I am embarrassed to admit that I haven’t blogged lately because I have been feeling really sorry for myself. For Abby. For our new reality. I know I should be ashamed of myself. I KNOW how incredibly self-absorbed it is. I know how fortunate we are. I know that Abby received the gift of life from someone who had lost theirs. I know at least six children who are waiting for a new heart right now…some of them waiting on a second heart. Some of them have been waiting for months. Some of them are living in the hospital until a donor is found. HOW do I have any right to feel sorry for myself?
The fact is, this is a part of the recovery process. After every one of Abby’s open heart surgeries, the first 6-8 weeks of recovery are hard. She has mood swings. She is often a bit down and feels like she is missing out on the life that is going on around her. She is tired and her body is trying to regain its physical stamina. That is what we have experienced after every OTHER open heart surgery she has had. THIS open heart surgery we were going through many of the same motions of recovery…when some stark realizations hit me.
Abby has been in a semi-isolation period. This period will last for six months. She can not go to public places. She can not go to crowded places. She can not go to school. She can not go very many places at all. The physical recovery may only last six to eight weeks…but the emotional implications of this temporary isolation are hard to take. The isolation has taken a toll on all of us. Abby’s brothers are stir crazy being home so much. Abby, our social butterfly is missing her friends and family members she can not see. I am feeling restless and tied down.
Not only that, but Abby’s white blood count was low…critically low. She was at 500 and required Nupogen shots to be given at home in an attempt to encourage her bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. They need to be down to prevent rejection, but 500 is far too low. She developed a low grade fever the next day. She was dealing with headaches and chills as well. We had blood draws to test for EBV (mono) and CMV. And then we had to wait and watch. Wait for results and watch to see if she got any worse. Admitting her to the hospital would be dangerous since her white blood count was so low that catching something form the hospital was a very very high possibility. So, we wanted to keep her at home as long as possible. It was then I realized that this was Abby’s new reality. The first six months to a year are the most critical, but life for Abby will always be this way at times. Sickness will be a way of life at times and without the bodies natural defenses, it will be a balancing act. Every fever is to be taken serious. At times, hospitalizations may be necessary. It made me feel tired and sad. I hate that Abby is here. That this is Abby’s new reality.
Then this happened
Friends and neighbors from church planted Abby a garden. It didn’t have roses or tulips or petunias. It didn’t have any sweet smells or vibrant blossoms. It did have messages on every flower, reminding Abby how much everyone at church loves her. It had messages telling her how inspirational and courageous she is. It had messages telling her how beautiful inside and out she is. It was a garden perfect for Abby. It was a garden of inspiration.
And for me, it was a wake up call. It was a reminder that despite our trials, our new reality, our difficulties, we can still have a beautiful garden. My new garden is one just like this paper one. It is full of beauty and inspiration. I have my beautiful daughter, recovering from a heart transplant. She has a strong, healthy heart now beating in her chest from a beautiful and special donor. We received a letter from his mother recently. We would like to introduce him to you some day. But for now, we are keeping him to ourselves. We have not written back to his mother yet, so until we have contacted her back, we do not want to overstep our bounds. Although I can tell you he is beautiful and is now a part of my new garden, overflowing with inspiration. All these blessings make up the blossoms of a garden that may not be as beautiful as other’s gardens, but for me, I couldn’t ask for a more perfect garden.
This is part of my garden
She and her beautiful healthy heart reminded me that despite the difficulties our future may hold, we have much to be grateful for. Abby and her UNbroken heart have reaffirmed that life is beautiful and should be enjoyed…one day at a time. Welcome to my garden: I hope you find it as beautiful as I do!