Amy Rebecca Johnson
Principal, Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.
In late 2019, Ann Bauer, an attorney with the Center for Family Law, suffered an aneurysm on her aorta while visiting family in Texas for the holidays. She had open-heart surgery, was in the ICU for seven days and wasn’t cleared for travel back to St. Louis for an additional ten days.
For Ann and those who know Ann, her aneurysm and major surgery was a huge shock. For most of her adult life, Ann has loved to be active, exercise, and eat well. No one who knew Ann would ever think that she would be someone to suffer such a serious health condition.
Ann has had an amazing recovery from her major surgery. For her, there's no doubt that her physical health and well-being prior to her aneurysm and surgery laid a strong foundation to her road to recovery.
Recently, Ann shared with me her journey from open-heart surgery to health these past ten months. Her story is extraordinary because it's a testament to how important physical well-being is for recovery.
Here's a peek into our conversation, with the best tidbits from Ann:
- My pre-surgery physical well-being and fitness affected my recovery in two ways:
- I had a physical foundation of health that my doctors told me would aid in my recovery.
- I had a vision of what I needed to do to get myself back in shape. I was able to envision my prior workouts and plan what I needed to do to get back.
- People ask me if all of this made me want to retire sooner. No! Reflecting on life post-surgery, I still found family and work very important, in addition to exercise and cooking. There's the right balance for all of it.
- What else has my physical well-being has done for me? It's made me flexible. Too cold to go out? Group exercise cancelled tonight? Injury? Covid keeping the gym closed? Just go with the flow and find a new plan! I had to tap into this a lot during my recovery. I was weak and unable to do what my brain thought I could do. So, I used this flexibility to try new things to see what I could do, pushing for more each day.
- After surgery, I remember thinking about marriage. I'm a family law attorney, so I think about marriage a lot, but specifically I was thinking about my husband, Chuck Farris. He was such a wonderful caregiver and source of support. In the first days out of surgery, I wondered what it would be like if the person you were not happy with or in love with was now your caregiver? Or what if you were needed as a caregiver for someone who you didn’t want to be with. Lesson—surround yourself with those you love.
- My physical well-being has always been a major part of my life and it has made me more well-rounded and balanced in other areas. When I was training for my first marathon, the training required that I give up some work hours. I had been spending a lot of late nights and weekends at work, but now I needed to also train for the marathon. I left work to train and I discovered that the world went on and clients managed even if I worked a little less. I could still do what I wanted to do AND have a successful career!
Ann will graciously share more of her story with you if you want to know more. She's a model spokesperson for a well-rounded, well-being lifestyle.