My heart in 2020

Exactly 30 days ago today, October 13th, I underwent triple bypass surgery (or coronary artery bypass graft/CABG) after doctors found multiple coronary artery blockages AND having a heart aneurysm! After surgery, I was told and read many articles that the first 30 days are very critical to survival. (I was supposed to have a quadruple bypass, but my fourth artery was of “poor quality”). Praise be to MY GOD that I did survive these 30 days! I am overwhelmingly grateful to God first and foremost for having discernment and the medical knowledge and sense to take my butt down to the ER while at work, realizing something was NOT right! ALL of the techs and docs during my catheterization and after the bypass surgery said I TRULY would not have survived had I not come when I did!!

Going forward for me, there is nothing more important to me now than taking great care of myself! No job, no other person’s problems, etc will EVER be at the top of my list, only MY HEALTH, my livelihood takes precedence!

My mantra as many of you know has always been me always caring for others, helping any way I can. That was my sole purpose for moving back to Mississippi 3.5 years ago because my elderly mom asked me to help care for her. Without hesitation, I answered the call, again putting someone else’s needs before my own. I had already had a heart attack with the placement of 2 stents 10 yrs ago (2010). When I told my cardiologist 3.5 yrs ago that I was moving to MS to help caregive for my mom, he actually forewarned me, asked that I do NOT take on such a task, but I didn’t listen. In my mind back then, I’m thinking, ‘doctor, how DARE you say don’t go and care for your mom’!! He actually turned out to be right🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️.

Even though I did make the move, I can admit and say that all of my downward spiral eating habits and not caring for MARSHA IS all my fault! My life became so consumed with getting settled in a new town, working a new job (after working from home almost 20 years), and all the things that come with caregiving for your parents. All of that I obviously was not mentally prepared for and many different roadblocks and family dynamics that came with it. Over these last 3.5 years, I eventually fell for the temptations of the good ole down-home Mississippi eating, devouring any and everything I could! Forgetting about my previous heart attack and seeing people triple my size and still living with no health issues, I thought well shoot! If they’re not sick, I might as well eat any and everything, they are still here! Dumb thought process, right? Yes it was, but that’s the mindset I “settled” into.

Fast forward to 2020 and its coronavirus, everything changed. Mom is still here at 99 yrs of age (will probably outlast her children) 🤣🤣. Covid-19 halted visitations at nursing homes, caused many of the elderly to become depressed VERY quickly as their usual, sometimes daily visits came to a screeching halt as this unseen, rampant virus was rapidly invading all places. It caused thousands of people to lose jobs, gain jobs, so by this time, all I could think of was me making money, surviving financially, while silently destroying my body by eating anything. Was blessed to take on a great paying traveling assignment in February 2020 in Phoenix, AZ for 6 months! Whoo hooo – what a great opportunity to save money since Covid-19 will no longer allow visitors to see their loved ones in the nursing home.  What a great opportunity, but all good things must come to an end. So with the coronavirus still at its peak across the country causing businesses to fail, my contract job in Phoenix also needed to come to an end. I was contracted for only 6 months, although the staff wanted me to stay on a while longer, the coronavirus had a huge affect on hospitals and other businesses and the hospital could not afford to continue to pay the staffing agency. So again, my quest to find a job goes on in late July. Applied for several jobs back in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia – anywhere that would hire this 61-year-old woman during a pandemic! Thankfully, everything worked out exactly how it was supposed to by becoming employed (although through another staffing agency) at Emory Healthcare back in Georgia.

During these 3.5 years of horrible eating habits (with an already ‘damaged’ heart), my coronary arteries collected so much plaque around my heart, my heart just could not take it anymore. Eating things like potato chips, lots of peanut butter crackers, fast foods, sweets, and drinking sodas here and there (things with TONS of salt and carbohydrates which elevates your blood pressure). It’s like a balloon when you blow it up. It can only expand so far before it bursts or starts seeping out air (which is what the aneurysm was for me – it was a causing a ‘slow leak’ of blood out of my heart)!!

As I am in my fourth week of recovery, I am uncertain as to what the future holds for me as far as working or not working – my 30-day appointment will be next week and I will have a better understanding and knowledge of what my ‘heart recovery’ dictates (keeping in mind the status of my fourth coronary artery that was of “poor quality”) what the future DOES hold for me!

Thank you Emory, thank you my close-knit friends, DEFINITELY a special thanks to my son, Calvin Johnson for acting so hastily and responding so quickly by coming to Atlanta from Jackson, MS regarding my well being. Thank you, my baby boi, Jeremiah Johnson, for acting so quickly in bringing my bed downstairs at such short notice.

Nothing but positivity and continued healing going forward these next few weeks and months.

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