Almost 6 months

I exercised for the first time since my last cath at the end of October last night. It was only for 15 minutes, and I wasn’t really feeling it, so I switched off the treadmill, glad I had gotten ANY exercise in.

I made the effort to do so tonight, and I stuck with my mile.

It’s been 5 1/2 months since my open heart surgery, and tonight I jogged/ran at 3.3 mph and lived to tell the tale, smiling.

People don’t really understand what it means, to be able to walk/jog/run at anything above 2.5mph, to get your heart rate above 150bpm and not feel like you’re about to pass out.  Especially not when you *look* like a normal person, not someone in a wheelchair or carrying around an oxygen tank.

Invisible disabilities.

I was born with a congenital heart defect, and until June, lived with an 83% oxygen saturation level.  The majority of you reading this (“normal” people) have 100%.

I never used oxygen tanks, never needed it.  Those of us born this way learn to compensate.  I just couldn’t run or do exercise like normal people.  Walking up stairs or a hill or particularly fast tired me out and I needed to sit down.  But if you just met me (and those of you who have can probably attest to this) I seem completely normal.

Of course, I could eat like a normal person. 🙂 Just hard to burn the same amount of calories since with low O2 sats, your body doesn’t work as efficiently.

After a tough few months right after my surgery (to be expected, right?), things are finally starting to “work.”  I finished my workout tonight and I’m not feeling like I would like to curl up on the floor, unable to do anything else tonight.  I burned 150 calories in 24 minutes and quit right there. It’s only my second day back trying to “move.” I don’t want to overdo things and not want to work out again tomorrow.

I’m starting to look back at myself pre-surgery and wonder how I ever made myself workout when it made me feel so bad. Of course working out is healthy for anyone, but when you know that you will feel like total shit physically afterwards, it’s much harder to go and do it.  Working out at 2.3mph for half an hour used to kill the rest of the night for me.  I could barely move I was so exhausted. Exhausted like I could have gotten off a treadmill and laid down on the floor right there and gone to sleep for the night.  It’s unimaginable.

This surgery changed all that for me.  I was so scared (understandably so, I think :)) but I knew I had to do it, and now it’s done, as successfully as I could have hoped for.

Now that my O2 sats are averaging 95% (!!!!!) maybe I will actually be able to lose some weight!

It’s enough to make me want to cry. Overdramatic, I know, but it’s amazing.

I can never thank my doctor and my surgeon enough.  One of the best hospitals in the nation told me there was nothing more they could do for me, and another one disagreed and did something.  That something changed my life forever.

Five and half months out.  Now I have decades more to go, God willing. 🙂


5 Responses

  1. So happy for you!! 🙂 And glad that you’re doing so well!

  2. I am so glad that you’re alive and kickin’ enjoy!

  3. I’m so happy for you Chelle! It’s not overdramatic at all 🙂

  4. I love this Chelle. You are right that you looked normal and I would never have known if you didn’t share with me before.

    I’m so happy for you getting in a workout and feeling good afterward. You’ve survived so much and are doing awesome!

  5. I’m so proud of you for not only working out last night but undergoing the whole o/h w/out the guarantee that it would change your life. So proud

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