Walk in my shoes

I was reminded recently that so many people say they totally understand what you’re going through, or know exactly how you feel, but as they’ve never ‘walked in my shoes’, they can’t possibly really understand how I feel.

I was reminded of this when someone who had the same major heart surgery as I had 15 months ago, shared their experience in a forum I follow. Here’s what they had to say.

Several years ago I had a lumpectomy. It was terrifying but all turned out fine. A few years later I had a dear friend that went for a biopsy. We were talking and I said, “I know it is scary but try to stay calm until you know you have something to really worry about”. She turned and said, “easy for you to say, you have never been through this” I replied, “yes I went through all of this, and had open heart surgery to replace my valve”. “When did you have that, why don’t I remember it” she asked – “Well my friend, you don’t remember because it was my heart and not yours. And because everything turned out ok, and I’m now feeling and looking better than I have in years”.

I’m reminded that until someone walks in your shoes they will never completely understand.

Open heart surgery may be “textbook” but for those of us that has experienced it, it is definitely NOT textbook. There are days I don’t even feel like getting out of bed because of the side effects of meds, I put on so much fakeness it’s not even funny! And the stuff with people I use to could tolerate, I just can’t anymore. I just think folks are scared to talk about it.

Open heart surgery may be routine these days, in terms of how often surgeons performs these operations, but to the person who goes through it, I can confirm it is definitely not routine!

It’s now over 15 months since I had open heart surgery to fix one of the heart issues I was born with, but my life has never been he same since my op. Yes I now feel much better than I did prior to my op, but life is very different now both physically and emotionally. For that reason, unless you’ve actually had this surgery you cannot possibly understand what I’ve been through and what I continue to go through. Just as the person who post edthe above quote said, I too find that just because I’ve had my op and am back at work and trying to get on with life again, many seems to have completely forgotten what I’ve been through as it’s now in the past.

The op itself may be in my past but I will forever have to deal with the ongoing physical and emotional affects of both the surgery, and congenital heart problems.

3 comments

  1. Oh Dot what a post. How can anyone say they know how you feel. I can’t imagine how difficult life has been for you. Some people just don’t thing when they say things like that do they. As you say unless someones been through the same experience as you, there’s no way they can really know how you feel – They might think they do because they’ve had some surgery or serious illness, but every surgery and illness is different so you need to have been there.
    You know there are those who do continue to pray for you as we realise life is still tough. Keep the faith. Dx

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  2. I’d no idea you had been through so much. God bless you for continuing to share you’re faith and inspiring us to keep on believing. Wishing you a good heart and emotional health. God bless

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  3. I had a triple heart bypass 10 years ago and it completely changed me as a person. It gave me new life when I thought it was over and the chance to see and meet my grandchildren which I though wouldn’t happen. But, I completely get where your coming from with your post because while the physical side of the recovery is so difficult. I still get some pain in my sternum from my surgery and still have side-effects from some of the meds I’m on for the rest of my life, but the worst part for me has been coping with the mental health problems all the stress and worry of the surgery and the months and months (and years) of hard and painful work is needed to try and get to a point where you feel human again. That said, it is worth having OHS, as if you needed it, the chances are you wouldn’t have been on this earth much longer if you hadn’t had it. Wishing you good heart health and lots of healthy years ahead.

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