My AVR Story, CH5: Happily Ever After

My AVR Story, CH5: Happily Ever After

Though the nurses warned me there would be good days and bad days, I think I still expected recovery to go fairly smoothly. After the hell I’d been through, surely I deserved it, right?
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My AVR Story, Ch4: Hospital Adventures

My AVR Story, Ch4: Hospital Adventures

I don’t know how long it was until I woke up. I know I gained consciousness in ICU at some point — later my parents said when they visited me I’d tried, multiple times, to pull my breathing tube out — but mostly what I remember of it now is a Hollywoodesque montage of masked faces, bright lights, and a bite of strawberry jello.
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My AVR Story, CH3: Surviving Surgery

My AVR Story, CH3: Surviving Surgery

My memories of January 14, 2015, are sketchy at best. I remember the operation was scheduled at the beginning of the hospital day because the surgeon said the procedure itself could take up to six hours. The night before I didn’t bother trying to get too much sleep, partly because I knew I couldn’t, and partly because I wanted to be as certain as possible of pure unconsciousness throughout the surgery. I’d never been put under anesthesia before, and I didn’t know how my body would react. I wasn’t taking any chances.
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My AVR Story, CH2: Pre-Op Interlude

My AVR Story, CH2: Pre-Op Interlude

The weeks that passed between my diagnosis and my operation were among the hardest days of my life so far. I grew steadily more symptomatic, and the most upsetting part was knowing that feeling worse meant the damage in my heart was getting worse, too.

By the end of December, things had gotten nightmarish.

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My AVR Story, CH1: Once Upon a Diagnosis

My AVR Story, CH1: Once Upon a Diagnosis

I remember the exact moment I realized I needed heart surgery. After being sent to my cardiologist for an echocardiogram, I’d waited with bated breath for my test results. What I actually expected to see, I have no idea. At the time I was convinced my problems were mental in origin, that I was developing some sort of anxiety disorder — it would certainly have explained the panic attack-like symptoms I’d begun experiencing, including breathlessness and an increasing tightness in my chest like an invisible corset, the strings of which were being pulled tighter all the time.

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