We recently passed a six month anniversary, or maybe we should call it a second birthday. It is definitely a second chance at life, an opportunity not to be wasted or taken for granted. Yes, it has been a little over 6 months since January 22 when Tracie got her new heart. She was listed for just about 2 years. I guess that really isn't a very long time, but it seemed to be an eternity. We had several false alarms, when hearts became available, but for a number of reasons it was not meant to be. We had few times when it appeared the worst possible ending was near.
Instead, we got the best possible outcome. We knew that the day would come, but the waiting was difficult. Each time the caller ID showed Mass. General, our anxiety levels rose. Even as we waited the evening of January 21, and into following morning, we were sure we would be sent home again. We even joked about it. Nothing was sure until we parted ways just outside the operating room. It was a long day for me, waiting to hear from the surgeon. I remember feeling the stress and tension as I waited, and I remember the wonderful feeling as the stress and tension left when the surgeon told me everything was fine.
So much pain the first few days, but what a trooper. She was sitting up within a day, and walking on Day 3. Tracie came home 15 days after the transplant surgery. We had a few more ups and downs in the months that followed, but we got through it. Life returned to normal, or at least as normal as it get around here. Watching the kids become themselves again is great, they had a long, hard road during this and they deserve a mom who is healthy.
We toss the word hero around. We speak of bravery, and courage. I'm married to a hero, a woman braver and more courageous than anyone I know. No, not because she married me, but because she refused quit. For three long years she fought. She could have just rolled over and given up. We would have understood. But instead, Tracie learned to live with what she had. She just went on, knowing it could all end in a moment. There was no quit in her. She learned to live with the LVAD. It wasn't easy, but it beat the alternative. Incredibly enough, not once did she complain. She just went on. It was, and continues to be, incredible to watch.
She taught the kids and I a lot over the past few years. If you told her she that was a hero, or heroine, she would look at you like she looks at me - the "What is wrong with you?" look. She would tell you that "I didn't do anything special, I just lived."
Yeah, she sure did! And she still does.