Today, I had the chance to share my heart story for the Ames Go Red for Women on April 25th. Believe it or not, I am the face of Heart Disease. If you think it only happens to baby boomers you are wrong! Watch the video to learn signs of a heart attack and what you can do to be healthier.
My goal to help others continues this week with the sharing of my story on CNN health.com. When I started my blog two years ago, never could I have imagined sharing my story at a national level! Blogging has helped me through my heart attack recovery. My hope in writing my blog is to help others who are going through the same thing.
Attached you will find the article published on CNN Health.com. This article discusses a new study published in the Journal of Circulation highlighting the difference between men and women's cardiac symptoms.
Together, we can all work to advocate and prevent others from having to experience this crazy journey of heart attack survivor.
How crazy to think I will be coming up on my two-year heart attack anniversary. The days of worry and wondering 'will it be today?' are becoming less frequent. I no longer ponder going to bed at night and worrying that I might not wake up.
It may sound cheesy, but I'm a new me. No longer letting my heart attack define me but guide me to a place of advocacy. A place where I can let my "crazy experience" help others and brings funds and awareness to a great cause. I've referenced this number before, but 1 in 3 women will die from heart disease or stroke compared to 1 in 30 who will die from breast cancer. This statics are unacceptable and need to be changed!
So I have this little thing called a family. Family, we all know causes us to be an Uber driver, Chef, maid, mom, wife, and master of none. So why would I take on these extra responsibilities? I believe in giving back. And I can't think of a better organization that supports people and families that have been impacted by heart disease and stroke. Many times we all wonder how there can be enough hours in the day to do what's required of us none the less add more. I've decided to become chair of the Go Red for Women Silent Auction Committee and be a member of the Circle of Red. These new areas will allow me to give back to an amazing organization the American Heart Association.
The support the American Heart Association has given me at not only a national but local level has been extraordinary. The AHA has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people along the way. The two areas where I will be volunteering are the Go Red for Women Silent Auction Committee Chair and Circle of Red. Go Red for Women is a part of the American Heart Association that "encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease, and also action to save more lives The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power women have to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges them to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their risk. It also gives them the tools they need to lead a heart-healthy life."
The Circle of Red Circle of Red is a society of women who have the passion, the motivation and inspiration to drive and influence change in the community regarding heart health of women in their community and across the country. Circle of Red Women help support the mission of Go Red For Women® by making a personal financial commitment to the movement.
Shortly, I'm looking forward to working with other staff and volunteers to raise the awareness of heart disease and stroke. And I plan on this being my mission for many years to come. Don't feel like you have to wait to get involved until you are personally affected.. start today! If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, please visit the American Heart Associations website or call your local chapter. #LIFEISWHY #FAMILYISWHY #CARINGISWHY #CUREISWHY
And don't forget to wear RED on February 2nd, 2018!!
It took a call from a friend today to bring back the memories of telling family and friends that I had a heart attack. I remember having feelings of embarrassment and shame. Asking myself what are people going to think? What do I say? Should I tell them everything and over qualify that I didn't have plaque! Or should I say my heart is clear it was just a crazy abnormality? You're probably wondering why would she think that? Well, whether or not we want to admit it we all have in our minds a preconceived notion of who will have a heart attack. They must be obese, smokers with high cholesterol and blood pressure. Sorry to say that is not the case.
Crazy as it is, my friend after an angiogram found out he too had S.C.A.D (Sudden Coronary Artery Dissection) same as what caused my heart attack. What are the chances? This is so crazy. But I hate to say it.. but I now have my first member of my crazy heart attack club.
Do you know somebody who has had a heart attack? Was it a family member, friend or loved one? Did you ask yourself upon finding out, why did they have a heart attack? Well, imagine what the person who had the heart attack is thinking. We tell ourselves people are going to judge me and they must think I'm a horrible eater. She must not have any idea of what the inside of a gym looks like. She must spend all her time eating at McDonalds, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and drinks like a drunken sailor. Well, let me tell you that is not the typical heart attack victims lifestyle. Most heart attack victims actually live healthy lifestyles and are avid runners and exercise more than four times a week.
During the first few weeks, I would find myself over explaining my heart attack. I would tell anybody that would listen that my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugars were below normal levels. I did stop at my weight.. now that maybe a little too much TMI..
I wanted everyone to know that mine was not caused by plaque but due to S.C.A.D. (Sudden Coronary Artery Dissection). The scary thing about S.C.A.D. it has no explanation. No one knows what causes it, why and when it happens, and who's affected. It just is one of those crazy things in the universe that decided to happen to my heart.
In the end, we all need to remember that people who have heart attacks are just like you. They still can eat, drink and have fun. Don't judge them and think that all they should ever eat is chicken, lettuce, and carrots. You are going to see us having fun and living life. Hell, we just had a brush with death. What is that quote about everything in moderation? I just ask that before you give someone advice about how they should be doing things think" Am I perfect?" Do I always live a 100% clean lifestyle? Don't judge or label us just because we had a heart attack. You have simply been lucky to not be a member of our "crazy heart attack club".
At the end of my call today with my friend, I finally felt like I had somebody who knew what I was going through. We currently have a support group of two but my hope is to work with the American Heart Association to identify others. Healing from an event like this is not just physical but a mental journey as well. So be kind when you hear of somebody having a heart attack.. Think more with your heart than your mind!
As I sit down tonight to write this blog I'm at a loss for words. What I have just experienced in a room full of over 400 women/men in a sea of Red is truly an amazing moment. The air was filled with HOPE! Hope that each and every one of us could play a part in stopping the #1 killer of women heart disease and stroke. Emotions ranged from laughter to tears and everything in between. Go Red for Women is a truly amazing cause where people join together. In just 3.5 short hours, 400 women/men raised over $200,00 to help fight this cause. The possibilities are endless in what we can do to fight this!
When the slide above was presented, you could hear a pin drop. I sat at a table of 10 and looked around and thought who is next? What we need to remember is heart disease and stroke don't discriminate. We need to do something about this, and it needs to start now. How many times do we turn on our tv and see pink? It's time to expand our color palates and realize the red that signifies the American Heart Association impacts more women on a daily basis. Well, my wish is that you will turn on your TV see red and think heart disease and stroke. We all need to start getting involved. The truth is that in your lifetime you will either be affected by it personally or have a family member affected.
Do we need to start asking ourselves, what can I do? How can I get involved? It takes one simple step call your local American Heart Association ask them what you can do to help. It starts with you and from there it blossoms to others. I would love to see us all start to catch the "RED FEVER". We need to take out the biggest paintbrush we can find and paint this world RED!!
Below you will find my "Survivor Story" video. This video was produced by the American Heart Association. I was able to share my story tonight in hopes that everyone in the audience would not have to experience the crazy journey I've been on. Thank you to the American Heart Association for letting me be apart of such a beautiful evening.