Advice to a friend

What follows was written by Stephanie to Heather Magee, before Heather underwent a surgical procedure last year. (If you missed it, Heather is recovering nicely. I saw her while in Colorado, she looks good but says she is still a little weak.)

Stephanie, also a Heart Warrior, sent this note to Heather about getting through an operation and what comes next. Heather wanted me to share it with Funky Heart readers:

I can understand the fear and doubt that races through your minds about the actual surgery. The surgery is not the problem. It’s the aftermath. It’s the emotional part of having Heart Disease. Be prepared to NOT be afraid to ask for professional help. Maybe before surgery reach out to others to see how they have gotten through it.

Be patient with your body. Your mind is always going to move faster and be ready for more than your body may be able to handle, which is beyond frustrating. However, you may discover a new hobby this way. Try to find a way to turn your negatives into positives. But please know that you are not alone if you are having suicidal thoughts, are extremely irritable, or have days where you see no point of getting out of bed. Do not be afraid to ask people to leave you alone, just to be nice. This is a time to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Stress is harder on our hearts than we often think.

Be thankful you have had such a strong heart up to this point. After surgery, you will only be stronger. Never give up hope for tomorrow. Always be thankful for yesterday. Overall, please do one thing for me. Have a moment to yourself where you are standing in front of the mirror naked, with the lights on, and really look at your body. Even if you are crying, and your stomach is twisting, force a smile to your beautiful face, look into those survivor’s eyes and say “I am beautiful. I am in fact a Heart Disease Survivor.”

Smile.

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