Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Real Life is Admitting When Things Suck

I am scheduled to have heart surgery in 2 weeks.
I have been very public about my surgery and certain things I am going through, but I want to get real real today.

I know I put a really brave and positive face on social media. I get emails all day long about how inspiring I am and how my positivity is so great. And most of the time I do try to stay positive. I keep smiling. I show up to classes and shoots and film my videos and keep that peppy Cherry face on.

But the truth is, I feel shitty. I feel shitty most every day. And nothing any one can do will make it better. And it takes all of the strength that I have just to get out of bed in the morning and not wallow in pain and self pity.
I feel like someone is sitting on my chest and I cant quite catch my breath. I feel like there is a little demon in there flicking my heart every now and then so that it doesn't beat quite right. I feel more tired than I ever have in my life. I find myself nodding off during the day like an 87 year old man. I don't know why it is like a man, it just made good sense in my head. I am sick, give me a break. I am tired of doctors appointments and tests. I feel like all I want to do is cry or sleep. And I have spent a lot of my days lately doing both.

I rarely see any of my friends or family anymore. Part of this is self inflicted and part of this is friend inflicted. I am not good at reaching out. I don't want to be a burden on anyone when all of my people are going through so much themselves. But part of me is becoming resentful. I cant even tell you the last time a real life friend or family member, and not some lovely social media stranger, has reached out to make sure I am ok. Love from strangers is amazing-- but nothing makes up for the love you get from people that you truly love back. And social media strangers aside, I have had more casual acquaintances texting and messaging than anyone that is close to me. And I try to ignore it. But it hurts. And I am already in so much pain all of the time.

I am scared. At least once a day I go into a full on panic attack. I think about them cutting into me. I think about the pain after surgery. I think about the possibility of having to go back. I think about the possibility of being left with a pace maker. I think about not being well in time to continue working. I think about the bills. I think about not being fixed and dealing with this forever. I think about losing my insurance after the ACA is gone and not qualifying for new insurance because I am a pre existing condition. I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind races.

I am a really active person and I am working really hard to get my body in shape. But my heart consistently holds me back. Sometimes even just walking up a flight of stairs leaves me so winded I have to sit down. I am frustrated that I can't push my body as hard as it needs to be pushed to see the results that I want. Especially when the rest of my body is healthy and ready to be pushed. My heart is like a fitness limiter. If it had a face, I would punch it right off.

The reality of having a medical condition isn't fun. No matter how many positive posts and happy smiles I put on my face-- I am hurting and I am scared and I am lonely. I appreciate all of your kind words and messages and letters and gifts, don't get me wrong. All of these things are the little rays of sunshine on my dark days. But I thought I owed it to everyone else struggling through health issues to be honest. If you are feeling all of these things too, you are not alone. Just do your best to keep going and keep that smile on your face even when you don't feel it. I can't say I am anyones champion, but I am doing my best.

I just want to be better.

P.S. My husband is the best husband that ever husbanded and has been my rock through all of this!


  1. You are more than a motivator. I read your posts and I think, man she's suffering and she does it! I have bad knees and just had my 3rd surgery (a huge reconstuction) on my left knee 3 months ago. I see you, And I know you must be worried but you smile through it. If only I could be half as much as you are. Keep smiling, smile down to the moment they give you the anesthetic. The ones who truly care will be there when you wake up. Good luck!!!!

  2. I'm so sorry lady. On February 28th, my husband rushed me to the ER due to, what we thought was a bad flu. We thought I needed fluids. I had a CT scan done due to past issues with diverticulitis. Suddenly, I had a surgeon in the room with me. He said my appendix had to come out, but that it "wasn't presenting as a typical appendicitis". My bloodwork was fine. I was rushed into surgery. I thought that was it. A week later the pathology report came back. Cancer. This past June I had a full hysterectomy due to issues I have had since I was 15, I'm 41. Cancer happens in less than 10% of appendectomies. It is rare. I got sent to Sloan. I have been through so many tests in the past month and a half, it is obscene. Today I had, what I hope is the final test. I had the colonoscopy. I don't have cancer that shows as tumors, it is just cells that can happen anywhere in my stomach. Biopsies were taken. If they are negative, I get to go to Sloan once per year for 10 years for testing. If it is positive, I get to have half of my colon, my spleen, my gallbladder all removed. Then they will pour heated chemo into my open stomach to try to kill off the rest of the cells. I'm terrified. I cannot tell you how many people have become vapor in my life because I'm no longer "fun". I have a husband and a three year old son. Everyone else has their own lives. My parents are both dying 1600 miles away, but I'm not cleared to fly until my biopsies come back. I'm terrified. I feel alone. I'm still healing, yet I chase after my son daily. I interviewed for a job two days ago that would financially save my family. I pray a lot. I don't know what to pray for anymore, but I pray. I fell alone. Being sick is lonely business. I'm glad that you are taking steps to get better. I will add you to my prayers. Hold onto the good ones. Life isn't about quantity, but quality when it comes to friends and family. My husband had my back. Everyone else varies. I'm slowly losing my best friend, my father. I cannot be there until May 27th, and I hope I get there in time. You will get through this, find your life again, and stay on top of your health. The ACA will be around for awhile yet, possibly longer. Keep the faith, but also keep those who care close. You are not alone.

  3. Cherry,
    I know what you are going through and I am guilty of the same with my family and friends. I have finally been diagnosed with bradytachycardia. All this after 12 years of having been misdiagnosed and having been medicated and having unnecessary surgery for a condition I didn't have. Now that I have been properly diagnosed after over a decade of chronic exhaustion, physical limitations and losing all of my friends because I never have the energy to be out and about for too long I feel like I am at a breaking point as well. I understand your fear and your anger and I am here to tell you that you are allowed to be angry, pissed, and everything else you feel. Granted, I am a random social media fan, but you deserve the love, support and understanding from your friends and family as anyone does. If you do end up with a pacemaker you will be able to call yourself part droid :) They are scary, but it will absolutely improve your quality of life if you end up with one. Don't fear it, but embrace it if it does end up happening. I promise that it won't limit you. Whether you end up with one or not when you get out grab life by the balls <3 Be well beautiful!

  4. Hello sweet Cherry. I've been watching your YouTube videos for years, I wouldn't say I follow you religiously (that would just be bonkers) but I am a fan. A part of me aches for you, it must be horrid what you're going through. I can't even begin to imagine. Another part of me wishes I could be a real life friend to you because the loneliness, resentment and (probably) isolation you're feeling I know what it's like. I know what it's like to feel like you're a burden on everyone in your life and feeling like you can't really turn to anyone because you don't want to dump your worries and stress on another person. I wish I could be a real life friend so that you had someone to vent and dump all your emotions on. I am truly sorry you're going through all of this, sometimes good people get dealt a crappy hand in life. I'll keep on sending you positive vibes.

  5. Girl... you are doing it GREAT ❤️ "Keep swimming" love from Spain

  6. January 13th I lost my father to a massive heart attack. He was a Vietnam vet and worked his whole life to make sure our family had "the best" of everything. February 8th, my birthday, I threw out my back and my mom had an ocular migraine and spent the night in the ER while I was home flat on the couch. In March when I thought things had settled my husband and I paid for a hotel in Daytona for bike week and two days before the trip we caught that new strain of flu called DEATH...I was in bed for 11 days, no food, severely dehydrated and lost 26 pounds...just when I thought it could not get any worse I found lumps in both breasts....I literally withdrew from everyone. I was too embarrassed to even think about sharing any more bad news with my inner circle because I felt I had worn out my welcome as Debbie Downer. 2 mammograms, 2 sonograms and 1 stress test later it turns out they are fibroid cysts and will go away on their own...I had finally had enough, I broke, I cried in front of my PCP who then says: "I don't like to prescribe anti depressants to people who are grieving"! What the what??? This is not grief, this is relief and I had to set him straight. I was going to make sure he understood I was not there seeking anything other than a diagnosis of I'm fine. I watch you...have since MySpace...I've followed your story..your ups and downs, then meeting One Eyed Jackson and your beautiful wedding. I am one of those strangers who wishes you well but also aware of your struggle. I hope you change your mind and reach out...those who are REAL friends will absolutely be there when you need them and family doesn't have an option, they MUST support you, it's their job. You are allowed to feel shitty and cry and wallow in all the pity you want, it's part of healing your soul but you can't do that alone. I wish you well, will be fine, you must be fine because your bucket list is waiting. Much love and light to you.

  7. A pacemaker isn't so bad ��. My first one was at age 28 and it got my first battery replacement couple years ago. It does all the work for me and a very small scar. I tell my doc I'm gonna get a zipper tattoo over the scar. That's where the go back in the same place to replace the battery. He found it funny. But, really...I don't have to worry aboutbit. You can be monitored remotely and helps cut back on so many visits. Anyhoo...your not alone in this, relax, this too shall pass. All will be fine. We ALL love ya. XOXO from KC.

  8. I won't say I totally understand, as I am not facing heart surgery, but I do understand living with chronic pain, mine has increased so much in the last year I fear the doctors are missing something, that it's not just fibro and arthritis. I understand fear, anxiety, panic attacks...all being masked by a smile for the public...pushing away friends and family. My only friends are online, and I have stepped back and away because I so exhausted at faking how I truly feel. I am distant from my family even when they are in the same room. I can isolated and lonely/alone in a crowded room. My family could all be laughing and I am hateful because I feel I no longer can truly laugh, it always seems like an act. My marriage is now in name only because I can't be a true wife. I feel a burden and an obligation to my whole family....the idea of this being my normal forever is a weight that pushes me down daily. I even considered walking away, setting everyone free to enjoy life...moving to my parents home, simply because I feel guilty for not being who I was or who I want to be, or who social media thinks I am.
    Living this way in itself hurts...I can't even begin to imagine what you must be going through, knowing your words are probably only the tip of the iceberg as mine are for me.
    Just as you said you are not alone to all of us, please know that you too are not alone...even if it adds only a tiny bit of comfort, I hope it does so.
    We love you.

  9. When I found out I had arrhythmia I was scared cause I didn't think someone in their mid 20's got heart disease! it felt like I couldn't even catch my breath. I only really had my boyfriend who would ask me how I was feeling because my family thought i was making it a bigger deal than it was and I couldn't tell my mom because she'd freak out. And my so called best friend of 14 years didn't care to ask me if I was okay just because she thought I wasn't happy she got a new boy toy. So I understand how you feel! Luckily for me the arrhythmia got better over the course of 6 months and now I only feel it ever so often.

    You are a beautiful soul and you will conquer this illness. Weather you need a pacemaker or not. Nevertheless she persisted!

  10. I suffer everyday from severe allergies, asthma, sinus headaches that leave me half of myself. However these are small compared to your health challenges. Like you friends and family don't really reach out. All this leads to extreme anxiety. Many other things go through my mind day and night waking me up. The only way I go forward is my hope and being honest every day how I feel. Thank sweet strong Cherry for your light and honesty. I pray alot and it helps sooooooooo much. Hugs and kisses. Heather

  11. What a beautifully honest blog! I'm so sorry you are struggling. I lived with lung disease on a scary chronic level for most of my life. At age 32 I had a double lung transplant (9 years ago). I was young enough to be worried about the scar, but now it's my grooviest (and only!) "tattoo" to remind me that I'm a survivor. My wonderful husband coached me in my dark days to "keep my eye on the prize" and so I imagined hopeful and positive things like singing again, or swing dancing again. I had to take it moment to moment and every day was different (some harder than others). I am wishing and sending you STRENGTH through the internets! I'm a total wuss, and lung transplant, like heart surgery, is serious business. I had lots to live for, as do you, and I'm glad to say I'm a professional singer again, and cutting some rug on the lindy hop dancefloor again. You are gonna be able to do this. (waving pom poms for you!) #chronicillnesssucks #doctorsareawesome #cherrycandothis

  12. Hey Cherry!
    I was going trough exactly the same toughts half a year ago. Ok, my situation wasnt as bad as yours, because I didnt had to go to surgery but it was still awful. I was living in a house wich had mold in it. I got very sick and nobody, even the doctors knew what was happening to me. I cried every night, I couldnt breathe, I couldnt leave the house because cold air made it even worse. I was thinking this is something that is with me rest of my life and I will die choking. I know how you feel when you say you are feeling lonely, my boyfriend leaved me because "I never go anywhere anymore" and he had someone else. And I had the same situation with friends as you. I know this is just a random stranger comment and wont maybe help you at all, but I just wanted to share this to you. You are going to be okey, I promise. I am okey now. And you dont even have to be positive all the time, this time is some serious shit for you so why would you smile all the time! When I was sick I even quit my job for a while and took some time to handle my emotions.
    Lots of love and hugs to you, it is going to be better (doesnt sound like truth but it is)!

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Thank you so much for stopping by! Please be nice and kind with your words even if you have something to criticize. I am trying to answer to as many questions as possible but please have some understanding that I cannot answer to all of you. XOXO