Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hope for the New Year

 Hope for the New Year

Amaryllis  Fantastica

Special Holidays This Year

This year when asked about plans for the holidays,
 I said that I had very special plans indeed! 
What were they? 
I was spending them with my husband.

Only those who can never do that again, this year or any other, truly understand how special that is. Their lives have been forever changed by the loss of their loved one to bicuspid aortic valve disease  My thoughts go to them, in many states and around the world. How much they would give for just one more moment together.

Flowers for the Holidays - An Impulse Buy

It was an impulse buy. While shopping in November I saw these square boxes with gorgeous flowers pictured on the outside. Amaryllis. I remembered my Mom having this plant around the holidays one year. It had seemed rather exotic to me. I do not have her green thumb and had no idea how much she coddled and coaxed it to produce those huge, gorgeous flowers. But, how I would love to enjoy those beautiful blooms once again!

The instructions seemed simple, and the picture on the box charmed me. Hoping I was not consigning it to a terrible fate, into my shopping cart it went.

The box promised blooms in about 6 weeks. If I started right away, there might be flowers for the holidays. Inside the box were just three things: a rather plain pot, a compact ball of soil, and a dead looking bulb. I followed the instructions. The soil did expand in the pot when water was added, as promised, and into it I placed the bulb.

At first, not much happened. I tried to keep the soil moist but not too wet. But I wondered if this dead looking bulb, partly exposed above the soil, could ever come to life, let alone produce something beautiful.

Then one day, I noticed the bulb was not brown any more. It had a green color to it. Life! Hope came alive in me too.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of those early changes. I suppose I still did not have very much hope. But then something started to shoot up from the top of the bulb. Slender, green leaves! It was still a long way from beautiful flowers, but I found more hope stirring in my heart.

Maybe it would do better in a different location, with a bit more December sun. I moved it, watched it, and tried to keep the soil moist without drowning it! It was alive, that was clear, but I doubted there would be anything special happening any time soon.

Wonders Over Night

 Then, in just three days, wonders happened!

December 29th
On December 29th the outer casing popped open, with hints of the beauty within. December 30th was an amazing day!
December 30th

December 30th

Just Spending Time Together
And so, we have these holidays now, special, uninterrupted moments together. I find myself clinging to them, wanting to slow the passing of time. Soon they will be over.

The Amaryllis has so beautifully rewarded my rather doubtful efforts, producing beautiful flowers for the new year. In this new year, check ups await him once again. How is his prosthetic aortic valve doing? It needs to be checked soon. Last year, we learned it is not holding up as well as we would like. How much has it changed? His mitral valve tends to leak, but has remained unchanged for several years. He is to have a follow up with an eye specialist, too. We need to make sure nothing can rob him of his vision. Oh, the delicate tissue, the possible complications, for someone born with BAV.

This new year holds heart and aortic check ups for so many. Some face serious decisions about when and where to have surgery. Too often, good answers are hard to find.There are no labels, no names, other than bicuspid aortic valve or thoracic aortic disease, for many with complex issues through out their bodies. Quite simply, too little is known, too little understood.

I cannot bear to think about those so apparently healthy, so talented and active, who are unaware that they are in danger from their BAV or aneurysm. We need ways to find them before tragedy strikes.

May the new year be a fresh start in search of answers.

These are my thoughts on the eve of the New Year. And then, the New Year arrives!

January 1, 2016
Two fully open flowers, two buds

January 2, 2016
The Third Bud Begins to Open
January 2, 2016
 Something in Common - An Amaryllis and BAV??

Watching it change and bloom, I find this amazing plant has reminded me of the BAV experience. After long periods of quietness, BAV may change so quickly, so dramatically.  Doctors call it "latent". One interesting definition of that word is "hidden" or "dormant". For many years, BAV may not express itself. Then, often very quickly, there is important change. A valve needs surgery, an aneurysm is dangerously bulging. My husband's experience has been like that.

It is so hard for those who know, who must watch and wait. Like my Amaryllis bulb, it seems nothing is likely to happen. But then it does. Often then, things move quickly. It is so easy to be in denial.

Can I see the beauty, find the wonder, as life unfolds?

January 2, 2016
My husband has had three surgeries. When he had aneurysm surgery in 2001, I stayed in a nearby hotel until he was out of ICU, when I could be with him at night. That high risk time, right after surgery, is not easy. In that room was a single rose bud. Each evening when I returned to rest, it had opened a little more. Like my husband's recovery, it unfolded beautifully. I am glad I have that memory of beauty and hope from that time. The surgery was a marvelous success. Something I experienced almost 15 years ago still remains as a comforting memory. Today, the Amaryllis reminds me again that I can find beauty, even in the dark times. Beauty unfolds through the help and kindness of others, the repair of the broken, the miracle of healing.

Another Flower Stem Has Appeared
Hope for the Future
January 1, 2016
Yes, new experiences lie before us in this new year. I remind myself, whatever the future holds, we can do this! One step at a time, we can do this.

We can have those check ups, ask our questions, get multiple opinions. We can make decisions.

Along the way, I will look for the beauty in each day. 

So much awaits us all. May the beauty in the promise of help and healing sustain us. Let us focus on hope.

With all best wishes in this new year,

                          -  Arlys Velebir