70/30

When I was a little girl I always thought I would die by the time I was 32. (I never shared that with anyone because it sounded like I had a death wish.) When the doctors found the aneurysms I was 32. I would have been dead if not for Dr. Ehrig listening to me and working with me to determine what in the world was going on with me.

After the angiogram and emergency MRI on March 25, 1999 (see March 25, 2013 post) Dr. Ehrig called me and apologized. He really didn’t think this would be the outcome. If not for him, I wouldn’t be here to write about this.

Now I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have mixed feelings about still being alive. The world of pain and isolation that I live in with all the financial struggles I sometimes wonder if dying might have been the better alternative. I’d be in heaven right now with Jesus and none of these cares or struggles would exist. But….

All the people I’ve met over these past fourteen years wouldn’t know me and I them. All the inmates I’ve met that changed my life and made me grateful for what I do have.

My love of writing hadn’t really been acknowledged by me at that point. I wouldn’t be here to tell my story. (and it’s a real dandy) Many of the people who know me have heard bits and pieces over the years, but I communicate much better through writing than I do speaking. I think because my family would always change the subject whenever I tried to talk about something serious so I learned to tell only a little and then shut down and stuff the rest.

Well I’ve stuffed all these painful memories far too long and they are needing to come out. I won’t act like writing yesterday’s post wasn’t painful, it was. I wept as I wrote, but it felt good to remember, write and release it.

I met my mom at the vascular surgeon’s office that Monday. (I’m realizing now that the dates may be a little screwed up in my mind but this absolutely happened in March of 1999). She worked across the street at Wal-Mart so they let her out to be with me at the doctor appointment. Probably not the best decision I’ve ever made. I love my mom, but I think it was all too much for her to see what her baby was going to have to go through.

The doctor had a picture of a torso and told me he’d be cutting me from just below my breasts all the way to just above my groin and then he’d move things out of the way and take a vein from my leg and bypass the aneurysm with my own vein. I’d be in ICU for approximately five days and in the hospital ten to twelve days. My mom asked what would happen if I chose not to do it. He very matter-of-factly said, “She’ll be dead in about a month.” The look of horror on my mothers face is forever etched in my mind.

So after my many questions were answered and I was told I had a 70/30 chance, 70% chance I would die on the operating table and 30% chance I would live with no complications, out I went to schedule my death.

April 13, 1999. A Friday. Friday the 13th seemed appropriate for this kind of thing. It was the only day that he had available within the three week-time frame. (Gee I wonder why? LOL)

I was supposed to continue working at my customer service job at the bank until the time of surgery, but my employer sent me home my first day back because I was too much of a wreck to even know what in the world I was doing. So short-term disability began.

I spent the next three weeks going to New Hope, going out to lunch and dinner, shopping, enjoying life. Trying to connect with people I hadn’t seen in a while and in my spare moments crying and asking God why he was doing this to me. I had become a christian in August of 1998. I thought my life was supposed to get better, not worse. What in the hell was going on? Why me? I was a complete mess, but everyone ignored it when I would bring it up. No one would talk to me about the possibility that I wouldn’t make it. They’d just say, “You’ll be fine, you’ll see.”

Well I’m not fine, but I am still alive. Some days I wonder if I’m really living, but the pain reminds me that I am alive. Not happy, not really living, but alive. The good days are appreciated far more today than they ever were because they are so far and few in between.

Enough for today I need to regroup before I post about the actual surgery. I may wait until April 13, I’m not sure. I’ll let God help me decide when the story needs to come out.

Today I’m grateful for:

1. A couple of friends have stepped up and offered to help me with food and litter for Morriss. Thank you Michelle and Debbie.

2. Even though it’s painful I’m glad I’m finally able to write about 1999, the most painful year of my life so far.

3. I can relax and recuperate again today.

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