Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I volunteered at a Go Red event last Tuesday night.  It was there that I met Christi, a fellow Go Red Ambassador.  We talked and I told her I was new to volunteering and the Go Red Ambassadors.  I explained that it was all too new last year for me to really feel like I wanted to shout my story to anyone that would listen.

What she said to me surprised me.  She so freely said that the reason I didn't want to take part in any of sharing my story on this level was due to the anger stage.  I have always felt the grief of losing what my life was like before my heart attack but I have never really thought of it as being angry.

I came home and pondered the anger angle.  I realized it really was a combination of anger and grief.  I was really angry.  I didn't even wear red on Go Red day in 2012.  The anger has faded and the grief is gone.  It is replaced by a sense of purpose.  The purpose of sharing my story so that others will take their health more seriously.  The purpose of sharing my journey so that others can survive like I did.  There is still a lot of searching the reasons but these two seem like a pretty good starting point.

In the spirit of sharing my story I also volunteered at Kansas City's Half Day for Your Heart Luncheon last Friday. It was a great time and I met some more amazing ladies.  Being a Go Red Ambassador is just what I needed.  I am with women who understand what I've experienced.  It is very refreshing!

My great friend Brian was at the lunch and it was fun to have a good friend of mine there:

Next up, Greater Kansas City Heart Walk!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Love My New Doc!

I love my new cardiologist, Dr. Yang!  She is awesome!  I went to my first appointment with her with very little hope of being impressed.  I am the first to admit when I am wrong and boy was I wrong.

She had all of my records and had reviewed them.  She spent an hour or better with me.  We went over every detail of my history prior to and since my heart attack.  She concentrated only on me and together we devised a treatment plan.  They ran an EKG in the office and she said by the looks of that, if she hadn't already known I had a heart attack, she would not have guessed I had any cardiac history. She was also open to the nutrition aspect that I place a lot of importance in.  She made me feel very comfortable about choosing plant based nutrition. That is tops in my book!

My blood pressure is under control which is good news. I left with orders for lab work and an echo cardiogram.  The results of the echo came back and I got all good results back on Friday. My heart is functioning with no permanent heart damage from my heart attack. Time is key and I was quick to get to the hospital! I have disease in my arteries, but luckily not the actual heart muscle! It is the best news available and I feel very lucky to get it!:) I was glad not to have to go over the weekend waiting on test results

This week brings three Go Red Ambassador events culminating in Friday's Half Day for Your Heart luncheon.  I am looking forward to it!

My company has jumped on board in supporting the American Heart Association and we are walking the Kansas City Heart Walk in 4 weeks.  We have about 30 people walking.  You know it warms my heart and makes me teary eyed to see the support! Pics to come. On another note,  I downloaded the couch to 5K app on my phone.  It is couch to 5K in eight weeks.  We will see! One of my staff members has breast cancer and some of us at work have decided a breast cancer 5K in October is our goal.  We can get healthy and support causes that are near and dear!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Making Peace with Medicine

When I first suffered such a massive heart attack and survived, I was just glad I survived.  They pumped me full of all kinds of drugs in the ICU.   I didn't realize the number of drugs I would ultimately be taking when I went home.

When it became clear that I would go home taking all the drugs that they were pumping through me via IV in pill form, I was pissed to say the least.  Me?  Take all these pills?  Really?  I rarely took ibuprofen.  Here I am with two blood pressure pills, a cholesterol pill, blood thinner and aspirin.  That is six pills a day that I have been cautioned against missing.  Really, it was stronger than that---take all these pills and don't miss them or you could die. 

Here is the thing, I don't take meds.  I have a hard time finishing a course of antibiotics.  Before you ask, yes I know that is a terrible thing.  I am just not a planner.  I fly through life mostly by the seat of my pants.  Living life like that makes for a fabulous time!  The problem is that you have to be a planner to take meds regularly.  Plus, I was someone that the day before my heart attack had a total cholesterol of 134 and a blood pressure of 110/70.  It was inconceivable that now, three days later I was on a lifetime of six cardiac pills a day.

When I went to the second cardiologist I wanted him to prove to me that I needed to take all these meds.  I had a hard time because I had changed my entire life style and you want me to still take the same drugs that some one who drinks, smokes and eats chicken fried steak and gravy for every meal after a heart attack takes?  How does that make any good sense?  How is it that there is a standard of cardiac meds that I have to take when each patient is not the same? 

He and I discussed it for a long time and reluctantly I agreed to continue them.  He made some very good points.  He could tell that I was a medical googler and promptly gave me the links to the studies we discussed so I could read it myself.  I am a firm believer in questioning your doctor and I do. 

As I get farther from my heart attack, I have become accustomed to taking the medicine.  I also have warmed to the idea that if I want help staying alive, I probably will always take them.  It has become increasingly more important to me to stay alive than to be pill free.  Besides, perhaps I have always needed a little guidance in the planning department.  It forces me to plan a little!

I saw a new cardiologist yesterday and she busted my bubble about being able to quit the Plavix once I hit the year after the last placement of drug eluding stents in my LAD.  (The new cardiologist is another post all in itself.) Yes, I have had stents placed in the same artery twice.  June 11 would have been a year and I was told that I could stop taking the Plavix after a year. As much as I have been looking forward to stopping that pill,  I listened to her reason and actually felt relief that she wants me to continue taking it.  I have come to realize that even if I don't consider it good medicine to treat all cardiac patients the same, I have grown used to the peace the pills provide me.