7 DAYS

7 Days from now I will run my first Half Marathon Post Heart Attack.

calendar_week_on_2_pages-MonThruSun

7 Days from now I will put my training and hard work to the test.

7 Days from now, I will be 100% focused.

7 Days from now I will equipped and prepared.

7 Days from now I will face fear head on.

7 Days from now I will beat my fear.

7 Days from now I will take the first step to more races.

7 Days from now I will encourage others as I run.

7 Days from now I will have fun.

7 Days from now I will dance on the course.

7 Days from now I will feel physical pain.

7 Days from now I will beat that pain.

7 Days from now I will feel joy.

7 days from now I will embrace that joy.

7 days from now I will run, walk, crawl if I have to.

7 days from now I will finish the race, even if it’s in last place.

7 Days from now…..Simply….I WILL.

 

Mini.

Not Good at Being Selfish. It’s not YOU, It is ME

Not Good at Being Selfish.

Hello readers.

So, I kind of disappeared again.  I apologize, yet, I don’t all at once.  I don’t expect this to make sense.

 Photo 2015-04-11, 5 33 58 PM (1)

In January I got  lazy and was dealing with personal and job issues. I started to close off a bit.  February I focused on the Heart Attack stories of others, which was amazing and therapeutic.  The beginning of March I overloaded my calendar with appointments, outings and allowed my brain to take over.  I also gained about 12 lbs in those months which made me feel like I was letting myself down and falling into old habits of putting off working out.

What changed ?  I was becoming exhausted and not feeling well.  I realized at one point that between December and March I lost complete focus on the most important person in my life.  Me.  It was beginning to affect my health.  Mentally and Physically.

So, I sat at Denny’s late one night and started to schedule some “me” time. I actually created a calendar, cause I’m cool that way ha ha. A part of writing this blog for me is to be honest, write about what I know and learn as I go.  I didn’t start this out to become a professional writer or get published.  I started this to become a better me and get my thoughts, body and my goals in sync.  I was beginning to fail at this.

I lost sight of what I was doing and where I was going.

I do not do selfish well.  Those who know me well will, I think, agree.  Too often I put the needs and wants of others ahead of myself.  I do enjoy giving of myself but sometimes I just give too much. As an ex girlfriend once said to me….. “ your problem is your care too much.”  She was right.

If you gave me a huge bundle of money, there is a solid chance I would spend on others long before I buy myself something and even then I would analyze my purchase until I was blue in the face.

OK, back to my point. Although the last paragraph kinda states a bit of my point.

 

So me, back to me.  I have spent the last 6 weeks getting back to what was important to me.  Yes, I have written, just not posted.  I have re dedicated myself to the gym.  Focus mainly on cardio.  I have lost 6 of the 12 lbs I gained, my energy has returned…sorta.  I need to work harder on not napping after work.  I am in training for my first Half Marathon post Heart Attack, so there is that as well.

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I don’t do selfish well but in the coming months my goal is to learn to balance my desire to give of myself AND focus on me.  I hate saying no, I struggle with the word, always have.  So, friends if you hear me say no more often than I say yes in the coming months, it is not you, it really is me.  I have to pick and choose my time and how I spend it.

I do have projects on the go that I am excited about.  One very dear to my heart, my annual Dodgeball Tournament to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital is coming up and that will consume a good chunk of my time until June.  So, it’s me, the tournament and occasional gatherings in the coming months.

I have some mental and physical goals to reach this year. Maybe once I reach them the balance can shift again.  My main goal for now is to be better than I was the day before, every day.  Please bear with me but if you can’t handle it then I get it. 

It is me, not you.

 

Mini.

HEART ATTACK STORIES- KRISTIN FEELEY- WE ALL BLEED RED.

Today Please meet Kristin Feeley .

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.

 

KRISTIN PIC

 

I guess I should start my story when I was 7.  My mother, while on the phone with the electric company, collapsed in our dining room.  My father, a fireman and the other firefighters “worked” on her as they waited for an ambulance that never showed.  They finally picked her up and put her in the squad car where she died on the way to the hospital.  She died at the age of 38 of what I was later told a “sticky mitral valve”.

Last year, at the age of 39, on March 8, 2014 on an unseasonably warm, sunny day, I had my step-mother up to my house so we could find her a dog at the shelters near me.   My daughter volunteered at a shelter and wanted her to check out a dog there, we visited 2 shelters and had picked out Arthur, a laid back Jack Russell and Chihuahua mix.  We hadn’t eaten all day and couldn’t stop somewhere with the dog in the car so we drove her and the dog over an hour to the house I grew up in.  When we got there we decided to order some take out from the pizza place,  we all had chicken parmesan dinners. 

 After dinner, I was sitting in the same room that my mother collapsed in and started to feel a horrible pain in the center of my chest.  At first I thought it may be indigestion,  I was hungry didn’t eat all day and maybe ate a little too quickly.  The longer I sat there the worse the pain seemed.  I asked my step-mother for an aspirin because the nagging thought in the back of my head was this is a heart attack.   She didn’t have an aspirin but had Aleve and so I took it just in case it had aspirin in it.  I sat for a couple of minutes and then I started to have trouble breathing.  I was starting to panic.  I turned to my husband and said “I am having chest pain and can’t breathe, we need to go”.   The phone rang and my step-mother picked up the phone and started talking to her son and all I could think is “I’m having a heart attack and she’s on the phone with her son?”  My husband was mad at her and said we’re going.  I got up and walked outside to our car.  I felt weak and prayed I could make it to the car.  My husband was trying to get my daughter to get in the car.  She was 14 and was freaking out and wanted to stay.  I opened the car door and got in the car and watched the two of them argue with each other and thought I can’t die now, they will kill each other.  I felt the tingling going down my right arm and then my left. I started to cry and yell to get in the car. 

 My husband drove me and my daughter to the closest emergency room, unfortunately well known for being a horrible hospital, but I had no choice.   On the way, I kept coughing as hard as I could because I had read it helps during a heart attack and asked my hubby to pound on my back, figuring if the coughing helped maybe the pounding would too. They were doing construction at the hospital, so my hubby dropped me off.   I walked to the front desk at the ER and told them I was having chest pain and couldn’t breathe.  They put me in triage pretty quickly, where the pain continued and I couldn’t catch my breath.  The nurse kept telling me I was having a panic attack and I was hyperventilating.  I knew I wasn’t.  The pain was unbearable and I couldn’t get comfortable in any position.  They hooked me up to an ekg and saw nothing.  They took me for x-rays and nothing.  They asked me for urine but I looked at the nurse like she was nuts, I couldn’t even stand up and she wanted me to pee in a cup.  They put me in a bed to wait for more results.  

 A male nurse, that seemed to be my angel, asked what he could do for me and I told him I was in pain.  He came and gave me some morphine, thankfully the pain let up a little.  My sister showed up, I guess my step-mother got off the phone long enough to call her.  The ER doctor came and said they couldn’t see anything but they would keep me for observation.  I was admitted and moved to a room.  I sent my sister home and my daughter and hubby back to my step-mother’s since we were an hour away from home. 

 As I was getting settled into my room, a nurse came in and said I tricked them.   I was like how???  The levels in my blood did indicate I was having a HA and they were still rising and I had some arrhythmia.  They would move me to CCU and do additional testing and probably catherization.  

 I was scared, I called my hubby and told him what was going on and they were moving me.  The doctor on that floor came in looking concerned and wanted me moved asap.   It was kind of nice in CCU,  I was by myself in a room and had a view of the NYC skyline.  The nurses were great there too and I felt like I was getting better. They did an echo and still saw nothing.  More EKGs and more blood work. I was in touch with my boss and seriously said to him, I’ll probably be back in a few days.  I remember posting on Facebook saying I may have had a “little heart attack” and my sister got so mad.  She was crying, which she never does and said it wasn’t little, stop down playing it. 

 That’s maybe when I realized I was in denial. 

 My step-mother called me and started saying this is too close to what happened to your mother, which got me get upset and set my machines off.  Hubby had to take her calls after that. Finally they decided to do a chemical stress.  They did the first part of the test that made my heart race and took pictures.  They said if that came out fine I would not have to do the at rest portion and could go home.  They took the pictures and wheeled me to the door to wait for the orderly.  They had the pictures on the screen and I could see one picture did not look like the rest.  I knew then, that there was a problem and would be back for the 2nd part.  When my sister came that day I said I saw something, she said maybe it wasn’t yours, but I knew. 

 The next day I went back for the 2nd part and was then told they were switching me to a different hospital for catherization. I am overweight so they didn’t want to risk doing a catherization at that hospital.  They wanted me to see a special cardiologist there who did many of these procedures a day.   On March 13, 2014 an ambulance came to transfer me to Hackensack University Medical Center.  My husband and my brother met me at the hospital and I was prepped to wait for the procedure. I remember not feeling nervous, just wanted to get in and get it done.   I was brought into the cath lab a little while later and given pain meds.  They moved the machine around me and explained they would go through my wrist and if they saw anything they would stent me.  I felt the wire going through and it hurt and I said it hurt and they gave me a little more pain meds.  I then heard a tech say, “here comes the BMW” and I am normally a smart ass so I said, “but I like Volvos better”.  That is the last thing I remember.  According to my current cardiologist “all hell broke loose”.  

 From what I am told, I had another heart attack and blood clots had blocked my LAD.  They tried unsuccessfully 3 times to stent me, but they couldn’t.  The doctors came out and talked to my husband and brother and told them I needed an emergency bypass.  If it wasn’t done, I would just continue to have heart attacks and damage my heart.  So, they moved me from the cath lab to the OR, they let my husband and brother talk to me before the surgery.  They said I was crying and talking, but I do not remember any of it.  As they wheeled me into the OR, I had a third HA. 

 Next thing I remember is I waking up in the ICU, tubes down my throat and thinking “what the hell happened”?  This is not a stent.  The nurse stopped me from pulling out the tubes in my throat and talked to me and told me what happened.  I was in a haze the next couple of days. I was then moved from ICU to the “heart” wing.  I slept in the reclining chair mostly and tried to move myself around.  A physical therapist came once but didn’t again so I walked myself.  I was released 5 days later. 

 Coming home and doing the stairs were tough but I did it.  I had a nurse come a couple of days a week and my mother in law stayed a week.  A week after coming home, I developed an infection in the wound on my chest.  I had to go on antibiotics and the surgeon had to cut the dead skin, leaving me with a hole in the middle of my chest that I had to dress and clean with my husband’s help for the next few months.  At first, I would cry at the sight of it, but now I wear my scar with pride.  It is my proof of overcoming something much bigger than I ever thought I could. 

 I attended cardiac rehab for about 2 months, wish I could have done the entire program, but I had to get back to work.  Work for me was my return to normalcy, now I wonder why I was pushing to come back, LOL. 

 I still can’t believe this happened without more of a warning.  I had hereditary high cholesterol since I was 15, but otherwise I was pretty healthy.  Don’t smoke, don’t drink much, and yes my weight probably is not the best, but my doctor’s don’t feel it was the cause.  I know my cardiologist wishes he had more info on my mother’s condition as he feels our events are related.  I went through a lot of ups and downs and still do.  I get anxious sometimes and my sleeping has never been the same.  My cardiologist feels I have some PTSD.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining.  I know I am so lucky that I have this second chance. 

 My daughter said to me months later that she was mad at her father not letting her be there on cath day, and I asked why? She said ” what happens if it was worse and it couldn’t be fixed?  I wouldn’t have had the chance to say good-bye”.  I cry every time I think of that.  I feel horrible that I had to put her through that and I know I could have been my mother who missed watching her child(ren) grow up. 

The bright spot is that this has made my amazing husband and daughter and me so much closer and stronger.  I also see that my sister and brother, even though they won’t always say it, would do anything for their baby sister.   If it wasn’t for these wonderful people supporting and taking care of me, I don’t think I would have made it through.

HEART ATTACK STORIES- TONY YIP- WE ALL BLEED RED

Today Please meet Tony.

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.

 

Hi, my name is Tony Yip.  I’m currently 48 years old and have been living in Calgary, Alberta since the age of 21.  I was born and raised in small town Saskatchewan (Canada).  I am one of five kids in our family.  Like the typical asian family in the rural prairies, my mom and dad ran a little Chinese/Canadian food restaurant.   Fried and fatty foods were the norm growing up.  In grade five, I remember weighing more than my teacher; I was over 150 lbs. 
 
Being overweight has always been an issue for me growing up.  In addition to the health concerns with carrying too much weight, my self esteem took a beating a well.  My oldest brother, also overweight, had diabetes, and had passed away from a heart attack at the age of 40.  My dad, who was a smoker, had a severe allergic reaction to the latex in the heart lung machine during bypass surgery and passed away as well at the age of 66.  These two events were wake up calls for me.

 

Tony Yip
 
On January 2, 2012, at the urging of my sister, Nancey, I joined Weight Watchers.   At 5’9″ tall, I weighed in at 260 lbs.  In a year and a half, I lost 100 lbs.  What started out as a “diet” for me had become a lifestyle change.  I was watching what I was eating, exercising more, and feeling pretty darn good.
 
On March 20, 2014, I had my heart attack at the age of 47 (weighing in at 160 lbs).    A week prior, I had experienced chest pain while curling (a winter sport in Canada).  The pain was intermittent; as I exercised more, there was more pain.  If I rested, the pain went away.  A couple days later, I was participating in a hot yoga class, and the pain began again.  I left the yoga class early and met a friend for coffee.  While walking to the coffee shop, I experienced more pain.  Again, the pain was off and on.   Since I live alone, I decided to drive myself to the emergency clinic a few blocks away.  The triage staff at the ER clinic assessed me very quickly and did the full battery of blood tests and EKG monitoring.  Everything was deemed normal; they sent me home and asked me to follow up with my family doctor.  A couple days later, I was walking  to a dentist appointment.  I experienced pain once again in my chest and had to rest once I arrived at my dentist until the pain subsided.  After my dentist appointment, I went over to the medical clinic to explain my symptoms.  They suggested my pain may be related to stress, prescribed Ativan, and sent me home.
 
Two days later, at 4 am in the morning, I woke up with chest pain again.  I took the Ativan tablet and waited ten minutes.  The pain did not subside, so I drove myself to the ER clinic that I had visited a few days ago.  The same triage staff were there again and they recognized me.  I said, “it’s me again….It’s probably another false alarm, but since I live alone, I just wanted to get it checked out”.  I was whisked away immediately where they went through the routine of hooking me up to the EKG machine again.  As soon as the machine started providing the readings, the curtains to my private cubicle flung open and 12 nurses and doctors started to tend to me;  it was like a scene from an ER television show.  They told me I was having a heart attack, but I didn’t really realize the seriousness of the situation until I heard the doctor telling the nurses to admister morphine.  They called an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital.  When I was being prepared by the staff for the ambulance transport, the doctor had asked me if I wanted to be resuscitated should I needed to be.  I must have had a stunned look on my face.  I fully expected to live through this.  My thoughts to myself were….”I can’t die now, I haven’t been in love yet”…..  I asked the doctor to repeat the question and I replied “yes, I want to live”.
 
The cath lab did an incredible job.  I was assessed as having 4 blockages:  two 50%, one 40%, and a 100% blockage at the RCA.  Two stents were used to clear the blockage at the RCA.  I was in ICU for 24 hours.  Initially after the stents were placed in, I was experiencing A-fib; fortunately, my heart converted back to a normal heart beat on it’s own overnight.   I was in the hospital for 5 days….off work for 5 weeks.
 
I attended cardiac rehabilitation for 12 weeks.   I highly recommend taking part in the rehabilitation program.  After my incident, I was in constant fear of over-exerting myself and possibly triggering another attack.  The cardiac program here allowed me to exercise and determine my limitations while being under constant watch by health care providers.  More importantly, I think it’s very important to talk to other heart and stroke survivors about his/her individual stories….you learn from sharing information….much like the “Facebook Under 55” group provides…..
 
 After having a heart incident, you become VERY sensitive to what’s going on in your heart;  when you’re healthy, you don’t think about your heart actually functioning.   After a heart incident, you feel when you’re more emotionally stressed….you feel when you’ve taken one extra step up a set of stairs…..you feel when you’ve lifted too much….. you feel this directly in your heart.   I wanted to know if I was ever going to feel “normal” again.   It has almost been a year since my heart attack, and most of the time, I don’t “feel” my heart anymore (and this is a good thing!).
 
I had my six month appointment with my cardiologist and wanted to share one piece of information that I thought might be useful for heart attack survivors.  I asked that if I were to have another heart attack, what would the symptoms feel like?…..The reason for the question, I explained, was that I had my blockage in the RCA…..but if a different artery were to be blocked, would the symptoms be different?  He told me that in most cases, the symptoms you experienced during your inital heart attack would be the same symptoms that you would likely experience if you had another episode, regardless of which artery was blocked.  Everyone’s symptoms are different, but you will recognize the pain if you feel it again.
 
If I can offer some words of wisdom having experienced this life changing event:
– if you experience any sort of pain, and YOU think it’s serious…and feel you should go to the hospital, call 911 (call it a feeling of doom….your gut will tell you that it’s serious….don’t ignore your gut instinct)
– don’t wait for a wake up call to change your life for the better (I know…easier said than done)
– don’t only save to live for tomorrow; live for today as well
– express gratitude wherever possible
 
It may seem kind of ironic that I had my heart attack after having lost 100 lbs, but in the end, if I didn’t lose the weight, perhaps I wouldn’t be here today, sharing my story.  In addition to eating healtier,  trying to lower my salt and sugar consumption….and exercising more…..I’m also trying to reduce stress by living a kinder, gentler life….and expressing more gratitude.
 
Tony

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

 

GINNY PIC

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 Stories- Gregory Curry. We All Bleed Red.

Hello.  My name is Greg Curry.  I’m 47 now, from West “by God” Virginia.


In June of 2009, at 42 years old, I had a widow maker heart attack.
I had a history of high cholesterol, and was supposed to be taking medication, but I let my prescription run out and never did refill it.


I am 6’1” and at the time about 210 pounds.  I didn’t really watch what I ate that much, exercised pretty regularly, used smokeless tobacco, and drank a good bit.

 

greg (3)


I am married with two girls, and at the time they were 1 and 5 years old.

Unfortunately, most of my story I had to hear from other people.   I work at a National Guard base, and we are allotted time during the day to exercise.  From what I hear, I was pretty flustered that day, and told people I was going to run before I went home.  I normally ran a couple miles a day at work.  People said my face was real red and I was agitated, but hell, I’m like that most days at work.  Anyway, I pretty much finished my run and stopped to talk to a co worker before running back down to my building.  The guy I was talking to said that I didn’t look unusual for a guy that had just finished running on a hot late June day.  I guess sometime on the way back down the hill to my building I collapsed.

 I was found by the road unresponsive by a contractor that just happened to forget something where he was working and was headed back up to pick it up.  Our base has a Fire Dept. with EMTs and they responded in just a minute or so once called.  They had to shock me a few times to get my heart started again, and I guess I flat-lined a couple more times on the way to the hospital.  I was in a coma for a week and they couldn’t get my heart to beat normally.  They had already told my wife to prepare for the worst.  The doctorssaid that I probably wouldn’t make it  and if I did, I would have severe brain damage.

  I know that they were checking the surveillance cameras on base to see how long I was down.  One of the doctors decided to try cold therapy.  They lowered my body temp trying to shock my heart into beating right.  I guess it worked, because my heart started beating right and I woke up.  They had to keep me drugged up because I was trying to do all kinds of crazy stuff, tearing the IVs out, yelling at people, all kinds of things before my brain started working right again. 

The next steps were to do a heart cath and found the blockages.  Luckily, the cardiac nurse was a friend of the family.  She said that the options were stents, or bi-pass.  She told me if I got stents I would be on blood thinner and other meds, and it was likely that I would be back in for more work in a few more years, so I decided to go with a double bi-pass.  Someone somewhere pulled some strings, because the Dr. scheduled to do my open heart was changed, and I got the premier heart surgeon in the region.  So they cracked me open, did the surgery, and sent me home a few days later.  No evident brain or heart damage, although there is about a four week period that I have no memory of whatsoever.

I did go through cardiac rehab, and I highly recommend it to everyone.  If nothing else, it gives you the confidence to push yourself more.  I was bound and determine to get back to my old self, so I was probably doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing (I’m stubborn like that).  I was off of work for over three months.  I tried to slowly go back to doing the same physical things that I did before, and have pretty much succeeded.  Today, I run 3 or 4 miles at a time, and the only problem I have is with my knees.  Physically, I’m in better shape than I was before the HA.  I had to go through a medical board to keep my job, but I did fine.

The one thing that I had to overcome, and cardiac rehab helped with that, is the intense realization of your heart beating.  When I started running again, my heart would beat hard, (I’m sure it beat hard before, but I just wasn’t as aware of it) and it would really scare me, but I counted the beats and told myself it was alright.  That goes for everything.  I am very aware of my heart beat and every little ache or pain that comes from the chest area (those of you who had open heart know there are several aches and pains that have more to do with splitting your chest open than actually with your heart).  Also, and I don’t know if it’s just me or it is heart related, but I hate the cold now.  I can take the hot weather, but not the cold.

My biggest fear is, not knowing or not remembering what my symptoms or signs were.   What if it happens again and I don’t realize it?  My wife is constantly worried about me, and if I am 10 minutes late for home, I start getting phone calls.   I don’t want to go through all of this and then still die a (relatively) young man.

My family and work and friends were very supportive, so I have no complaints about that.  My wife and mother are a little over protective, but I guess that is normal.  My dream is to live old enough to be a dirty old man and to see my kids grow up and have families of their own.   My philosophy is that God let me live for a purpose, and try not to let Him or my family down. 

There is very little in this world that is worth stressing yourself to death over.  I had and still do have some issues spiritually like,  why me, why did my family have to go through this, but there isn’t anything that can be gained by dwelling on the “Why’s”.

So if you ask me, the best things you can do is stay active, and try to find something that you really enjoy doing.  A healthy hobby or activity that not only keeps you active, but helps clear your mind and reduce your stress levels.  Also, take advantage of your “second chance” to help others.  And never take anything too seriously.

Greg Curry

Sacrifice- A Great Motivational Video

Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au
Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au

Earlier this week I saw this video on a friends Facebook Page.  I watched, then watched  it again.  It caught my attention in a good way, it made me think at the way I am going about the life I am living, made me think about my dreams and goals and why I allow myself to get comfortable rather than push.

I have no doubt I will watch this video many times to remind myself to keep pushing to reach my dreams and not get comfortable.

Take a view of this video, it may or may not inspire you.  Below the Video I have added the transcript for those who wish to read it and save it.

Enjoy,

Mini.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis) Sacrifice – Motivational Video] Source: LYBIO.net

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There will never be a point in your ti — in your life — where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
So a lot of people become comfortable. They stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they – they become satisfied. People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that are making them sick. You see when you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you have. When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There are things that you think you’ll never need to know. That you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
Unless you attempt to do something beyond that, which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talk yourself out of it.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
You’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done. You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal. You don’t beg good people to be phenomenal. You just are phenomenal, and you will attract phenomenal.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up. Find that reason.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
If you’re not where you are. If you’re not where you want to be. If you don’t have what you want, want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.

I want you to make that dream become a reality, because if you don’t, you will be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality.

And everybody is against you, or don’t believe in you no more. And let me tell you something, that’s a lonely feeling. That’s a lonely feeling. Particularly people that you are doing it for.

Most people take their greatness, take their ideas to the graveyard with them.

Listen to me, if it was easy, everybody would do it. There are people right now who are working who don’t want to work. There are people who hate their jobs, but they keep getting up to do it.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.

The question is what are you going to do with your time. What drives you. Greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day, after day. Workout after workout. Obedience after obedience. Day after day.

When things don’t work out for you. When things happen that you could not anticipate. What are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong.

You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I – I challenge you to push yourself.

See it’s easy to be on the bottom, it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser. It doesn’t take any motivation and any drive in order to stay down there on a low level. But it calls on everything in you. You have to harness your WILL to say I’m going to challenge myself.

I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand, four hundred today and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody gonna talk about what you did last week.

Yet the biggest enemy you have to deal with is yourself. There’s an old African proverb that says “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

You have this opportunity of a lifetime. It means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.

I got a saying that: When life knocks you down, try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.” If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it. If all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it.

See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying YES to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. YES to your unfolding future. YES to your potential. As opposed to saying no.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.

Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day, but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you gotta wanna succeed, as bad, as you wanna, breath.

* die on E (die on Empty)

SACRIFICE – MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO – SPEAKERS – LES BROWN – ERIC THOMAS – RAY LEWIS. STOP RUNNING FROM YOUR PAIN AND EMBRACE YOUR PAIN. YOUR PAIN IS GOING TO BE A PART OF YOUR PRIZE, A PART OF YOUR PRODUCT. COMPLETE FULL TRANSCRIPT, DIALOGUE, REMARKS, SAYING, QUOTES, WORDS AND TEXT.

ONE YEAR !

 

 

ONE YEAR LATER ! 

Two days ago was the one year anniversary of my Heart Attack. I did not post that day for it was my day, for me.

August 11, 2013- August 11, 2014.

I could sit here and give you all an emotional post or try to be somewhat inspirational on what is my 1 year anniversary of having a Heart Attack at age 35.  That’s not what I am here to do.

1 Year later I can simply say this.  I am better, healthier, more alive, mature and probably the most awesome “Me” that I have ever been.  I am not the same guy but I love who I am even with the differences.

1 Year later I will not say it was easy to get here, not remotely easy but it was worth it.

1 Year later I accept and appreciate all that got me here.  The hard work and the fun stuff.

1 Year later I am happy and I think I have only just begun to re take the reset of my heart and my life to the next level.

1 Year later I truly and honestly for the first time in my life fully love and accept who I am.  Flaws and all.

I enjoyed the day … by disconnecting from social media and the news, reading a book, going for a walk or two and just reflecting and being thankful.  I also had Ice Cream.

Sometimes all one needs is a little time to disconnect and be with their own thoughts to truly have a good day.

Bring on Year #2 !

Mini

 

The Inspiration Inside.

Sunday June 1st I completed the Jugo Juice 10 K race at the Calgary Marathon in a time of 1 hour, 10 mins, 47 seconds unofficially at the moment.

The moment I crossed the finish line I finally became my own inspiration and my own hero.

IPHONE JUNE 14 581

Why do I say this ?  Because I became a firsthand witness to all it took to get there, to take the first steps and fight back on the hard days. There were definitely hard days. So. Many. Hard. Days.

 Is it narcissistic of me?  Maybe.  But not really.  I rarely toot my own horn.

Most people I know have people who they look up to for inspiration.  It could be an actor, athlete a friend or family member.  I too have had past inspirational people I have looked up to. But I wonder why can’t someone be their own inspiration ?

The answer:  because we focus on what’s wrong with us or are ashamed of our stories to really inspire ourselves. We are afraid of Judgement, ridicule.  We pick at the lack of success or the body parts we hate or the last 10 lbs.  We do not realize how great we really are or even how others may see us.

I am willing to bet you have at least one person who you have inspired.  Think about it, you may realize by someone’s actions that it was you who helped them make that change or take that step.  Now…look in the mirror and realize that you can and have it in you to inspire yourself to new levels. Stop worrying about what others think of your story, you may be surprised at the support you get.

IPHONE JUNE 14 585

I use to hate when people said I inspire them, I was uncomfortable, uneasy.  Who am I to inspire?  I thought I was a complete screw up.   A life screw up.  I focused on my bad decisions, the failures.  I hated my so called lot in life for so long.  Not anymore.

Then I had a Heart Attack. It was the best thing that could have happened. Truth.

It wasn’t until after that I really started seeing my own self worth and yes even why some people said to me that they are inspired by me…..even long before this Heart Attack. 

Through months of rehab, to making better lifestyle choices and never giving up and realizing the sweat and pain was going to get me somewhere, I took the step to the start line of the 10 K.

My friend Sam ran this race with me and I met up with  2 other Cardiac Rehab graduates before the race.  15,000 people took a step that day, that is a huge accomplishment in itself.

jugo3

The race wasn’t easy but wasn’t hard either. It was amazing for me, exhilarating, fun.  I spent the previous week being nervous.  Could I do it ?  Would my heart hold up ?  Was my training adequate ?

Yes, Yes and Yes. 

As each step brought me closer to the finish line I smiled knowing that all I have been through made it all worth it.

As I crossed the finish line I realized for the first time, that all along as I was looking around for inspiration to get better, to be healthy and take steps forward in my life but it took finishing that race to realize……I had it in me the entire time.  My own will to succeed, my determination and my attitude of never give up.

Me and my litel buddy Olaf !
Me and my litel buddy Olaf !

I will still get uneasy when people tell me I inspire them, for I don’t do well with compliments and I am just simply a man trying to live as best I can for as long I can.

 I will smile knowing that as long as I keep inspiring myself then maybe, just maybe I can be an inspiration to others.

June 1, 2014, I became my own hero.  My own Inspiration.  Friends, YOU have this inside you, just look a little deeper when you look in that mirror.

 Mini

Absolutely Nothing. My Return to Beach Dodgeball

bdball

 

MAY 11, 2014.  I made my return to playing Beach Dodgeball.  To say I was nervous in the days leading up to this would be a huge understatement.

Since my Heart Attack and more so, my Cardiac Arrest I have been struggling with PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This has not been easy.

I desperately want to feel again.  By feel I mean I need to break, cry, get mad…something, anything that shows I still have emotion.  I am exhausted by comments from people about me being or acting differently.  I can’t explain it in a way that anyone would understand.  I am just not quite who I was before.

Anyway….So returning to the “Beach”.  This is the second time I have been there since my heart attack.  The first where I was going to play for the first time since.  The heart attack happened while playing last year on August 11, 2013.

I could not get that fact out of my mind in the days leading up.  Now, although physically I have challenged myself more than Dodgeball could do to my heart, it still sat in my head.  I was scared about reliving the moment.  Would it happen again ?  Would I break down and cry ?  Wold I get the break I feel I so desperately need to fully heal ?

I got my answer quickly.  I deliberately walked over to where it happened and felt absolutely nothing.  Not upset, not mad, not fear…nothing.

Yes I did think about the last time I played and re played the entire day in my head.  Still unbelievable for me.  I felt no emotion about being there at all, just memories, some a little foggy as I wasn’t in the right mind when the heart attack happened. I am still not in the right mind to this day.

I will say this.  It did feel good to play and to know I can still play.  I am definitely not the same Dodgeball player I was before but I am trying to get better.

I love the fact that my dodgeball friends have been so supportive.  I do know that when I saw Sean and Alanna there I smiled for I will always be thankful for them two people, probably more than they know. I cannot tell them thank you enough.

The day ended as most do at Dodgeball and I was there another hour after as a games coordinator enjoying the moment.  A moment that may have never happened if I had just given up and let fear take over.

I always wonder now how many more years I can play.  I am getting older but the game is still fun and yes, the pain is worth it.

Every week on Sunday in spring and summer I will be back at “the beach”.  I still have hope I will eventually feel something.  For now I will continue to live the moments, have fun and keep kicking ass at getting better.

I wish to feel if only for a moment.  For now, I will be patient until that time comes.  I am still pretty awesome.

Mini

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