Friday, February 1, 2013

Why Do I Go Red?

With Go Red getting so much attention this time of year, let me tell you a little story.

I don’t look “sick”, I don’t act “sick” and if you ask me how I feel, I will say, “Fine.” But I have heart disease, peripartum cardiomyopathy and heart failure, to be exact. It's not a popular disease, but it's mine. From what I understand, part of my heart doesn’t work anymore.

All because I had a baby. She is turning into a wonderful little girl. If I knew what was going to happen, would I do it all over again? Absolutely! I wouldn’t change anything about her. There are some things I wish I could change.

I wish the nurses and doctors paid more attention to me telling them I couldn’t breathe, instead of telling me I was just anxious from having a baby. Me? Anxious about a baby, she was my third and Ted was a stay at home dad, what did I have to be anxious about? Mimi said it best, she told the nurse, “Obviously you know nothing about her because she is the calmest person in the world.”

I wish I didn’t get sent home first and then have to leave to go back to the hospital and then not to return for almost 2 weeks. That was the one and only time I didn’t kiss my kids before I left the house, I have NEVER EVER done that again. I wish the doctors didn’t tell my husband they thought I wasn’t going to make it, no one should have to hear that.

Once I was sent through the tunnel from Women and Infants to RI Hospital, I was put in the cardiac ICU, I had no idea it was the ICU until the nurse moved me to the other side and I asked what the difference was. Every time someone told me how sick I was, I just said, “I’ll get better,” because there was no other option. I remember the shocked faces when people would read the name on the door "Kraus" and then see me. They were expecting a much older person.

I am grateful I had a wonderful doctor, who kept telling me, “We’re going to make you better,” and now tells me, “If you get worse, we can always do a transplant.” They give those out like facelifts nowadays.

I am grateful I got to spend Stella’s first year with her, I didn’t do that with the other two.

I am grateful I was able to get better and return to work for two more years before it became too difficult and had to make a choice.

As of now, I didn’t end up needing the pacemaker I was scheduled for (I was pretty much prepped and ready). I tried going back to work, but ended up being a stay at home mom. I became a blogger, which I don’t think I would have done if I was still teaching (contrary to popular belief, teachers have very little free time).

Some days I can only go from the basement to the top floor with a laundry basket once, other days I can make a few trips. There are many days I need to take a nap; and it’s hard to pull myself together in the morning, but I do and I will keep doing it. Someone has to keep writing stories about the Kraus kids.


  1. Here is to health and a strong heart! You can live with this and you have a fantastic family to support you.

  2. God bless you - I am so honored that you shared your story. It's unbelievable. This month especially, I will wear red in your honor, and in honor of people like you. You are an amazingly STRONG mom! Your kids are lucky to have you!

  3. Until I started reading blogs, I had no idea how many people had chronic health issues. And are very good at keeping it under wraps. Makes me think that there are people I've known in real life for years are probably hiding something. I know it's not being hidden because of shame, but we just get tired of talking about our health and having it define us.
    Go Red!

  4. Wow, you are an amazing woman! I always love coming to your blog because you have such a great sense of humor and always make me laugh. I'm so sorry you have to live with this, but I'm so happy that you have it under control and that they can "always do a transplant." :) You managed to make me laugh even when sharing something so personal and so not funny. You have such an admirable attitude and outlook!!!

  5. Wow! I had no idea! You are amazing!I will happily wear red and think of you! :) You are one strong mama!

  6. Your old neighbor LisaFebruary 1, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    I remember the day we got the news from Ted. Still makes my heart sink inside, knowing what you had to endure, and continue to endure with grace. Still remember the look in Ted's eyes. Gulp. I for one, love the blogs, I look forward to them, and I know that they are not just 'some Mom' writing about her family...I know that it is written by a Hero of Women. A miracle of Life! I/WE are proud to know you Heather, Ted, and the entire Krauss house! GO RED! (BTW, When I listen to the song 'Stella Blue', it has a whole new meaning to me, and always brings a tear of joy. I see a miracle in the glean of Stella's beautiful blue eyes!)

  7. WOW! What a scary experience. I will wear red for you too now! Thank you for sharing your story!!

  8. What an incredible story, you are so strong! Thank you for sharing that! We hear so much about heart disease and it's hard to fathom that it's a young, healthy Mom.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story! You are so strong, and I love your optimistic spirit! I will think of you when I wear red for heart disease.