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Bindi Bottoms

“I had been unwell for months with constant nose bleeds, splitting headaches and a lot of physical stress. It was only after I underwent a painful scan with a tube that took pictures of my heart that the doctors realised that I had a small opening in my heart which had caused half of my heart to enlarge. I had to undergo open heart surgery at the earliest date which is scary because i’m only 35 years old…but the doctor who was treating me, reassured me saying, ‘you will live to tell the tale.’ My surgery was supposed to last 4 hours but instead went on for 8 and a half, and even after that a part of my heart wasn’t responding.

The only time I saw my husband’s eyes tear up is when after the surgery, the doctor told us that if my heart didn’t start responding within 5 days, an external pacemaker would be necessary for my survival. That would change everything because your movements are restricted and your life span significantly drops. I remember lying in bed and thinking a lot — because there wasn’t much else to do - so I thought of my 5 year old daughter Kyesha and began telling myself that my heart would respond. Before the 5th night, I remember having a 100% faith that my heart would work.

When I woke up the next morning, 2 out of those 4 lines on the monitor were still flat, but I decided to not give up hope. I was positive through the day, and I went in for a nap in the afternoon, when the nurse woke me up with excitement to tell me that my heart was responding! I can’t tell you the feeling I had then…it was just so emotional.

When I was discharged from the hospital and went home to see my daughter I felt like we had reversed roles. She was waiting for me at the door and she knew she couldn’t hug me - so she just put her head near my stomach and tried to make me comfortable, asked me if I wanted to drink water and tried to make me laugh. Everyday when I was in hospital, she made me a hand written card which really pulled me through.

This entire process really gave me a lot of perspective - when you’re lying in that hospital bed, all you can do is think. So I thought about life and the importance we pay to stupid arguments, materialistic things and ambition. None of those matter - your family, relationships and how much love you generated is the only thing that counts. For example when I was in need for blood, people who I’ve never even known in my workplace- showed up to donate blood…I literally have the blood of my co workers running through my veins! I can’t tell you what it felt like to know that people will do things for you selflessly, without hoping for anything in return — and that’s what life’s about- giving others and spreading the love."


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