Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Wouldn't Give It Back

I have had a great couple of weeks.  I have done some things I wouldn't have done if I hadn't had a heart attack.  So, this gets me thinking.  I have spent a fair amount of time over the last 20 months wondering why this happened to me.  Admittedly the first bit of wondering post heart attack was spent in a self-pity  but once I emerged from the Post Heart Attack Stun, the wondering is not spent in self-pity but in more of a state of amazement.

I have met some amazing people along my journey.  I have met amazing people through this blog and through the Facebook page.  I get great messages sent to me and I love hearing all of your amazing stories.  Each story is so unique yet eerily similar.  In the end, some have survived, and some have not.  There is very little other than luck that separates those that survive from those who don't.

I have met women who have not wanted to tell their stories but somehow seem comfortable sharing it with me.  Being a woman who has survived a heart attack puts me in a unique kinship with these women that I meet.  Perhaps the fact that I am online makes it "safe" to share their stories.  This makes me incredibly happy because the intent of the blog now is to share my story and my successes and failures in getting healthy in the hopes that it motivates others to learn abut heart disease. In the beginning though, I figured the blog was just so that I could make sense of what being a heart attack survivor meant to me. I am constantly amazed that anyone even finds my blog but they do and they actually read it! I love that sharing my story allows others to feel comfortable sharing theirs.  Even if they never share it with another person other than me, there is something totally cathartic about sharing the story.   It is why I do this.

The experience of becoming a Go Red Ambassador for the American Heart Association has been tremendous.  I have already met some amazing women and I am looking forward to getting to know all of their stories.  I have met my friend Julie through the AHA. She bleeds Crimson and Blue so you know we are fast friends!  Rock Chalk!  On June 1, she and I walked the 5K Color Run:

Last night, I had the incredible honor of representing heart disease survivors on the field of the Kansas City Royals.  They donated $10,000 from the proceeds of their event last night, Girls Night Out at The K to the American Heart Association--Kansas City.  We arrived early and volunteered passing out stuff at the gates as women arrived for the event and then went down on the field during the pre-game.  The Royals won and it was Fireworks Friday!!

Meeting these incredible women and all of the experiences that I would not have had otherwise make it worth it.  I would never give back the heart attack or the heart disease.  I would never give it back--ever!  I live life with a much deeper appreciation for the relationships and experiences I have.  I live life reconnecting with people that I haven't seen in many years!  These relationships are very important to me---each and every one of them.  I live life sharing my story and hoping that people pay attention and understand their risk of heart disease.  Not just my female friends, but also my male friends.  Even though I stress that heart disease is the number one killer of women -- 1 in 3, it is the number one killer of all Americans.  So, my male friends are at risk as well.  I know people have been paying attention because I get Facebook messages and emails from friends telling me that they have made changes in their lives or have gone to see their doctors because of my story.  I am so thrilled and honored when they share this with me!  Bring on the role of heart attack survivor as I will embrace it always!

On a totally different closing note---Rock Chalk Jayhawk and congrats to the Outdoor Track and Field National Champion Lady Jayhawks!

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