Category Archives: happy to be alive

Happy to be Alive day!

Today is the anniversary of my open heart surgery. Not the one last year, but the one in 1983. 

I’m at a loss. Do I change the date of HtbA day? I don’t think I will just because I have so many memories of April 11 through out the years.

Two of my favorites being 9 years ago today, it was my first full day in Texas. [EDIT: apparently, it was not on April 11th that I spent my first day in TX. It was two days later. 4-11-2008 I was prepping to move. Thanks, 2008 blog post. lol!]

 And 8 years ago? The day I meet JJ. Life has had some fantastic turn of events in those last 9 years. Praise the Lord.

And as far as my most recent heart surgery, it’s already been just over 10 months! My heart feels good and life has returned to normal.


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Open Heart

I went home and everything went ok. I healed and I grew.

A few months after I turned two, my doctors decided it was time for my next surgery. The two surgeries I had when I was an infant were obviously helpful and prolonged my life, but I needed a solution that would grow with me and take me into adulthood.

In addition, there was a small hole that needed to be addressed. In February of 1983, the hole was pin-size and I was showing no symptoms. By the time I had surgery in April, it had grown to be the size of the doctor’s finger nail. WOW! Even though I had not shown symptoms, I would have soon, had they not addressed it.

And so, on April 11, 1983, I had my first and only open heart surgery.[*] The two main objectives were to close up the hole that shouldn’t be there, and to add structure to the valve space that was still just a “hole” they made in my second surgery. I don’t know the technical name of what they did or what material they used to shore-up the valve space – but it worked!

The following are some pictures from that surgery.


Pre-operation, old school EKG.


Hanging out at the children’s hospital. I remember those animals! Or… at least I think I do. It’s possible I’ve just seen this photo enough times that I think I remember them.


My dad and I before surgery. I DO claim this as one of my first memories. I have a clear picture in my mind of that dresser with gifts people gave me. I know it’s a real memory because in my mind’s eye, I’m looking at it from a different angle.


Clearly, post-op. This one makes me want to cry. I have always been so thankful I remember none of the physical pain.


This is one of my favorite photos of all time. It’s from the day I got home.


Another photo of me after I went home. I’m surrounded by all of the gifts I received. And clearly, MOM, that big bird puzzle you have for the grand children to play with is mine. I have photo evidence. 😉

I’m so thankful I don’t remember much from this and it’s really nice when talking to people about my heart that I can say “my most recent heart surgery was 1983.” A lot of babies born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) have many more surgery thank I have.

This surgery is also where I get the date for “Happy to Be Alive Day” – which is basically my own made up holiday.

Something that is very important in all of this is that even though it’s been decades since I had heart surgery, this was not a “cure.” There is no cure for CHD. This is a life long health condition that affects everyday life.

Stop by again soon. My next post will be some heart related stories from my childhood years and maybe even Jr. High. I’m still deciding on what pictures to post. You know that “awkward phase” we all go through – I’ll probably put up one or two. 🙂


[*] Open heart surgery is any surgery in which the chest is opened and surgery is done on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or other parts of the heart (such as the aorta). The term “open” means that the chest is “cut” open. This definition along with additional information can be found at the US National Library of Medicine website.


Filed under cardiology, happy to be alive

Happy to be Alive Day

Just a quick post to say “Happy ‘Happy to be Alive’ Day!”

Side note – It’s a perfect day to go to a Mariners’ game. 🙂

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Happy to be Alive Day!

Today is the 28th “Happy to be Alive Day” in my life…. way back on April of 11 in 1983, I had open heart surgery. Each April 11th, I celebrate “Happy to be Alive Day”.

With the loss of a dear friend on Saturday – it feels like this day is even more poignant.  Each day is precious. Celebrate the joy of life with your loved ones. You never know.

One year ago today, I went to dinner with a group of friends.  One friend at the table, was Lisa – with her death this weekend, we can’t celebrate together today.  One friend was this guy friend I was texting to from across the very long table – today, he’s my he’s my husband of 4.5 months.  One friend was Rachel. She lives in Washington, so I do not get to see her very often, but she was able to come celebrate my wedding (oh – and cut a LOT of fruit up – I owe her).  One friend was Sara. Sara and I spent this last Saturday together – on a very long car ride looking for some keys that were lost.

I’m not sure what we are going to do to celebrate today – it might be as low-key as dinner at Chilis (I have a coupon for free chips & queso!), but I do hope I get to spend time with some of my favorite people in the world.

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wow. burnout?

It’s been a while. I don’t know if I have had a longer ‘no post’ time in the last 5 years…

Not too much happening here. Or rather, too much happening here.

Lets see. Here’s a list of what’s been going on:

*Search for the Shake ended for 2010. We’ll pick it up again in 2011

*I’ve been playing lots of games, Settlers, Speed Scrabble, Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico, and just learned a new one today Carcassonne. Oh, and I purchased ‘Bang!’ (a mafia type card game) on ebay.

*Got two new tires for the front wheels of my car.

*Enjoying the final season of LOST.

*My roomie & I planted a garden. Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Snow Peas, Dill, Chives, & Basil. (also strawberries, but no luck with them yet).

*Went to two Dallas Stars Games.  One happened to be an Oilers game, and we were 12 rows up from the glass.

*Started up the grill. Corn, broccoli, chicken, salmon, steak, hot links, brats, potatoes, green beans, kabobs, peppers. Yummy!

*Started a one month trial of Netflix. 2 weeks, four movies watched.

*A friend from Wa State came for a visit. We took a road trip to San Antonio.

*Saw the Alamo. (3/6/1836 – & 10 years later Texas became a state.)

*Said Friend from Wa State, myself, and my roomie went to see the Mariners play on 4/11. They got beat pretty badly, but it was fun to see them play during opening week.

*Also on 4/11 we celebrated “Happy to be Alive” day – the 27th anniversary of my open heart surgery.

*Tried Nutella.

*Accidentally left the sun roof of my car open just a crack all night – while it rained. I was fortunate to not have any water in the car the next morning.

*Learned that people like to talk about PB & J on facebook & twitter

*Learned I’m a “terrible tour guide” which resulted in a driving tour of my neighborhood and surrounding area.

*Stayed up way too late past my bed time on numerous occasions (tonight being a prime example)

*I’m sure there is more but because of the item right above this… I can’t remember. 🙂

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Filed under baseball, car, dallas, friends, grilling, happy to be alive, hockey, lost, mariners, movie, oilers, roomies, settlers of catan, shamrock shake, sleep, travel, twitter

borrowing the internet

Ok, there are only 9 minutes left of today, and yes I am “borrowing” the internet….
BUT I had to blog about today. Today is:

Happy to be Alive Day!
(the anniversary of my open heart surgery).

It’s kind of rad that this is the day right before Easter, the truest “Happy to Be Alive Day” there ever could be.

That’s it. Got to go to bed….Got get up early for an 8 am service.

(hope there are not severe storms tomorrow!)

Oh, I forgot, A penny up date: 1392!


Filed under cardiology, happy to be alive, pennies for debra

Have a Wonderful "Happy to be Alive Day"

I am just about to go to sleep. The next two days are very eventful. Early tomorrow morning, I am picking up a uhaul trailer and then later in the day, my brother flies in. We will load up the car and trailer and then on Saturday, hit the road bound for Texas.

Also, today is a “holiday” of sorts. Each year, I note this on my blog, but really, I am Happy to be Alive (and I know for the most part, if you are reading this, you are happy I am alive also). While the date of “Happy to be Alive Day” corresponds with an important date for me (my open heart surgery, 25 years ago today), I would love it if others joined in and celebrated “Happy to be Alive Day” for their own sake. Some of you may have a different date that is important to you that you celebrate, but if you don’t, feel free to make April 11th your own “Happy to be Alive Day” I will gladly share it with you.

How does one celebrate “Happy to be Alive Day”? Its simple: smile a lot. Even if you feel gloomy, remember that you are alive (which is a happy fact) and smile.


Filed under happy to be alive, moving

Happy to Be Alive Day

Today is “Happy to Be Alive Day” that is, the anniversary of my open heart surgery (24 years ago today). In part because of this (and also homework that needed to be done) I decided to not go to class tonight. Instead, I have been doing some reading while listening to the Mariners game.

Well, it is now the 8th inning and I guess I was not listening as closely as I should have. Turns out Felix Hernandez was pitching a no hitter through 7 innings. He just gave up the first hit in the eighth. On one hand, bummer, It won’t be a no-hitter. On the other hand, I am kind of glad because that would have been a bit of a bummer to listen to an entire no-hitter without realizing it. I would have been disapointed that I missed it at the same time as listening. Perhaps next time Hernandez pitches, I will pay much more attention.

One inning to go…M’s up 3-0. Whoo Hooo!


Filed under baseball, class, happy to be alive, homework, mariners, sports

Happy to be alive day

Today is my “Happy to be alive day.” That is, 23 years ago today, I had open-heart surgery.

A few years ago, when I celebrated my 20th anniversary, some of my friends threw me a surprise party. It was one of those things that I will remember the rest of my life. Although it was pretty humorous, it was still very heartfelt, no pun intended. One friend even baked a cake. Another made a large heart (the shape, not the organ) out of poster board and had people sign it. Some of the comments are pretty funny such as, “Glad your not dead” and “it would have been hard to have you as a good student in my class if you were dead.”

There is even a lovely haiku written by my friend Pete. It goes like this:

Deb the Survivor
Heart fixed by very sharp knives
Deb, rocks, Rock Deb, Rock.

I really like the second line. If anyone knows Pete, or any of the Hilda crew for that matter, the line is not really that unusual.

I got out the card today and read the comments, good times college was.

This last Sunday I told my brother Tim that he now gets to have a “happy to be alive day” too. He just laughed.


Filed under canada, cardiology, family, friends, happy to be alive