Mount Everest

Do you remember when I said parenting with a full time job was like walking up Everest with one leg, in a bikini, while stopping to smoke a pack of Marlboro's every 10ft? What I didn't tell you is that it actually feels like that. Because my name is Courtney Saunders and I'm a walking heart attack.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy to be specific.

Let's back up.I was born with a congenital heart defect and then found to have an aortic bicuspid valve during my first pregnancy. Lately, and by lately I mean it started 9 months ago (because I am really good at taking care of myself) I've been having chest pain and difficulty walking up steps or to my car from airplanes.

It's stress. It's the alcohol. I'm exhausted. That's what we tell ourselves.

Because of these symptoms, a few weeks ago I finally went to the doctor and had a stress test and echo of my heart and I failed both with flying colors. Ok, no biggie. Logic says stenosis (narrowing of my artery) is at the point where it's compromising blood flow and it's time to pull that valve out and patch me up with some artificial heart intelligence. I've always known that. Didn't expect it until my 50's or 60's but whatever.

That would have been easy.

But the echo found something else. I didn't really hear much after "surprising" and "specialist" but I think it went something like this: your heart is enlarged.

Turns out it's my heart wall that is, a lot. And that's why, you know, the Everest thing.

So I've spent a few weeks having doctors appointments and waiting, and I'll be waiting another two weeks before I have plan. If you know anything at all about me you know this isn't working. I feel like I'm sitting around waiting to have a heart attack. And while I should be grateful for every day I wake up, I am really struggling to hold that perspective right now. And not kill people.

As if this wasn't enough to process, yesterday I was told I need to cut out all the salt, reduce alcohol, and exercise minimally because people like me are prone to sudden cardiac arrest during exercise. Hey, good to know. Oh, and to lose a few pounds too (despite the exercise thing) because my BMI is too high.

I mean. Fuck you very much.

Thus, I write. I first started writing when my then boyfriend, now husband, tried to break up with me (as if).

It feels right to start again. I don't have any vices left. And so I shall.

P.S. ALL the salt? ALL THE SALT? I mean do you have any idea how hard that is?


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