Christina Herrera – The Road to There`
I'm a 44-year-old high school teacher who underwent a triple bypass on May 24th, 2018. I am in recovery mode and looking forward to sharing my journey and how my family's medical history was the catalysts that lead to my heart attack.
You can’t tell me to slow down. I’m on the go from sun up to sun down. As soon as I clock in, I’m multi-tasking, assisting students, checking emails, re-writing lessons for the day, and so on. So, to ask me to stay put, be still, and relax - well, you have some nerve.
I can honestly say that I hoped in silence that this would never catch up to me, but, it did. I prayed that somehow my family’s genetic flaws would somehow skip me, and because I had made some life changes in the recent years, I would be under the radar. When I Iook back at my family’s medical history there was no way I would be absolved from it all. I was right in the path of alcoholism, depression, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, strokes, and heart attack. Which all happens to be the number one killer in women and to top it all off the number one killer in Hispanic women.
I was able to recognize this avalanche of illness early on, I saw what it had done to my mother, her mother, and her sisters and brother; they were all gone. Two generations completely wiped out. Then my younger sister, who was five years younger than me, she was gone. That’s when I made some changes: I gave up drinking completely, started an exercise routine, and started eating a little cleaner. Old habits are hard to break.
So, when I found myself ainthe emergency room with chest pains and shortness of breath, I knew I hadn’t done enough. From the moment I heard that I would need a double bypass, I was in shock. I stayed positive on the outside for my own family, my son, and friends. I could not let them know how scared I was and how I felt as if my days were numbered. I made sure my wishes were met, spoke to my office manager to make sure she helped my son’s father with my life insurance policy. No tears, just mending the details of my life.
Going into surgery is very surreal, you know you have to, but you don’t want to, but you do it anyway. You have no concept of time, everything stands still. I’m suspended in this moment of darkness, pure darkness, not scary dark, just peaceful - and then you open your eyes. That was the turning point, opening my eyes, I asked myself do I just lay here and go back into that nice peaceful place or do I meet the goals set before me?
Remember, don’t tell me to just lay there, I had some goals to accomplish. I’m in recovery mode now and I look forward to the challenges but most importantly staying positive and being an example of grit not just for my son but my students.
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