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  • Writer's pictureTina Marie

My Neverending Chronicles

By Tina Marie Marsden - November 11, 2022

A recent stop by law enforcement triggered my AFIB, a rapid heart rate; incited anxiety, and brought about a new onset of PTSD. Prior to this incident, I've had an amazing year! My advocacy continues to reach new heights, post-COVID vacations with family and friends restored my passion for traveling, plus I've gained an even greater sense of peace and understanding. So I thought!

Living and heart failure

Chronic illness does not grant this immediate grace or compassion from society. Quite honestly, there have been times that I have felt I had it even harder due to my heart failure. It is unfortunate, but some perceive having an illness as a weakness.

Day to day I'm doing great. My faith and my LVAD continue to hold me down. If you met me you would never know I've been overcoming chronic heart failure for 20 years; living with an LVAD for 10 years, and lung cancer free for 12 years.

I move in a way that gives the impression that everything is ok even when I'm not 100%. It's just my way of living, surviving, and persevering. There were too many days when I could not, so as long as I can move, I will.

Even still, I know my limits and have clear triggers. Loud noises, aggression, and at times even the bass in the car stereo. Yes, there are limits to cruising and "being great." Lol.

Unfortunately, my medical crisis during the traffic stop was disregarded. Escalating the matter would result in me being told everyone lies, and it is not often that they (law enforcement) encounter someone like myself who is telling the truth while experiencing a medical crisis during a traffic stop. Just like that, I'm reminded that there will always be a need for continued awareness, my struggle is not mine alone, and this is definitely a marathon.

Support and heart failure

While releasing to friends I expressed, "I do not want to live in advocacy mode. Always on the defense or fighting for my rights. I just want to live and be great! Can I just live and be great?"

The response was "No, not when you have a calling on your life." Why can't my calling be live and be great? Seriously.

Thankfully, I have a support system that is bent on lifting me up when my head even attempts to hang low. I am constantly reminded that I am not my condition, and I know that. However, I just need to be heard by others outside my support system when I am truly in need of assistance.

Purpose in pain throughout my heart failure journey

If you can think of it, most likely I have experienced it. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for my journey, and each obstacle has its own purpose. The hurt, pain, and frustration I have endured since my heart failure diagnosis has brought its own balance.

That balance keeps me grounded, relatable and real. I was even told my battles are part of my calling. When I think about it, I don't know if I'd be able to connect with others the way I do had the journey I'm on been different so I get that. If that isn't some purpose I don't know what is.

As far as the traffic stop, after speaking with family and friends in law enforcement I'm hopeful that I can use my incident to advocate for sensitivity training to include invisible illnesses awareness. As I always say, there's purpose in pain.

How does daily living impact your heart failure? Do you ever reflect about how much you can handle, or have bared? Do you have a support system?

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