Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

Dear friends, thank you for your support and good wishes, you have all been a great help through these past two years which healthwise have been quite a struggle.

I do not know why I have had my footsteps dogged by the surgeon's knife for all of my adult life, but so it has been. Fate seems capricious and at the moment is sending dark clouds upon the horizon yet again.

As a teenager I contracted rheumatic fever, undiagnosed at the time and certainly untreated.
By the age of thirty the damage to the heart had become apparent with the thickening of the mitral valve as well as, to a milder degree, the aortic valve. My first heart operation to stretch the mitral valve, came sixteen years later and was no great success. The following year, just as I had recovered, all we had achieved in a quarter of a century of marriage went up in flames in a major bushfire.

Five years later I was again under the knife and had the mitral valve replaced by something that made me sound like the crocodile in Peter Pan after he swallowed the alarm clock. My olive complexion and zest for life engendered disbelief in the degree of physical disability besetting me. The doctors all said " but you look so well!" In consequence, all my heart operations were performed at the last possible moment, when the heart was already failing. My last heart op. to replace the aortic valve was 4 years ago when I was literally knocking on heavens door after all the other organs were already out on strike. At a time when it was more fitting to plan a funeral than anything else, two cardiologists already having given up on me, a physician came along and like a guardian angel organised a six hour emergency operation. Two months later, just in time for Christmas, I was home again. Slowly I built up my muscle strength and was able to tend my much loved garden again and travel by car.

The intense heat waves of this past summer, rapidly following each other, played havoc with my water retention yet again. The web of tissues in my lower legs was broken down and in combination with the over strained veins, built up water to an alarming extent, venting their anger in open wounds and stabbing pain.

The situation is tolerable but no fun, with support stockings and my feet elevated to head height. Although I love my bed, 6-8 hrs a day is plenty, 24 is decidedly too much!

So there you have it, just one sorry saga of my surgical adventures. Just to top it all off, because all the ops were done too late, i.e. when the heart had already sustained more damage than necessary, the tricuspid valve is now also damaged and apparently no surgeon will touch that one. Ah happy days.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy life, jut not the bouts of intense pain.


  1. My dear Arija, it breaks my own heart to hear of this latest problem. You have such a love of life and for the beauty around you that you are able to catch so magnificently with your camera and that you've shared with all of us in this blogging world. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers each day. You are so very brave and I do admire you so very much. Take care and know that you are cared for so very much!


  2. Thank-you so much for sharing your problems.You know that each of us bloggers care about you.I wish it were possible to physically help you,but this I know,God cares for you and I will be praying for you.May God fill you with peace and strength.Here is a huge hug for you. ((((Arjia))))

  3. Oh Arija, the dreadful things some of us have to bear. I am so very sorry this follows you around. I am happy you were gifted with a positive outlook and your "zest for life", as these qualities must be invaluable to you. I wish Edward and I were close enough to visit. We would make tea and read Beverly Nichols books out loud to each other. Well, you and I would. Edward would just listen.

    Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you a lovely Easter.

  4. Oh Arija, I am so sorry that you have to struggle with this. I have been hoping that cooler weather will soon come your way and ease your discomfort.
    My father delt with similar problems and refused to have his heart valve replaced. I saw what a struggle even the simplest task became.
    Rest and know that you have inspired people around the world, that they care about you and would share their strength with you if they could.

  5. Oh Arija...I will say what came to my mind first and that was 'oh damn it'. I had no idea that this has been a serious condition for so long. You've been through so many serious surgeries and I am distressed that there isn't something that can be done to fix it or at the very least to make you comfortable and allow you to get out and in your garden...again..'oh damn'. Thank you for sharing this with your blogger friends...luv...Michelle

  6. dear Arija, you have won so many struggles, so you see, all is in His hands ... may you win the next struggles with His grace and the love from your Dears!
    Happy Easter - time with much sunshine and joy and blessings!
    Love kri from Austria

  7. dear Arija, have you tried ascorbic acid (vitamin C) for better recover of your tissues? look for more information at dr. rath in google, it was very good for me, but I had no surgery. it does NOT replace your medication, it is nutrition supplement.
    Love kri

  8. Dear Arija
    spero che questi problemi si possano risolvere al più presto...
    nel frattempo dall'Italia ti mando un grande abbraccio affettuoso e tantissimi auguri di happy Easter !
    Kiss Myriam

  9. My dear dear friend, you are a beautiful and courageous woman with a zest for life and a vision that leaves me touched beyond measure.
    Know that you are loved by all of us who came to be touched by your spirit and now hold you in our hearts.
    I wish I could take away all your pain, my dear.

    I hold you dearly in my prayers and send all possible comfort your way.

    May you find peace and rest during Easter.

    You are surrounded by love! Yes you ARE.



  10. I am sorry to hear of your health problems. Yet you sound so positive and full of life, your spirit is admirable.

  11. Arija your courage and Faith is beyond words. I have always and will continue to pray for you and send healing energy your way. May your heart stay strong and allow you to continue enjoying your beautiful love of life!
    love and light..wrapping my arms around you. anna xo

  12. Oh dear Arija, to read your cheerful, thankful blog, one would never guess at such troubles.
    You are in my prayers.
    I hope Easter was a day with some joy for you.
    God bless you and keep you.

  13. Arija, I was so sorry to hear about your series of misadventures! Life does throw some cruel tricks at the nicest people. I truly hope that your positive attitude continues and you keep up the good fight. My thoughts are with you.

  14. Dear Arija,
    Sending you good wishes from CO. I hope you are still able to read while in bed or at least listen to music and books on tape. Also, keep in touch with us all through your Blog - we love your photos and your lively commentary.

  15. My dear Arija, I could read the courage and hope in your writing. I have you in my prayers.

    Take care and may our words be an inspiration!

    Take care and be well! Happy Easter!

  16. Dearest Arija. If I could, I would fly to you and tend your garden for you. I would plant the most beautiful explosion of colors beneath your window. You are a tenacious survivor, a matriarch, and you continue to teach and inspire me with your eternal wonderment of nature and positive outlook. I hope the autumn brings you relief from the pain.



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