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march and me

{from the movie, benjamin button}
March always feels funny to me.  it smells different even.
it is the month jb asked me to be his girlfriend, the month i moved to switzerland as a newlywed, and the month i had open heart surgery.  
four years ago in march i was very sick, then hospitalized and then had my chest opened up.
when i was sick i put on a brave face … I kept thinking being healthy was right around the corner.
until, in march – i realized it was not.  something was really wrong.  but no one could figure it out. it was terrifying.  most of all, to my parents.  
i hope if someone who may be reading this and knows in their bones something is really amiss … you seek some help.  you do not stop until you have answers.

I don’t actually have a full story on my blog, I’ve written here and there about it.
some of you may know, and some of you may have wondered, and some would rather not hear about heart surgery on monday morning. or ever.  {you have a free pass to click the upper left box}
i was 24.
i was in love, active, healthy, and enjoying life after college immensely.  
until the headaches started.
i started getting excruciatingly painful headaches.
i took advil by the handfuls.  
i was tired.  like really tired.  my back ached, my teeth ached.  
and then one day, after a run along the ocean… i stood up, and lights out.
i lost my vision completely.  when i regained parts of it, it was all wonky. 
then it came back.  
later I would discover this was my first mini stroke.
so i came home, at 24.  to see doctors and discover what was wrong.
weeks of no one having a clue, consult, after consult.
now i added a few more symptoms … one where i couldn’t get warm.
but i was sweating so much i would drench the sheets. 
finally, an echo.
and after that was read i was ordered to come to the hospital immediately.  
i had endocarditis.  an infection of the heart.  
strep (throat) had gone to my (mitral) valve in my heart and taken up residence.
what was next?
6 weeks of everyday IV antibiotics. {that turned into much longer…}
oh, and heart surgery.
one choice would leave me unable to have kids, another would leave it hard to have kids with an inevitable heart surgery in 7 years time … but when they did the surgery, they were able to fix it instead of replace it.  this was a miracle. 
but after heart surgery, i wasn’t getting better.  
instead, i was filling up with fluid.  
i was hospitalized, sent home and re-hospitalized. 
until i filled up with a gallon worth of fluid. 
and could not breath.
i coded.
turned blue.  my oxygen saturation hit scary lows.
 then it was time for a thoracotomy.
aka- something that hurts waaaay more than heart surgery does.
and gave me another huge scar, this time across my back.  
but, i got better after this.
i studied for my GRE.  and by fall i was headed off to graduate school on a full ride.
with an assistantship in whaaaat?  non invasive cardiology.  
God is good.
and then i got engaged, married, moved to switzerland, traveled all over, started my own business…
my health was restored, my life given new meaning. 
when i was 24 there were moments I couldn’t believe my misfortune, I think most of us have moments like that if we’re being honest.  how unfair!  i thought.  i saw my friends enjoying life, while i was hanging out with 80 year olds every single day during my infusion… talking about our ailments. ha.  feeling pretty much like the ugliest girl on earth.  i was just getting used to my new scar covered body.  
with thoughts like that, when i should have been thankful beyond measure just to be alive
well, i didn’t deserve much mercy and grace.
but that is what i was given.
maybe you’re in that “how unfair!” moment now  … {i’ll confess at times i still think this way}
 please know that 
fact.

Happy Monday and Happy March, Friends!  

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