This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Today is a BIG DAY for me! Today I celebrate my life. Today I celebrate another day with my children, my husband, and family. Today I celebrate spending time with my church family. Today I celebrate the love I have for my work family. Today I celebrate my friendships, old and new. Today I celebrate the simple things; like riding my bike, setting the table, folding the laundry, baking an apple pie..Today I celebrate the many medical professionals that worked so hard to save my life. Today I celebrate life. MY LIFE!
On May 26, 2019, I had a heart attack. I came so close to death, with the odds not in my favor, yet I survived. It was a beautiful day on Lake Rabun where our family was on vacation. We were boating, tubing, swimming, & enjoying our picnic lunch at the boat dock. We were having a wonderful day. After lunch, I felt an odd feeling in my throat and chest. Nothing too crazy, kind of like my food was stuck in my chest. No biggie, right? So, we kept on going, enjoying the sunshine. As the day continued, the funny feeling never left my body. When we returned to the lake house, I took some over the counter medication in hopes to get rid of the odd kind of indigestion. Nothing helped. Then suddenly around 6pm, I was paralyzed with the most horrific pain that I have ever had in my life. It felt like someone was trying to push their foot straight through my chest, my body started sweating, my hair was soaking wet, and my hands were numb. All of these symptoms came on so fast and there was no relief from the pain. At that moment, I felt everything moving in slow motion. I thought I was going to collapse and die at that very moment. The pain was unbearable.
My son, Kirby (15 at the time), stepped right in, just like a grown man and started caring for me. He remained calm, cool, and collected and his actions helped me remain calm. He and my mother-in-law contacted 911. However, the terror I witnessed on my daughter’s face (Mary Martin 9 at the time) made the situation very difficult for me.
After the arrival of the EMT, everything started to move quickly. I was so lucky to have such wonderful medical professionals in my path that night. I was rushed to Mountain Lake Medical Center. The ER doctor immediately made the call to life-flight me to North East Georgia in Gainesville. He knew exactly what medical services I needed, he knew I needed it fast, and he made it happen. He saved my life with that call - I will forever be grateful to him. The 19-minute helicopter ride to Gainesville was simply a surreal moment. All I could think about were my three children; my two earthly children (Kirby and Mary Martin) and my one heavenly angel (Burris). Children need their Mama and I certainly needed them. But, I knew I was dying. As a perfectly healthy 50 year-old, I was dying. Grey clouds began to form in my head as I began to search for a special baby boy in heaven, Burris. (I have tears writing this part because I can feel every bit of this as I write this story.) I remember calling out Burris’ name and searching for him. I never found him. I remember the helicopter medic asking me who Burris was. Then, suddenly, I arrived at the hospital with medical professionals surrounding me. I was still searching and calling for Burris. I remember the nurse, at the left of my head, asked me who it was I was searching for. As I told her the story, she asked me if I saw Burris and with tears in my eyes I told her no. She then asked me if I had any children on earth and as I answered her, she encouraged me to focus on Kirby and Mary Martin. I remember smiling as I told her about Kirby and Mary Martin. Next, I am in a recovery room. They saved me! I am alive! I survived from having a blood clot and a myocardial infarction of the left coronary artery. I Survived! It was not my time to go. I have a purpose to fulfill on earth. God is not ready for me yet!
Why in the world am I sharing this story, you may ask? Sharing such an emotional story on this type of platform is not something I would normally do. It’s painful, deep, and so emotional for me, yet happy and thankful at the same. I’m sharing this story for several reasons:
First, to remind all of you out there that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. The only symptom I had prior to the heart attack was being tired. What working/non-working mama isn’t tired, especially at the end of a school year?! Get your yearly check ups and watch for signs!
Secondly, don’t have regrets. The ones that you say to yourself, “I wish I had done that.” I had a really hard time recovering from the heart attack. I just could not gain my strength back. I would have to take breaks while blow drying my hair. Folding the laundry was insanely difficult. I would even have to take a break walking from my bedroom to the kitchen. It was frustrating. As I would rest, I would think about the things that I wished I had done prior to my heart attack. One of those things was baking and selling my apple pies.I love to cook and bake. It brings me such joy. Food brings a family together at the supper table & being a part of that is special to me. Having a pie business “on the side” is something I have always wanted to do. But in that moment of healing, I could not imagine taking on another job. So, I told myself that if I ever regained my strength and energy back, I would go for it!
Third, enjoy life. Wear your pretty pajamas and spray the heck out of your expensive perfume! I love PJ’s and I love a nice perfume. I have two types of PJ’s; one type that you can only wear in front of your family, and a pretty, fancy type that you wear when you travel. I know you may think that’s crazy, but that’s just my PJ issue. Now for perfume…for 22 years I have worn the same perfume. I love it! My husband and I found it on our honeymoon in London. I fell in love with it. Of course, it is a little expensive, so I have always been careful with how much I use. Not anymore!!!! Now when I go to bed at night, I have on my fancy PJ’s and I give myself a “healthy” spray of my fancy perfume. I go to bed happy and smelling lovely!
I’m so blessed. I thank God daily for allowing me more time in this world. I’m thankful for life. I’m thankful for family and friends. I’m thankful for my strength and energy. I’m thankful that you love my Sweet Kaki’s apple pie and the little business I have started. I am thankful you have enjoyed my apple pie with your loved ones. I am thankful for your support. I simply can’t wait to share many celebrations and holidays with you.