Sunday, June 15, 2014

Heart Disease and Stroke Do Not Discriminate

What is the first symptom of heart disease? For many, it's death. 50% of men and 64% of women who have a fatal heart attack had no knowledge they had heart disease. 

I write this blog and  Tweet (@skinnybitchchro) and Facebook heart disease related information a lot for a reason.  It is so those of you reading this, those of you following me on Twitter and my friends on Facebook think of me when you feel symptoms.  So that I am the voice in the back of your head when you have chest pain that repeats "call an ambulance, call an ambulance, call an ambulance."  So that you are not part of the statistic above.  I did not know I had heart disease and lived because I called an ambulance.

Every time someone my age (45-50 age range) dies that my friends (also in this age range) know, I get a flood of messages about it.  It always makes me glad I survived and sad that person didn't-- sad for their families and sad for all the things that will never be. I always hope that peace finds the ones left behind.  More than that, I am glad that I am the person that always pops into the heads of those I know when they find out someone died of a heart attack.  The fact that so many will sit down and take the time to write me a note means that my purpose is clear.  I am most certainly here to educate and make some difference for those I know when (not if) they face heart disease.  To educate and turn it instead to if (not when) they face heart disease.

An acquaintance from my younger years just lost her husband who was 50 to a sudden massive heart attack.  I was not close to her and have not seen her in 30 years.  I have heard from many of our mutual friends today.  I have heard from many of them because he "looked healthy".  You do not have to look unhealthy to have heart disease.  You do not have to look unhealthy to have cancer, diabetes, lupus, MS or a whole host of other diseases.  Not everyone who is sick looks sick and not everyone knows they are sick. They think the same thing about themselves when they look in the mirror--"I don't look sick." This equates to "I am not at risk."  Just as they settle into that medical comfort zone, they are dead of a massive heart attack that leaves everyone else who thinks the same thing in a state of shock. Well, I didn't look sick either when I had a sudden massive heart attack. Now I have heart disease and I still don't look sick.

The fact that I did not look sick did not keep heart disease at bay--if it worked that way, we would have too many doctors.  The fact is, heart disease and stroke do not discriminate.  They don't care if you are young or old, fat or thin, marathon runner or couch potato.  They don't care if you are black, white, Latino, gay, straight, purple or green.  They don't care if you have a MD, PhD, JD, BS, MBA or not.  They don't care if you are married or single, have children or don't.

I do my part to try to impress this upon others.  Heart disease and stroke do not discriminate.  See your doctor (even if you are a doctor), know your numbers and educate yourselves.  You can look healthy today and be dead tomorrow.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Spelling and Kitchen Misadventures

Holy misspelled words batman!  I posted a video of the Heart Walk and misspelled stroke.  That's right, this girl that loved English class posted a blog post for hundreds to see with Teri as as stoke survivor instead of stroke survivor. Not one single person that saw it sent me a message to let me know! How awesome is that?  Next time, someone send me a message and spare me! Not one to be able to ignore that, I have taken it down and here is the new and improved Heart and Stroke Walk recap including a few more pics. Thanks to Liz, Teri, Velda, Julie and Stacy for their pics and  I bought Katy Perry's Roar and Sara Bareilles's Brave from

After the walk I posted a post on Facebook because I hung around just long enough to do an interview with KCTV 5.  This is what I posted:

"There is simply no way to look good for a KCTV5 survivor interview after being up since before 5 and being sweaty with hat hair after the walk!!"

Promptly, I had two friends that I treasure very much reply: 

" I dunno- I think "alive" is a pretty good look..."  and " I read this post earlier and couldn't text while driving to KC! I also instantly thought you being alive and here to tell your story will always make you beautiful! Even with hat hair and sweat! I've had to keep reminding myself when I look at my several scars and bald head that I'm so happy to be here and alive!!!I keep telling myself I won't complain about my hair again when I just get some... But we are women! We just don't like hat hair:) looks like it was a wonderful day of celebrating!"

Both of these responses provided perspective.  Sometimes even when you are chronically ill, you lose perspective.  The perspective that not much matters other than being alive.  I love these ladies for keeping it real. This is the perspective I needed to be reminded of, especially since the second response was from my high school friend that has been battling breast cancer. I really was happy to be able to share my story!

Last weekend after the walk, I decided I am not making that progress towards skinny bitch and if I intend to get there, it would be in my best interest to stop eating out and get back in the kitchen.  If you have been along for the ride since the beginning, you know what danger this puts me in.  That domestically challenged thing indeed reared its ugly head as I was chopping veggies. It reared its ugly head in the form of the knife right through my finger.  Now, this is bad enough normally but I take blood thinners.  The result of a sharp knife coming in deep contact with your finger while you are on blood thinners is that your kitchen ends up looking like a crime scene.  All I can say is at least the fire department did not have to come as well!  If you are wondering, I was making a very yummy vegan enchilada bake.  I left the cheese off to make it vegan.

Never one to be deterred, I am back at it in the kitchen again this weekend.  Now, to avoid the crime scene look, this is my solution:

Yes, that is right, the grocery store sells them already cut!  Now that does not keep me from the possibility of needing the fire department while I cook this weekend, but at least they won't think there is a murder as well as a fire if they have to come.

I am making the enchilada bake again and cutting up fruit--watermelon and cantaloupe. I may not be totally safe from the crime scene look or the ER:

I do realize that this knife might actually take a finger off, but it really is less risk than those smaller knives.  I am going to make a brisket for the rest of my carnivore family and put it in the oven. (Note the fire department risk) They can just take it out when they are hungry because mom is going with her girlfriends to this tomorrow night:

Nothing like those 80's gems from my teenage years:)  It will be a blast.

I hope you are all having a great weekend and I wish for you a weekend free of kitchen misadventures!