Open Heart And Open Mind

I have been MIA the last few months cause I have been dealing with a medical issue that has consumed my entire life.

Back in September I went for a routine check up with my primary care doctor. I just expected the usual you are healthy and I will see you in six months type of visit. What I got was not that but only to be told my blood pressure was high. I was 32 at the time and I never would have thought I would have a blood pressure issue. The doctor told me to monitor it for 30 days and get back to him with my results. After 30 days there was no change so he put me on a low dose of  blood pressure medication. After another 30 days of no change he told me it was time to see a cardiologist. After he said that I knew this was serious.

When meeting with the cardiologist, she insisted on me having a echocardiogram done to see if there was something wrong. When the results came back they informed me that they saw something but but they were not sure what it was. They wanted me to have a TE done at the local hospital. A few weeks later I went to the hospital to have my TE done and afterwards was told by the doctor that I had a bicuspid valve, and also a hole in it that was causing the blood that should be pushing out, to fall back into the valve. The only thing that was going to fix this was open heart surgery. 

At this time if you were telling me about having open heart surgery then I would have laughed in your face and then cried my eyes out as soon as you left the room. It was scary to hear and even more scary to think about. I was beside myself and my faith was shaken to the core. How does this happen to me? I eat right and exercise and stay active so why me?

After an amazing trip to Disney World, I came back from Florida ready to just get it over with. I took the spare time and planned my estate and had all my funeral arrangements taken care and my life insurance papers ready just in case something was to fall to the wayside. I know this sounds dramatic but I needed to make sure my wife and kids were taken care of. I packed my hospital bag the night before and laid in bed but only slept for an hour.

53666085_10216839903323336_9040872455471628288_o

The day of surgery came to be completely honest I don’t remember a whole lot. I had to be at the hospital at 5:00 in the morning and prepped and I remember going back and being outside the OR. I was talking to the nurses and then I woke up in recovery at Midnight on Tuesday. It was the best sleep of my life. I remember only wanting something to drink and they saying no cause they did not want me to choke. It took me about 30 minutes before I even thought to look down at my chest that had a long piece of tape over the incision. Soon after I was all together they moved me into a room on the cardiology wing of the hospital.

53696641_10216846581650290_7416123375782723584_o

The one thing I remember from past experiences with loved one who have had this surgery is that it is important to get up and walk so that is what I did. I got up and walked 3 laps around the department the first day, 10 the next, 15 the next and 25 the next day. Soon my appetite came back I was starting to feel like myself again. I spent a total of 7 days in the hospital before being discharged home. I went that long without seeing my kids cause they had a ban on small kids due to flu season. I was so happy to see them.

53548623_10216846582210304_528788290355068928_o

I am still in recovery. I am still not able to drive. I still cannot lift anything over 10 pounds. I have home health come in about 2 to 3 times a week. I am getting better. This week my wife went back to work so I am doing things for myself which is good so I can get back in the groove of things. I am doing better.

I must say that the only thing that made pushed me through this recovery was how my friends and family gathered and help my wife and I. I need to thank the following:

My wife’s job showered her with gift cards, casseroles, and even donated time off to her so she could get paid while being out with me. 

To all the friends, coworkers, and family that came to the hospital the day of and the days after to check on me and see how I was doing and making sure I was in good spirits. 

To my sister in law Kate for going way above and beyond for my wife and I. She made a meal train, setup a Go Fund Me, spent the night the day of surgery to take our kids to school, spent the day at the hospital and then came back to visit me. She brought food to us and has even picked me up to get me out of the house since I can’t drive. I know there is more and right now I can think of the rest but it was well appreciated. 

My brother for coming to the hospital and spending time with me and then also mowing our nasty backyard. You are the best brother and I love you more than you know.

To all the great people who brought us food. I don’t know all of you but thank you so much for taking time to either make something for us or picking something up. You made our lives easier and made us feel loved. 

For everyone and anyone that sent us money to help us make ends meet while I have been out of work. We really appreciated it and we can’t thank you enough for your kindness. Words cannot express how thoughtful it was. 

Finally, I wanted to thank all the friends, family, and strangers who took time to send a message, make a phone call, send a email and for the prayers. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and I know that the outcome of this medical issue would have been a lot different without your prayers so thank you so much!

Now that the surgery is over and I am recovering I am ready to get back to normal. I know I have a long way to go before I will be 100% again. I have my good days and my bad days but now I am having more good days latley. I am starting cardiac rehab soon which I am excited about. I have joined an OHS Support Group. I will be able to dive again in about another week so YAY! I am ready to hop back on my bike and ride as the weather will be getting warmer soon and to hit the road and run more and get my butt back in the gym. I am happy to be alive and happy that I made it out of such a dramatic ordeal. Since so many people helped my wife and I out during this I want to do the same for someone else. So if this situation has taught me anything is that kindness goes a long way and we should help one another out as much as possible. Thats what I plan to do.

IMG_7091

Valentine’s Day Is Exhausting!

photo 2

Since that crazy snow storm came through, I quickly ran out of time to go shopping for Valentine’s Day. I have never been one of those guys that wait til the last-minute but this year was not my fault. I was snowed in against my will and could not get to the store. What was a guy to do?

I did make plans for Valentine’s Day by arranging a hotel room for BrittWhitFun and I. This was a big deal for my wife cause it was going to be the first time she was going to leave the baby overnight. I jut needed to get other stuff like a nice card and maybe some of her favorite candies.

I went to the local Wal-Mart and managed to get in. I say that cause you would not believe all the males that were in there. Every guy had a teddy bear, a rose, a card, and a heart shaped box of chocolate in their hand as they fought their way to the front of the store. I quickly grabbed some candy and a card and threw a few elbows to get what I wanted and headed to the front. I even managed to grab a bottle of wine and some decorative rose petals. If you are going to do Valentine’s Day then you have to do it right. I waited in line for about twenty minutes at the “speedy” checkout and left unharmed.

Once I arrived at the hotel after being stuck in some leftover snow for 30 minutes, I checked in and decorated the room and gotta shower and a quick workout at the downstairs hotel gym and rush off to pick up my Valentine. Once I got her we went and had a not so quite dinner at the Stone Mountain Grill where we fed our faces like it was going out style. After we went back to the hotel  and that is all there is left to say about that.

photo 1

Every year on Valentine’s Day I have a tradition where I get K-Dub a book and a card. The book usually has a Valentine’s Day theme and I put the year in the corner along with a special message from Daddy. I went to Target and found a book that was so cute called I Love You So… She loved it and I love giving it to her. It’s just a special thing from her Daddy to her. 

So that was Valentine’s Day and I have to say that after doing all that, I was so tired but I would not trade those smiles on my wife and daughter’s face to save my life. Worth every elbow thrown.

photo

The Reese’s Easter Egg Hunt From Hell!

candy

I love Easter and everything that comes with it. Going to church, getting dressed up, coloring eggs, making a basket for my daughter, and chocolate bunnies are just a few of the things that I look forward to during this season. When Easter comes you know that it is officially Spring Time, which is one of my favorite times of the year. The only think that sucks about Spring is the all that stupid pollen getting on your car. I hate that stuff. My car always looks like I Big Bird came all over it. Stupid Big Bird!

The best thing about Easter is what happens the day after Easter. Thats right my other fat friends! It’s the day where all the stores slap a 50% off sticker on all the Easter merchandise. Its a big deal cause there is one thing that I will beat an old lady down for. This wonderful confection is known as the Reese’s Easter Egg! These things are so good. They are not like regular Reese’s peanut butter cups, but better! They have so much more peanut butter and chocolate goodness in them. I consider them my reward for my Easter festivities that I went through, however, obtaining these sweet candies from heaven is nothing to take lightly.

Monday morning I got up and got my daughter ready for our outing which was really hard cause she hates her car seat. I had to explain to her that Daddy had some important errands to run and she had to come along. She of course did not understand me and continued to scream at the top of her lungs until I just put her in the car and started playing Justin Timberlake and she passed out. Please remember that Justin Timberlake’s sexy man voice makes panties fall and kids go to sleep. True story. Finally we were on our way.

I pulled into my local Target store and got the rugrat out and headed inside. It never ceases to amaze me how many women look at a man with baby and a diaper bag. I mean some of those women could have turned me to stone they were staring so hard. Now I have to confess that they were actually staring at the handbags behind me that were on sale, but a man can dream can’t he? Karsyn was still asleep so I put her in the buggie and headed down to the Easter aisle.

When I arrived there was not that many people there so I thought this was going to be an easy task. I walk the aisles and could not find the Reese’s Easter Eggs. Was I too late? Did people already come and get them? How many people are as addicted to these things as me? Does this post make me sound like a fatty? Please don’t answer that last one. I looked at the front of the aisle in awe as I saw the holy grail of Easter candy. There was only one problem….. there was only three one pound bags left and 2 trays of 6 of the larger eggs left. I raced to the display and then to my shock an old lady cut me off. Now I am generally a nice guy but this lady was a devil in a huge floral dress. She smiled at me as she cut me off. I looked at her and thought “you bitch!!” I was not about to let this old lady come between me and my beloved clearance Easter treats. Game on old lady, game on!

What happened next was not one of my most proud moment. Please don’t judge me and/or call the police on me for what I did. I am still having trouble sleeping at night. I griped my shopping cart tightly and rammed it in to the side of the old lady’s cart, causing it to swing into the center aisle. I looked at the old lady, who looked like I had just ran over her dog, and said “I am so sorry Mam, I did not see you there” with the biggest smile I could manage to give. I turned and grabbed the last packages of Reese Easter Eggs and started on my way but not before helping the old lady retrieve her shopping cart. I of course did it with a huge “don’t fuck with me” look along with a little swag in my step.

Then the old lady looked at me defeated, and like The Grinch, my heart grew two sizes that day. I reached in my cart and grabbed two bags of candy and gave them to her and said “I think this is what you came for”. I am not going to lie it was beginning to look like a 90’s sitcom with the sad music that starts playing when the conflict is resolved at the end of the episode. Yes, I have seen way too many episodes of Full House. The old lady looked at me and said thanks and went about her shopping trip like she had just won the Olympics.

I picked up a few more items I came for and headed to the front to pay. I felt like I won the lottery! I know that these little yellow packages of pure peanut butter awesomeness won’t last forever but that is what makes them so special. They only come around once a year and when you get them you have to cherish them. Just like those moments in life. I learned a lot that day but one thing sticks out more than others. It wasn’t not to hit old women’s shopping carts, or Justin Timberlake can make you kid go to sleep, or that I look good carrying a diaper bag. It was that when it comes to the day after Easter, I need to get up a hell of a lot earlier if I want more of those sweet treats. See you next year Reese’s Easter Eggs!