Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Heart Attack Update

The above title sounds optimistic, and I hope it's true. I hope this, in fact, is the last time I'll be writing to tell you all about what my heart's up to.

Last week Thursday, I went to see the surgeon who did my bypass. He looked at the x-rays, the blood tests, and EKGs that were done the day before, and he said, "Everything's perfect. You look like the younger brother of the fellow I operated on last week."

Then he gave me more good news. He cleared me so that I could start Cardiac Rehab, and he also gave me the okay to do some mild aerobic exercise.

As you can imagine, I was pretty happy. On April 23, I had a cardiac incident that looked like a heart attack to the doctor on the cruise ship. Two weeks later, I failed my nuclear stress test because my blood pressure went balistic, and a week after that I was in the hospital having a cardiac catheterization and, a couple of days later, open heart surgery and a bypass. And now, a little more than a month after my troubles started, the doctor was telling me I could pretty much go back to what my life was like before all of this started.

I am pretty happy, and I'm thinking a lot about what my mom felt following her surgery for ovarian cancer.

Here's the poem I wrote about it:

My Mother's Optimism

When she was seventy-eight years old
and the angel of death called to her
and told her the vaginal bleeding
that had been starting and stopping
like a crazy menopausal period
was ovarian cancer, she said to him,
"Listen Doctor, I don't have to tell you
your job. If it's cancer it's cancer.
If you got to cut it out, you got to."

After surgery, in the convalescent home
among the old men crying for their mothers,
and the silent roommates waiting for death
she called me over to see her wound,
stapled and stitched, fourteen raw inches
from below her breasts to below her navel.
And when I said, "Mom, I don't want to see it,"
she said, "Johnny, don't be such a baby."

Six months later, at the end of her chemo,
my mother knows why the old men cry.
A few wiry strands of hair on head,
her hands so weak she couldn't hold a cup,
her legs swollen and blotched with blue lesions,
she says, "I'll get better. After his chemo,
Pauline's second husband had ten more years.
He was playing golf and breaking down doors
when he died of a heart attack at ninety."

Then my mom's eyes lock on mine, and she says,
"You know, optimism is a crazy man's mother."

And she laughs.


You can read my post "The Heart Attack Cruise" about how all this started by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

I love your Mother's fantastic spirit, and I am so glad to hear you are doing so well!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work, John!
Prayers are with you always!

Anonymous said...

John, that is really great news. It's amazing what doctors can do now. Not that long ago, you would not have survived. Now you have a clean bill of health. Miracles are all around us.

Keep strong.


Catherine Hobbs said...

I am so happy for you. You take it easy though. My mom has lived for 12 years since she was given a 1 percent chance to live following two colon cancer operations. She is a crazy woman's mother! Love the poem. Tell Linda Nancy is coming to see me in Arezzo this summer and she can come, too!

Anonymous said...

Good news! :)
You may have something to share about rehab though...


Urkat said...


Ranjit said...

Great news, John. And thanks for posting the poem about your mom.

Chris H. said...

Everything's Jake!

Susan said...

So, which marathon are you training for??

John Guzlowski said...

Susan, which marathon? I got into this whole problem because I decided just to take a walk instead of running. So by that logic, I', looking for a double marathon, and a pack of camels to smooth the way.

lil said...

heart attack? bypass? no one tells me anything!!

on a more serious note, when are you going to finally be cleared for luciana? I have a baby here who misses her zee zee.

Danusha Goska said...


Justine Jablonska said...

Thank you for your sharing your experience and the lovely poem. Glad to hear you are on the mend -- you're such an inspiration!

Adam Bilsky said...

From my son (Jake) and I to you, glad to hear all's clear! Thanks for posting.