GET INVOLVED!!!!

I truly thought that I’d be long dead and gone before the medical world ever realized just how important the patient is to the “whole” of their world.

Having a patient’s perspective is vital to seeing the whole picture when running any medical facility!  As patients, we may not be the “whole book,” but we are at least a “chapter” of it.

In yesterday’s Sunday paper, in the business section, I almost fell out of my chair, when I read the title of the main article….HOSPITALS LOOK TO PATIENTS, FAMILY FOR VOICE ON EXPERIENCE.  I have been arguing for this type of inclusion for years now.  I felt as if I had won the lottery!

I applaud LifePoint, and all of the other hospitals and /or medical centers for recognizing the necessity of including patients, and their families, when it comes to the overall health care of a patient.  Launching a patient and family advisory initiative is a GREAT start!!!

Wake up patients and smell the opportunity!!  Healthcare is asking for our help in making patient experiences during visits or hospitalizations a good experience, under bad circumstances…we must heed the call.  I encourage all patients to become familiar with their hospital’s programs, in order to find out if there is a patient advocacy initiative, a patient advocacy committee, or a patient experience officer available.

We have just as much of a responsibility, as any medical facility, when it comes to the quality of care that we receive, or in some cases, lack of.

Let’s not wait until complaints have to be filed with a State Medical Board, or God forbid a lawsuit filed…let’s be more proactive and less reactive.  After all, it could save the lives of others, possibly even your own!

GET INVOLVED!!!!

 

Start You Heart-Healthy Diet Today!

We live in a world that just keeps spinning faster and faster.  So fast, that we either forget to eat (that would be me), or we run through one of the many fast-food restaurants, who are more-and-more now offering a healthy menu, but somehow that whopper, milk shake and those french fries seem to always win out.

The reality is that starting a heart-healthy diet isn’t so much as finding  awesome heart-healthy recipes, or purchasing those great articles in a magazine on the grocery store stand, announcing the latest diet out of the thousands of diets already available, especially for women…it’s about whether or not YOU are SERIOUS about becoming heart-healthy.

I just read a recent article, published by a very credible medical facility, who will remain unnamed, that devoted pages and pages of how valuable and important vegetable and fruits are for those of us living with, or at risk of heart disease…they’re just packed full of all the right vitamins and minerals, low in calories and rich in dietary fiber.  Saturated fat versus Trans fat.  To salt or not to salt.  Proteins.  WOW!  This just in??!!  These types of articles have been around for over a decade now, so why the repeat offense of repeating what we already know.  I mean, come on, if anyone at this stage of the game of heart disease doesn’t know that rather than picking up that delicious looking doughnut rather that an apple or orange, needs to take some serious time reflecting on what’s really at the core of their eating unhealthy!

As harsh at this is going to sound, but I truly believe that we all know it to be true, that the onus of whether or not we eat heart-healthy does not lie in learning more about “diet(s),” proper food intake, etc., but about what is driving us to eat all of those foods that could, and will,  one day kill us.  I’m talking about dying here ladies and gentleman…the one good thing to come out of it all however, is that if you choose to continue to eat unhealthy, you will no longer have to wonder about whether or not to eat that doughnut or the apple…you’ll be dead.

We are in dire need of articles that get down and dirty, telling it like it is, and deal with the real issue surrounding eating heart-healthy…ourselves, including myself!

HEART UP!!!!!!

Cynthia

 

The Benefits of a Support Group

Although my WomenHeart Support Group did not get off the ground running, it sure did nothing to dampen my spirit for starting one!

My church, Brentwood Baptist Church, graciously gave me a room in which to conduct my support group meetings, and free advertisement of the group in both the Sunday bulletin as well as the strategically placed tv’s throughout the church, used for all events/groups sponsored by the church.

The lady who I was dealing with, after my first year, in which the support group was not very productive, asked me if I was going to continue for the following year.  Without any hesitation, I said “Absolutely!  I am not a quitter, and I know without a doubt that there are women out there, even in the church, who are living with, or at risk of, heart disease.”  She said she admired my stamina, which I greatly appreciated, but deep down inside, I have to admit, I was wondering if I was just being bullheaded, something I had learned to be a long time ago – growing up with six brothers will do that to you – ha!

Although it grew slowly, that next year, it grew!  I was ecstatic, and energized by the beautiful women who were taking charge of their heart health, and taking time out of their busy schedules to meet once a month to discuss, and learn more about, heart disease.

The next year was even better and I knew we were on our way.  Yes, there are times where there are 2-3 attendees, and other times where all 10 of us are together!  Life has a lot of demands, and when you add heart disease to that list, sometimes one just has to say no, which is the beauty of this support group…there is absolutely NO pressure in any way, whether it be attendance, or participation.

I am very proud of all of all of my “support group ladies,” and I know that they are now out there doing what I was doing long before I met them…they are telling others about their heart issue(s), encouraging other women to better advocate for themselves, and inviting other women to join our group so that they too can benefit from discussing what heart disease has meant in their own lives, as well as learning the most updated information regarding women and heart disease.

I recently attended a Tim Tebow event, and something he said resonated with me.  When Tim was asked if he realized just what a difference he has made in so many peoples lives in regard to faith and determination, Tim responded by stating, “Anyone can do what I do, and have done.  I just have a better platform through the NFL in which to spread my message.  I would tell every person out there to GET UP…DO SOMETHING…ANYTHING…but get up, and make a difference whether it’s volunteering, using your experiences and/or skills, speaking, or working with youth,  you too can make a difference.  You just have to GET UP!!!!”

Even before I heard Tim’s message, I GOT UP, and I’m so glad that I did!!!!  I now challenge all other women to GET UP and GO OUT with their message of women and heart disease awareness…YOU GET UP AND YOU GO GIRLS!!!

God Bless….

The Sigma That Comes With Filing for Disability…

Tomorrow I file for Social Security Disability.  I’m doing so, as I’ve been told that I cannot work a full-time job, and am very limited to what jobs I might even possibly be able to do, both now, and down the road, due to my heart issues.

Why do I feel so “less than” in filing for disability?  I shouldn’t.  I have paid into it since age 15, and did so until I went into government work in my 50’s.  There’s a “stigma” placed on individuals, sometimes by others, sometimes by ourselves, who go on any type of disability.  “Oh, I’m sure there’s something out there that you could do…you still take walks, so why can’t you work?”

Once you file for disability there is a preconceived notion that one must lie in a bed and then wait to die.  Having a disability is not a vacation, trust me!  Filing for disability is humbling at best.  I always thought I would work until I couldn’t…I just didn’t think it would be this early in my life.  I’m of retirement age, but I would love to still work a full-time job and dig in there and get my hands dirty!

I have a disability.  I am filing for disability.  However, I refuse to just lie in bed, waiting to die!  And if anyone doesn’t like it, all I can say is, “I would trade places with you any day of the week.”

Concern Over The 21st Century Cures Act


I read, with great interest, under the Politics section of The Tennessean newspaper yesterday, where the U.S. House of Representatives passed The 21st Century Cures Act, which according to the article states would develop lifesaving therapies and cures.  However, the article also stated the funds would be used on medical research and new treatments for “rare diseases,” which obviously would NOT include heart disease.

Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood), a co-sponsor of the Bill has an office here in Franklin where I live, and if I am understanding this Bill correctly, then I take issue with the fact that this type of funding is being requested for a small number of Americans, and not for the “bigger picture,” the Number One Killer of both Men and Women over all other leading causes of death.  It’s commensurate with letting the majority of Americans starve while sending all of our food to other countries…I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be funding for “rare diseases,” or help from America for those individuals starving in other countries, but in regard to this particular Bill, the numbers should speak for themselves…in this case, number.  That number being one, the number one killer of Americans!!

With medical equipment supply companies being the number one export in Tennessee, this new law is NOT about the people, but about money…money for the medical supply companies, money for the State of Tennessee, money for everyone except for the people.
You can bet that I will be following this Bill very closely!

Four Words That Have Cost Many Women Their Lives!

If I had a dollar for every time, I’ve been told, “You don’t look sick,” I’d be one rich woman!!!

Sadly, NOT “looking sick,” is what kept me from getting the help I needed eleven years ago in getting properly diagnosed with heart disease.

When I had a heart attack in August of 2008, while being taken up to my room from the ER, a nurse in the elevator, kept turning around looking at me…I thought maybe she thought she knew me.  However, that was not the case.  You see, I had been on my way to work, dressed in heels, a nice black skirt, professional white blouse, full make-up and hair done, when my heart attack happened.  Eventually, this nurse stated, “Well Honey, you’re too pretty to be sick!”  Nothing has ever stopped me from using my own sense of freakish humor, and having a heart attack was no different, so I replied, “Well, it’s not everyday that you have a heart attack, so I thought I’d dress up for it!”  It got very quite, very quickly, in that elevator, and even though I was still in pain, I was laughing on the inside 🙂

Even visiting my cardiologist, I am often looked at as if I am either there with someone who looked like, and is, a heart patient, or looked at as if I needed a Psychiatrist, not a Cardiologist.  I refuse to dress sloppily, not fix my hair or not wear make-up, just so that I can get others to believe that I have heart disease…I really don’t care!  It took me a while to get to this point, but eventually I did, and I no longer let others words, or judgmental looks defer me from getting the help I need.  The place I get these looks the most is at the ER…you can almost read their minds, from the receptionist all the way to the on-call cardiologist, who immediately determines, “she must be experiencing anxiety due to a bad marriage, stress from the kids, her job, her life…after all, she’s a woman, and a woman who is fit and in no way reflects what a heart patient should look like, at least not according to the medical textbooks I studied!”  Trust me when I say, that many a nurse, physician, cardiologist have been spared my “right hook,” the one I learned, growing up with six brothers.

So, if you want to be taken seriously ladies, don’t bathe, wear your oldest pair of sweats, don’t bother with make-up or brushing your hair, and head on into the ER or your physician’s office, looking like your about to take your last breath…otherwise, you might as well just stay home and save your deductible!!!

 

Just Another Day in Paradise!

All winter long I complained, and complained, and complained about the cold weather and how I couldn’t wait for it to be Summer again!!

I need to be more careful in what I wish for…without much of a Spring, Summer is here, at least temperature-wise.  I knew that due to my heart issues I could never again get in a hot tub or jacuzzi, as the heat would send my heart racing like a horse the day of the Kentucky Derby!

Well, I have now reached a plateau, in regard to heat affecting my heart…the heat from the sun, which I love by the way, has become too much when you mix the sun with a high temperature and add a dash of heat index to it for good measure.  Even getting into the pool, which has become more like bath water, only buys me a little more time outside.

So, now, I find myself looking forward to the days of “cold,” when I can get outside, walk and enjoy nature the way it was meant to be…with my heart inside of my chest.

Blessings!

Cyndi

 

I Woke Up This Morning!

As with every morning when I wake up, I take the time to just lay in the stillness, other than the birds chirping, and breathe in the fact that I’m alive!! Most people take that for granted, throwing their covers off, jumping out of bed, and running around the house with their minds racing from one thought to another. Sometimes I envy them and other times I feel sorry for them. I envy them for the mere fact that they don’t have to lay there waiting to see what their heart is going to do…race? skip a beat or two? or, think about doctor appointments, medical tests to be run or procedures to undergo? I feel sorry for them because they haven’t learned to slow down and appreciate the fact that they are alive…that the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the possibilities are endless! These things I do not take for granted any longer, and haven’t for a long time.

It’s possible that had I not had a heart attack, been diagnosed with heart disease, I would be just like “them,” still racing, both in mind and body, from one thought/thing to another. Slowing down wasn’t a choice…it was a necessity. It just might have saved my life. So, if I’m a little slow getting out of bed in the morning, I don’t, and won’t, apologize. I will instead savor the moment, and face the day, no matter what it holds, irregular heart beats and all, and thank God that I Woke Up This Morning ♡

HELLO AGAIN…

As they say, better late than never!!

This is embarrassing, but has to be said…I began a Blog that I couldn’t even keep up with, but it’s time…time to get this “party” started!!!!

Heart Disease continues to be the Number One Killer of Women over all cancers, all other diseases, all other leading causes of death (murder, accidents, suicides), according to the Center for Disease and Prevention Control. WHY? Because we are not getting the awareness the Breast Cancer has garnered over the years.

I’m just going to be blunt here, because I have experienced both the threat of breast cancer (benign but only have one and a half breasts now for pro-active reasoning), as well as being diagnosed with numerous types of heart disease. I have congenital heart disease, microvascular heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, mitral valve prolapse, mitral valve regurgitation, leading to a deteriorating mitral valve, and chronic/unstable angina.

So here goes…they’re called boobs. Breasts can be seen and are a very sexual part of a woman’s body. Thus, why we have big burly NFL football players running around in pink the month of October…you won’t see them any other month, during the season, wearing any other color in support of awareness for any other disease. Hearts can’t be seen, and they surely aren’t sexy!

I have tried for years now to get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to have NFL players wear red, even red dress patches, in support of awareness for women and heart diseases. His excuses were lame at best. Yeah, the season, other than the Super Bowl, is over by time Heart Disease Awareness Month (February) comes around, but hey, I’ll settle for the Super Bowl any day!!! Pick a different month, other than October, it doesn’t matter…just get the word out!!!

A big shout-out to Mark Sanchez who did a PSA on Women’s Heart Attacks, during the 2010 Super Bowl. When asked why he did the PSA, he stated that he had taken a course during his college years that talked about women’s health and how women have different heart attack symptoms than men. He went further by stating that he felt the need to highlight this issue “especially since heart disease is the number one killer.”

This is exactly what we need to bring awareness to the table of women and heart disease…celebrities speaking out, especially men! Barbara Streisand has been a huge advocate for years in getting the word out regarding the issue of women and heart disease being the number one killer! Furthermore, what used to be known at Cedars Sinai Women’s Heart Center in LA, is now called, and appropriately so, The Barbara Streisand Women’s Heart Center for all of her hard work, and funding of the Center. Thanks Babs!!

Challenging all other celebrities, pro-athletes, and those in power to take a stand against the Number One Killer of Women…Heart Disease. It’s not just my life, or other women’s lives, I’m fighting for, but my two daughter’s lives, and my three grandchildren’s lives, as heart disease too can be passed down to other generations…I should know. My oldest daughter had heart surgery a little over two years ago for a congenital issue, and my youngest daughter has worn a heart monitor due to irregular heart rates. The chances are great that my grandchildren will also be at high risk for heart disease, which makes this Mama very,, very sad. I won’t be around forever to herald the cause…time is of the essence!!!!

Let’s lift up our voices and BE HEARD!!!! Who knows, we might just save a life or two 🙂

Here’s to a lifetime of Heart Healthy Living….
Blessings,

Cynthia

New Blog

Hello Everyone!

I am really excited to be able to launch my brand new blog to share with the world. Bookmark this page and check back often to learn more about me and what is going on!

Talk soon,
Cyndi