A Day of Courage for Our Daughter

I wanted to write this story on the Wall of Courage but since I promised myself that I would write a blog once/month on caregiving.com, I decided to write a post...

My story is about the courage that our daughter, Amy, showed yesterday. Some of you may have read in my newsletter or on my website about an 'Early Birthday Christmas Present'. It was a present from the doctors. Amy has had a heart arrhythmia since 6 months of age and for the past 26 years I have blown out all of my birthday candles wishing that some day she would be cured. Some day there would be no more beta blockers, no more trips to Emergency in the middle of the night, or on camping trips in the middle of nowhere.

On December 20, 2010, the surgeons came out of the recovery room to tell us that they "GOT IT". They were referring to finding the electrical pathway that was giving her problems. This is Amy's 4th ablation and the first time that the surgeons were "pumped". (Amy's description)

Unfortunately yesterday we found out that they didn't get it. At 10 a.m. Amy was in Emergency having her heart regulated with cardiac paddles. It took two attempts because the IV drugs didn't work. Just before the medical team sedated her, she told them she needed to be out of the hospital by 1 pm. This was a big day. After three years of intense study and perseverance, Amy was graduating from Massage Therapy College.

That morning, Dave and I were driving (110 km) to celebrate her achievements---and to hear her speak. Amy was voted Valedictorian for the Class of 2011---ten years after she was the Valedictorian for her high school graduating class.

When I watched Amy stand up and speak in front of a couple of hundred people---knowing the disappointment and sadness she had experienced hours earlier---it was truly an act of courage. Courage doesn't mean..without fear; it means... acting in spite of it. She had to put all other thoughts and worries aside to be in the moment, and to speak from her heart. She was magnificent with a great sense of humor and timing. There were many speakers but Amy received the loudest applause.

When I spoke with Amy this morning she sounded disappointed and sad. So am I. I had a good cry on my hike in the woods with the dogs, but both of us are ready to try again. Just like living with my husband's dementia, I am learning not to fight those things out of my control. It isn't worth the cost.

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