Chapter 27. Inspired by “Scar Trek”

Before I underwent the cardiac surgery which was called “Bentall procedure”, I had a survey to various sources, especially through Google, YouTube, and primarily through to find books in English about heart disease or cardiac patients’ experiences before, during, and after the surgeries. Of course I found some useful books and they fitted what I was looking for, but because it’s in Google Book I couldn’t see all the chapters of the books –I usually could see Chapter 1, 2 and 3 only– so I considered that writing the series of posts in this blog as a “fill in the blank” or writing anything that hadn’t been written by anyone before. Moreover, my articles were written in Indonesian language –the language that is used by 250 millions Indonesian– it’s possible that 10 or 100 people will inadvertently read my blog, isn’t it?

I also read a lot of books in English on Google Book, including from the ex double heart valve surgical patient, that he had undergone an “aortic valve” surgery and “mitral valve” surgery. However, the most remarkable of the person who wrote this book was that…. he recounted his experience passionately, which was of course meant to encourage the readers, especially to those who would soon undergo cardiac surgeries, which were usually always filled with doubt as whether to take the cardiac surgery or not… that in my opinion, the doubt came from the lack of information they acquired along the way… but unfortunately, this good book only showed Chapter 1, 2 and 3, while the other  chapters were hidden in Google book so I became curious about this book. Actually it’s not the matter of the price which costs USD 20, – but about the uneasiness for Indonesian to buy books on, especially for the state bank credit card holders like me. It might be easy for the credit card holders of foreign banks such as from some bank in the United States (you know what I mean)…

Besides books, nice blogs about cardiac surgeries or cardiac surgical experiences were also found in internet.

Back to what this American who had experienced the “double heart valve surgery” told, in fact each of ex cardiac surgical patients’ abilities should immediately be raised again to be able to live his life and daily routine without any hindrance. If he was formerly a lecturer, then after the cardiac surgery the patient should also be able to teach well in class –without the struggling breath that is the characteristic of a leaked heart valve patient. Actually there were many people, even the families of the cardiac patients, who were always remind the cardiac patients to “not being tired”, “not forcing their selves”, “not doing any heavy activity” and so on. But to my ears these advices didn’t enlighten at all and all of that was only discouragement. But unfortunately to live in Indonesia, it is so rare to see people who give sufficient encouragements to the ex-heart surgical patients like me. Maybe the ones who can give encouragement are the cardiac surgical patients who have been recovery for a long time….

Well, I’ve known on the internet about an American who continued having “heavy” activity after about a year he underwent an open-heart surgery to replace his two leaked heart valves. The activity was “surfing” in Hawaii! Incredible! He even said that his cardiac surgical scar (in America) would not leave much scar on his chest and even it would look so smooth and almost couldn’t be distinguished between the normal to the people who have had open-heart surgery. After 4 months I had cardiac surgery, when I take an eye on my cardiac surgical scar on my chest it is also quite smooth –particularly on the upper chest. It’s just that, the scar around my diaphragms (people used to call it “upper belly area”) looked a little not smooth because there is a kind of colloid (scar)…

From the internet I knew that the ex cardiac surgical patients who did the most “crazy” activity were the group of ex patients who lived in California, Nevada and Oregon, because they had done crazy activities such as doing a continued marathon from San Francisco in the state of California directly to the east city in the state of Nevada, continued to the north-west towards the state of Oregon and ends in San Francisco again. This “crazy” ex cardiac surgical patient group called themselves as “Scar Trek”. Probably it came from the word scar and they run a marathon (track/trek), which from the sound it makes people smile because it sounds very close to “Star Trek” –a very famous Hollywood movie…

Imagine, a bunch of people who were mostly quite old between 40-60 years did a marathon as far as 1.000 km marathon, isn’t it “crazy”? If still there were any young people there –but still it was awesome because all of them were the ex cardiac surgical patients who have undergone the most bold “actions” which were –the hearts were cut!

I became secretly admiring the “Scar Trek” and in my heart I agreed with their behavior that to not give up and to forget their each handicap to achieve the higher goal which was “to be considered as a healthy person”. Although this had to be done by running a marathon as far as 1.000 km, which every member of the “Scar Trek” only ran as far as 5, 10, 20, 30, or 50 km…

I then committed to improve my fitness so that sometime my neighbors, relatives, friends, and students wouldn’t realize that I was a cardiac surgical patient. How joyful if no one asks whether I have ever had cardiac surgery or not…. and if this is achieved I would be considered as a healthy person like the others…. (To be continued)

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