H E A R T attack

Last week, I had quite the adventure. An adventure I didn’t plan for nor expect in the least. I’m a healthy, forty-nine year old woman training for a marathon to celebrate her fiftieth birthday because #fiftyisnifty, right?

As I was cleaning out my fridge, I felt a strange click in my chest, then immediately felt all kinds of pressure/pain in my chest and neck. I called a nurse advice line to ask for advice, thinking it was nothing serious. The woman calmly told me to hang up, take an aspirin and call 911. WHAT THE ? Well, that escalated! The pain persisted so off I went to the ER (we drove…yes, I know what you are thinking).

ER did every test imaginable and found…nothing. All my vitals were perfect. My pain/pressure subsided so they sent me home. Weird. I felt terrible the next day but nothing like the previous night. However, I quickly felt back to normal so went about my business, thinking the pain/pressure was a fluke.

I took a few days to recover then decided to go back to my normal running routine. Bean and I woke up early to head out for our run. I felt great! I felt alive! I had a huge smile on my face and then, WHAM. I felt all kinds of pressure and pain again in my chest and neck. I called Bean and immediately, he knew. I was in bad shape. I’ll spare you the traumatic details but we drove straight to the ER again. Yes, I know. CALL 911. I’ve learned my lesson, let me tell you.

Once again, my vitals were perfect, EKG good and blood test showed nothing abnormal. I began to think I was going crazy! The pain subsided again (seriously?) yet I knew something wasn’t right. Thankfully, the ER suggested a stress test. As I arrived at the hospital, they did one more blood test (this is hours later, by the way). Voila, something was indeed going on. My troponin levels were elevated indicating cardiac issues.  Wait, what? Cardiac issues? I am healthy, relatively young (ha!) woman to have cardiac issues. This is probably why ER sent me home the first time. I didn’t fit the stereotypical patient with cardiac issues.

Lo and behold, I had a SCAD. A Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. Yeah, that. Next thing I know, I am in a cath lab getting a stent. I KNOW, I AM IN SHOCK AS WELL! My artery somehow tore, healed itself with a blood clot and blocked the blood flow to my heart. As in 99% blocked. My cardiologist repaired the artery which was quite the feat as it was a “tricky” one (direct quote). Suffice to say, I had several  scary moments before the angiogram where I wondered if I was going to make it through this.

This phenomena happens to healthy women between the ages 30-50 years of age. They usually find it post-mortem. I’ll repeat that last line. THEY USUALLY FIND IT POST-MORTEM. I am lucky to be alive. In fact, I am so effing grateful to be alive, I can’t even express.

This is post-angiogram

I’ve been home one week now. I’m getting used to my new normal which is what, I don’t even know. I’m struggling with PTSD, fatigue, intermittent pain and fear of the unknown. I’m writing about this experience because I find writing to be a therapy for me. I am also writing because awareness is important. I’m writing because I am a survivor.

I’m grateful. The Lord is present with me, carrying me and meeting me. He is good no matter what happens to me.

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The Drama Triangle

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend in which she asked me if I had ever heard of the Victim Triangle.  I didn’t think I had. She proceeded to outline it for me and WHAM! light bulb. Over the next few days, I proceeded to do some research. I found that this cycle is called the Karpman Drama Triangle. I can’t tell you how much this triangle describes my life. #classiccodependent

attribution pending

I realized that throughout my life, I have moved through each role. However, I have one particular role that I play pretty much every single day. Can you guess?

If you chose Rescuer, you are correct! The Rescuer rescues the Victim from the Persecutor. The Persecutor can be a person, an organization, or anything that “persecutes” the victim. The Rescuer rescues the Victim from said Persecutor. Annnnndddd, IF the Rescuer doesn’t rescue in the correct way, they can shift to the role of the Persecutor (in the eyes of the Victim) lickety-split. As I said earlier, I have moved through each of these roles throughout my life. I always seem to land right back at Rescuer, unless I become the Persecutor due to not playing my Rescuer role correctly.

This past year, the DRAMA triangle has played out more tellingly than I can even describe in my life. I’ve moved from Rescuer to Persecutor to Victim back to Rescuer in one single day or event. Now I am beginning the process of figuring out why I am always the Rescuer. It’s just so fun to delve deep into the pain and chaos, right?

For some reason, I find comfort in knowing this is an actual thing.  Knowing is half the battle. I do not want to live in denial. I’m excited for the day when I can permanently move out of the role of Rescuer and just be me.

Come Forth

Born forgetting my identity,
Imago Dei coursing through my veins,
but lies strangled the truth.

The Creator says, “Come Forth!”

Wrapped in lies as grave clothes,
I stumble through, wondering if I will ever be free.

The Creator declares, “Come Forth!”

I glimpse freedom through tightly wound cloths.
Elusive, out of reach.

The Creator shouts, “Come Forth!”

I take a step into truth,
I watch the lies unravel as I embrace Imago Dei.
Resurrection flows in my veins, bringing life.

Megan Burmester
July 31, 2018

Labels

“Liberal”
“Addict”
“Homeless”
“Prostitute”
“Lesbian”
“Black”
“Poor”
“Orphan”
“Overweight”
“Hispanic”
“Narcissist”
“Christian”
“Feminist”
“Homophobe”
“Refugee”
“Conservative”
“Asian”
“Gangster”
“Atheist”
“Misogynist”
                         “ (fill in the blank)

Labels we stamp on others (and ourselves). Aren’t we all beautiful humans, made in the image of God? Labels take away our humanity, our shared experience and our dignity.

Dissolve them.
Dissolve them.

Megan Burmester
August 2, 2018

Inny or Outy?

I’ve lived my whole life concerned about what others think of me.
          I care too much what others think!
Inny or Outy;
          Internally directed or outwardly led?
Do I live outwardly, hungry for approval or inwardly, approving of myself?
          Inny or Outy, what shall it be?
Will they like this poem?
          Do I like this poem? is a better question. 
I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK,  I yell vehemently!
          Yet, I do.
Less and less, though.
          Less and less.

Megan Burmester
June 28, 2018

Zinger

Her words slip sweetly, serenely from her lips,
slicing me deeply as they glide by.

All becomes still as I let them sink in,
razor-sharp, wounding.

Pain searing; guilt and shame crowding as usual.

Shock pulses through my body yet I’m not surprised
by the familiar hurt.

Rage spurts forth, crimson in color.
It takes everything in me to sheath my tongue,
a steely weapon.

Words. Words carelessly (or not so carelessly)
slung inflict pain, tumble out easily.
Retracting them impossible.

Carefully, I lift out the dagger.
Gently, Truth binds my wound.
Healing flows as I let go.

Megan Burmester
June 30, 2018

The Essence of Rest

I’ve been reading about (and practicing) Sabbath observance for the last little while. Apparently, it’s the hot topic right now in the church which I find funny because it’s been in God’s mind since creation. If ever we needed convincing of God’s love for humanity, think about Sabbath. It’s one full day of rest every week.

Anyway, my usual habit is to write all I am learning about Sabbath in a funny, relatable way and subtly preach to others. However, I have only been truly observing Sabbath for a little while. I don’t want to “preach” about something in order to make myself look more spiritual or holy than I really am, though it is tempting. So, I’ll spare you.

But I did write a poem about my kitty and rest. All I ever learned about rest, I learned from my cat. (Yes, I am a crazy cat lady.)

 

The Essence of Rest

Kitty, melted into my lap,
Purrs emanating from deep within.
Mews of love and contentment mingle with his throaty murmurs.

Sabbath rest is much like this.
Love and contentment sigh out of me as I sit with my Father.
Reflecting with gratitude, love pouring between us.

Kitty curled in my lap,
ever reminding me that this place of love and rest
is exactly where I need to be.

Megan Burmester
June 17, 2018