Thursday, March 10, 2011

Achy Breaky Heart

I had a really cool post ready to go up today. Well I thought it was cool. It was my unveiling.

Well sorta. The photo has been on Twitter for a few days, and it was just a bigger, easier to see copy of the same one. When I say it like that it doesn't seem so cool anymore.

Instead I sit here in tears with my trip to Sydney in jeopardy. I'm torn between meeting all these wonderful people and staying in Perth to be with my Dad.

My Dad got very sick about 6 months ago. A nasty virus. The virus traveled to his heart and it was left permanently weakened. It's called Viral Cardiomyopathy.
Laughter is the best medicine, yadda yadda, yadda
As a result of the virus he has a leaking valve. The blood is backflowing in his heart and as a it makes him really tired and breathless all the time. Though the doctors said his arteries were in such good condition that you could "drive a truck through them". He is kinda proud of that.

They decided not to operate to fix the valve because his heart was only working at 50% capacity and they wanted it to rest and 'recover' a bit, work a little better, before they operated - I may have that completely wrong, but in my rattled state that's how I remember it being explained to me.

In the past few days he has been for so many tests and they've found his heart is now working at 35% capacity. The dodgy valve makes the blood pool and the heart get even bigger and weaker. The bigger, weaker heart is in turn worsening the valve. It's a lovely merry-go-round.

Even though it's dangerous to operate they don't really have a choice now. The valve is worsening and the muscle is not coping under the extra pressure.

He's undergoing the pre-surgery tests in the next few days and the surgeons are trying to get him in sometime next week, though it might be the week after.

Open heart surgery.

But it's just stalling tactics. His cardiologist is expecting him to be put on the transplant list.

My mind is reeling.

I feel terrible for even wanting to go to Sydney now. I should be by his bedside, holding his hand and bringing Tricky in to see him. Tricky is his medicine. No matter how bad he feels, when Tricky smiles (and he's Pop's boy so he always smiles) everything is right in the world for him.

But I can't not go to the conference. I have corporate sponsors who have paid for me to go. I have an obligation to be there, representing their brands.

My mum was coming with me to be a nanny for Tricky so I could go to the pre-conference drinks and the conference dinner. (Note to my sponsors: don't panic, you're not paying for the nanny service, she bought the ticket herself) We're trying to get the tickets changed so that someone else can come with me.

I keep telling myself that this is routine surgery. His surgeon (a professor, ooh la la!) will be rolling his eyes and complaining that it's just another valve job. But on such a weak heart?

All I can think is that the bloody whingey chick in Beaches had the same thing... and we all know how that ended.

Meet Glowless at the Aussie Bloggers Conference thanks to


  1. tough decisions - you just have to do what you have to do... fingers crossed for your Dad

  2. Oh crap! So sorry to hear about your Dad. Such a decision for you! Hope everything work out just lilke it should. ((Hugs)) for you and your Mum and Dad :(

  3. Hugs to you. I hope your dad stays strong enough for surgery. If your dad is anything like mine, he would hate to think that he was the cause of me missing out on something that I had really been looking forward to. Take care and be nice to you.

  4. Shit.

    I hope surgery is after your return.

  5. Oh honey :(

    What a difficult & horrible choice to have to make.

    How long will you be away if you go the conference? Are you leaving Perth on the Friday & returning on the Sunday? If you've booked longer, are you able to change your flights so that you're away for the shortest possible amount of time (arrive Friday late arvo, leave first thing Sunday morning?)

    It's so tough to be practical when it's such a hugely emotional situation - but it might help to make your decision easier.

    If you stayed in Perth, you wouldn't be able to be at his bedside 24/7. So, depending on your flights times - could you visit on the way to the airport, and on your way home? Would it then be just over 48 hours that you'd not see him? You could ring every day you're gone, 10 times a day if needed to make you feel better.

    I agree with Del, I'm sure if you asked your Dad he would be horrified at the thought of you missing out on something you have been looking forward to for so long.

    It sounds like there's still so much uncertainty with when the surgery will be - I think just take each day as it comes & if it comes down to it, and you can't get on the plane, then your sponsors will just have to accept it unfortunately - life happens, family crises happen (sadly) and there are some things that are beyond your control.

    I'm sending enormous amounts of love, hugs & thoughts your way. My Dad has had heart surgery too & I was just as devastated, so completely understand your distress. Its just awful xxxx

  6. Sending you big hugs on this one - as I said last night on Twitter, when my dad had his heart surgery (triple bypass - no you couldn't drive a matchbox car through those arteries!) 2.5 years ago it was a massive thing for all of us. So I know where your head space is at. Afterwards, I was totally amazed how it all went and how soon he was up and about. xxx

  7. hope you dad gets better soon :-( big squishie hugs for you babe xxxxxxxxxx

  8. Oh shit! My dad had a viral heart condition that left him (previously fit as a mallee bull) permanently weakened by it, kept dropping out of rhythm and he's spent the better part of the last 8 years debilitated by it. Finally put in a pacemaker this past Christmas and apparently the thing is doing up to 70% of the work (meaning, like your Dad, his heart was working at scarily low capacity).

    Hearts are delicate but resilient things.

    I like Fiona O's suggestions. Ahhh, Glowie, what a scary time. Huge hugs, mate. Dads and hearts! xxxxxxxx big hug for your Mum too.

  9. My heart goes out to you... My dad had a ruptured aortic aneurysm on Christmas day and he had five surgeries in total over four days, two of them before he even left Bunbury to be moved to Freo. For loved ones, I don't believe there is any such thing as routine surgery, its only routine for the surgeons performing it. Thankfully for us, Dad has come through it, and after 8 weeks in hospital he is finally home and recovering. I believe those surgeons performed a miracle or three for my dad, in what was definitely not routine surgery as 95% of people with this don't make it.

    Regardless of what happens, the most important thing is to know in your heart that you have said everything you need to your dad and that he has heard you. We said goodbye to Dad so many times in those first few days, but I knew we were good and he knew how important he was to me and I to him. I knew that whatever happened I was going to ok, maybe horrifically sad, but nothing was left unsaid.

    There is so much waiting and pacing in times like these. I think Fiona O has some good points. If it is important to you, I am sure your Dad would want you to go, especially as there is likely to be very little you can do over 48 hours or so. But I would totally understand if you felt like you couldn't focus on anything else and you would feel torn between what you should do and what you want to do. I couldn't focus on anything when it was going on with Dad, or at some stages even think straight. I am sure your sponsors would understand given the circumstances.

    I hope it all goes well and the surgeons perform a miracle for your Dad, and I'm so sorry to hear you're so very conflicted. Will be thinking of you and your dad *hugs*

  10. Aww love. Nothing worse than seeing your Dad in a weakened state, with serious medical issues. My Dad was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer about 18 months ago. Never forget seeing him in ICU after 2 operations, and living through 6 months of fortnightly high-dose Chemo with him. He's still not back to his tough crusty old crayfisherman former self. But it is so much better just to have them here, whatever their state.

    Babysitting services offered if you can't take Tricky in for a visit at any point. My 3 kids are still alive, so I'm relatively good/ok at it. To find a positive in the hospital type thing - their hand steriliser is good shit. Seriously. Try it and you won't go back. It's addictive (sorry, did someone say alcoholic content?). Like a chemical peel, moisturiser and disinfectant all in one.

    Back to being serious - thinking of you tons. You'll just know what the right thing to do is, and I'm 100% positive your lovely sponsors will understand either way.

  11. Oh you poor thing, what rotten timing and rotten luck for your family! Its such an agonising situation and I dont know that there is a right or wrong choice. Have you asked your Dad what he would like you to do? I'm sure he knows how much time and effort you have put into this, and perhaps he would want you not to miss out on the rewards for all your hard work?

    Best wishes to your dad during this (my own has had his own heart battles before but 9 years on is fitter and stronger than us all!) and I hope you are able to find some peace in the decision making process x

  12. Dear Sponsorette,

    Don't for a second worry about your Sponsors. Do whatever you feel you have to do. Even if you get to the airport, you are ready to board the plane and you have to turn around and go to the hospital, no one will question your judgement.

    My Dad had a valve replaced not long ago (for different circumstances) and it is a tough surgery, but with great benefit.

    Do what you have to do.

    Your Sponsor XXX

  13. Hey gorgeous, sending love and strength to you and your family xxx

  14. I have nothing smart or wise to say but I will give you loads of hugs and will be sending you and your dad good vibes. :*)

  15. Oh no! Sending lots of positive healing vibes to your

  16. Oh hun, I so feel for you. Our thoughts go to you, your family and your Dad. You've gotta do what you've gotta do hey. I tend to agree with Fiona O, because there's so much uncertainty about when his surgery is you just might have to take it one day at a time and make the decision closer to next weekend.

    My fingers, toes and every other appendage is crossed for the surgery to go well AND for you to be able to go to the ABC xxxxxx

  17. Thinking of you and sending bloggy love...

  18. Hope it all works out for you..:(
    Best wishes for your Dad,
    Love to you and your family x

  19. I just read this, hope it ALL goes well babe! Sending lots of thoughts, prayers and well wishes your way!

  20. Hoping your dad's surgery is a success and he has many more years to enjoy his gorgeous grandson xoxox

  21. Oh my.... my thoughts are with you.

    This is scarily close to home for us as my FIL had what they thought was the same condition and had a heart transplant. Now we are dealing with my husband and scarily similar heart problems (so now the thought is his father's perhaps wasn't caused by a virus after all).

    It is all such scary unknown and difficult stuff.

    Sending you much strength.... look after yourself and your family.

  22. oh god! I hope the surgery is after you get back. I also hope he is in good enough health for you to not worry too much while in Sydney. Not nice hon.

  23. Cardiomyopathy, a "muscle heart disease" is first seen with symptoms such as chest pain, and mimics those of any other heart disease. Hope your dad makes it through this trial.


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