Friday, September 17, 2010

How Do You Feel?

People naturally ask me how I feel a lot. I typically give the shortest answer possible because I don’t know how much information people really want. I figured I would post my feelings here for you to read or not read as you wish. I’m no poet, but the post seemed boring when I wrote it out in prose. So, below is my attempt at a poem that is hopefully slightly better than my previous work, Ode to the Bedside Commode, if not as entertaining.

I feel thankful for the strength of the heartbeat that keeps me up at night.
Every strange sensation in my body causes me to feel fright.
I feel joyful knowing I recently laughed hard enough to leave my chest sore for days.
I feel grateful for the sympathy and support you’ve shown in so many ways.
I feel compelled to drive organ donation and the fight against heart disease.
I feel fearful and frustrated about my newly developed diabetes.
My legs already feel stronger than they’ve felt in well over a year;
I feel motivated and ready now to get my upper body in gear.
I feel most comfortable with a good book in a nice warm bath
And least so on the freezing cold table in the cath lab.
I feel less and less plagued by my medications’ many side effects,
Though I’m always a bit on edge, wondering what might hit me next.
I feel inspired by transplant recipients who go on to do great things
Like run marathons, climb tall mountains and start families.
I feel energetic most of the time, something that used to be so rare,
But I occasionally feel exhausted by the overwhelming nature of my care.
I feel frustrated by the pain in my foot that prevents a long walk or hike,
But I’m glad I can get some good exercise on the stationary bike.
I feel relieved each time I remember I’m no longer tethered to medical equipment.
I feel fulfilled when I can answer a question for a fellow heart patient.
Hand tremors make me feel decrepit but shouldn’t last too many more weeks.
My newfound fear of germs makes me feel like a bit of a freak.
I feel optimistic about the future and grateful for the opportunity to plan for distant dates.
I feel eager to hit the six month mark, when I should return to a pretty normal state.
I feel haunted by what could have happened to me, the “what ifs” play on repeat in my mind.
But mostly, I feel fortunate for the good providence that’s kept me alive since October 2009.


  1. Educational AND it rhymes? Excellent. :) Fantastic summary of the current state of affairs. And I'm so sorry about the diabetes. What a huge bummer. But that's child's play compared to what you've been through already. You'll plow through that too!

  2. I was going to comment in lyrical form, but figured it couldn't hold a torch to your poem above. As I look back on the journey since October of last year, I'm so grateful that you're still here to laugh until your chest hurts, keep me company on the phone while I drive home from work, and inspire so many people with your fighting spirit. I look forward to gossiping in your cubicle, laughing at your stories over glasses of wine, and walking next to you in the upcoming Heart walk! It's been quite a year... but look how far you've come.

  3. One of the things I hate is when people ask how I am, they probably don't really want to know and want to get into the nitty gritty of all of the complications, they just want to hear that my life it wonderful. That is one of the hard things, people dont see both side of the situation-the after effects (recuperation).

    I remember when I first got my transplant it hurt so bad to laugh and all my bff and I do when we are together is laugh.
    Is the diabetes permanent? I only needed insulin when I was on high doses of prednisone/when I was bed bound-right after the tx? When they lower the pred, will you be able to get off. That really stinks though. I am so sorry. You have already been through so much, you did not need another thing. I don't know about you, but no one warned me about diabetes after txI would have been really shocked if I got it after tx.
    I volunteer with my OPO and I love it, I love the people at the OPO, they are so nice! The events are fun and it just feels like I am doing something good.
    I also have that feeling of being on edge, wondering when are things going to go south, or what is going to go wrong next, etc. I am her for you if you would like to chat.
    I am also having pain in my legs. They found arthritis in my spine (from the prednisone) and they think that that might be causing the pain-do they know what might be causing you pain?
    I have found that cycling outside has been better for me than riding on the stationary bike. Getting some sun (and vitamin D) and the actual bike feels better than the stationary bike.
    I love not having IV, PICC lines, MED lines, or central lines, or caths! I feel FREE! And I love being home!
    Yes, the tremors lesson, go away, or you notice them less!
    I will also be doing my first 5K post tx on oct 2! Good Luck!
    I will keep praying for you, you sound like you are doing great!

  4. I feel joy for the life of my wonderful Bird
    My old heart bounds with glee at your every word!

  5. It's a wonderful poem. You must be overwhelmed with all these feelings sometimes.

  6. Whether poetry or prose, your willingness to share your deepest feelings and heartfelt thoughts (no pun intended, but unavoidable!) are inspiring. It is a pleasure "getting to know you" through reading your blog. Sometimes when I am having a day that is screaming at me "I can't take this one more minute",I think of you, and all the strong people I've crossed paths with so far in this life, and when I am done screaming, I realize, "yeah, I can take one more minute."
    Warmest thoughts your way for continued recovery!

  7. You have my vote for Poet Laureate! Very eloquently written and helpful to those of us who can't begin to comprehend all that you and those who love you have experienced.

  8. I'm glad you shared this. I like to know how you are feeling, not to be nosey, but more out out of care and concern. But often I don't ask b/c I think, darn she has GOT to be sick of people asking her that all the time. this was a great way to share it.
    I had no idea about the diabetes. there is so much. you are such a trooper.
    always in my prayers.

  9. Wow Andrea! This is a great way to share how you are feeling with those of us following your blog. We appreciate you sharing your journey and we are so thankful you are here to share it!
    Blessings to you and your family. You all have our love and prayers.
    Bob & Melanie

  10. Andrea, you are an inspiration. Reading your posts gives me strength. I had open heart surgery last year and avoided death by a short margin. I had an aortic aneurysm that nearly dissected because I avoided surgery for so long. Keep up the positive attitude and living!