life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I write to expose and work through the ugly parts of this disease, open heart surgery that was less than successful and more recently an S-ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) implanted in my chest that will hopefully restore my heart beat in case of sudden cardiac death. I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to learn how to live a full life with heart failure, to honor my creativity, and to explore all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say
"Don't talk like that!"


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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pursuing Passion

The house chores are woefully behind, the pantry shelves are chronically empty, the exterior house paint is peeling and the yard is full of weeds, so how could I possibly find the energy and inspiration to re-establish my passion for creating art?

This week, because of commitments I made long ago to an art gallery exhibition and because I have left everything to the last minute (per normal, this is vintage Cheryl) I have been so busy. I experienced the extreme physical exhaustion I feared and anticipated but there has also an incredibly unexpected rush of palpable emotional energy!

How could I have forgotten how much energy was available to me, just by simply pursuing my passion?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Road Signs

I believe the understanding that brings me peace will not mysteriously appear out of thin air. My peace will not come from doctors, pastors or the people I love so dearly, although that is how I thought it should be.

I am learning that the fear and grief I have been struggling so hard to avoid are in fact the road signs that promise I am heading in the right emotional direction. The route to the peace passes through fear and grief.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ordinary Miracles

I find the chronic exhaustion and constant need to stop, slow down and rest as the most unfamiliar and frustrating part of this situation. I resent the inescapable down times.

However, I am beginning to see the little things that I have never seen before. Watching and anticipating the daily progress of orchid buds, trying to count the tadpoles in the little pond (months ago, I would have wigged if the water was dirty) and noticing the facial expressions of the frog that moved into the birdhouse.

I am learning to appreciate the ordinary miracles!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Enigma

Heart disease is a physical and emotional wound wrapped in one diagnosis.
The medical industry embraces a wealth of treatments
for the physical heart that cannot heal,
yet nothing for the emotional heart that can.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For Every Action…

Great emotional comfort often comes from the strangest places! Physical Science 101 and Newton’s Law gave way to a gem of inspiration as I was meditating this morning.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I regularly receive advice to focus on the positive, but notice that my journal/blog entries often expose the negative emotional under belly of this disease.

If exposing fear and suffering is the action, imagine the equal and opposite reaction? The capacity to feel joy is in direct proportion to my ability to experience my pain.

Emotional suffering is the harbinger of abundant happiness.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Emotional Terrorism

There are times that I feel like my own sick heart holds me hostage.
Friends and family encourage me to fight.
I feel like I am in at war against this.
I just want peace!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Loop

I am desperately trying to move though my own grief. I have done denial, extremely well I might add but I am struggling with consistent acceptance. I manage acceptance admirably for short periods of time, then I easily slip back into denial, which can instantly morph into depression, that can be quickly relieved with denial. Denial-acceptance-depression-denial-acceptance is a vicious loop I cannot seem to break.

I am desperately seeking the emotional tools that will move me through my own grief to find peace.

Full Moon and Tijuana Flats Free Beer Night

Life does not get much better than a breezy summer evening under a full moon. If you want it to be a perfect summer night, try Tijuana Flats patio on Saturday nights with a spinach-artichoke quesadilla (which I am certain is not true Mexican recipe, but awesome anyway),friends, family, free beer and a full moon.

This could be a really sad commentary on my social life or a marvelous testament to my ability to enjoy and celebrate every situation.

Either way...
It just does not get any better than this!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Secret of Life

Quality is more important than quantity.

A diagnosis of terminal heart failure and
I forgot this.

In a desperate scramble, my primary life mission quickly turned into
get more time,
get more time,
get more time.
It allows every possible procedure, any amount of money, and all conceivable medications, regardless of their consequences, to become rational solutions…
if it gets more time.

How did I allow time to become the measure of my life?
In my heart, I know the secret of life is enjoying THIS time. James Taylor says it the best in his song, when he writes the “Secret of Life is enjoying the passage of time. Time isn’t really real; it’s only from your point of view”.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finding Balance

I watched my grandsons on the playground last week. As soon as we got inside the gates, they raced straight to the see-saw and jumped on. Every time their side of the see-saw came close to the ground, they would forcefully push off laughing and squealing with delight.

I wondered why I was spending so much time and energy struggling to maintain balance in my life when obviously there can be a great deal of joy in up and down!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shame in Acceptance

Refusing to give up is a noble act. I love cheering for the underdog! Just about every book I read or movie I see revolves around the character that survives and even thrives against all odds. We all admire the “come from behind” winner and respect the courageous fight to the finish.

I feel guilty for not wanting to wage war on this disease up until the very end. I do want to waste my time, finances and energy making this disease last longer. I want to accept it. Why is there so much shame in giving up?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fear is the Biggest Most Destructive Part

This disease (as I am certain most diseases) has two separate but very integrated parts. The first is the most obvious physical component. This part has an incredible array of choices and treatments when it comes to prolonging my physical body. The second part is the emotional element. There is little if any information available from medical professionals that relates to my emotional health during the course of this terminal disease.

Fear is the biggest most destructive part of this or any long-term disease.

Why doesn’t the medical industry recognize fear as part of a disease?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Addicted to Dunzie

Dunzie is a great Buddhist word! It simply means distraction…
I look around my favorite chair and find the Dunzie mother lode, a Laptop (with wireless internet), iPod, cell phone, books and TV remote. I am guaranteed that I will never have to sit quietly and contemplate or THINK original thoughts. Armed with the latest high tech paraphernalia I can stave off all possibilities of the dreadful, contemplative solitude experience.
Help! Is there a Dunzie hotline?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Genuine Me

I, and I suspect most of us, have spent a good part of our lives living up to other peoples expectations. I was so busy molding my life into a functioning and publicly acceptable product that I never really became a genuine me.

As this disease unfolded, I found myself looking to others for the correct acceptable role to play. A few soap opera characters popped up right away the martyr, the poor young thing and the tower of strength. All of these personas worked for a little while, but I found that at the end of the day I was emotionally exhausted from wearing a mask that was not me.

This disease is making me search for the genuine me. I am learning move closer to my fear, make friends with myself and trust that my broken heart will lead the way to the genuine me.

But...be on guard my soap opera characters often pop out uninvited when I am confused and do not know what to do or how to act.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Writing Has Been a Great Comfort

There have been (and I am certain will continue to be) times that I desperately needed some one to share the roller coaster feelings of this disease. The anonymity of this blog gave me the courage to say things I could never say aloud to family, friends and doctors.

Heart Failure may be what they call this, but my emotional loving heart has never been more alive. My heart is damaged and weak, but it has not failed me.

Writing has been a great comfort and has given me back some purpose.

Make Good Choices

Make Good Choices seems to be this generation’s parental mantra. I hear that admonishment everywhere. I am certain that the real meaning is NOT to think about the situation and make the appropriate choice that is right for you but to make the choices someone else has told you to make.
Some might think I make bad choices, but they were, and will continue to be my choices.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Agnostic

Agnostic (noun) ag·nos·tic
Somebody who doubts that a question has one correct answer or that something can be completely understood.

Encarta Dictionary: English

It is OK that I do not have all of the correct answers. Agnostic is a good word for me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Condescending Compassion

If you have been on the receiving end of condescending compassion, you know it does not feel right. I know I am supposed to be grateful, but in my heart I know what is being felt is pity. This compassion is being generated from a source of fear. Regardless of how the compassion is intended I feel like I am being seen as wounded, flawed in some way, pathetic and in need of being cared for. It takes my power away, makes me weaker and floods my body and heart with negativity.
I am all right in my pain it makes me stronger.

Don't Worry About the Future or Tuesdays at Terrys'

Tuesday July 6, 2010

"Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday."
Mary Schmich

Friday, July 2, 2010

To Tell the Truth

Remember that old game show on TV? Three people would all claim to be someone extraordinary, but only one really was. The game involved questioning these three, to determine which one truly was who he claimed to be. Some times, they would guess the right one, but other times the imposters were so good at telling a story, that they would choose wrong.

I find myself in a similar position.
Who is telling the truth? or maybe the show should have been
"WHOSE TRUTH IS THIS?"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Holy Crap......Halos?

I turned on my SKYPE camera this morning and weirdness showed up on my computer screen. Yikes!

A few months ago, I was struggling with my health by aggressively pursuing holistic, stem cell and surgical treatment. Reoccurring shadow people began running through my peripheral vision, but there was no camera on to catch those "bad boys". Then one night one of them stood right in front of me, blocking my path, it was like a black hole! Screwing up my courage, I walked through it. I was not afraid, I had no specific feelings of fear or doom but I have to admit it was incredibly unnerving. As soon as I gave up medical intervention and accepted what was happening to me, they went away. Now this?


This interpretation from a friend of a friend….I like it!

In your pictures I see the wand of health. If you look hard enough you will see a small Angel holding the tip of the wand healing you. Up in the left hand corner you will see a larger one healing your whole body and you will be healed with in 60 day's they are still with you and will not leave until your whole body is healed. Believe and ye shall be healed. any more questions let me know.