fervently in front of our Lord at my local Adoration chapel. That has been one of my saving graces while struggling with losing a part of me.
When my mitral valve was taken out, I remember just breaking down and crying because something a part of me was taken away for good. It’s hard. It’s a weird hard because on one hand, you are eternally grateful that something else was able to help keep you living, but the other is upsetting that a part of your body was taken out.
I am learning with finding my new normal, that I am more content about where I am in my life. I am finally ok with presently not being married, having children right now and even knowing that I may never live out my true passion in life.
Adjusting to my new “normal” maybe just as hard as recovering from my open heart surgery, but with time and patience for my body and mind, I am learning to love what I have instead of what I don’t have in my life.