Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I am Strong

Today, I need a reminder that I am strong.  I am facing major surgery and am scared.  In fact, scared doesn't even begin to describe it, I am terrified beyond words.  I feel like I need to focus on the fact that my body and mind are strong and healthy and I can survive this.  (As dramatic as that sounds, it really is what I need to focus on)  So, today this post is for me, not you.  I'm putting it in words so I have a visual reminder. 

Reasons I Know I Am Strong:

1. Back in February, I ran a 10k on the Saturday and a Half Marathon on the Sunday.  And I toured Walt Disney World the days leading up to the races and the days after.  I was putting double digit miles on my legs everyday and I still successfully completed these races under my goal time.  In order to run 19.6 miles over two days, I needed a strong body, strong heart, and strong lungs. 
2015 Glass Slipper Challenge
2.  I am young and healthy.  With the exception of my current medical problems (which I'll discuss in a later post) and some pre-existing asthma, I am healthy.  I have no heart issues and compared to the average age of people facing this procedure (65-70), I am young and healthy.  I really need to focus on this.  For some reason, having this illness has made me feel sick and weak.  I need to remember that I am not weak, I am healthy and I can get through this. 
34 years young  :)

3. My body has already done strong and amazing things.  I carried my twins full-term through a high-risk pregnancy against all odds.  My body is stronger and healthier than even the Doctors thought possible.  At 20 weeks pregnant, I found out I was carrying identical twins and they were very sick with a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  The next morning, we were sent to Toronto (a 3 hour plane ride away) for emergency surgery to try to save the life of one of our sons (by this point they were sure we would the other one).  At Toronto, it was also determined that I had become sick with side effects from the disease and that without immediate surgery or abortion, all of our lives were in jeopardy.  I received surgery and waited.  Our Doctor in Toronto explained that our babies were still in distress and may not make it but the longer I could carry them, the better chance they would have.  He also explained that it was very uncommon for these babies to be carried over 30 weeks.  I circled a date on my calendar (36 weeks) and told myself that I would defy the odds and carry until then.  In the end, to everyone's amazement, I was induced at 38 weeks and delivered two full-term healthy babies.  They were followed up with heart specialists and have faced minor medical problems, but are overall healthy.  They are truly a medical miracle.  If I wasn't strong and healthy, there is no way my body could have produced these little miracles, and I need to focus on this.  I need to remember that our bodies can do amazing things. 
At Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto following surgery

One day old - two healthy baby boys
 4. My neighbor up the street, recently had a similar surgery but it was even more intense.  It lasted several hours longer and parts of several of his organs were removed.  Two months after surgery, he just drove by my house hauling trees.  And he is 72.  He has been a huge resource to me and came to talk to me shortly after my diagnosis.  It's given me a lot of comfort to talk to someone who has gone through something similar.  If he can go through surgery and recover so incredibly, there is no medical reason why I can't too.  I just need to believe that I can. 

5. I feel weak because I am so afraid.  I feel like my fear is a sign of weakness and I know that I need to stop this.  It isn't helping me and it's natural to be afraid.  Yesterday, I was on the operating room table when my surgery was postponed.  Before the Doctor came in to postpone it, I was shaking like a leaf and I asked the nurse if it was normal to be this afraid.  She said "you wouldn't be human if you weren't afraid."  I need to remember that fear is not a weakness, it's natural. 

6. Everyone around me believes I am a strong person.  I keep getting messages and texts that literally say "You are strong, you can get through this."  I need to focus on the positive support I am receiving from the people around me.  If everyone else believes it, it must be true.  :)

Thanks for listening (or reading in this case).  I needed to get these feelings out and force myself to look at why I am strong.  I am usually a pretty positive person, but have been struggling lately with staying positive.  Fear has been consuming me and I need to take some kind of control and focus on the positives. 

Question of the day: Have you ever felt like fear is taking over and did you get a reign on it?

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