Riding on the Roller Coaster Called Heart Failure


The roller coaster is the heart of most amusement parks. It gives us the thrill of adventure, a rush of adrenaline and an enjoyable amount of fear. Another roller coaster that is less amusing yet seems just as fast is the coaster I am on called heart failure. This is a ride I stumbled onto many years ago. I didn’t choose to ride this coaster, and unlike other rides at the park, I cannot simply get off. When this one stops, I must transfer to another one: the heart transplant coaster. I don’t know when that will be, only that it is getting closer. In the mean time, I have been able to take control of the current track through meditation and breathing exercises.

My track has many slopes and peaks. It circles back on itself, yet is constantly changing. I am usually in the front row alone, with my husband, family and friends constantly moving to different sections of the cart. My faith in Spirit has cushioned the seat, as the love and support of my family has smoothed out the jostles and jolts.

When my heart is out of rhythm or skipping beats, the cart is at its highest peak and getting ready for a steep dive. These were the parts I used to white knuckle and scream all the way down. Not so much now. These days, I pop an Ativan, grip my husband’s hand and we ride down together.

Most of the time I am happy. I can see the track ahead. Then out of nowhere guilt, frustration and grief pop up and the track goes all corkscrew-like. At least that section is emotional – it is the physical bumps I have to watch out for. I wouldn’t want to be projectile vomiting on the person behind me!

At night when the track is beautifully lit with twinkling lights, the journey is the scariest. As I peer over the edge, I can see straight down into the abyss. And there, in the shadows, waits my old adversary, Death. I stare long and hard, mustering up all my courage and strength and yell, “Not tonight, my friend!” I turn back in my seat and smile. I’m ready for the next loop and curve. At least the next coaster will have a different view!

This post originally appeared on A Heart for Chelle.

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Thinkstock photo via ManunNgueampha.


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