Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my heart attack. It happened the day before Rosh Hashana and every year at this time I find myself looking back at my accomplishments and mistakes over the past year.
I recall Dr. Garcia telling me that the odds of survival of transplanted heart-recipients improved each year. After one year, the survival rate is almost double and after 2 years, it goes up even higher. He let me know that although the risks associated with my transplant - such as a higher risk for certain cancers and rejection - are still there, once you pass the 5-year-milestone the odds are incalculable.
So I suppose I should rest easier whenever I get sick, or even when I only get a headache. But I don't. No, this fear that has driven me crazy since my life was turned upside down has not subsided and frankly, I doubt it ever will.
On the plus side, it forces me to continue taking my daily assortment of drugs.
As Rosh Hashana approaches, I look back at an incredibly eventful year. This was a year when things I would never have believe possible came true. Five years ago, I assumed that I would never get better. I assumed my family would stay in tact and I assumed nothing would change. Now, I realize that change is sometimes not only a good thing, but the best thing. I am gratified that although I no longer live with my children, they continue to love me and want to be with me. That alone is more than I could hope for.
There are other things and people that have made this a wonderful, exciting and unforgettable year. I never thought (certainly 5 years ago) that I would ever be this happy again. I have an awful lot to be thankful for. But I also have an awful lot to work on. Just like last year and all the years before that, I am just thrilled that G-d has given me the opportunity to live again and hopefully, do it right this time.
May G-d grant all of you a very happy, safe and warm new year!