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01 June 2005 @ 08:13 pm
You know I'm not dead  
Song: The Everlasting Gaze (click to download from YSI!)
Artist: Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Machina and the Machines of God

Since this is almost the 5 year anniversary of a huge turning point in my life, I decided to choose a song that reminds me of that time. On June 5th it will be exactly 5 years ago that I had a very successful open heart surgery. I was going in for what was supposed to be a valve replacement. Before I went in I spoke to numerous doctors, counselors, anesthesiologists, nurses, and technicians. I was faced with the hardest decision in my life to date. I had to choose to have my aortic valve replaced with either a pig's valve or a mechanical valve. There were benefits and drawbacks to each choice.
The pig's valve was not very durable which meant that I would have to have it replaced every 8 years. This meant going through the stress, trauma and possible death of open heart surgery every decade for the rest of my life. The benefit of choosing the pig's valve would be that I would not have to take any heart medication. I had been on medication for about 3 years at this point, and I hated it. It gave me side effects and limited some of the things I could eat, drink or physically do. Another benefit was that i could have children and wouldn't have any complications with this valve. I was 19 at the time so I was not worried about that at the time, but I was being forced to think about it. Within the next 8 years would I want to have children?
The other option was the mechanical valve. This choice had drawbacks and benefits as well. The benefits of it would be that I would not have to have it replaced unless it malfunctioned (which is rare). I could lead a healthy life with normal physical activity. One of the drawbacks was that I would have to be on medication to thin my blood for the rest of my life. The blood has to stay thin so that it doesn't clog up the machine. I would also not be able to have children. The freakiest drawback was that I might be able to actually hear the machine inside my heart pumping in my own head. Would I want to be stuck with the tell tale heart forever?
In the end, after I talked about it with my family and friends, I decided to choose the mechanical valve. The main reason for me choosing this was that I hated the thought of facing surgery every 8 years and putting everyone I love through the stress. I wasn't even scared the day I went in for my surgery because I was numb. I listened to my favorite band of all time (Smashing Pumpkins) on my headphones in the car ride to the hospital. While I waited in the prep room in a paper gown and slippers they asked me to remove any of my piercings. I took my nose ring out and gave it to my mother. I asked her if she could do me a favor when (if) I wake up from surgery.
Me: "Can you put my headphones on me when I wake up?"
Mom: "Ok. Why?"
Me: "If I wake up.. the first thing I want to hear is my favorite band in the world. I know it sounds silly but their music has been there for me for 8 years and I want that to be my celebration of being alive."
Well my surgery was more than successful. I didn't have to get a valve replacement at all. They were able to repair my own aortic valve. My mother screamed as soon as I opened my eyes "You made it! You still have your own valve, they didn't replace it!!!" I was of course numb from the neck down literally. I could not move because of the anesthesia but I was so happy to hear it that I cried. The second thing I heard was Billy Corgan snarling his return at the world of music from his critically unsuccessful album Adore. The first line of The Everlasting Gaze which was also appropriate for my cause "You know I'm not dead!" So this song reminds me of why I'm a strong person and that I was lucky not only to survive but to come out of it with just a patch job instead of a part replacement. :)
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Me and Mia
D: Pip - whaaaaaa?al2o3cr on June 2nd, 2005 01:31 am (UTC)
That was a very nice post!
Hambrosia: emo chinchillawarheart on June 2nd, 2005 01:36 am (UTC)
Thanks Dana :)
shoebootie on June 2nd, 2005 01:46 am (UTC)
I cry at 7th Heaven.

And this LJ post.

Rock on with your badass heart.
Hambrosia: bachelorettewarheart on June 2nd, 2005 02:44 am (UTC)
Thanks Wussy Von Cries-a-lot :P
I can't wait to see your post!
~Janeen~: Yin and Yangthehermit on June 4th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
That Perfect Circle song Orestes always reminds me of you from when you were in the hospital "another medicated peaceful moment", remember that? god I don't even want to remember you there, it was soo sad, I was sooo scared :/ I love you Wendy :)