Day 744: Reasons Why I Do Not Want to Have Heart Surgery (part 1)

Reason # 1: There are no cats in the hospital.



Reason # 2: Even though I have a great team of doctors, there will be some inexperienced doctors involved in my care, like the medical resident from my hospital stay a few years ago who insisted that the top of my foot was a great place for an intravenous needle (it wasn’t).


Reason #3: My heart has this funny idea that it’s going to hurt.


(See this post for the first appearance of my favorite watch, above.)


Reason #4: Inevitable interruption in my incredible blogging streak, currently 744 days in a row.

(10 hours  — which is much less time than I’ve spent writing these blog posts — of applause and cheering found here on YouTube.)


Reason #5: Likely guest blogger likely wreaking havoc with my nice readers. My boyfriend Michael has agreed — a little too gleefully — to fill in for me whenever necessary, with expressed plans including changing the title of this blog to

“The Day(s) of Living Incredibly Judgmentally.”


Reason #6: The worst macaroni and cheese I have ever encountered, in my long and happy life.


Since I don’t know when I’d be undergoing whatever heart surgery my growing team of cardiologists convinces me is the best plan of action for my goal to “live as long as possible,” I am officially declaring this post Part 1 of a continuing series.

I’m wondering, now, what would make a good theme song for

Reasons Why I Do Not Want to Have Heart Surgery (The Original Series).

I could steal the theme music from the Original Netflix Series that is enthralling me and my son, these days …

… but that wouldn’t be very original.

How about this favorite Paul Simon song, appearing previously in this here early blog post of mine?

I like that idea, especially since the title track of The Rhythm of the Saints includes these lines:

To overcome an obstacle or an enemy

To glide away from the razor or the knife

To overcome an obstacle or an enemy

To dominate the impossible in your life.

Thoughts about theme songs, hospitals, cats, macaroni and cheese, medical residents, guest bloggers, standing ovations, House of Cards,  Paul Simon and/or any other reason to comment?

Thanks for having your reasons for visiting here today, dear readers.

Categories: blogging, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 65 Comments

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65 thoughts on “Day 744: Reasons Why I Do Not Want to Have Heart Surgery (part 1)

  1. A veteran of spinal surgeries – I wold guess that you don’t want heart surgery for all the right reasons and will sail right through it for all the right reasons… 🙂

  2. I do kind of like the political incorrectness of your boyfriend’s suggestion to change the title of your blog.It might prove to be an interesting read! The House of Cards theme is a good one- and what a great series I might add. All kidding aside, I hope it works out for the best outcome for you and you emerge healthier 🙂

  3. A long as you feel great, your are doing great Ann.
    You have every reason to not want it…. whoever it needs to happen!
    Val xo

  4. I agree with Mimi. I surely understand your not wanting another surgery. However, you are one tough woman who, if it must be surgery, will sail.
    I could smuggle in a cat if that would help. . . .

  5. If I had all of those negative thoughts, I wouldn’t want surgery either! Maybe it’s time to practice some positive thinking – there are plenty of studies that have shown how positive thinking can change your entire outlook, and like everything else, it does take practice!

    • Hi, Kate! My way of dealing with fear is to express it and let it go. Then I can focus more on the positive thinking. Like you said, it takes practice. Thanks for being in my corner.

  6. All your reasons are valid, especially #1. Can you take a recording of a cat purring? Ann, this is a hard,hard time, I know, and I send you prayers for strength, both physically and mentally. From God’s hands to the surgeons’ hands for a successful surgery. Listen to beautiful music and think beautiful, positive thoughts.

  7. I can’t argue against your reasons, Ann, but I can argue for the surgeons helping you reach the goal of a long, happy life. And I really like Michael’s sub blog title, too. 🙂

  8. I think you should arrange for Michael to bring you gourmet meals into hospital, along with videos of your cats… can you Skype with your cats? No doubt you are right and it will hurt – but LESS than you are imagining. You don’t have to imagine how bad it will be just to prepare yourself, you know that. We will watch over your blog.

    • I LOVE the idea of Skyping with the cats. I’ve practiced that, too, when I was in England, Scotland and Panama. Actually, Hilary, all your ideas are brilliant.

  9. Ann, I also think that you will sail through it, and for the rights reasons: such as sailing through the “Orinoco Flow” (the first hit Enya had):

  10. Yikes, Ann, for all the wrong reasons you are considering not having surgery?! Having had two MI’s, a four-vessel CABG, five cardiac catheterizations, three angioplasties and three stents inserted during different times/procedures, I have NEVER doubted my cardiologists and surgeons. The potential discomfort and minor inconveniences very much outweigh your doubts. Please consider lsetting your doubts/reservations aside and let the professionals do well what they are trained to do — residents included. The alternative may be measurably more inconvenient.

    • No, Eric. Writing this today is just part of my process. I have a very unusual heart and have gotten some mixed messages from different cardioligists. It does help me to hear your experience while I am in this process. Many thanks.

    • Eric, I’ve been thinking more about your comment. I want to be clear about my perspective: These are reasons why I don’t WANT to have heart surgery. Who does? I will have it, when enough of the cardiologists I respect can agree about the timing and the kind of surgery. Also, trust in medical professionals is good, for sure, but I’ve also learned, throughout my life, that asking questions and challenging assumptions can be very good, too. Anyway, thanks again for writing such a thought-provoking comment here.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ann. I concur, who WANTS to have heart surgery? Making personal decisions as to which physician(s)/surgeon to align with and who to trust most, can be daunting – especially for people totally unfamiliar with diagnoses. Once questions (and I ask plenty too) are answered to my satisfaction, I then release my care into their hands, literally as well as mentally. Over the years I have learned (and accepted) that their training, knowledge and skills vastly exceeds mine so the elements of trust and belief carry significant weight. For me, there is simply a point/time where/when I choose to let go. Relatedly, I have had some extraordinary R3s and Fellows actually perform procedures/surgeries (with Attending’s present and supervising).

        I recognize and appreciate that each of us processes serious medical decisions differently. Whenever and whatever your decide, I wish you only favorable outcomes and a full restoration of your wellness. 🙂

      • Thanks to you, Eric, for many reasons.

  11. Perfect reasons for not wanting surgery — I’m torn between the “no cats” and the “no blogging” reasons. But I hope you will do what’s best for you. And don’t give up, no matter what. We want you around a loooonnng time!

  12. Hi Ann,

    I can see you’ve thought this through carefully and at length. I don’t like to think of you suffering through that mac and cheese again, especially without a cat. But much, much more, I dislike the idea of a new doctor practicing on you. (Is there no way to prevent that? Yikes!)

    However, maybe we can help a little bit with some of your worries. For example:

    -Michael and Aaron could be your subversive substitute bloggers, and we, your regular readers, will show up every day to cheer them on and hear updates about you.

    -You could invite your readers (like me) to submit guest blog posts ahead of your surgery, and you could pick the ones you like and set them up to post automatically.

    -One of us who lives in Boston can make you homemade mac and cheese and bring it to the hospital


    – I am sure that we can smuggle in a cat!

  13. Something so major needs to be thought through through and accepted before being undertaken and I agree with you for taking this contemplative time.

  14. Janet H

    I’d fill in for you, but I think there’s a limit to how many pictures of people (well, okay, just me) with their finger up their nose your readers can stand. As a stellar alternate, I nominate Jeanette.

  15. This is an inspiring post, as well as being funny in the right places and so well structured. As many people have commented before me, you have evidently thought everything through very carefully about heart surgery. But I do agree that fear is causing you to falter – which is only natural. I’ve known a few people who’ve had heart surgery of various types, and their lives have been so much better for it. I’m not trying to persuade you one way or the other. You will make the decision that is right for you. Your blog will probably suffer at someone else’s hands. I can’t see anyone else being aable to keep up your standard of excellence. I wish you all the best along whichever road you decide to take.

    • Thank you, Millie, for this beautifully structured and thoughtful comment.

      My cardiologists and I are thinking things through, for sure. I have another appointment coming up, two (no, one!) weeks from today, with my long-time cardiologist, Dr. Salem. Because my heart is so unusual, we are all doing the best we can to figure out the next steps. Nothing is completely clear right now, but — more and more — I’m realizing that surgery is most likely in my (near) future.

      Do not fear about how fear will affect me. I will not falter.

      My challenge, usually, is to leave room for my own fear. Growing up as I did with a congenital heart issue, I didn’t take the time to feel the fear and express it. So, for me, as an adult, feeling the fear and expressing it is … an act of bravery! And humor usually helps.

      Writing is always therapy for me and comments from my readers help significantly in my personal healing. Thanks so much for being a part of that.

      Oh, by the way … my boyfriend Michael is a terrific writer. As a matter of fact, that’s how he won my very unusual heart. (But that’s another story.)

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. You are a very special and brave person and the way you’re facing your coming surgery is commendable.(I know that sounds stuffy, but commendable suits what I mean so well.) I’m sure Michael treasures your very unusual heart. Your blog is lovely, too. Do take care.

      • Not stuffy. Lovely, as well.

  16. Oh my dear and beautiful friend. Sending good thoughts to you and prayers on your behalf. Peace and love, Diana xo

  17. The only reason to have surgery (inmy book anyway) is if/when you have no choice. Until then … But surgery is getting easier on the patient. Or so i hear.

  18. The thought of having heart surgery would scare me silly, but if it needs to be done then it needs to be done.

  19. Wishing you a successful op and remember to stay positive and trust that everything will be okay. My Mum was a nurse in her day and said people definitely came through better when they had a positive outlook. Good luck and healing blessings to you Ann. Kath.

  20. Very best wishes from me with your decision process…

  21. I’m off to view my iTunes collection. Girlfriend, i’m bringing you a song…be back in a few moments…

  22. Bloom Mindi Abair (Uplifting:)

  23. may your heart, meow &
    be well & happy, dear one

  24. Pingback: Day 745: I Feel Fine | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  25. You had me at, “there are no cats in hospitals.” 🙂

  26. You know the irony is, as much as science likes the brain for answers, this is a follow your heart kind of situation.

  27. Ann, I must admit I don’t read your blog everyday but the title of this blog caught my eye, and so I read… I understand your feelings. If you and the doctors agree on this surgery, I hope the very best results will happen. Remember-crisis is an opportunity for growth. And I hope that you know that the doctor may be trying to fix your heart, but each one of us writers is trying to touch your heart. So I hope this note warms your heart! By the way I would be suspicious if the doctor goes by the name of Cupid. Love to you!

  28. I know…Long time no “see.”

    Eeeeekk…. Heart surgery?
    Will be holding you in my prayers for all to go well & for a fast & smooth recovery.
    Take it easy.

  29. Pingback: Day 755: Binge Watching | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  30. Years ago my ob/gyn needed a long hospital stay and I found out later that he kept a doll, in his likeness that I had made for him after he delivered my twins, in his room. I was touched. Maybe you could sneak in your cat or bring a stuffed cat that looks like your sweet kitten. That eliminates reason #1.

    • That is a very touching story Carol, and a tribute to your talents and the good effect you have on others (both of which I’ve witnessed here on WordPress). I love your suggestion, and I know just the cat to bring with me to the hospital.

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