Changes after Physical Trauma.

Taking up new obsession after cross fit.

Life after physical trauma can leave us with many negative thoughts and reactions – how we emotionally conquer these is half the battle!

After trauma, life changes and it generally changes for a lifetime. We have to reevaluate our day to day journey and the one we often took for granted – we have to learn how our new journey will take place.

Life for me prior to my SCAD / Heart Attack was busy, active and one that was simple. Prior to our posting to the US, I worked full-time in a primary school that I absolutely loved, was busy chasing the kids from activity to activity, had a husband in command, social activities were a plenty, two dogs that needed to be walked everyday, a spin bike that needed riding, I enjoyed the occasional drink(s).

We had never contemplated me becoming so close to not being here.

Life now, 8 months post SCAD / Heart Attack is still busy chasing the kids, still active but not quiet as simple as it onces was. I am currently not working due to being in the US and to be honest, I couldn’t work full time at the moment – the tiredness would see me napping under a desk.

Two of the biggest hurdles have been finding a new pace to keep active, keeping my mental health in check and embracing this new way of life.

I’ve discussed before my love for lifting weights and hammering it out in the gym, these days the activities I do are walking, indoor cycling (no hills) and playing golf. The pace is totally different and one that I am coming to terms with. The irony of my SCAD & Heart Attack is that I was doing everything in my power to keep my heart and body healthy – cardio, strength training, good diet and plenty of sleep and it seems that my love for hammering it out in the gym literally tore my artery….crazy!

The biggest mental battle I have is the medication – I am terrible at taking medication. I don’t like taking paracetomol for a headache so taking 8 tablets a day is just something I have to do but not something I will get used to – I do know it’s not forever and appreciate the benefits of why I’m taking it.

I have aways been fairly body conscious and stuggle most days with the way my body looks and the way it’s feeling at the moment. I try to focus on the the healthy points – my heart is strong, my artery has healed and I am alive. My husband is amazing and always tells me that he would rather have me a little rounded than not here…love the man for loving me the way I am.

For SCAD, the chance of reoccurence is about 30% and this sometimes plays on my mind – the what if’s. I don’t dwell on this number and I am certainly not living my life consumed by the number, nor do I think about it daily. I am aware, listen to my body and would rather live my life taking the advice and medical knowledge we currently know to ensure my heart stays strong but without putting undue pressure on it (no crossfit).

My family has also been impacted by the changes and the way we communicate on a daily basis has especially changed. I ensure that if I miss a phone call or receive a text from either my husband or kids, I reply asap. A wait in reply doesn’t necessarly send them into panic mode, but it does make them a little anxious. If I am going for a walk, shower or a nap, I send a quick text to let them know and one after when I am finished – I am certain this will tapper off but not just yet. It gives them a little piece of mind.

We all go through changes whether from a physical trauma, loss, move, change in circumstances, how we move forward is part of the challenge. My journey is still going forward:)

What I want my kids to know!

Our kids are getting older and as they go through many changes both personally and as a family there are many things that I want them to know. The last 7 months have given me many opportunities to reflect and think and these are some of the important things I need them to know (they do also know these).

I love them completely.

We both always knew we wanted to be parents.

They make me laugh, cry and marvel at their amazing selves.

I am super proud of the people that they are and continue to become.

I pray every night before I go to bed. I ask God to watch over them, that they always trust their instincts, follow their dreams, hearts and goals, remain kind, honest and healthy. I pray that I give them all the time, love and affection that they need.

I pray that I am here to watch them grow up, to succeed and find love. I pray that they are happy and safe and that I am here to witness it all.

I want them to know that at times my own insecurities have gotten the better of me but I’ve pushed through them.

That not every body will like them and they will not like everybody – this is ok. Be kind and respectful.

Life can be hard but it doesn’t have to drag you down.

There are only two lessons in life – you either succeed or you learn!

To always look after each other.

Read a book, play sport, exercise and find your passion.

Be kind and thoughtful, look after others, stand up for your beliefs and always have educated opinions.

That just before my heart attack, I had made peace, the room was quiet and my focus was on telling dad that I loved him and the three of them.

I want them to know that I was not scared of dying or coming close too, I was scared of leaving them.

I want them to know that my heart is there’s forever!

The joy of writing and why I do (try)!

My writing style is free and casual. I write about feelings, thoughts and opinions that are important to me or about topics that have affected my family and I.

My writing comes from my knowledge, my own personal knowledge, by talking and listening to others.

My writing comes from experience – the experience of being a wife and mother, an army wife and mother, a mil spouse, a friend, a daughter and a survivor.

My writing is based on what I am thinking and feeling at the time. I take notes, both written and mental during the day, when I’m grocery shopping and when I’m trying to sleep.

My writing is an outlet and a journey for me. A place to share, connect and hopefully help somebody else on their journey.

My writing for me is therapeutic in a sense, the struggles I face, the acceptance that my life has changed a little as opposed to what it was nearly 7 months ago but also the struggles we all face.

I believe that every person has a story, a story to be shared, a story that we can all learn from. My battles are centred around as strange as it sounds – not being able to workout the way that I was, that I am learning to respect and trust my body again, to keep calm when I get a niggle in my chest/back/arm or jaw and to be aware of my emotions and triggers that may send me into a flood of tears – these battles are shared by many, but my battles are nothing compared to others. I am thankful for my health, my family and our friends, I am also thankful for the roof over our heads, the warmth from the heater, the food and clothes that we have and also for the experiences we have had and look forward to.

We all have a story. Be kind, be respectful and carve your own journey!

What fills your refrigerator door?

What fills your refrigerator door? Is it photos, magnets, bills?

And all those pictures hangin’ side by side
Forgotten memories from another time
And all the places that you’ve been before
Couple magnets, recipes, and Polaroids
Yeah, but that’s our lives on the ‘frigerator door
On the ‘frigerator door Songwriters: Jordan Brooker / Luke Combs

The words in the song ‘Refrigerator Door’ ring true for most people I know. Their fridges are covered in all kinds of things but mine are the…..memories.

As I sit and look at the doors of both our fridges, I am taken on a trip down memory lane. There are photos of the girls, our son as a baby, our German Shepherd Monty and my husband when we were about 24, a photo of my son and husband prior to a deployment, artwork, certificates that the kids have received, defibrillator vest accounts (thankfully paid), a calendar, permission slips and magnets from our US travels over the years with a couple of Australian ones too and emergency contact numbers.

These memories and items are not neatly positioned but are placed on there usually in a mishap, running out the door kind of way. They are sideways, but they all tell a story.

As I was writing this post my mind drifted to those special people and memories that are not on our fridge, the ones that are on my phone and not printed – I quickly went upstairs and printed these memories. We keep so many digital memories these days and rarely are the put to print.

With updated photos and new ones added, the piece of art that is our refrigerator door is taking place. It’s important that we have memories in a prominent place, a place that we can look at each day. ♥️

Life after SCAD – update

5.5 months post SCAD & Heart Attack
The wrinkles are raw, the muscles are gone, the grey hair is coloured and my bald spot is regrowing….BUT, here I am!

This week has seen me hit 5.5 months post SCAD and Heart Attack!!

I have written about my MUGA Scan and short hospital stay in August but wanted to share a little more information about what I undersent and have learnt since then.

After receiving the brilliant news on 3rd July that my heart function had normalised and was pumping at 62% we had a small set back at the beginning of August when I experienced chest pain that didn’t seem to budge, of course this was exasperated by anxiety concerning another possible heart issue – thankfully my Cardiologist and the amazing medical team at Providence Medical Centre knew my history and proceeded to set mine and their minds at rest.

I underwent some heart scans prior to returning to my ward for a burger with fries, a can of coke, chocolate chip cookie and ice-cream…..bazaar to be eating in the Cardiac Ward however, it was for a cause. As I had been injected with contrast dye, I needed to eat a fatty meal for the next set of scans to fully work.

The next step was a stress test – this was no ordinary treadmill stress test. For me, it was a Chemical Stress Test with me seated in a comfy recliner. I was injected with medication that speed up my heart rate and dilated the arteries in just the same way your body reacts during exercise. I was instructed to sit still, was covered in monitors and warned that once the chemical makes its way around my body, I would literally have my breath taken away as I would during hard exercise. It was crazy, surprising
and I can assure you no kilograms were lost during this type of ‘exercise’. While the scan is being taken, the medical team are monitoring and are able to see any ‘cold spots’ in both the heart and arteries.

The results were all clear, my heart and arteries were functioning exactly as they should, and the diagnosis was residual chest cavity inflammation – GREAT NEWS!

Since this little scare, my mind has taken a complete reset. Not only do I have a healthy and fully functioning heart, my mind is clear and not frightened. The percentage for reoccurrence of SCAD is different on every research undertaken but ranges between 10-30%. Upon my initial diagnoses, this scarred me greatly, however, the numbers are in my favour and I am not going to live in fear of something that may never happen.

Life is for living and we can only control what we can. My exercise routine is slow but I am back exercising every day, whether it be a 30 minute walk on the treadmill, 30 minutes on the spin bike or golf I know that for my mind and heart, this is what I need to do. Would I love to be crossfitting – absolutley….but I won’t.

Trusting the process!

Today is one of the first days I have spent at home alone since my SCAD and Heart Attack. With an amazing husband, my mum being here for a month plus the kids being on Summer break since May, there has been no need for me to be.

Today is the first day I have exercised at home without the safety pin of having my family here. The exercise since my hospital release has been at Cardiac Rehab along with the spin bike and treadmill in our basement.

Today, I trusted by heart and my body – truly trusted it for the first time in 17 weeks.

Today, my mind is free♥️

Carpe Diem – how are you planning to tackle today?

Today was the beginning of my starting to Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem, Latin for seize the day is just what I did and I encourage you to grab the chance at life and take the leap.

For me, I took the first step to begin trusting my body again, to trust it during exercise outside of cardiac rehab and I went about my life as if I hadn’t had a heart attack and it was wonderful.

I woke this morning with the feeling today was the day, I had laid awake during the night thinking it over and just knew today was the day.

A nice slow morning, reading the papers and enjoying a hot cup of tea (one of the favourite parts of my day), I completed a few quick chores and changed into my workout gear. Sure they fit a little differently now – gone is the muscle which I had worked hard for. Down 10kg since the heart attack I have been consumed with my muscle loss and the lack of fitness I have now (I get puffed walking up two flights of stairs to our room), sure the weight loss is great but my muscles….. I loved.

I quickly pushed this out of my mind and focused on the positives, my heart is beating strong and although I do get puffed walking up the stairs, I can in fact walk up them.

After telling the kids what I was up to, I walked down to the basement and climbed on my spin bike – it has been over 4 months since I have ridden and I admit there were nerves. I know from cardiac rehab what my current ability and fitness are and I knew that 20 minutes was the focus. During that 20 minutes, I checked my heart rate only once and concentrated on the smoothness of each peddle rotation. Soon, 20 minutes was over and 8kms had been ridden. Sure it had been a steady pace with only a few clicks on the dial but I did and it was fantastic.

Whilst this little feat is just that, little, it was reassurance that yes, I can trust my body, I can begin to enjoy the living and trusting my body every day. One of the hardest parts after having a heart attack is the after pains, just like an earthquake there are little shocks that follow. Learning how to read these after pains is confusing and gut wrenching but everyday becomes easier and they become less frequent.

Today was my day to seize and I hope each and everyone of you follows – life is precious and I wish you all the opportunity to Carpe Diem.