A Dreamer Walking

My Heart Stopped Beating

Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on October 3, 2017

A year ago my heart stopped.

How many people can say that?! But it is true. On this day last year I had open heart surgery to repair a leaky valve and deal with a huge amount of excess liquid accumulating around my heart. I was in complete heart failure before the procedure. An operation that usually takes months to set up took less than a week for me. Fair to say this was one of the most definitive moments of my life.  Recovery was a long and tedious process. I still am on a good deal of medication. They even gave me several recommendations for mental health rehab. Many patients go into depression after their surgeries.

Of course, that wasn’t going to be me. I only had one concern before the operation. In order to deal with the concern I needed to go to the Big Guy. I needed to make a deal with God. I did not know why this was happening to me. Frankly, I did not feel any need to ask questions on why. What was happening was happening and I could deal with it. The only thing I needed was to live.

I know.  This procedure happens all the time. The doctor was one of the best in the country. The success rate was 98%. But, that 2% haunted me before the operation. I couldn’t get past it. The doctor wasn’t willing to tell me I was going to be alive after the procedure. And as much faith as I had in him, the 2% was constantly on my mind. This might sound foolish. Honestly I felt guilty for feeling so afraid. I mean, there are countless people who are much braver than I am with much worse odds.

I was frustrated this was an issue. I have talked more than once on this blog about feeling divinely lead to do what I do. My faith is a personal thing and I do not have any need for others to believe the same way I do. But if I were honest I would even need to tell my secular friends that my life has never felt completely my own. For most people dreams live by night and fade away by morning. For me, dreaming has always been more, a calling from someone who insists I bring them to reality. But a year ago, I was told, my heart could stop and might never beat again.

So the deal was, “let me live“. Let me live and I will double down on my devotion toward my dreams. I will tell my stories and impact this world.

You’ve probably noticed by now, but to settle any doubt, I am alive.

BOOM! I woke up after the 6 hour operation and still remember my joy in being alive. Sure it hurt. I literally threw up all through the next night (and if you want to experience pain just start dry-heaving after your chest has been ripped open). I won’t claim to have been the most grateful patient. But, all in all I knew I could handle everything that would follow. The support I had was unbelievable. My whole family was there, if not physically, in spirit. The greatest feeling in the world was holding my mother’s hand afterword. The worst was done and I knew the dreams I was given were still alive and God had faith in my ability to deliver.

The tragedy to this story is a year out I personally feel no closer to any of my dreams. Here I was so confident I would be able to handle anything I would need to face. Heck, a life event like the one I had has plenty of fodder for inspiration. Yet, again and again when reflecting on this past year, I only see failure. I dropped out of school. I ended up returning to my introverted tendencies and have fewer relationships with people than ever in my life. The Kickstarter I launched to get funding for a project I am passionate about, failed miserably. Even this blog feels like another failure. 9 months ago I claimed to be “Back” but since haven’t written anything worthy enough to post. For a little icing on the cake, just the other day the hard drive holding all my major projects simply stopped working and Geek Squad couldn’t transfer the files. Though I had a good amount backed up, I’ve already discovered countless hours of edits and some very personal footage is now gone (unless anyone wants to loan me $1,500 dollars ;).

Remember the depression I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the depression I felt so above before the operation, well I don’t feel so above it now.

A year ago my heart stopped. It started beating again and I have overcome the physical obstacles that were holding me back. But at the moment of writing this post I am struggling to find the dreams. Hell, I’m even struggling to find the words with which to conclude this post. My thoughts were if I get to the end of writing this God would give me the inspiration. Um… I’m waiting…

Being alive is something I can no longer take for granted. One of the unique things to happen after heart surgeries like mine is you feel your heart like never before. Every pace change and skipped beat is something I’m aware of. Maybe the mistake I made was thinking the operation I had was something to get over. I saw it as an obstacle, a task I needed to complete in order to move on to bigger and better things. Yet the scar on my chest will never leave me and I will never feel my heart beat the same.