There are two posts that I have been dreading. This is one of them. I have been putting it off, can you tell? I have not reflected on myself in a while. If procrastination was a career, I would be very successful. As most of you already know, at the beginning of this year, I vowed to change my life. I set goals for myself, and I started following my dreams. Since then , I have been very high strung and actually quite productive. I have lost weight and I am now the proud owner of not one but two Etsy shops! I know I know, most of you already know all of this, but what you don’t know is there was a huge turning point in my life that led me down this road. There was an incident that changed my life forever. Last year, my heart stopped.
Before I can tell you about the day that changed it all, I must first take you back to the beginning. I will try to keep this brief and to the point as this is not a subject that is easy for me to discuss. When I was in the 11th grade, I began fainting. At first, it would happen randomly and every so often. Eventually, it got worse and started happening a couple of times a week. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was fainting almost everyday. I had every test done that you can imagine. I was missing so much school that eventually after I would faint, would make a quick visit to the nurse then return to class. I was the talk of the school, and not in a good way. I was not normal. I was literally passing out all of the time. Soon I fell into a deep depression. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t enjoy life anymore. I couldn’t even get my driver’s license. I tried to be strong and remain positive, but this was devastating to me. I felt like everyone knew me as “the girl who faints.” Since I had no prior medical problems and I was for the most part healthy, my heart was the last thing they checked. My senior year, my cardiologist found what he thought to be the problem. There was a piece off skin that had wrapped itself around one of the nodes in my heart. Right away, I was scheduled for a cardiac ablation. I got better. I graduated in 2003. The procedure worked for a while, but unfortunately it was not a permanent fix.
I started fainting again in 2008. I was a single mom working part time as a waitress. The other part of the time I was playing poker for extra income. (a story for another day) Just like before, when the fainting first started it wasn’t happening very much. By 2009, it was happening much more. I had enough of a nest egg saved from poker that I decided to quit waitressing and play cards full time. Then I met my husband. We fell in love fast, we married fast, and we started a family even faster. The first year of our marriage was the hardest. In 2010 we moved out of state and soon I was fainting all of the time. We had a newborn, and my health issues really took a toll on our marriage. I was severely depressed and I missed Josie. I missed her more than anything. There were days I found it hard to function. How much longer could I live like this? My husband was missing an obscene amount of work for ER visits and DR appointments. I started seeing a cardiologist who believed I had SVT. (supraventricular tachycardia) He wanted to be sure so they implanted a Reveal Monitor in my chest. This device recorded everything my heart was doing. They were hoping to catch the SVT, and they did. In fact, it didn’t take long at all. They watched the recordings and saw episodes of my heart rate reaching above 240 beats per minute for minutes at a time. I needed another ablation. They went in and thought they had fixed it. I was still fainting after and I eventually had two more ablations. Keep in mind that while all of this was happening, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, was pregnant and gave birth two more times. I had a lot on my plate, but after the final surgery I was fixed temporarily.
We arrived in Rhode Island July 2014. I had started fainting again by September. I went to the ER but the battery in my monitor was dead, and without that, no one could give me any real answers. I knew it was SVT because I could feel it, but the DR’s needed proof. Then one day I had an episode unlike any other. I woke up early in the morning with sharp chest pains. (this had never happened before) As the day went on, my chest pain grew. The pain got so unbearable I screamed to my husband, “Call 911.” Thank GOD my husband was home. He is a certified EMT. I do not remember what happened next, I only know what my husband has told me. I fell to the ground. He called 911. He shoved aspirin down my throat then reached for a pulse. There was no pulse. He gave me CPR. He brought me back. He saved my life. My girls saw EVERYTHING. I woke up in the ER in so much pain and with bruises from the chest compressions. I was admitted to the local hospital immediately, but I was shipped to Boston right away where I could be monitored by some of the best cardiologists. I was there for almost a week. They had me hooked up to monitors and caught SVT a couple of times, but they had no answers as to why my heart stopped. They removed my Reveal Monitor and sent me home. I was back at square one. I was confused and scared, and I knew that there was no way I could physically or emotionally handle fainting everyday again. One person can only take so much. My life needed to change. I knew if I allowed it I would fall deep into that hole again. Depression would consume me, it was only a matter of time. I needed to be strong for my girls. My girls….what they saw that day, no child should ever have to witness. They were terrified. The teachers’ at Lily’s school started counseling her and taught her everyday how to dial 911.
My heart stopped that day. What if I had never come back? What if it happens again? What if I faint and don’t wake up? Would my kids know how much I love them? Would my husband? Was I the best mother I could be? Did I live my life the way I wanted? Did I accomplish anything during my life? Was I the happiest person I could be? Did I teach my kids the important things? Did I follow my dreams? Did I even take the time to have a dream? These are some of the questions that I asked myself, and I didn’t like the answers. I spent the rest of last year changing my lifestyle. I began eating better and slowly got back into exercising. I am not exaggerating when I say, I literally fainted everytime I tried to work out. I didn’t give up. I looked inside of myself and found my dreams. I found all of the things that I needed in my life in order for it to be fulfilled. Then I made a plan for myself.
And that my friends is how and why LIFEBEYONDMOMMY was born. I began my adventure at the beginning of this year. I now have all of you wonderful human beings along side of me. Last year, I weighed over 200 pounds. (not kidding) I had two pregnancies back to back and they really took a toll on my body. Also, I was not exercising because I lived in fear of fainting. I am so happy to say that today I weigh 147 pounds! By changing my outlook, I have opened so many doors for myself. I guess that is why I got so carried away with Etsy. Haha. I just have so many plans and so many dreams. I want to spend the rest of my life doing whatever I can to make them come true. That is what makes me happy, and I want to be a happy person. NONE of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Believe me, I have lost enough friends in my life to feel the full truth behind those words. Don’t you want to know that you have lived this life to the fullest? I know I do and that is why I am on this journey. I don’t want to have any regrets. If you have any dreams for your life, making them come true starts right now, with you. Only you can make a difference in your life.