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Half a Century with Half a Heart

Thursday, January 28, 2016

By Tracey Grasty

Sometimes I get scared I will be all alone. I'm scared my parents will leave me all alone because they are in their 80s. I need to have a Fontan revision sometime in the near future, but I'm scared I won't do well, or I will have to go it all alone because—let's face it—my mom won't fly, she has health issues of her own, and my dad, who is older than her, needs to keep her safe.

My brother and sister have their own families; they can help me a little but they live in California. I never worried about being single until I had my flutter episode a few years ago and realized I wasn't cured and eventually will need more surgery and a pacer. I make regular visits home to check on my parents.

My meds are keeping my heart rhythm regular, but I don't have the energy I had a few years ago. It’s hard to make decisions about my health when I need to be available for my parents and I'm the only one paying my bills.

I used to think I was invincible because I came away from three heart surgeries, a back brace, back surgery and lived my life like a boss. However, reality set in when I became a peds CICU nurse and realized I wasn't cured and I will need more surgery, my liver may get cirrhosis and I might even need a transplant.

Heck, I jumped out of a plane, I should be able to do anything—but sometimes the superhero gets scared too. So, after a good cry, I put back on my big girl cape and do me as long as I can. When I see the little CHD patients I care for, I realize I work in a field I love. I travel, I play violin in an orchestra, I'm learning to swim, I have a rabbit and a bird, a family that loves me, and my parents are still with me.

You know, I've lived almost a half century with half a heart! I have been blessed!


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