Monday, September 19, 2016

Feeling the Ache

Just a few days after my heart attack, my sweet friend shared with her little boy that I had a “boo-boo on my heart”  He said, “I want to see miss Cat!” He ran upstairs got a bandaid and said, “How’s this?” 

Why can’t our healing be that easy? Remember how your mom or dad would kiss the boo-boo, maybe even replace with a princess bandaid and off we would go? It seemed magical how we could just move on with that kiss.  

I thought after I shared my original event with my friends and family, and told my story on Facebook; that I would have the courage to be on the mend.  I would learn from this life altering event and move forward.  

Well here I am sitting on the couch, trying to gain perspective of what this “life altering event” means for my life and for my family.  I am determined to know how God can "prune my life" in a way that will allow me to "bear more fruit" in the lives of others. Yet, I still feel the ache. It is dull, but it is there. The anxiety for someone who has had a heart attack and then has twinges, pains, even a dull ache can really paralyze a person. You don't have to have a physical ache from an injury.  It can be the loss of a loved one, a break up, someone that has no grace and holds you to a standard higher than fair.  Maybe you were demoted at work and you have to feel that ache every time you walk into work. You still have a purpose in that pain.  God IS using this hard situation for your good.

I want to write and say, I have it all figured out.  Oh, and also that I don’t worry anymore.  God is in control and as Carey Underwood says, “Jesus take the wheel.”

Well if I can’t write and say that I’m all set, then I guess I will do what I do best.  Share where I really am.   My honesty may be the biggest roadblock of truly becoming the Southern Belle my mom always wanted me to be. (Well, that and about 100 other reasons we won’t mention.)

I tell it like it is.  I don’t beat around the bush, and what you see is what you get.  I have had to make a stand for how I express my feelings over the years.  After numerous statements of, “If you just weren’t so emotional”, or “You are just overreacting and being irrational”, my favorite is “Just don’t react to anything they say and it will all work out.”

Guess what friends, I don’t have it altogether. The good news is, that none of us do.  Don’t you get tired of the pretending? Don’t you get tired of telling everyone you are just fine? (I wish I could say that the way I heard my favorite speaker Beth Moore say, “I’m just fiiiiine” insert her Texas twang in for effect)

Please don’t get me wrong.  There is no need to share every personal detail of our lives.  Sometimes we have to tuck “our kind of crazy” back in. Ha!  I am saying that when I have come across individuals that I felt were harsh, uncaring, or self focused;  I used to back down.  I would cower to their statements of my weakness, or their claim of my “irrational state."  My reaction was based on the fact that I needed to change my behavior because they did not feel comfortable with my ability to be who God made me to be…Real!

A quick side note that I challenge you to try in your own life.  If you have a situation with someone in your family, close friend, or co-worker that has continued to disrespect you or belittle you; then try something different.  I am asking you to stand up for what is right.  State clearly that, “you will not be talked to in that way, or you are just as important as they are and the plans they have.  I will only communicate and work with you, if you can do so in a respectful manner.  Otherwise you plan to remove yourself from the situation.” (Unfortunately you must also do this in a calm and mature manner. I guess that is part of being a grown up or something)  Let me know how it works for you.  Literally it has taken me over 30 years to try this approach and it works EVERY time.  It is called, setting healthy boundaries!  If you haven't, you must stop right now and go read the book Boundaries, by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.

Ok, back on track, I stated that earlier I am not where I want to be in this healing journey.  I am scared.  I am not scared all the time, but if my chest tightens, or I feel a twinge, I start to worry.  In fact in the three weeks since my heart attack, I have been to the ER twice.  The first time, I thought I was Fred Sanford. “I’m coming Elizabeth! This is the big one!

I am serious though.  I could not breathe, my chest was so tight, I was light headed.  My poor husband rushed me back to the ER, and I was sure it would be another Heart Attack.  It wasn’t.  The best educated guess is that one of the medications for my heart was causing a reaction, and they needed to make a change.  I had also run errands, gone in a store, had several visitors stop by, and tried to keep the dog from kissing them to death. (He is well trained when people aren’t around). 

A week later, I wanted to watch my baby play soccer.  I had missed several practices and a game that she had scored her first goal.  I’m a cheerleader at heart, and I "needed" to be there to celebrate in the excitement.  So, last Saturday I went to the YMCA and sat for an hour to watch her game.  Unfortunately, I ended up on the couch with a migraine the next two and a half days.  So, there I was, headed back to the ER.  I can’t take my usual migraine medicine, and I don’t really know what symptom is normal and what symptom is a reaction to new medication. So after numerous tests, they felt it was the additional changes in heart medicine since my last ER visit.

Dr Visits, ER visits, aches and pains seem to be part of this recovery for me and many others who have survived a SCAD incident.  I have turned to getting lost in the SCAD research literature and SCAD educational forums for some peace or clear direction. It blows my mind how little is known about something so fatal.  I have registered with the Mayo Clinic and connected with several different SCAD survivor groups. All of this to learn and hear what type of process should I put into place to educate, bring awareness, and live in my new state of normal.  

The blessing and encouragement in this is that God has been right here, waiting for me to find peace in the stillness.  You may remember I talked about that in my last note.  Well, I am still working on it.  I have received many encouraging words, quotes, and a simple devotional that continues to provide words that have jumped off the page to my heart.  “Rest in me my child. This time devoted to me is meant to be peaceful, not stressful.  You don’t have to perform in order to receive my love.  Jesus Calling, Sara Young”

He reminded me through scripture that, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17”

I have read that many times and somehow the words were even sweeter in this time of my unknown.  It is really hard to wait.  Even waiting in line for gas, or waiting for a call about medical tests, waiting to see if you got the job.  It is really hard.  I am in a time of waiting to heal.  A simple day of errands would knock me down for two days.  My heart is healing and I have to take it as my body feels I should.  That is just crazy.  My brain is saying…”Let’s go!”  Unfortunately my heart is not.  

Whatever you are waiting for today.  Whatever you are frustrated about.  Remember that:
  1. Life isn’t meant to be done on our own.  We need others and that is what makes us stronger. I am reminded daily by my family, friends, and neighbors through their kindness. 
  2. We should challenge ourselves to share the real story and not what we think others want to hear.  None of us have it altogether and the encouragement we give to others in our vulnerable moments goes so much further.
  3. We have to wait to get where we want to be, or learn what we need to learn.  That is often where God is looking for us to grow, during our time of “the wait.”
  4. We expect way more of ourselves often time than God does.  He wants to know us and love us and fill us with peace.  I pray you can see that in your own challenges good and bad.  
  5. Take care of yourself.  Listen to your body.  If you need rest, take it.  If you need exercise do it.  If you need help, ask for it!  Friends, please remember that you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your kids when on a plane.  We need to have the same expectations for ourself in the day to day.  Ask yourself…are you taking care of you too?
A friend shared this song with me today.  It is powerful  I have heard it before, but sit and listen to the words. The singer is AMAZING as well, but her words are just as powerful.  The idea of rising over and over is the example of strength in adversity.  I don’t have to rise and move on ASAP, but I can continue to rise through the love and encouragement of those around me. I hope this song can give you the reminder of who those around you may be.  Unfortunately, my neighbors are taken.  There might be a house or two available over here in River Run.  😉

Listen Here:  Rise Up- Audra Day

“You are broken down and tired,
 Of living life on a merry go round.
You can’t find the fighter,
 But I see it in you. 
So we are gonna walk it out,
 And move mountains
We gonna walk it out.

And I’ll rise up, rise like the day.
I’ll rise up, rise up unafraid.
I’ll rise up, and
 I’ll do it a thousand times again.

And I’ll rise up, high like the waves.
I’ll rise up, in spite of the ache.
I’ll rise up, and 
I’ll do it a thousand times again 
For you…..”

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