On June 1, 2015, I had open heart surgery. It has now been a full year since that day. A year since my chest was cut open, my sternum was cracked, and my heart was torn apart. I had valve replacement surgery because I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and developed an ascending aortic aneurysm. I had surgery the month after graduating from Temple University. I had to put my life on hold for three months. And then went through weeks of cardiac rehab.
I had a great amount of anxiety in the month leading up to the surgery. It was a very difficult time in my life. But luckily, I had amazing friends and family who supported me.
It seems surreal that it has been an entire year. Time moves so quickly. Soon, I will be starting a new job. I am finally able to move on with life and live as normal as possible. I will need to take Coumadin for the rest of my life, but the mechanical valve shouldn’t need to be replaced. I check my INR level every two weeks from home and will continue to be monitored by my cardiologist. I shouldn’t need another surgery as long as I maintain a healthy lifestyle. There may be future challenges because of this new valve but for now all should be fine.
It was an extremely difficult thing to go through. But I am glad it’s over. I am glad I no longer need to worry about it. I’m glad I can finally move on with life. It is an experience that changed my life forever. But it also allowed me to grow more as a person.
On June 1, 2016, I will travel to a wolf sanctuary in New Jersey with a few of my closest friends. It will be a good and memorable day. It will be a day of happiness, not anxiety. It will be a day to mark the end of one chapter and the start of another.