Debby and I have been together since March 2013, we met in June 2012 at the gym. Debby was very fit she enjoyed her cardio vascular classes, she would complete a spin class (indoor cycling) then go straight into a body pump class. We met in the spin class, I was a spin instructor.

We also enjoyed bike rides. when we first got together Debby had a mountain bike very heavy and no suspension, I had a full suspension bike which Debby rode most of the time, which made me smile watching her have such fun.

I moved to a different fitness club and I took Debby along to my spin classes, I could see in her face that she enjoyed it even though when I told the class to increase the resistance she would clench her fist and would mouth 'wait until I get you home'.

Towards the end of 2013 she started to feel unwell after the class, then she started missing classes. This is when It all started.

She complained of heart problems palpitations, irregular beats, I felt useless because I couldn't help her, all I could do was comfort her. The next 4 years consisted of visits to the doctors, cardiac consultants, respiratory consultants and A & E also she was referred to a psychiatrist because all the above decided she was suffering with anxiety.
But she still insisted there was something wrong, she also thought that all the doctors thought she was a hypochondriac. I had to convince her that we needed to convince them there was something wrong.

During this time it was heart wrenching to see the one you love gradually go from being very fit to someone who had trouble walking more than a mile. She would say sometimes that I would be better off without her, I would tell her not to talk such rubbish. I find it difficult to say how I felt, I knew I had to be strong for Debby but I was being torn apart inside, quite often we would shed a tear together. Also Debby would quite often say no one believes me, I had to convince her that I did.

Then came the day when she could just get out of bed, we made a trip to A & E by car and wheel chair. They needed a blood sample but they could not get any blood out of Debby, I asked the nurse why this was and all I got was a shrug of the shoulders just before they gave up. This made me think that there was something seriously wrong and the nurse did not want to say. It was only the determination of a doctor that she managed to get enough blood which, when analysed it showed Debby had Pulmonary Embolisms in both lungs. She was immediately admitted to hospital and put on oxygen.
Strangely I found this a big relief, after all the years of not known what was wrong with Debby we finally knew what we were up against. After 2 weeks in hospital she was discharged but she could not walk more than a few meters so I had to wheel her out to the car in a wheel chair, this I was thinking was all wrong and there must be something else wrong. When we got home my stomach was turning over and I was fighting back the tears because I still had to be strong for Debby. In 4 days Debby was back in hospital with pneumonia.

While Debby was in hospital I didn't eat or sleep all that well and I shed a tear most nights, it kept going through my head why is the one I love going through all this and why can't I do anything to relieve her of all
these problems. Debby was discharged a week before Christmas 2016. The evening before Debby came home I put all the Christmas decorations up.
When we left the hospital Debby walked out, this lifted my sprites. On the way home I told her the next thing we need to do is put the decorations up. When we walked in the bungalow her face was a picture when she saw the decorations and this brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Debby was still suffering with breathlessness and heart palpitations, she was told this would get better and advised to take up swimming by a cardiologist.
After being out of hospital for 4 months we saw a respiratory consultant who stated Debby was not as advanced as she should be and arranged for her to have another CT scan, also he said in no way should she go swimming. After the CT scan Debby was referred to Papworth Hospital and diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and was told that it was operable. We were told that a Pulmonary Endarterectomy operation would be beneficial.  We then had a two hour talk from the Pulminary Hypertension nurse, from being admitted to being discharged this was a lot to take in and we left with our heads spinning.
I was totally confused, how can one consultant say the opposite to another, if Debby had taken up swimming she could have drowned this really made me angry.

Again it was a relief to know what was wrong and it was operable.
When we got home we looked up a Pulmonary Endarterectomy operation and I could not believe that Debby had to go through this. There wasn't a dry eye in the bungalow for quite some time.
I knew I still had to be strong for Debby even though I was falling to pieces inside, I had to keep telling myself Debby will get worse if she doesn't have this operation.
But knowing that the one I love is going through hell trying to come to terms with it, and all I could do is try to comfort her, I can't describe what it was doing to my insides but as I keep saying I had to be strong for my Debs and help her through this.

Then the phone call came Debby was given a date in one weeks time, I was in the garden when she got the call, Debby asked them to phone back because she needed to talk to me. We discussed it and tears were shed by both of us. But the decision was we take the date.

I knew Debby had to have this operation or she would get worse, but I was terrified I might lose her, this I had to keep putting out of my mind so I could help Debby through this.
On the night before the operation I was in a hotel I didn't sleep very much and cried quite a bit. I arrived at the hospital at 06:00, Debby was a bundle of nerves, all I could do is try to calm her down and not show how I was feeling.
Debby was taken down to theatre at 06:45 I walked down with her, I could see she was fighting back the tears, when we arrived at the theatre doors I couldn't go any further, Debby broke down and I was desperately trying to hold it together so I could console her. But I told her I would be there when she woke up. When they started to take my Deb's through the doors to theatre doors I had to walk away because I broke down and she was crying, and I couldn't console he

Tuesday the 1st August 2017 was the longest day of my life, my eyes were wet for most of the day it was going through my mind what was happening to the one I love. I also prayed for her quite a bit, Debby made me promise during the week before the operation, she didn't have to ask me. I didn't know what to do that day I walked here and there come 15:00 I made sure I had a signal on my phone.
At 16:00 I phoned critical care and was told she was still in theatre and they would phone me when she came out. My mind was working overtime going over all the things that could go wrong and then telling myself not to be so stupid because everything was alright. I waited until 17:45 then phoned again and was told that she had arrived in critical care at 16:30.I was so relieved that I couldn't be angry for not being told.
When I saw my Deb's she looked so beautiful even though she had tubes coming out all over the place and I shed a tear of joy. I was told that Debby would be coming round early morning I asked them to let me know about 30 minutes before Debby came round because I promised her I would be there.
I didn't get very much sleep that night I phoned the hospital at 02:00 and was told Debby was still under and they would phone me 30 minutes before. I received the call at 06:00 and I was by Debby's side at 06:30, she started coming round 5 minutes later. Before they removed the tube from her mouth she wanted to write something, paper and pen were found and she wrote 'Is it done' it took her about a minute to write. I told her
yes, now can you imagine a person with a large tube in their mouth with a big grin on their face, that was my Deb's, what a picture. It made me smile inside and out, and more tears of joy were shed.

When we got home I was doing everything for her, I never thought of myself as a carer, but I did everything without question. It is amazing what you will do for the one you Love. Debby was getting frustrated not being able to do things, also I was stopping her from doing things. I know this made her more frustrated, and it made me upset although I couldn't show it and I knew I had to stop her.

Debby had her 6 week review of which they were pleased with her progress. Now I didn't stop her from doing things I made her promise me if she felt pain she would stop what she was doing and leave it to me.
Debby has her good days and bad days on the bad days I feel for her but I know I can't do anything except always be there for her, because I love her deeply.

Now we wait for the 3 to 6 month check up.

All the staff at Papworth were so professional I can't thank them enough for giving me my Deb's back.
The only way I can think of thanking them is by raising money for their research to help people with Heart and Lung problems.
As a cyclist I will be taken part in the London Night Ride which is 63 miles and hopefully the Prudential Ride London which is 100 miles. I ask you to visit my JustGiving page and give generously:

Thanking Papworth Staff with all My Heart
Ian Lee-White