What a Year It Has Been!

A year ago today, I had a near fatal heart attack. I survived what’s called a fluke heart attack. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It stumped the doctors. 3 stents, lots of medications, cardiac physical therapy and lots of chanting and praying Nam Myoho Renge. Today is my second birthday. My actual birthday is in a few weeks.

This year I’ve learned a lot about myself and love who I’m still growing into. I’ve gained courage and wisdom. I have learned how to unselfishly put myself first. I’ve struggled with my health for over 20 years, living with chronic pain everyday. I have a handful of health conditions. I don’t look like what I’ve been through.

However, when you feel your life slipping away from your body, you can not live as you always did. Big changes are necessary. I’m making them and living my best life and helping others to do the same.

I walk the treadmill (slowly and never letting go) with poor balance, but I do it. I ride the stationary bike and am developing leg muscles that I lost long ago. I’ve continued what I started in cardiac rehab.

I’ve been going to Zumba class. I may not look as graceful as some other participants but I try my best. I stay on the side of the room with the people who are slower, older and not as sexy in their movements. It’s Okay. We still have fun!

I’ve re-evaluated relationships, including my relationship with myself. I’ve been a people pleaser most of my life and it hasn’t benefited me. I’ve taken a hard look at my relationships and my responsibilities and realized where changes needed to be made for my own good. You cannot force what no longer fits. You can’t help others, if you don’t help yourself first.

Due to family and friends who care about and love me I’ve had some good times. They decided to share their good fortune with me. I’ve been fortunate.

To my doctors, cardiologists, nurses, cardiac physical therapists and nurse practitioner, my debt can never be repaid. I will just do all I can to help others.

The physical therapists recommended I get a rollator walker to help me walk longer distances and always have a place to sit. My vanity said no way, but I relented and I’m glad I did. I have some freedom and can now take a walk (or roll) to attend my tutoring sessions.

Tutoring adults is so rewarding. You see how much they want the knowledge and understanding most of us take for granted. One of my students had to leave the program recently. He left a card for me. He thanked me for helping him believe in himself and becoming a better man. He said he was honored to have me as his tutor. I had to hold in some tears when I read it .

This is why I fought so hard to get stronger. I have a mission to accomplish. The payoff isn’t financial. It’s changing lives, building self esteem, providing knowledge. When they understand something, I get excited. This wasn’t the path I chose for myself. It’s the road I had to ease on down.

Challenges will happen because that’s just how life works. Life is not perfect but you can be happy and appreciative despite the challenges. Chanting and studying Buddhism and attending and hosting Buddhist activities gives me the tools to be courageous, be more confident and be unafraid no matter what’s happening.

As I look forward to turning 52 in a couple of weeks, I appreciate my life so much more.  I’m mindful to take better care of myself. I pray for myself and for others.  My prayer is to win over my health and my finances and to be happy everyday.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda said, “The faith and practice of Nichiren Buddhism enables us to absolutely triumph. The Mystic Law enables us to “change poison into medicine. Advance with the great conviction that no prayer will go unanswered.”

The Universe is hearing my prayers. I have no doubt.

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Grateful for Life

2016 has been out here like a beast taking the gifted, talented, courageous, unsuspecting and everyone in between. It almost got me too. 

I’m even more appreciative of this birthday, than I thought I would be. 

Earlier this month, after going to the hospital (I was not feeling well with a rapid heartbeat and some light chest pain, for a few days) I ignored it. (having chronic pain can make you ignore pain) My heart rate became so rapid, I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore due to my family heart history. 

I had a test done in the hospital on the second day after my admittance. It seemed to go very well. I was rolled into the recovery room. 
 Moments later, I had a heart attack (a pain that can only be described as elephants sitting on my chest), requiring stents to be placed in an artery to keep it open. 

I felt myself dying, unable to breathe or swallow. Without the immediate interventions, my doctor said, had this occurred in the elevator going up to my room, The results would have been very different. 

We so often take our lives for granted thinking there is always the one chance for tomorrow. Sometimes we don’t get a tomorrow. I was protected by all the benelovent forces in the universe (shoten zenjin). I was in the right place at the exact, right moment. It was detected by my screams of pain and my vital signs. It was remedied immediately by the medical team. 

 The nurses took such good care of me assuring me that the 6 IV drips of medications (after surgery, I wasn’t allowed to move my leg or raise my head for 48 hrs) were giving me the chance to live) A big high five to nurses everywhere for their dedication to patients.

 If I been at home, I wouldn’t have been able to call 911 quickly enough to save myself.  
For the past year, I have prayed and chanted, so I could create value with and for my life. I started doing more service for others, including tutoring adults to read and write better. I’ve worked hard to the best of my ability within my local Buddhist district supporting and encouraging my fellow members.

 I see now, that through those efforts and chanting I’ve changed my karma. 

My mother died at 51 from a heart attack. I turn 51 today and survived a near fatal heart attack. I have a second chance at life. What will I do with this opportunity? I’m not sure right now what the future holds for me First, I’ll be healing my exhausted body and taking life saving medications daily. I will regain strength, endurance and stamina. 

I know my life’s mission has shifted. There’s something I’m here to do, that only I can do. I’m elated to still be here to find out what that something else is. I’m so very grateful for another year, another day, another moment. Later today I’ll be with a friend who has been here with me through thick and thin and has been the definition of a good friend through good and bad times. I will enjoy this very special day and raise the roof softly and gently. 🎈💃🏼 🎂🍾🎉❤️️🎁