Everyone knows trauma. And if you don’t, you will at some point along this journey we call life. Not one person is immune, we will all go through the fires of affliction.
But, what to do with those experiences? Now, there’s the question.
We can use them to justify our attitudes, or complain, and whine remaining miserable, or we can choose to overcome and thereby grow stronger, wiser, and more at ease within.
I used to think I was nigh unto invincible. Most days I felt I could take on anything and conquer, coming out triumphant and ready to battle again. Then life changed dramatically.
In a three to five-year span (2005-2008, 09, 10) I went through a whirlwind of some pretty heavy dark night of the soul experiences.
There were more than one loved one’s big illness, a career killer, job layoffs, the suicide attempt of a loved one, an unprecedented court case, a graduation, some empty nest stuff, bankruptcy, divorce, homelessness, hmmmm and a few other “big item” stressors.
The first three years culminated in an event that knocked me for a loop, for a long time. It was in June of 2007, I survived CABG surgery. All this pain and turmoil changed my life, no doubt.
Did it change it for the better?
Would I do it again?
After 10-years, I still can’t answer that question fully. I do know that through those experiences I have grown and today, though I may not be rich by this world’s standards, I am stronger, and happier, living with more purpose and resolve than ever before. I truly appreciate being alive and I am making my own way, gradually in the most loving way I know how.
The big deal: CABG stands for Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery.
A description from John Hopkins
It’s pretty intense, they put you under anesthesia and open you up with a little jig saw (okay, so I’m not sure what the buzzsaw is called but I’m pretty sure it would do a nice jigsaw job on wood) , crank open your the rib cage, stop your heart ,inserting tubes and wires to keep you alive and direct blood flow through what is essentially an artificial heart; a big machine with tubes, pumps etc. that keeps your blood circulating while they graft veins from your leg or wrist around the blockages. Amazing modern miracle surgery.
This is taking me some effort to write. At this point, it’s all rather vague and like a bad dream, I still don’t like to talk about it.
At any rate, just prior to the surgery I felt time slow down, it kept getting slower and slower, I felt weaker and weaker and I went to the emergency room complaining of chest pain. They ran tests, and I had a catheterization. They said my veins/arteries were too small to place a stent. They changed my meds and said the usual things they say to patients; less stress, more exercise, blah, blah, blah.
That’s right, blah, blah, blah.
Don’t get me wrong I am eternally grateful for the physicians, the surgeons, the nurses and everyone who were dedicated and assisted me during this time. They are an amazing poeple.
The time warp continued and one day about six weeks later I said to my partner at the time, I have to go to the hospital. I could not explain it but I just knew something was terribly wrong and I wouldn’t be around much longer if I didn’t do something immediately.
After arriving at the ER they put me on a treadmill. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t walk on the treadmill, I tried but I wasn’t on it two minutes before I had to stop. They came back and said we are taking you to surgery if you agree, sign here.
I did not hesitate to sign.
The next thing I knew I woke in the recovery room. Upon waking all I could do was cry, cry in repentance, crying out asking what did I do that all this had come upon me and I found myself there, under bright lights, with all these tubes and wires and odd noises and people, poking at me.
They got me up and into a chair very quickly.
Post-op depression set in immediately.
I felt violated, vulnerable and victimized. I was a angry that I even survived. My body and spirit were crushed. At the tender age of 42, I had no clue how I would come back from all this.
I’ve come a long way since that day, both physically and psychologically. The journey has been a curious one. More on that later . . .
As I said before, I was in such a dark place in my being. I would not wish this place on my worst enemy. My attitude was horrible. Sure I would die at any moment, I was lost, I was without hope, I was empty, crushed to an infinite number of pieces, just this side of powder. My mother, who passed away in October of 2009, said to
me at some point, Ginny, what has happened to you, “where is your spunk?” you are not the same. She was spot on, and I didn’t want to live anymore. What on earth could I possibly be good for after this?? How can I come back? I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it. Yet, here I am and how life has changed.
To Be Continued . . . .
Know this, it is not the length of time that it takes you to recover for everyone heals in their own way at their own pace. It’s the resolve to never give up, no matter the obstacles placed in your way, know that it is temporary and they came to pass, They will pass away. Be tenacious in allowing, accepting, honoring, and letting go.