Turning “Why me?” into “Why not me?”

3heartsby Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Cathy Aumack-Bandy of Florida wrote this open letter in response to another heart patient’s question to her last month. I’m running this compelling essay here with her kind permission. Hold onto your hats . . .

When first diagnosed with cardiac problems, many people ask, “Who Me? No…” My version of the question “Who me?” was “Why Me?” – until the day my Mom asked, “Why NOT you?”  I hadn’t thought of it that way.

I went into the hospital because of a bout with “asthmatic bronchitis” that I just could not shake. I never imagined it might be a heart problem (neither I guess did my former primary care physician). I’d had a full cardiac work-up in October and been declared “heart healthy.”

Talk about shock… Who knew?

Just two days after my admission, a doctor (I didn’t know him at the time, or that he was a cardiologist) came into my room and, totally ignoring me in the bed, told my husband Gary that my heart was barely functioning and that without a transplant, I would not make three months.  Continue reading “Turning “Why me?” into “Why not me?””

When you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Lately, I’ve been nostalgically contemplating two classic books.  The first is a children’s story I used to read to my kidlets when they were little.

You may know it: Judith Viorst‘s wonderful book,  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, in which poor little Alexander has one of those days when everything goes from very bad to much worse as the hours go by.

To this day, my now-grown children will sometimes phone me and wail:

“Mum, I’m having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day today!”

The second book I’ve been reading is Harold Kushner’s 1981 book When Bad Things Happen To Good People, which is recommended to patients and families facing death and bereavement at the Hospice where I’ve worked since 2000. Rabbi Kushner wrote this book after the death of his 14-year old son. It’s a useful guide for those desperately trying to make sense out of life events that make no sense at all.

The “Why?” question can easily morph into the Why me?” question, inviting an avalanche of self-pity, isolation, anger and depression, especially for those of us with a diagnosis of heart disease. Continue reading “When you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”