If Facebook life is perfect, our real ones are too right ? Part 1

Given how my day went today it is fitting that I wrote this post a few days ago and now have 2 parts to share with you all.    

Facebook fools us all into thinking others lives are perfect, some people even think my life is always smiles and fun times…..Let’s open that door  and start with……

 

The story behind my most liked Facebook photo ever.  

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When you are not sure where to start, start with what makes the most sense.  Authenticity.

Marathon Weekend 2016 in Disneyworld.  My greatest and most successful moment in my Heart Attack Recovery, finishing the Goofy Challenge.

Great moment, right ?  I will agree, in fact over 200 likes, 2400 views on blog Facebook page, a few shares and many positive encouraging comments.

Yay, yay for me right ?  Sure.  Let’s go with that.  I made it look easy of according to some.

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This is where most of us make a mistake on social media and I am not immune to it.

 Now, I have definitely shared highs and lows and some not so great life posts but most of my Facebook shows more of the great life moments than the struggles.  Authenticity of life is thrown out the window because who wants to show how they are struggling behind the photos?.

Comparison, it’s what we do but we shouldn’t.  I had one message from someone who, while congratulating me also told me seeing my photo collage made them feel inadequate because they could never do what I did.  My response, you can do it but I promise you it is not easy.

Let’s look behind the photo.  Rewind a bit shall we ?

January 2013, Walt Disney World.  I attempted my first Goofy Challenge.  I failed.  I got pulled at mile 22, put on a bus and taken to the finish where they gave me 2 medals which to this day, I still think I did not deserve.  Those medals stay in a box.  My first thought was embarrassment, shame.  I had spent time on social media sharing my excitement for the event upcoming.  How the hell do I now tell people that I was pulled from the course, not fast enough.?  I wanted to be alone, I was ashamed, hurt, crying, angry.  After some time, I shared my failure on Facebook.  That was so fucking hard, so Hard that I turned my phone off right after to avoid any ridicule or mean comments.  None came.  People were encouraging and supportive.  It took a long time to get over that failure.  2013 became one of my worst years overall.  Life sucks a lot sometimes.

 

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My heart after having a Heart Attack. August 11, 2013
My heart after having a Heart Attack. August 11, 2013

Continuing on.  Aug 2013, Hear Attack.  Starting over physically.  I knew exactly what goal I needed to set but I also knew I could not rush it.  So behind my successful photo in 2016, here is what you didn’t see.

  • My first time back on a treadmill where I couldn’t even walk for 8 minutes and had to accept that defeat.
  • The moments when I walked away from those who said, you shouldn’t do this, maybe you just can’t anymore.
  • Injuries that I never spoke of. Spraining my knee twice, slipped discs in my lower back and neck, angina attacks ( thankfully only a couple.)
  • My feet and legs that bruise and swell from running, every single time.
  • The days I awoke in so much physical pain I struggled to just get through the day knowing it would eventually go away.
  • The training miles. When you commit to a marathon you commit a lot of time, time you could spend with family and friends.
  • Sleepless nights where I would go to the gym just to get out of my head.
  • Did I mention daily pain?
  • The training runs that I had to stop because I was vomiting profusely
  • The moments of doubt, so many times I thought “maybe you shouldn’t go for this.” I lacked confidence.
  • The moments of reaching out to people who rejected my pleas to talk, some of whom I no longer speak with.
  • The moments when you are trying to share but others make it about them or compare.
  • Friendships that have suffered because I made myself so focused that I failed at maintaining some important relationships. Some may never recover.
  • The times I stopped training to help others but received not so much as a thank you which made me question my importance to others. Who thought I was worth their time, love.
  • Wanting it so bad, the “win” that I got into some stupid situations that could have cause more injury harm than success.
  • The many times I questioned my own self worth.

 

Soooooo   Close !
Soooooo Close !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I could on and on.  The point here is this.  Behind most every smiling photo or “doctored” Facebook status is someone’s pain, someone’s sacrifice, someone who is looking for a win so bad so that they don’t feel like the loser they think they are. 

Most importantly behind the success at the end may just be someone looking for authentic connection, a talk, a hug, someone just to let that person be themselves so that they can pull that mask off, be vulnerable.

Comparing ourselves to others social media life is unfair because it is rare that you will see the authenticity or vulnerability of someone and usually when we do, we cower and say nothing or think, gee that person is just looking for attention.

Comparison is something I see a lot of in the support groups I am a part of and daily on my personal FB page and it can be so sad to see how people beat themselves up outside of Facebook because thier life is not like someone else who posted a great experience or photo.

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One of my goals is to be way more authentic in the coming 6 months.  My one promise is this…..  I will not “out” anyone but I will share stories.  I will talk about what is actually happening and share the wins and the challenges because I believe now that there are no failures, just challenges.

 

 

I have failed or faced challenges leading up to finally completing my first Marathon and as of this writing, I have been challenged once again by having my first Did Not Finish on my second Marathon due to injury. I shared this on social media and although I got support, I know there are many who would not.  Being that vulnerable was scary but worth it.  Sometimes you just have to open up but also listen to those who may need you to step up for them.

Part 2 coming in a couple days.

 

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From Heart Attack Survivor to Marathon Finisher

Heart Attack Survivor to Marathon Finisher ( Goofy Challenge Finisher)

39.3 MIles ( 63.25 Kms) , 2 Days, 4 Theme Parks.  3 Medals. 1 Moment of RAW Emotion.  

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His name is Mark.  At age 38 , he is now a Marathon Finisher.  It did not come without struggle, committment and hard work.

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Friends are a big part of what makes this whole experience so special ! Left to Right: Diane, Tracy, Cynthia, Nicki !

One week prior to his 36 birthday he suffered and survived a Heart Attack.  Four days later he went into Cardiac Arrest during surgery to place 2 stents in his heart.  Only one was placed due to this event.  He continues to live with another 70 % blockage in the main artery to his heart but this doesn’t stop him from living and trying to reach new limits.

For the next 2 years and 5 months he went through Cardiac Rehab, made a few lifestyle changes, lost 30 lbs and got back to one of his passions.  Running.  Mark will admit that none of it was easy and there were some days of having to push beyond what he thought he was capable of.

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On January 10th, 2016 in the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World, Mark became an official Marathon Runner and Finisher.  Equally as important he completed the Goofy Challenge which requires a runner to do a Half Marathon (13.1 Miles or 22 Kms.) the day before.  Some would call this crazy, I guess that is why they call it Goofy.

In 2013 he attempted this same challenge and did not finish.  Due to pacing requirements he just wasn’t fast enough to avoid being swept off the course.  Some people say they were closing things early because of extreme heat and humidity.  “ It doesn’t matter the circumstance, I just was not fast enough and that race, unknown to me would set the tone for my year.  I failed but knew I would try again.  I just didn’t think it would take me three years to get back here to do it.”

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All Business !

 

On his Marathon Finish Mark said “This was by far one of my hardest and most proud moments in life.  I cried like a baby knowing I was going to finish a Marathon.  I saw my friend Jennifer, a woman who I respect, admire and love for how encouraging and supportive she has been. I believe around Mile 24.

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Jenn and I ! I love this woman, such an amazing friend !

She gave me some beer.  Yes I drank a beer and it tasted like heaven.  Shortly after I hugged her and went on my way, tears began to fall. “

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The course was not without it’s challenges.  From mile 19-20  he had to fully walk because his heart rate was not recovering as quickly as he had hoped.  It is the only point in the race where he thought that he may have to pull himself as his heart rate seemed to not dip back below 125 beats per minute on rest moments.  Thankfully his heart rate eventually went down enough to keep going on.  “6.2 miles to go, it became harder and I began run/ walk more frequently.”

To run a Marathon requires commitment, a commitment that most won’t give.  For the last 9 months he trained while most were sleeping.  Midnight and 2 am runs, sometimes he’d go earlier but that was rare. “Some people totally understood and others not so much.”  Opinions began to not matter to me. This was not about other people, it  was all about me.  I was dedicated to finishing, so dedicated that I eventually stopped wearing my Fitbit on those late night runs.  I kinda wanted to ensure I was challenging no one but myself. I was obsessed to say the least.”

The race started around 5:30 am with the first wave of runners set to go.  Mark was in Corral M.  4 corrals up from the last, he knew he had to go hard in the beginning as to not fall behind and risk being swept.  By the time it was his turn to cross the start line, the time was closer to 6:20 am.

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Corral M, I’ve got this !

Off went the fireworks and  it was now time to put all that training to the test.  He was nervous but not afraid, strong , focused but most importantly no matter the result, prepared to ensure he still had fun.  “ I stopped for a few photos with people who had funny signs, looked on in envy of those who had time to stop to take photos with characters but still felt like a kid seeing the Disney characters on the course. I did eventually get my chance at a couple of character photos but that reward would wait until I knew I was going to finish the race.”

The first 13 Miles seemed to be the easiest according to Mark.  13 miles was a distance he was use to as he had run half marathons in the last but only once since his Heart Attack.   As he continued he did experience some knee pain but was able to overcome that by stopping at Medical tents and utilizing bio freeze which numbs the area.  He credits that with allowing him to focus on the race and not the pain.

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The Half Marathon Portion on Saturday Jan 9th as a part of the Goofy Challenge. 66 kms in 2 days 🙂

As the remaining miles went by it seemed like forever, he began to run/ walk more frequently but still maintain a pace that was healthy and that would help him succeed.

How did you feel when you knew you were at the point where you absolutely knew you were safe and were going to finish the race without the fear of being swept ? 

“  That moment is when I got through the ESPN zone, the most boring part of the course.  I left ESPN and shortly encountered Mile 22.  The Mile in which I was swept in 2013,  I saw the buses  that were parked there for those who would not finish this race sometime later.  I gave those buses the two middle fingers, smiled and kept going.  It was such a good feeling to know that I was now safe and the race was now mine to finish.

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At Mile 26. The time is from the official start time. My final Time was 6hrs 47 min, 13 seconds.

 

To finish this story, I will now leave third person and talk as myself. 

As I entered Hollywood Studios my pace slowed, was is my sense of security ?  No, I was tired and wanted to ensure a strong finish.  They say with hard work comes reward.  What was my reward before finishing?  I worked so hard and skipped some character stops that I would have loved to do.  Then I saw Boo from Monsters Inc.  I had to stop for this photo, at least one, for me.  Shortly after  I saw the Genie from Aladdin outside the boardwalk and I was ecstatic that I could have my photo taken with him.  There is a quote in Aladdin that I love . “ But oh, to be free, such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in the world.”  This sums up how I felt crossing the finish line.

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Boo and the Genie !

 

I came running around that 26 mile marker and shortly saw that finish line in front of me.  I wanted to stop and admire what was before me but I could not, I knew I had to keep going.  As I got closer I looked into many eyes of those cheering on the runners.  I was bawling like a baby, I could not contain my tears, I forgot what it was like to actually feel emotion until that moment.  My eyes were leaking !!

Just before I reached the finish all I can remember was pushing my arms out to my side in excitement and bringing them back into my body, almost flexing and releasing every emotion I had in me.  Lucky for me the photographers caught that moment.  Here I was, after almost losing my life a couple years before, accomplishing the most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life.  I smiled, received my Marathon Medal, hugged the volunteer and almost couldn’t let go.  I am pretty sure her shoulder is still soaked from my tears.

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ALL OF THE FEELS !! MY EYES ARE LEAKING !

Jan 10, 2016, I became a Marathoner.  I finished in 6 hrs, 47 minutes and 13 seconds.  I was not fast but I never gave up.  The training for this race began from the moment I stepped back on a treadmill 6 weeks after my heart attack. 

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“If you can Dream It, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

That feeling of finishing was worth all of the late nights,  hard work, blood, pain and listening to those who told me if I trusted them, then they would get me back as close as they could to who I was before.  That day I left it all out there and succeeded.

If anyone tells me they can’t do something, or that I can’t do something they have said it to the wrong person.  Because I will show them what I can do, what they can do….. IF,  they believe.

I may not have what others have in terms of physical capabilities but it’s not about that, it’s about my will power.  I am proud of what I accomplished but I will never settle.  I will always succeed and earn every moment of life.  I am still not a finished product, I am striving each day to always be better than I was the day before.  In my Heart I do not fear, I love as much as I can and am free.

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“ But oh, to be free, such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in the world.” – Genie from Aladdin.

 

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The post that wasn’t……Trained Well. What Are You Afraid Of ?

Before you read the actual blog post below, there is something I must say.

I wrote the following a few days before I ran my Half Marathon.  I did not post this because although I wanted to believe the words, a part of me was still too scared to share what was going through my head.  These words got into my head after I wrote this so, I decided not to post.

Until tonight.

Why is it that we all are afraid to admit what scares us ?  Even when we feel confident outwardly we still don’t share.  So, my friends, I was sacred, scared enough not to share.  I can’t let continuous fear hold me back, so here it goes… Read on, if you wish.

 

TRAINED WELL……WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF ?

If you have trained well, what are you afraid of ?

This question was posed the other day in a conversation when I was discussing my upcoming Half Marathon as well as my training the last few months.

I have put a lot of time into my training, truthfully, it has almost been to the point of obsession.  I have never felt more focused in training than I have the last few months.  I want to have my best run ever.

So, what am I afraid of ?

Well, for starters, I have run 5 previous Half Marathons.  I was training for my 6 th when my Heart Attack Occurred.  OK, well it didn’t happen while running but it happened a few weeks before my big race.

I know exactly what it takes to run 22 kms, 13.1 miles.  I know the toll it can take on the body. I know how hard it can be mentally.  The internal battles with every step.  I know how the elements of weather can change and affect a persons body.

 

My First Half Marathon- Jan 2012 in Disneyworld.
My First Half Marathon- Jan 2012 in Disneyworld.

I am now doing this race knowing all of this and being aware that I have Heart Disease, that I am running with a 70 % blockage that was never surgically fixed. Let that sink in a bit.  Not to mention the various other 70’s and 50’s you can see in the pics below.

It is like being told before you start something that you are already have a disadvantage. This is a a disadvantage that you must overcome and no one around you would know. 

That part will never leave my head.

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This is the farthest distance I will have run consistently in 2 years.  My highest training mileage was 15 kms in the controlled environment of the Gym.  Kinda protected I’d say, wouldn’t you ?

To be clear, I do not fear death.

I fear the headaches.  I have been battling a small concussion for a few weeks now which has limited some running and other activities.  They have subsided for the most part.

I do fear that as prepared as I am, that my heart could shut me down.  Not another Heart Attack.  I fear not being able to finish the race that I have been so dedicated to training for.

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I mean, if my heart races too hard or the heat makes it too hard on my heart that I will have to pull out of the race. I will pull out.

It plays in my head that maybe I am not trained enough or that my heart may not quite be up to the challenge.

I fear my lack of emotion since my Heart Attack.

I fear the effect of my medications,

Let me explain.  

Most of my training was has been at night, 12-16 hours after I have taken my medication, a couple hours before I take my night time meds.

I take medication that does suppress my heart rate and my blood pressure.  I will have to take these within about an hour or two before my race.  So what is the effect ?

I have trained my heart rate to be at a consistent 145- 150 beats per minute at night while running. Given that I am taking my meds so close to race time, it will seem like more work and most likely my heart rate during the race won’t exceed 125-130.  I have done exercise on meds before but it has been a while, so, I truthfully don’t know how hard this could end up being.

My biggest fear ultimately is that I will let these thoughts get to me at some point during those 22 km.  I am so afraid that I will allow these fears to overtake the strengths I know I have and ultimately make me give up out of fear.

So why write about this ? Because tonight and until I cross that finish line I am giving a big F YOU  to these thoughts.  Why ? Because I have let them control me the last few weeks. and I am taking control back, for me, for my goal.

So, to answer the question.

 Today I fear nothing because I know I can do this.  I have already beaten many challenges in the last 20 months and I will finish this race.

I will finish because I am strong, I am healthy, I am confident and I am trained as best I can.  Let’s not forget… I am also…..

Pretty. Damn. Awesome.

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My First 10 K – 9 Months after my Heart Attack.

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HEART ATTACK STORIES- GINNY- WE ALL BLEED RED

Today Please meet Ginny.

In the spirit of Heart Month I am sharing stories of fellow Heart Attack Survivors that I have met through The Under 55 Heart Attack Survivors Group on Facebook. Everyone has a story and I hope you will take a read and help us create awareness of the #1 Killer in North America.

Who are you ?  Name, current age, where are you from ?

            Ginny, Age 52, Southern Maryland 

How old were you when you experienced your heart attack?

            50

 

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Where were you when it happened?  Tell me your story.

 

            My 20 year old daughter and I had decided to go to Disney World for New Year’s Eve (really bad idea, don’t ever do it)  We rode rides, ate dinners and had an over all good time.  We returned from Disney on Jan 2.  She returned to college on Jan 3.  I went to work on Jan 4 and had a typical day.  I was rushed all day and didn’t get a chance to eat so I grabbed a Subway sandwich on the way home and ate it in my car in a rush.

            When I got home the indigestion started – this is not the least bit unusual.  I have it all the time.  That evening a girlfriend called and said her daughter was going back to college the next day and did I want to come over to say good bye.  I said of course I do, but I had a terrible upset stomach and would not be staying long.  After the good byes I sat on the couch with my friend laughing about how getting old sucks.  One turkey Subway sandwich is sending my stomach into fits.  (And I was taking Tums and acid reflux pills by the handful and nothing was relieving the symptoms)

            So I went to bed that night with a very upset stomach.  It was so upset, I knew I’d never fall asleep like that so I took a sleeping pill (God protects the stupid)

            Next morning I woke up with the same nausea and wondered what I had done to my stomach to get this.  I assumed it was some bug and not just general indigestion.  (This was like no indigestion I have ever had)  But I started to do my normal Saturday chores.  The next symptom  was pressure in my chest.  (Women will understand this – it was like wearing a bra 3 sizes too small.)  Again, I chalked it up to whatever bug I had picked up. 

            Next, I was carrying a bucket of clean clothes upstairs to put away.  I got about halfway up my stairs, and was so out of breath, I couldn’t breathe.  I started to sweat and was cold and clammy.  (Still thought it was all bug related)  But at this point, I decided whatever I had, I should sit down and rest.  This was no time to be doing chores. 

            So I went back down stairs to sit on the couch and I started coughing.  Not a sore throat cough or a tickle or anything else.  I think of it like someone was pressing a cough button and my throat reacted.  At that point I said to myself, “what the hell is going on”

            This is where WEBMD saved me.  I literally went onto WEBMD and did a search of symptoms of a women’s heart attack, and all the things I’ve described were like a checklist – each and every one of them.  So I drove myself to the hospital.  I sat in the hospital parking lot with smart angel and dumb angel on my shoulders.  Dumb angel was telling me I was a wimp and I needed to go home and do my chores.  (There were leaves to be raked)  Smart angel said, you’re here.  Go in.  You have good insurance.  Let the kind doctors tell you that you are a wimp.

            So I went into the emergency room at about noon on a Saturday afternoon.  Fortunately all the drunks and car accidents weren’t in yet when I said I was having chest pains, they took me right back.  Blood pressure was off the charts.  Not sure what the EKG showed, but some enzyme showed up in my blood work that said I was having a heart attack.

            I went to a small rural hospital and they do not have a cardiac area, so I had to be sent up to DC to be treated.  It’s about 80 miles away, so there was discussion about a helicopter ride up vs an ambulance.  But after some aspirin, nitro and morphine, I was stable.  I actually stayed in my local emergency room for about 12 hours waiting for a bed to open up in the city.  But as I said, I was stable.

            So I got up to the hospital in the middle of the night.  Was checked in on Saturday and I was still stable and still on morphine so they decided I didn’t have to be done under emergency procedures and my stent was planned for Monday morning.  They found an 80% blockage.  Put in the stent and I was home by Wednesday.

 

What were your signs and symptoms?  Did you have any pre existing conditions or family history ?

 

            Symptoms are above and I have a ton of family history.  My oldest brother died of a heart attack when he was 39.  My Dad and his brother both had young hear attacks.  My Mother’s father died of a heart attack young.

 

How did this affect your life?  Physically/ Personally? 

           I’m not really sure.  At first I jumped right back into my life.  Gym, every morning.  Didn’t think a thing about it.  I even ran my first half marathon (I use the term ran loosely here) in October.  But about a year and a half after it all, I’ve been getting very, very tired and I’m not sure why.  My doctor did the stress test and I passed with flying colors.  I just seem out of sorts.  Every twinge in my chest sends me into a panic.  I’ve gone to the hospital with a really upset stomach because I thought it was happening again.  I’m more scared now and I’ve never been like that.

 

What lifestyle changes have you made ?  What are your struggles ?

           I’ve never had an issue with going to the gym.  I love the gym.  I struggle with it now because I’m tired a lot, but I’ve recently recommitted myself to it.  I can’t control what I eat.  I see people eating a salad at lunch and can’t imagine why they would choose a salad over a yummy sandwich.  My vegetable and fruit intake is almost nill.  I know I’m the only one who can fix this, but I truly don’t know how.

 

Stents/ Zipper or Defib ?  What is your situation?

           Only a stent. 

 

 

What do you fear now ?

            Little pains.  Every tweak in my chest makes me jump.  I have trouble concentrating and have terrible memory issues, but I’m not sure if that’s just the 50 stupids or it’s a result of med or just an occurrence after it happens.

 

What are three things that are most important in your post heart attack life?

  • Being around for my daughter for a very long time. I want to be at her wedding.  I want to play with my grandchildren
  • My job. I have a lot of responsibility and my employer deserves my full attention and I don’t know if I can give it
  • Enjoying the rest of my life. I use to be a get out of the house person, but not anymore.  I sit around a lot and I want to reclaim who I was

Did you do Cardiac Rehab?  What has been the hardest part of your recovery ?

            I did not do Cardiac rehab.  My dimwitted first doctor didn’t even tell me about it.  That is was something I could/should do.  I changed cardiologist, about a year after and she said it’s never too late to do it.  So I went to an appointment and was told that I had to pay an insurance deductible so It would be $20, three times a week for 12 weeks.  All they have in the room are treadmills and bicycles.  They provided no other information other than physical rehab.  No nutritional counseling.  So it would have cost me over $700 for a 3 month gym membership.  And I was already going to the gym, on the treadmill for 45 minutes a day.  There didn’t seem to be an upsize.

            The hardest part is the lack of information.  First doctors treat women (especially younger women) with heart issues differently.  I can’t tell you the number of times I was asked “Why did you have a heart attack?”.  What an amazingly stupid question.  To this day, thinking about that question raises my blood pressure.  I was told the female hormones are supposed to protect the heart so it shouldn’t have happened.  I swear some just didn’t believe it happened. 

 

 

What are your new dreams ?

            Hmmmmmmm???  If I figure some out, I’ll let you know.

 

What do you wish you could do now that you never tried before but so wish you could?  

            I’m not much of a regrets person.  Not sure there is anything

 

Who was there for you?

            My sister from another mister.  BFF – Wanda. 

 

Did you lose many people after ?

            Not a single one.

 

What is the funniest thing someone has said or asked about your heart attack?

            WHY – and it’s not the least bit funny

 

Have you had any detractors or people who have been hard on you?

            Nope – not a one.  I have one sister who is getting me heath magazines and such for presents, but it’s done in love

 

If you could go back in the past how would you live your life differently?

            I wish my Mom had forced me to eat my vegetables. 

 

 

What do you want more of in life ?

            I want to be more outgoing.  I want to take more personnel risks with my heart.

 

Is this the hardest thing you have ever experienced ?

            Not even close.  I didn’t believe it was happening up until they told me in the hospital.  At that point I was on morphine.  They made me comfortable.  (Deliver an 11 pound baby and we can talk hard things.  Find pictures of your ex having sex with another woman and that’s hard.)  This was a blip

 

What makes you great ?

            I’m very kind and very funny.  I can find the good/great in anything.  I enjoy giving to those who need it.  We are only on this earth once and we are here to take care of our brothers and sisters who can’t take care of themselves.

 

What advice would you give to a healthy person?

            Find the good.  There’s a great line in “Pretty Woman” where Julia Roberts says “Ever notice how it’s easier to believe the bad things”  Find the good, get rid of negative people, Surround yourself with people who are proud of you and can find the good in every bad situation.

 

Ginny

HEART ATTACK SURVIVORS UNITE !

That Moment I met someone who inspires me.  Sarah Klena.

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There are few people I admire or look up to in this world.  Those whom I do are those who have risen above the tough situations in which they have experienced.  Over the coming weeks I am going to acknowledge some of these amazing people.  Each of them has a special place in my Heart for different reasons.

One of those people is my heart sister, fellow Heart Attack Survivor, Sarah Klena from http://heartattackat31.blogspot.com/  .  I met Sarah through her blog and she even wrote a guest post here on my blog in February which I recommend you read.  We have interacted back and forth though Facebook sharing our experiences with each other and getting to know each other.

 I was in Disneyworld a few weeks ago and sent her a message asking if she would like to meet for dinner.  Plans were made.  We met on Dec 3rd at Raglan Road- A great Irish Pub ! ( my favorite place in Downtown Disney !)

To say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement.  Reading her blog shortly after my Heart Attack was so helpful and inspiring for me.  To me, it was meeting a someone who gave me hope in my recovery through reading her experiences on her blog.  She inspires, for what she survived, how she’s recovered and the attitude and honesty she chose to display.  She chose to share her story to help herself and others.

We met around 5:00 pm. I walked into the front door and there she was.  A beaming smile and a welcoming hug.  She looked healthy, beautiful and full of life.  She is also a little taller than me haha.

I was unsure of what to expect or how the night would go.  I will say this, we both can talk… A LOT. 

I cannot remember what we ordered, I do know we ate pretty healthy and that the food was pretty awesome.

I won’t go into all the details of our conversation but I will say this.  Nothing is more refreshing than speaking with someone who had been through what you have and truthfully, she definitely was far luckier than me to have survived.  Sarah had not ONE but TWO Heart Attacks and survivede at the age of 31.

One thing we both agreed on is that once something like this happens to you at such a young age you almost feel an obligation to help others, get the word out, tell people about what happened, how it can happen, how to prevent it happening.   We both would not want others to experience a Heart Attack, we both have a desire to help others and get the word out.   We are young and never thought this could happen to us.

We talked about the scary moments, being a slight hypochondriac at times, the differing emotions and experiences, the recovery and how amazing life can be.

We spent a lot of time laughing, talking about our lives post Heart Attack, how others reacted, treated us, what they said ( some people say some funny things, trust me !)  She told me of something great about her personal life! ( seriously exciting news but hers to share, not mine.  It is not on her blog yet haha !)  Before we knew it, it was past 9:00 pm and we had lost track of time.  We probably could have spoken for hours, maybe even days more.

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We almost didn’t take a photo !  We asked the server if he would take a photo of us on both our phones, and my camera.  After all, how could we have met and not had a photo together right?  

I could tell you so much more about that night however, the most important part was just being in the moment and meeting a friend that I met through chance and experience. A friend who has inspired me on my journey.  Not that I recommend having a Heart Attack to meet new friends  😉

I will say this about Sarah.  She is humble, has good energy, great attitude, is friendly, funny, engaging, strong, motivated, healthy and has a smile that has presence and light.

I have watched this amazing woman become a huge advocate for women’s heart health in the United States since the time I first sent her an email.

Time to brag about her a bit and share a few of her accomplishments.  She has appeared in the November Issue of Good House Keeping, spoken for Go Red for Women through the American Heart Association and recently appeared on an episode of Doctor Oz- Dec 17, 2013.  You can watch her 2 segments here:  http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-viewers-who-saved-their-own-lives?video_id=3948074010001

And here: http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-viewers-who-saved-their-own-lives?video_id=3948090061001

Thank you Sarah for a great evening and great conversation. Here’s to friendship, good health and kicking Heart Attack’s ass !  Now, I’ll have to get you and Lina up to Canada  haha.

-Mini-

I am Still Here :)

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Hi, remember me ?  Mini, the guy who wrote semi frequently, telling his story of a Heart Attack and a few other little tid bits?  

Well, in case you forgot, I am still around.  I needed a break from a few things badly, very badly.  MY mind was in dissaray and I could not concentrate on quite a few aspects of my life.

I was struggling with editing family photo shoots that I had taken.  It seemed like I was editing poorly and not managing my time well.  I made myself way too busy without a plan on how to manage the good that I was doing.  

I was working somewhere that I felt I could not be successful at even though I thought it had promise when I started, I thought I could do it.  I realized I could reach the objectives set before me.  I just didn’t have it in me.

Personally I struggled with wanting to be around and see people but also wanting to be alone and invisible with no way to be contacted.

I wanted to create time to volunteer more often but just had none.

I wanted time to even just let loose, but time was lost.

I struggled with where to go from here, what to do next how to move forward.

So, I took a break.  I got many photos edited, took some free time to be alone.

I also went to Disneyworld.  I spent time with my good friend Jennifer who lives there.  I needed magic.  Where else can one find some magic ?  The House of the Mouse !

It was exactly what I needed and now I am back and working on direction.  I have plans for the coming months, some goals that , for now, I will keep to myself.

In the coming weeks, I have a few blog posts coming up.  Some great things did happen.

One of the coolest things with which I need to share is that while in Disneyworld, I got to meet Sarah Klena from www.heartattack@31.com for dinner !  I have a post written about this evening her that I will share this week.

That girl is amazing and she is doing so much for Heart Health in the United States.  She inspires me 🙂

Until next time…..with many posts to come…back on track.

Mini

 

My Story in The Calgary Journal !

 

A few months ago I was asked by my friend Michelle if I would be willing to share part of my Heart Attack and Sport/ Running story with the Calgary Journal.  Without hesitation I said yes and awaited contact from the Magazine.

The Calgary Journal is a University Magazine produced by Students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.  The Magazine is distributed free to many locations across Calgary.  I picked up my copy at my Gym- Fitness Plus.

The article I felt was well written and detailed.  It was so cool to see my story in a paper !  I was interviewed by Quinton Amudson and he was very thorough in is questions and was great at confirming my answers and allowing me to tell my story.  Quinton did seem generally interested in what I had to say and had follow up questions.

The only correction I need to address is that I did not have Bypass surgery.  I had Stent Surgery.

I do wish he had two pages to share as we had a long conversation he day he spoke with me.  I was excited he chose my photos from my RunDisney races out of the many I sent him.

Reading the article encourages me to continue my writing.  Who knows, maybe one day I will be writing of the stories of others in a magazine or newspaper.

Below is the Article.  There are many great articles in this issue.  Please share with friends and family.  Thank you Calgary Journal for allowing me to share my story with you ! Click the Link below to read.

Mini

CALGARY JOURNAL ARTICLE

STORY

 

 

http://issuu.com/calgaryjournal/docs/may2014

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