Monday, December 29, 2014


We got rid of our cable TV a long time ago. It's not bad - apparently lots of people are doing it now. I mean why pay for cable TV when you can watch it all on Hulu, Netflix, or Vudu for less? My it comes. So with Hulu you have access to TV shows from their very first pilot show. The first few days I found myself eagerly clicking on the Hulu app to see what TV shows I could watch... WKRP, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and then Grey's Anatomy.

I was a huge Grey's Anatomy fan, an even bigger McDreamy fan. Then, if I'm being honest, life as a mother of newborn twin boys got the best of me. I stopped watching a lot of TV including the one with McDreamy. So fast forward to heart failure 2010, Kevin gets implanted with the LVAD and I'm sitting in the waiting room overhearing another family discussing Izzy cutting someone's LVAD wire.... then hearing Grey's Anatomy... best episode ever. Then I thought "note to self: don't google LVAD + Izzy and to never watch Grey's Anatomy again."

Well, here I am telling you that I watched it. All of them. I've been through my fair share of tissue boxes but in my defense George O'Malley dies. Well, that's not the only reason for my tears. And if you're wondering why I would torture myself with Grey's Anatomy? I've no idea but curiosity definitely got the best of me and after a few episodes it started feeling better. Almost like a right of passage. Does that make sense?

Let's be honest, how many of you reading this are willing to talk with me about what I've truly endured as a caregiver, as a wife, as a mother? How many of you are willing to just sit and listen to everything I wasn't allowed to deal with in the moment? Sure maybe there are a few friends but I know for certain that no one in our families want to relive those moments. I've tried but it gets difficult and they've all moved on and I'm sure they're thinking "why can't she move on?" So many things happened and while everyone around me was allowed to cry about it I felt I had to be the strong one and push through. Don't get me wrong I had my moments but there were times where I felt I couldn't .... I just had to plow through it all. So when I found myself eagerly sifting through all the TV shows on Hulu, I thought what the hell... why not watch it from beginning to end?

Kevin absolutely thought I was crazy for wanting to watch it but when I would come across something on an episode that actually happened to him??? Well, let's just say it became very interesting for both of us and the conversations that followed made things so much easier for me. I became fascinated with it all. I would text my friend Gina about it (she's a serious GA fan) and sometimes her replies would hint to me about what was up ahead and I'd be cautious. I'll admit the Denny Duquette episodes were not fun. I think my heart actually stopped when Izzy really did cut his LVAD wire. Then I wanted to reach through the TV and stop her. Watching episodes of wives sitting alone in the waiting room. The episodes where transplants didn't go as planned. Compartment syndrome episodes were not my favorite. I know it's only a TV show but most of it is based on real life experiences. And unfortunately I can relate with it as we lived through a very long medical roller coaster of emotions.

People have sometimes hinted towards my direction that I shouldn't live in the past. That in doing so, I'll never be able to move forward. Sure while this might apply to some folks, it doesn't apply to me. My opinion. My blog. Watching the show brought back moments that I never had the opportunity to face. Moments that haunted me in the form of nightmares. Moments I had closed the door on but apparently they needed opening. By watching the show it gave me an outlet to be at peace with the past. Sure there are other things I still need to find peace with but that will hopefully come in due time. Moving forward one step at a time is really all that anyone can do and if you do it with a smile on your face... if you look for that silver lining in it all... well then you'll be where me and my little family of four are at.... happiness.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you for my husband's new heart.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Pain is weakness leaving your body."

It's been quite some time since my last blog. My only excuse is that I'm literally feeling the most normal I've ever felt in a long time.

Since October 2013, the date of my last entry, I've been busy.  Been busy being normal. I turned the very ripe age of 40. I have eliminated the negative people from my life and am still grateful for the positive ones I know I can count on. My little family of four went on two vacations this past summer. I am the same germaphobe I was when I started blogging four years ago.  I started going to bootcamp three days a week - I have actual muscle now. My boys still remain the absolute loves of my life. Kevin is now 3 years post transplant and is doing wonderful (someone go knock on wood). His doctors told him on his last clinic visit that he was a rock star patient and to keep up the good work.

In the months I've been absent from my blog I have come to the realization that it's OK to let that closet of nightmare memories open up. That I should no longer stand up against it trying to push it back shut. I was never a big fan of discussing the early days of Kevin's heart failure but for whatever reason it always manages to be topic of conversation. I get it, but it doesn't mean I have to like talking about it. The mere subject is like that of Superman and Kryptonite...a weakness that leaves you helpless.

"Pain is weakness leaving your body." The very first time I heard this was from my trainer during my first month of bootcamp. I didn't like him very much that first month because he was doing his job. He was working me out and putting me on the road to a healthier me, along with everyone else at bootcamp. After that first month I was doing things that amazed me. I had more energy. I was actually enjoying working out and let's face it I have muscle now. I started to schedule everything else around bootcamp workouts. Bootcamp helped clear my mind. It still does. I crave working out nowadays. I'm running my first 5K on Sunday and am taking on the Spartan Race in December. OK, where am I going with this?

Two months into bootcamp Kevin saw the results in me and started coming to bootcamp with me. Well, this is where pushing that closet shut stopped for me. Ya know, for those of you that have never participated in a bootcamp, let me just tell you how tough it is. Very. Tough. Watching Kevin go through what I went through that first month of my bootcamp was very hurtful for me. It always caused concern and put me into panic mode. It threw me off my game a bit at bootcamp. The things that would run through my mind as he stopped during a workout caused nightmares for me. It caused actual moments in time to reoccur in my dreams. It opened that closet of mental pain I never wanted to experience again but as Kevin progressed through bootcamp I got through the ugly stuff on my own. A challenge that apparently had been waiting for my acceptance for quite some time.

Bootcamp has given me not only physical results & a healthier me but it's given me the power to deal with things from my past about his heart failure that I was never able to confront before. I recently had breakfast with a friend and we talked about the first 2 days in detail. Things I had never said out loud before. I had to stop when I got to a certain point but I did it. I've learned since my last blog entry that I can face the harsh memories that have been locked up in a closet. I no longer need to be afraid of those 11 days. Facing the memories only helps me to move forward in a positive motion.

So with moving forward on my mind, tomorrow is our last bootcamp.Well, it's our last bootcamp being trained by Brian Peeler. He's moving on to the next chapter in his life and Kevin and I  wish him nothing but success. We wish him nothing but the best but not before I say thank you.

Thank you Brian Peeler for being a part of our lives and for inspiring us to keep going. For pushing us at bootcamp and telling us "yes you can!" For reminding us that giving up is never an option. For giving us the foundation to move forward on our path of workout success. For helping take care of Kevin's heart. And I'm sure our donor family, whoever they are, wherever they are, would appreciate your part in our lives.

We are Peelerbuilt.