Friday, February 5, 2016

Be Good to your Heart

February is National Heart Month and today is the official Wear Red Day for Go Red for Women.  Over the past seven years, this month has taken on a new meaning for me.  I was born with a congenital heart defect in my aortic valve.  Long story short, I've had two open heart surgeries to repair it and am now symptom free and the sky is the limit.  Knock on wood, I won't have to have another surgery.  After my first surgery, I remember being very bothered as my scar grew and grew and I would inevitably get stares.  This time around, I forget it's there.  When I do remember, it is a reminder of what I have overcome, how precious life is and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system and medical care.

Heart health is a huge issue in this country.  We treat our bodies as if they can take anything and will last forever.  We fill them with unhealthy choices and sit around watching reality TV, instead of really living life.  I am trying, with each new day, to break this cycle for myself and my family.  It isn't easy, but we are striving for balance.  We still watch TV and eat greasy food from time to time, but I don't want that to be the norm.  I want our hearts to be as healthy as they can be.

I don't often get up on a soapbox, but I will today.  Please take care of your heart.  If you're reading this, you are likely a person I care about very much and even if I don't know you, I still want what is best for you.  We have been given the gift of a beating heart and it is our responsibility to treat it well.

In honor of Heart Month, I also want to take the opportunity to thank the amazing medical team that I've worked with over the past several years.  My cardiologist, Dr. Thoresen, is wonderful.  I could tell he was emotionally affected when he had to tell me about my second surgery (something you don't always see in a doctor) and he gave me his cell phone number so we could text regularly last year when my health was deteriorating.  Both of my surgeons, Dr. Hiratzka and Dr. Ivey, are the best of the best and I believe I got the best medical care in the city with them.  All of the staff at Christ Hospital, during my stay last year, were caring, professional and took special care to make me feel as comfortable as possible. I will forever be grateful to these people.

Happy Heart Month :)

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