Friday, February 22, 2013

New Cardiologist

I have been looking for a new cardiologist.  I had an appointment with a new doc yesterday but had to cancel due to snowmageddon here in the Kansas City area.

How do you go about finding a cardiologist when you are 44?  It is not like I can ask my friends who they see.  When I ask my friends, I am saying "Hey, what cardiologist does your mom or dad see?"  When I go to the cardiologist, there are several people my age there but they are all bringing their parents to the doctor.

My first cardiologist that I met in the ER in the midst of a heart attack was a very gifted surgeon and he saved my life.  I didn't care much for his follow up care.  I chose a new doc because he was less than five minutes from my office.  I really liked him and he did a fabulous job when I had to go back to the cath lab.  I would have kept him as my doc because he was at least halfway open to the diet I have chosen and he was funny.  I like funny docs.  He chose to change his hospital affiliation and now he practices in Topeka.  That is just too far for me to go.

So, I got on Cigna's website and pulled up cardiologists in the Kansas City area.  This is a fairly good sized city and there I sat looking at a long list of cardiologists and not one inkling of who to choose.   I have heard good things about the cardiology group at Olathe Medical Center.  I have had a couple docs from there recommended to me.  Turns out, neither one of them will take 44 year old women that are 16 months post MI as new patients--go figure.  Of all things, my heart problems are not bad enough to see them. So, I chose a woman doc.  She is 41 by her bio.  I hope I like her.

The biggest thing I want out of a doc?  I want a doc to acknowledge the link between nutrition, inflammation and heart disease.  I am not talking about just the watch your salt kind of nutrition.  I am talking about the link to nutrition and all kinds of diseases.  I have an auto immune disease (psoriasis).  Auto immune diseases cause inflammation and that contributes a lot to heart disease.  When I went vegan, my psoriasis went away.  When I slipped cheese and a little other dairy back in over the late summer and early fall my psoriasis came back. As I have taken it back out and gone totally vegan again, the psoriasis has gone away.  If I can control that, I can control a lot of the inflammation in my body.  I want a doc that does not dismiss all of this.

So many docs just want to treat with medicine.  I have been told by two docs that the medicines I take are standard treatment for heart attack patients.  I am not really sure I like that no matter what changes you make in your life that it is just the same standard meds.  Should I have to take the same standard meds as a heart attack patient that smokes and eats chicken fried steak and gravy?  I am not so sure about this and I have yet to meet a doctor that has been 100% convincing.  My appointment with my new cardiologist is now moved to April 1.  We will see how she does.  My greatest hope is that she is more open to treating with nutrition than my other docs have been.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Last Heart Attack

I was at lunch with a friend I had not seen in many years today.  We had a great time and before we knew it, two hours had flown by.  She told me that she had started to watch "Forks Over Knives."  She stopped it half way through so she could restart it and watch it with her husband.  She told him she thought they might need to go vegan.  (To find "Forks Over Knives", click here.)

I have mentioned here before and told her today that the very first hint I had that I needed to go plant based was about four weeks after my heart attack when I saw a show on CNN.  It was called "The Last Heart Attack."  It was the first inkling I had that I really needed to drastically change how I lived my life--more than just watching my salt and fat intake.  It was really the first tangible information I had on how to prevent another heart attack.

 I never, ever would have taken the time to watch this if I had not just had a heart attack.  What I learned shocked me.  Now, I have to tell you that it did not come as a shock to learn that nacho cheese as its own food group wasn't healthy for you.  I just did not think that my diet as a whole was any worse than most.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  I'm not saying I would have changed my diet had I really known prior to my heart attack.  You see, I was like many of you who will read this and think it will never happen to me.  It did happen to me and I hope by the information that I am able to share that it will not happen to you.

I had never been able to find a link to the show until I was searching again today to send it to my friend.

In my opinion, it is a very valuable 39 minutes and 48 seconds.  Although I know a lot of people turn their nose up at the thought of a plant based diet, trust me when I tell you laying in the ICU post massive heart attack can change your views on a lot of things.  I will give you that it is not an easy way to eat in our culture of fast food and barbecues.  At least for me, it takes a lot of planning.  I still recommend watching this video so you can see if it makes sense to you.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yummy Quinoa Recipe

My co-worker Rebecca made this great gluten free recipe.  To make this fit my vegan, heart healthy no added oil way of life,  I will leave out the feta cheese, leave out the salt and saute the veggies in water and not oil. She let me try a bite that she brought to lunch today and this was super yummy!

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know I am a disaster in the kitchen, so here's hoping for a disaster free evening in the kitchen!

Garlic Jalapeno Quinoa

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Emotional Day!

Yesterday was the 10th Annual Wear Red for Women Day.  I was not at all prepared for the emotion of the day.  As I said, last year I did not participate in any Go Red activities because I was still too stunned that I had even had a heart attack.

This year was such a different story.  My day started with my girls and I getting dressed in our red:

Almost immediately yesterday morning, my friends and family started posting the nicest things on my Facebook page.  I was already teary eyed from reading those things and I walked into work to find this:

My friend Rebecca was printing these stickers but our color printer had tanked so she was hand coloring them.  That was all she wrote, I was crying!  On top of that, there was a sea of red:

I have awesome co-workers!

I was caught off guard by the flood of emotions I found myself in yesterday.  I am so lucky to have so many friends, family and co-workers that support me in my battle with heart disease.  I surprised myself with just how much this day meant to me this year.

This year is a year to celebrate being a survivor and to continue my journey to health through nutrition and exercise.   It is also a year to share my story in hopes that it helps someone else avoid or survive a heart attack.  I hope that other women literally take it to heart!

In that spirit, I attended the American Heart Association - Kansas City's Girls Day Out and Go Red Casting Call:

I had my girls and my great friends go with me.  It was an emotional interview and I cried.  Sometimes the things that make my cry surprise me.  My story is important and I would love to be able to reach a wider audience.

All of February is heart health month.  Make an appointment with your doctor and discuss your cardiac risks--get checked out.  Take to heart the stories you hear and realize that you could be the one in three women.  Take care of your hearts!