Over the last few months I’ve noticed a few odd things about the way I’ve been feeling. In fact, now that I think about it, those odd feelings go all the way back to last summer. I remember getting winded mowing the grass and feeling embarrassed. I told myself that I must’ve let myself get in terrible shape. I hoped none of my neighbors saw me bending over, still holding onto the lawnmower, to catch my breath. You probably read about this in my column last week.
There are other instances from the last few months, but you get the idea. The last few weeks, before my doctor’s appointment, one of my greatest concerns was to not to mess up the holidays while rationalizing that what I was feeling couldn’t be related to my heart.
In all, the surgeon performed five bypasses on my heart a couple weeks ago. And then I spent five more nights in the hospital beginning the recovery process. As my wife and I have discussed several times already, the looming lifestyle changes and eating habits are a marathon, not a sprint.
Since I announced through social media that I was having heart surgery, an incredible number of my friends have told me their personal stories. One friend jokingly admitted me into the “broken hearts club.” My younger daughter told me that some people celebrate a situation like this by considering the day after surgery as their new birthday.
With this weekends’ Valentine holiday fast approaching, the odds are good that I won’t make it to the store to get my wife a gift. I realize now that worrying about not messing up the holidays would just have made the rest of them worse if I had keeled over in the snow. So, my Valentine gift this year is a bit indirect. It’s about me, but it’s for them. I promise to take better care of my own heart so there will be many more valentines in the future. Birthdays, too. And no more broken hearts.
If you decide to make the same pledge, my guess is your loved ones will appreciate that as much as a box of chocolates. (But you do have to put in the work, too.)