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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A wedding, a honeymoon and a blood clot

It is literally a miracle that I am sitting here typing a blog. I'm sitting in a hospital bed at Mount Sinai in NYC recovering from emergency open heart surgery. I'm shaking as I type this because I truly know how precious life is because it almost slipped away from me Friday night.

With no notice I passed out and went into cardiac arrest Friday night at my apt. Thank the Lord Ross was there to call 911. We were talking about our trip to the Hamptons that weekend and I was packing. He left the room for a second to get a suitcase and I felt strange so I went to sit down and the next thing I know he's leaning over me shaking me. He said the he found me crumpled on the floor in a weird position and I tried to talk to him but then I passed out again. I could hear him calling 911 and the fear in his voice, but I couldn't say anything to him because I literally couldn't breathe. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before, not like I just couldn't catch my breath after working out, I literally had no breath. I went from normal to cardiac arrest in a matter of seconds. I was gasping because I felt like I was being smothered. I blacked out again and came to when the EMTs were there. I remember they were yelling my name and trying to put an oxygen mask over my face but it made my breathing worse so I pushed it off and said "I can't breathe", but I don't know if they even heard me. It was hard because I could hear everything they were saying but I couldn't communicate back. I was terrified because it was the first time I ever truly thought I was dying. Right there, on the floor in our bedroom. I literally thought "this is it", and it was horrible, unimaginable. And that's the last thing I remember. The contrast of the yelling Friday and the silence when I woke up on Sunday in ICU was like a movie. It was then that I learned that I had blood clots in my lungs, completely blocking the oxygen from getting into my body. A doctor who wasn't supposed to be there that night but was there for another patient and specializes in the surgery I needed was able to operate on me that night and saved my life. And he wasn't the only one. Ross, who is now my husband, saved my life. He was able to get help and get me to the hospital in time for me to live. It feels so surreal to be typing this but I know it's true from the bandage running down my chest. I know that I am supposed to be on this earth for a reason because there are so many factors that fell into place to lead to my survival. And I don't know what I would do without Ross.

This wasn't supposed to be the post I wrote after our wedding. I was supposed to write about our beautiful wedding and fabulous honeymoon. We were married on June 4th in Charlotte and it literally was the wedding of my dreams, from the ceremony and vows to the reception and cake, everything was just as I envisioned it. Then we went to Greece for 10 days for a wonderful honeymoon, one that was full of beautiful views and romance. Unfortunately now my honeymoon feels a little bittersweet because my doctors believe the 10 hour flight is what exacerbated the blood clot. Ironically I had felt like my legs were a little sore a few weeks before the wedding and even mentioned to my friends and my doctors that I thought I could have a blood clot (soreness in legs is a symptom), but I was told it was really rare to have it in both legs and it was probably nothing. I never knew how in tune I was with my body until after this episode because somehow I knew something was wrong. And wrong it was. The doctor who performed the surgery said this is common in cancer patients because of the disease and the blood clots were on the bigger side so they had been there for a few weeks. I can't believe I was walking around with this dangerous situation in my body. When it happened, it was like a switch had been turned off. I was fine one moment and couldn't breathe the next. Every time I think of it, I want to cry because I'm so grateful to be here.

And I'm so grateful to my family and friends. When I woke up Sunday in the ICU, I learned that I had at least 20 people in the waiting room who had been praying for me. Ross and I were actually supposed to go to the Hamptons with his godsister and her husband the night I blacked out and I'm so grateful they arrived at the same time the ambulance did so Ross didn't have to deal with this alone. My parents...oh my parents...they have had to endure so much with my health situations the past 2 years and the fact that they had to fly from Charlotte to NYC on Sat knowing what I was dealing with breaks my heart. My friends...Ross and my friend Tiffany contacted all of our friends--who had just celebrated a wonderful wedding with us--to let them know the devastating news. And they came to support me even when I didn't know they were there. And Ross. he has been tested time and time again, standing by my side for every health crisis. To think what he must have been thinking watching me struggle for life is too much. It's not fair for me or for him to have gone through so much but I know God placed him in my life for this very reason. I am so loved, it's overwhelming.

I don't know why I've been chosen to go through so much struggle and pain but I have to believe it's for a bigger reason. God let me live for a bigger reason and it gives me even more hope that I will get through this cancer drama. This is definitely not how I thought my life would pan out but He gave me my dream man, my dream wedding and my dream honeymoon so while I am in pain I am also so happy for all those things. Pictures of the wedding and honeymoon to come!


  1. I live in Charlotte and your Dad is our Insurance agent. I found your blog through a friend and then realized the connection (small world moment). I started reading your blog at the beginning and could not stop. You are an amazing writer.

    I enter prayer requests for Elevation Church and I will definitely hook you up with the prayer team. I agree with you. You are still here for a reason.

  2. I don't remember how I found your blog, Charlotte, but I have been following your blog about 5 months now and I have to say that even though I don't know you, my heart just about stopped reading your entry today.

    I also believe that you survived for a reason -- God will show you someday what that reason is. This is amazing, and my breath was taken away today when I read this because, even though I don't know you, I feel like I do and this is scary to me. You have been so forthcoming and honest in your blog entries that (we) I feel like I do know you (even though I am clear across the country in WA State).

    You are special and there is a reason why you are fighting and holding on. Keep being fabulous Charlotte - your friends and family (and the weirdos like me online) are here to help you get through. I can't even imagine your struggles, but I hope that knowing there are even people out there that don't know you who are cheering for you will help you along.

  3. Wow, thank you Jennifer and Jenbeth, it means a lot to me that people I havent even met are supporting me!!