Posts Tagged With: Heart valve replacement surgery

Day 1732: Got a second?

Got a second? I’d like to tell you about yesterday’s appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Salem (who is second to none).  While I was waiting several seconds in the exam room for Dr. Salem, I took a second to snap this:


Got a second to hear about my conversation with Dr. Salem?  Dr. Salem said he couldn’t be more pleased about how my heart is beating every second, as I begin my second year after my heart valve replacement surgery last September.   I seconded that opinion.

Got a second to look at some more split-second photos?

Got a second to listen to “A Good Thing Going” from Merrily We Roll Along, which I’ll be seeing for a second time this weekend?

If you’ve got a second, keep a good thing going by leaving a comment below.

I’ve always got a second to thank all who help me create these posts. Second, I want to thank YOU for being so supportive, every second.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 1383: Blooming

I hope this blooming post finds you blooming well on this blooming beautiful October morning.

Speaking of blooming, all my blooming doctors and everybody else who sees me says that I look blooming wonderful as I am blooming and recovering from my blooming valve replacement surgery last month.

My blooming friend, Carol, gave us a blooming plant soon after my blooming boyfriend and I got home from blooming Rochester, Minnesota, where I had my blooming open heart surgery.

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As you can see in that blooming photo, that plant has a lot more blooming to do. As a matter of fact, I took that blooming photo moments after my blooming boyfriend, Michael, was saying out loud to that blooming plant: “Bloom!  Bloom!”

Would you like to  blooming see all my other blooming photos from yesterday?

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That blooming tea bag is now reminding of one of my favorite blooming songs, ever, by the blooming Beach Boys.

Isn’t that blooming great? Now, please leave a blooming comment so I know what you blooming think of this blooming post.

Now I have to blooming decide whether to publish this blooming post at 2:42 AM, when I’m blooming finishing it, or wait until a more reasonable blooming hour tomorrow morning.

Oh, blooming hell! Does it really blooming matter?

Blooming thanks to all who helped me create this blooming post and to you — of course! — for being my blooming reader, here and now.

Categories: blogging, heart surgery, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1380: Book of Life

On the eve of the 63rd Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in the book of my life, I am thinking about the Book of Life:

In Christianity and Judaism, the Book of Life (Hebrew: ספר החיים, transliterated Sefer HaChaim; Greek: βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς Biblíon tēs Zōēs) is the book in which God records the names of every person who is destined for Heaven or the World to Come. According to the Talmud it is open on Rosh Hashanah, as is its analog for the wicked, the Book of the Dead. For this reason extra mention is made for the Book of Life during Amidah recitations during the Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (the two High Holidays, particularly in the prayer Unetaneh Tokef).  — Wikipedia

Earlier this year, many book-reading cardiologists in my life told me I absolutely needed open heart surgery, if I wanted to live a good and long life.  Therefore, I’ve been writing in this Blogging Book of Life many, many entries about preparing for and then recovering from my September 21 heart valve replacement surgery.

Honestly, I was scared  I might not make into the next book of life, but I did!

Yesterday, as I was thinking about many memories of the Book of Life at synagogue when I was just a kid with a congenital heart condition, I realized I wanted to do my own, personal ritual about The Book of Life.  So, I took a blank book I had purchased around this time last year and did this:

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Yay!  I made it into the Book of Life!

Here are my other photos from yesterday, which are now making it into this here blogging book of life:

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My photographer friend Kathy, who was in my book of life yesterday, sent me these two photos, which I hereby inscribe in my  blogging Book of Life:

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Now, here’s some music associated with The Book of Life:

I hope you write something in this blogging book of life, below.

Thanks to all who helped me write this Book of Life post and to you — of course! — no matter how you are writing in your own book of life, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1375: Band wagon

Time to join the band wagon of Ann’s readers, who are used to seeing her begin posts by defining phrases like “band wagon.”

band·wag·on
ˈbandˌwaɡən/
noun
1. a wagon used for carrying a band in a parade or procession.
2. a particular activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular.
“the local deejays are on the home-team bandwagon”

I had a recent experience with definition #1, when one of my  Boston cardiologists offered to pick up me and my boyfriend Michael at Boston’s Logan Airport in a band wagon, no matter when  we returned home after my September 21 open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.  However, I foiled that band wagon by returning late at night and way before anybody expected me to —  six days after my heart valve replacement surgery.

By the way, I just noticed that WordPress is suggesting I invite my readers to join a band wagon (definition #2) by including this message at the top of post-creation page:

Encourage your US-based users to register to vote by adding a subtle prompt to your site.

If you were in my band wagon  of classic American movie musical fans, you might add a third definition of “band wagon,” like so:

3. the most intelligent AND fun American movie musical ever made starring Fred Astaire (as opposed the most intelligent AND fun American movie musical ever made starring Gene Kelly, which is Singin’ in the Rain).

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Because I like to join band wagons of people recovering from a traumatic event like surgery who treat themselves exceedingly well, I watched the beginning of The Band Wagon yesterday morning, which included these two musical numbers (here and here on YouTube):

No  matter what is going on in my life, that second number from The Band Wagon puts a melody in my heart, gives me a singable happy feeling AND a wonderful way to start my day.

Now, would you like to join the band wagon of Ann’s readers who enjoy looking at  images captured on her iPhone from the day before?

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Those last two photos feature Dr. Deeb Salem, one of my band wagon of cardiologists (but not the one who offered to pick us up in a band wagon at the airport).  In the first photograph, Dr. Salem  is with Dr. Marvin Konstam, 31 years ago, as they performed the first heart transplant at Tufts Medical Center. In the second photo, Dr. Salem is with the person who is writing this here blog post on band wagons.

Now, would you like to join the band wagon of people who keep telling me I look way too good to have had heart surgery a scant two weeks ago?

Because I always like to join the band wagon of people polite enough to express thanks when they are feeling gratitude, here’s a message to all those who helped me create this post and to all those who are reading it, here and now:

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Categories: heart surgery, personal growth, photojournalism, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 1370: I’ve never seen you like this before

Now that my  heart valve-replacement surgery is behind me, people are saying, “I’ve never seen you like this before” for different reasons, including these:

  1. I have new scars,
  2. I am even more in love with my wonderful and care-taking boyfriend Michael,
  3. I’ve got a cool new heart robe I’m wearing,
  4. I’m dealing with new levels of pain,
  5. I’m crying at strange times,
  6. I’m less patient with people than usual,
  7. I’m taking new medications including Coumadin/Warfarin, and
  8. Something major like open heart surgery tends to change people, doesn’t it?

Yesterday, my long-time friend Eleanor — who has seen me in many ways over the years — said, “I’ve never seen you like this before” when I got  angry and upset with an abrupt hospital administrator whom I needed to get past in order to my blood tested for another INR level. I’ve decided I never want to see the administrator like that, again, so I probably won’t go back to that same location for future blood tests.

After I got my blood drawn by people I had never seen before, Eleanor and I went to see people I really like to see and who have been seen before on this blog (like here): the wonderful staff at Mount Auburn Hospital Cardiac Rehab.

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That’s Kathy,  Danise, and Carla.  In a week or two, they’ll be seeing me like they’ve never seen me before, recovering slowly from  open heart surgery.

Here are some more photos you’ve never seen like this before:

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I’ve never seen the amazing pianist Lyle Mays like this before:

Have you ever seen a blog like this before?

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s never-seen-before post and to you — of course! — no matter how you’ve been seen before.

Categories: heart condition, heart surgery, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 1354: See the love in everything

Yesterday, after facilitating a therapy group I loved at work, I went to see my lovely Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist, George.  I love EMDR, because it has helped me reduce my anxiety about very unlovely experiences I had in the hospital when I was a child.

Because I’m having open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic next Wednesday, I loved the opportunity  to work with George in reducing my anxiety about that.  George and I tried  several lovely images to use when I’m going into surgery on September 21, including floating on the top of lovely water or being held by loving hands.   I love that I came up with this idea at the end of the session: I said to George, “I shall just see the love in everything.” George loved that, too.

I love reporting to you that after the session, I saw the love in everything and everybody.  I love that next week I shall also see the love in:

  • the lovely Deb, who will drive us to the airport in her lovely Honda Fit,
  • the security personnel at the airport,
  • the plane that takes my boyfriend Michael and me to Minneapolis,
  • the shuttle that transports us to Rochester,
  • the hotel where we’ll be staying across the street from the hospital before my admission,
  • all the staff at the Mayo Clinic,
  • all the tests they’ll give me,
  • the needles and other things they’ll poke me with,
  • the questions they’ll ask me,
  • the operating room,
  • the hands of my surgeon,
  • the cardiac care unit,
  • the machines I’ll be attached to,
  • the medications they’ll give me,
  • the tubes going in and out of my body,  and
  • everything and everybody else during my recovery.

Do you see the love in everything I photographed yesterday?

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I see the love in those cats named Stormcloud and Peaches, who are being adopted together by some lovely family today.

I see the love in this lovely tune, which my late father sang with love to my late mother at an anniversary celebration.

I will see the love in everything you leave in a comment.

I see the love in all who helped me create this post and in you, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1340: What you need to know

What you need to know first about this post is that it was inspired by this patient publication from the Mayo Clinic, which I was reading yesterday:

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What you need to know about me, right now, is:

  1. I’m having open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic later this month.
  2. My only son is leaving for a five-year program at Edinburgh University in 10 days, and he wants to watch certain movies with me and my boyfriend Michael before he leaves.
  3. I am a group therapist who recently facilitated two groups where the members chose to focus on the topics “nature” and “appreciation.”
  4. I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, yesterday, and he was very encouraging about my future health.
  5. I am not particularly looking forward to open heart surgery, especially because it will definitely incapacitate me from blogging daily, as I have every day since January 2013.
  6. I don’t like being incapacitated.
  7. A person I greatly respect used the words “delightful,” “brilliant,” and “resilient” to describe me yesterday.
  8. I’m very glad to know that I’m resilient, since that implies I will recover relatively quickly from open heart surgery.
  9. I like cats.
  10. I have to watch what I eat and avoid too much salt.
  11. I have handwriting that can be difficult to read.
  12. I took lots of other photos yesterday, if you need to know:

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What you need to know is that I always try to make a grreat choice for music in my blog posts.

What you need to know is that when I  first understood, four months ago, that I needed to have heart valve replacement surgery performed at the Mayo Clinic, I created this YouTube video about that and shared it in a previous blog post:

You need to know that I’m more reconciled to heart valve replacement surgery today than I was when I first sang that song on May 31.

Anything you need to know or to express, here and now?

What you need to know is that I appreciate every one who helped me create today’s post and  you — of course! — no matter what you need to know, today.

Categories: adult congenital heart, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 1338: She who hesitates is ____

How would you fill in the blank in today’s title?

She who hesitates is:

  • lost?
  • wise?
  • scared?
  • uncertain?
  • thoughtful?
  • dumb?
  • human?

Do not hesitate to choose a different ending for the sentence “She who hesitates is ____,” based on your own experience with hesitation.

I chose that title today for three reasons. I shall not hesitate to share those reasons with you, here and now.

Reason #1. Last night, despite my hesitation to worry about anything (since worry doesn’t do any good), I was worrying that I might have hesitated too long to have my leaky heart valve replaced at the Mayo Clinic next month.  Cardiologists have not hesitated to tell me that if  I hesitate too long and my heart loses too much  function and resiliency, the heart valve replacement will not help. And I hesitate to admit that I believe that my heart has deteriorated in function over the last few months.

Whenever I have concerns about my heart, I do not hesitate to contact my long-time and trusted cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem.  Here’s the email I did not hesitate to write  him before I started writing this post:

Hi Deeb,

I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. I thought I would give you a preview of what I’ll be bringing in to the meeting.
My main topic is going to be my concern that I might have waited too long for the valve surgery. This concern is based on the fact that I just have not been feeling or looking as well lately and particularly that I need the Lasix every once in a while, so I’m obviously having more issues with heart failure.  I’m assuming my BNP will be higher if we test it tomorrow.  I’m also wondering whether I should inform Dr. Warnes about these developments.
I keep thinking about the moment during my consultation with Dr. Warnes in May, when she told me I needed to get a mechanical valve, NOW.  When I asked for an extension until September so I could spend time with my son in Edinburgh before he started college, she paused and thought and said that was okay.  I wonder now whether it was.  I guess I’ll find out, soon enough.
As usual, it helps me to get my thoughts down.  I am sure we’ll have an interesting discussion of this and other topics tomorrow.
All the best,
Ann

Reason #2. Today’s title gives me the opportunity to share a joke I made up several decades ago, which I did not hesitate to deliver to live audiences during my two open-mic stand-up comedy appearances in the 1980s:

I’m sure you’ve all heard of “Light” beer, which has less calories and alcohol than regular beer.  I’ve invented a new product —  “Fat Beer.”  It has four times the calories and alcohol content as regular beer.  I’ve even got a marketing slogan for it: “He who has a taste is sloshed.”

Reason #3. As usual, I shall not hesitate to use whatever  blog post title I’ve chosen as an excuse to share whatever photos I did not hesitate to take the day before.

Let’s not hesitate to look at those five photos, shall we?

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Because I never hesitate to share a tune by Stephen Sondheim, here‘s his brilliant exploration of hesitation in “Now, Later, Soon” from A Little Night Music:

 

Any hesitation about leaving a comment?

In closing,  I shall not hesitate to thank all who helped me create today’s post and you — of course! — for not hesitating to visit this blog, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1263: Voices

Here’s what my voice wants to voice about “Voices” today:

  1. I’m trying out for The Voice in New York City this weekend.
  2. When I’m in New York, I shall hear the familiar voice of my son Aaron and also the new voice of a blogger whose voice I cherish on WordPress.
  3. 49 beautiful voices were silenced, too soon, by gunfire in Orlando last weekend.
  4. This week, I’ve heard many voices in therapy discussing the mass shooting in Orlando.
  5. Many voices joined together on the U.S. Senate floor yesterday, crying out against gun policies in my country.
  6. On September 21, I’m having open heart surgery in Minnesota, which will most likely interrupt my voice here on WordPress. However, my boyfriend Michael’s voice will continue my unbroken streak of what will then be over thirteen hundred consecutive daily blog voicings.
  7. Today,  there will be a phone call containing the voices of my long-time cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem and the Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Carole Warnes — both of whom hold my heart in their hands.
  8. Yesterday, I heard Dr. Salem’s voice say this at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center: “You’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a truck” after September’s valve replacement surgery — a voicing I appreciate much more than all the voices I’ve heard lately downplaying how invasive this operation actually is.
  9. Sometimes I’ve judged my own voice as too soft, too loud, not strong enough and not good enough. I feel more secure in my own voice, every day.
  10. Judgment squelches voices.
  11. I value authentic voices.

Yesterday, I heard many voices at two different hospitals, near Fenway Park,  and at a PetSmart.  Can you hear any of those voices in my photos?

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Do any of those voices resonate with you, here and now?

Here are some voices evoked by this post (on Youtube here and here):

WTF!  I hope I hear many of your voices in comments about my blogging voice today.

I shall now voice my gratitude towards all those who helped me bring together all the voices in this post and to you — of course! –for your valuable, authentic voice.

Categories: blogging, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1259: What Moves Us

This weekend, I’ve been attending a 3-day group psychotherapy conference called  “What Moves Us: Tuning in to the Body, Our Groups, and Ourselves.

Yesterday morning, I was moved by a workshop presented by Bette Freedson, LICSWThe Healing Wisdom of the Mind, Body, and Soul: Intuition, Compassion, and Connection in a Group Setting.

What moved me, at that workshop?

  • Bette and I move with our therapy patients in very similar, moving ways.
  • During a guided meditation, I asked my very unusually moving and confused heart what it wanted, and my heart movingly told me it needs heart valve surgery (even though it’s very frightened).
  • During a moving meditation, I visualized a beautifully colored flag moving upwards in the wind, and I was moved to a sense of safety and peace of mind.
  • Bette Freedson was moved by that flag imagery of mine.
  • She told me that whenever I see a flag moving between now and my upcoming heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic, I would be moved to remember how movingly everybody else in the workshop was moved to wish me health and success with my operation in September.

Two hours later, I moved on to another moving conference activity —Music, Movement, and Moments of Meeting: A Group Experience, presented by the moving and wonderful Suzanne Cohen — in a huge ballroom at Simmons College in Boston. As I was moving freely and joyfully among 42 other dancing and moving group therapists, I moved my head up and saw a moving sight:

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A world of flags, which moved me so.

What moves you? And which of these moving tunes would be the best theme song for this post?

I Like to Move It, Move it?

Something in the Way She Moves?

 

If you are moved to suggest another moving tune or anything else in a moving comment below, move it!

What is moving me, right now, is the realization that I’ll be participating today  in an all-day  demonstration group, SE-Informed Group Psychotherapy: Moving Beyond Trauma to Embodied Relationships.

So I’ve got to move it!

Moving thanks to all who helped me create this moving post and to you — of course! — for moving yourself here to read it, here and now.

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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