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  • Writer's pictureTina Marie

Living My LVAD Best Life

By Tina Marie Marsden - October 28, 2022

Living My Best Life AND Heart Failure? Is it really possible to use those two statements in the same sentence?

The process

Many of us understand that being a patient is a process. That process has included many ups and downs during my journey. I can recall days laying in the hospital bed imagining the moment I could see the beautiful tree-lined streets near my home.

Simple pleasures like a walk at the park, being able to lay flat while resting, or grocery shopping without wheelchair assistance have been feats at times. Enjoying the little things is more than a quote, it became a daily practice for my life.

Overcoming is a lifestyle

My medical diagnosis is too extensive to list for this article. In summary, I am overcoming Stage IV Advanced Heart Failure following my own maternal health crisis 20 years ago. During the last 20 years my "failing" heart would require the assistance of an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) to sustain life; although I refused my first LVAD which resulted in a psychiatric consult.

At the time there was a concern that I did not understand how sick I really was. I clearly understood. How could I not? I'm the one living this life while struggling to breathe, perform daily chores, work, or take care of my two sons. No, I got it then and I get it now. However, I choose not to wallow in my diagnosis and refuse to contribute to my own demise.

Someone asked me why I say overcoming if I still have heart failure. The way I see it, every day that I am blessed to open my eyes and take a breath, is another day my fight continues. As long as I am here then I am in a constant state of overcoming.

From birthday celebrations to daily living 

My extended support system has shown up and shown out this year. My cousins flew in from 3 different states for a week-long birthday celebration. From sightseeing and wine tastings; to a mini road trip complete with rest stop accommodations to support my health. Chapter 48 has been good to me thus far.

Enjoying the Vineyards with my cousins/support system.

Pictured left to right - Jumi, Tina (myself), Tiara, and Carolyn

At the Resort Spa with my cousins and support system.

I (Tina) am pictured standing with Tiara and Jumi (black hat).

My heart failure journey has come a long way. My faith has been tested in ways I would have never imagined. Let me just say, tired has been an understatement. I have been pushed mentally and physically; which I still experience at times. I have fallen. I also got back up. Living, fighting, and persevering requires daily commitment for me and every day is not easy.

However, today is like most's a good day. I can complete simple chores without assistance. I'm even ok with the wheelchairs now and appreciate the fact they're there when I need them. Those tree lined streets are even more beautiful than those hospital days I longed to see them. I'm at peace knowing that my faith carries me, I have purpose, and I can breathe. Living My Heart Failure Best Life has become possible!

What does overcoming look like for you daily? Are you able to create your own best life ?

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