Sunday, 4 March 2018

Heart Felt Lessons - A Decade On

What a difference a decade makes.

I woke this morning refreshed, relaxed and optimistic.  Some fruit and a cup of tea preceded a short drive and a view of the risen sun over water from where my bike ride would commence.

It was a warm morning but at 6 am, far cooler than it was to be a couple of hours later. A pleasant breeze also made for comfortable cycling.

The freedom that comes with moving forward on a machine powered by your own lungs and muscles is one I always cherish, and even more so this morning.

On the same morning a decade earlier, I woke with a fresh 20 centimetres wound running length ways down my sternum, another down my left arm and yet another on the inside of my lower left leg, each a little longer than the chest wound.

A few hours earlier, a breathing tube inserted through my mouth had been removed.

However, I did have four neat round holes in my abdomen and through each was a rubber tube. I also had a tube in my forearm and another tube, let’s just say and another tube as well.
Each of the four rubber tubes was draining its own arterial bypass following the open heart surgery I had performed on me the previous day. 

A few days later these rubber tubes were removed and the pain and discomfort of their removal is something I never want to go through again.       

You would think the brutality of the surgery and subsequent lengthy and often uncomfortable rehabilitation would motivate a commitment to good health but nothing compares to the motivation provided by the removal of these tubes.

As amazed as I was about the ability to perform open heart surgery, I was more amazed by the ability of the human body and mind to heal and repair itself.

Ten years on, the fact I had such surgery is almost surreal. 

Now when I talk about heart health and my story, it is as if I am talking about another person. It is hard to believe this was me in intensive care on that 4 March morning 10 years ago.

Much has changed from that person of 10 years ago.

My alcohol consumption ranges from zero through to slightly less than minuscule and dairy is restricted to the thimble full of milk I have in a cup of tea.

A Pizza is something I have to celebrate the completion of a marathon or the end of a weeklong cycling adventure.

I am more than 20 kilograms lighter.

Exercise to varying intensity is a daily occurrence and few things are given priority over my health. This may sound selfish but I am no good to anyone if I am not healthy.

However, the most significant realisation of my surgical experience was during the recovery phase.

I learned that if we give ourselves the best possible chance of achieving something, our mind and body will deliver.

And best possible chance means there can be no short cuts and no excuses.

Our mind and our body are waiting to deliver all that we want them too and they deliver totally and every time; yes, every single time. 

The problem is, they assume that how we feed our mind and feed our body is representative of what we want from them.

The choice is ours to make, about everything we do, need and want.

The challenge  is deciding what we want, how much we want it and what food our mind and body needs to deliver it, because based on what we feed them, they will deliver.

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