I arrived at the doctors office bright and early.
My daughter by my side, my ever-present angel.
"Kelli?" I heard the nurse call from the door.
I lie on the table as she asks "you look so young, why are you here and is this your first echocardiogram?"
"First thank you for the young comment (since being diagnosed with heart failure....again, I have felt like a 90-year-old, or at least what I think a 90-year-old would feel like). Second, I'm here to find out if there's been any changes in my heart function and third gosh I wish".
I replayed her question in my head. Have I had this test before? My mind wondered as I wait for her to prepare the machine. I went back to the hospital room where I was admitted for shortness of breath and fluid on my lungs three short days after the birth of my son. I could hear the echo tech in the hallway discuss a case with the nurse. The nurse said to him "you know what were looking for right?" "Yes, postpartum cardiomyopathy" he replied.
My heart sank, I knew what this was, I knew it was me they were talking about.
I called Tariq, he was taking our newborn son to his first pediatrician's appointment. "You know what they think I have?" I said to my husband. "Their not talking about you babe". He believed I had a pneumonia or something. None of us wanted to believe the worst case scenario.
In the hospital room I am alone while they run a probe covered in cold jelly over my heart. I look at the screen, looks oddly similar to the ultrasounds I was used to receiving having just been pregnant. Only this image was squeezing and a funny whooshing noise was present. Then red and blue went from one side to the other.
From this point on it's a super fast blur of memories:
I remember my parents visiting the hospital. I remember the doctor coming in. They say something along the lines of we are very sorry, you are in heart failure. We have a cardiologist coming in right away. I call my husband, I cannot speak for I'm crying from the depth of my soul. My husband arrives and never leaves my side. Cardiologist arrives and says it's even worse than we expected. I'm told I may get better with time, may never recover, may require a heart transplant. Then another doctor arrives to tell me I can never have anymore children. I've just delivered my first child whom I cannot even be with, whom I cannot breast feed, whom I will not be able to take care of for six long months.
"Are you ready for the cold jelly" asks the nurse. "You bet" I replied.
Fast forward to the present and however many echo's I've had. The screen that appeared so foreign to me at one point is now just a part of my life.
I'm filled with such gratitude that my life here on earth was spared to enjoy my husband, my kids and even the constant medical trips. My biggest fear that plagued me since recovery the first time was a relapse. Now that my fear has come true, I'm left with the choice to face it head on and then move on. I feel as though my heart has healed and I've shared those thoughts with you. Now that I know it's possible to decline a part of me will always wonder what's around the corner. I am so incredibly blessed with a husband that gets it, that gets that I don't always feel spunky and great and knows when I need a breather. I'm blessed that he has promised to walk with me no matter what. My two children are happy, healthy and beautiful. What else can you ask out of life?
No matter what the results show, I know nothing can stop me from fighting anything in the present or the future. I've got too much to live for.