Monday, February 22, 2010

Are you there sorrow? It's me, Jenn

When I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, Dr. Heart told me I had a thirty-three per cent chance of getting better, a thirty-three per cent chance of staying the same, and a thirty-three per cent chance of getting worse.

That left me with a good chance I wouldn’t have a strong enough heart to ever get pregnant. Hearts in pregnant bodies have to work harder than other hearts.

I stared at the glow-in-the-dark hands of my biological clock for about four months before writing this diary entry:

1:50 am – I am struggling with the possibility that my heart will never be able to handle pregnancy.

The waiting list for adoption is long. Baby = forever; five-year-old = five year wait.

Adopting a child from another country costs at least $25,000 - more than the down payment of our house. We’ll never have that kind of money.

1:54 am – I have to brace myself for the possibility that my heart cannot handle pregnancy. Otherwise, I might break down.

I am rigid. I wonder if this is related to my heart condition. I wonder if everything is somehow connected to my heart.

Tim’s right… this is ridiculous. I can’t use the limited information that I have about my body to hold myself hostage. There is still life to live. It’s not about waiting for test results. But it’s hard to ignore that flashing red light.

I’ve been cautious ever since the episode of ‘vertigo’ in the shower. This has possibly saved my life countless times. My body was systematically shutting down to stay safe. Survival instinct kicked in, stopped me from feeling too much and realising too much stress, because my heart is bogged down by stress.

In the end, my fail-safe will be total shut down.

Can death possibly be a survival mechanism?


  1. I don't know what to say Jen. I am a mother of 5, 4 pregnancies and 1 adoption. During my last pregnancy a heart defect was detected - not the same as yours, but all was well. I felt angry with my heart and sorry for my heart by turns. I felt that I had somehow damaged it with the heartache I had inflicted on it over the years. I live in the south of France but know someone in Vancouver who is a therapist specializing in heart patients. She is here for 6 months. Would you like me to send her details? I am so sorry you are going through this but I think it is a good thing you are examining it step by step and undoubtedly helping many other people in the process.

  2. Thanks so much, kerrycharacters. I'm glad you mentioned feeling like you had inflicted it somehow, because I felt the same way for a very long time. In fact, I'going to write an entry about that.

    Thankfully, it's a story that has a happy ending. This stuff happened a few years ago. I was lucky.