Category Archives: Ya Gotta Have Heart

Have a Heart, Give a Gift

Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women.  I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.

Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas.  Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years.  I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on  women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.  

Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease.  My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.

Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:

“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”

  • toughing them out
  • waiting to see if they go away
  • blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes

Read 12 cardiac symptoms women must never ignore

I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure:  we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)

Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself

Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins

Order your copy click here:  Johns Hopkins University Press 

Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:

[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”

“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”

“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”

“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”

Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.  

 

Valentines NOT just from the heart

In case you’ve not gotten a valentine card for your sweetie it’s not too late to get something that’s personal, permanent and not just from your heart but from other parts of you too.

Lovey Dovey, Whenever I think of you I go crazy

Baby Boo, You are the lounge chair of my life. (Eames,no less)

Sweetie Pie, I could just eat you up!

My Love, Count on me to always watch your back.

Sweet Pea, I love you to the tips of my toes.

Baby, Take ALL of ME!

Proverbially Curious

Don’t remember how I found Susan Wojtkowski’s blog I only remember the title of her blog irreversibly moi made me laugh, her love of rescue dogs made me smile and her online classes kept calling to me.

So I signed up for Art Journaling Through Proverbs.  The price made me happy and the novelty of journaling inspired by proverbs (with which I’m not very familiar) made me interested.

My first journal page

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Proverbs 31: 20-22. Journal page, collage, paint & pastel

I’ll share what we do and the Proverb we are focusing on.  So stay tuned for some more of my heART!

P.S. There’s still time to join the online class.  Here’s Susan’s description:

“Our first class/group course of 2016 is a journey through the Book of Proverbs!  If you enjoy art journaling (or would like to start) and want to spend time in the Bible this year, this group is a great way to go.  We will enjoy artsy fellowship in a private, fun and comfortable Facebook group while learning new art journaling techniques and discussing how to apply Proverbs in our daily lives.  Read on below for more details about this great group class that kicks off on February 1st!”

 

An easy way for you to feel grateful EVERY DAY.

My brother Rick told me about The Greater Good.  Everyday I click on 6 of the sites.  With every click I remind myself to feel grateful to be living in a free country where I have access to things much of the world does not have.

It’s free and every click counts toward making this a better world.

(plus there are some cool free-trade things to buy that help people around the world)

Click on Greater Good and subscribe to get a daily e-mail reminder to be grateful.  Here are a list of the giving sites.

Research shows that feeling grateful doesn’t just make you feel good. It also helps – literally helps – the heart.

judy's journal
judy’s journal

“A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.”

“He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.”

“It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. “They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,” says Mills.”

“And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.”

“So Mills did a small followup study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.”

“After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals.”

“Mills isn’t sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it’s because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.”

“Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”

“And helps keep our hearts healthy.”

Much is required from those to whom much is given.
–Luke 12:48

He that give should never remember, he that receives should never forget. –The Talmud

The HeART of Spirituality

Too pooped to pop!  It was worth it!  I facilitated a HeART of Spirituality workshop at the Tapestry Unitarian church.  It’s my first post-retirement creative expression workshop.  Not sure if it’s the last . . .  

After so many years of having the luxury of giving workshops in my own office – with the set-up in place and all the materials on hand – I’d forgotten how much prep there is in doing a workshop off-site.  (I’ve also forgotten lots of other things . . . like what I had for breakfast).

Here’s a small sample of what we did and a few of the INCREDIBLE prayer/contemplation cards created by the participants (Unfortunately not all the photos I took “took”.)

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Take a look at a few of the Prayer/Meditation/Contemplation Cards!

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After making the cards Reverend Kent Doss led participants in a Wisdom Circle discussion of what spirituality means, how we define it and experience it in everyday life.

“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”  Pope John Paul  II

“If a man engages with all his power in the acquisition of a science or the perfection of an art, it is as if he has been worshiping God in the churches and temples.”  Abdu’l-Baha 

Baha’i World Faith

 “Art exists for its role of permitting men to escape their human condition, not by fleeing it,
 but by possessing it. All art is a means of taking hold of human destiny.” Andre Malraux

A special thank you to Judy Clemmer for her help cutting out HUNDREDS of pictures and providing supplies.

 

 

Now that I’ve got your attention . . .

Heart disease

is the NUMBER ONE killer of women.

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Excerpt from HEART SISTERS Most Common Heart Attack Signs:

“These cardiac symptoms often come and go – sometimes over a surprisingly long period of time.  They’re not always severe. We may believe that heart attack chest pain must be described as “crushing”, but it’s often frequently described by women with words like pressure, heavy, burning, full or tight – not “crushing”.”

“Almost 40% of women experience NO CHEST PAIN at all during a heart attack.”

Read the full post here: http://myheartsisters.org/2015/09/20/most-common-heart-attack-signs/

I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  

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The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

 

 

Frankly Freddie – National Human Day

Dear Human-beings,

Although it’s officially National Dog Day I am celebrating National Human Day.  (Have to toss humans a “bone” every so often)

Human-beings are weird critters but we canines love you anyway. We try to take good care of you but, as you know, humans can be stubborn, arbitrary and difficult to train.  That’s why most of us prefer to adopt those of you who are already toilet trained, like to walk and can open the refrigerator.  But humans who drool, roll around the ground and babble can be fun playmates even when they are as old as my human-being.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Pulblished Poet
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET

Do me a favor and click on The Greater Good – Animal Rescue Site.  It’s free and every click helps all my buddies.  (There are also some Greater Good Sites that help Human Beings.)

And since It’s Freddie’s National Human Being Day treat yourself to a walk, a nap and something to chew on.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET

” . . . bear this matter in mind”

” But to blessed animals the utmost kindness must be shown, the more the better. Tenderness and loving-kindness are basic principles of God’s heavenly Kingdom. Ye should most carefully bear this matter in mind.”  Baha’i World Faith

A 400 lb. black bear wandered into a residential neighborhood in Florida.  Black bears half this size have attacked and killed humans across the nation recently … twice in Florida.  Wildlife officers sedated the bear to safely relocate him, and that’s when things began to go horribly wrong.”

Tjb5iA4qjOBSkZ-1ZCwyLU1yFbMvE8A2g1VZnEr8IKmsNR2XKUXSa0DeIOfshdCW5BcCw4UvlMj6PmGbXBrNE40IVbBNUFsQrVLDbntZpp9Qr78ws4NZ9I0RVbGxdMzj3cJXP4tS8aGeumPvBxzmOlvG7SkMOKI=s0-d-e1-ft

The tranquilizer dart sent the bear into a panic and he ran towardsthe saltwater Inland Waterway, evading officers.”Fh1NPrUuj_QkrgJGB7LMOEhn6UNBQjiAT7ZnqYvLav3OcNsMML7XF5mqF2pE2-WWtlRjTpJi0N7wPyeQ0NUkNc5MJIXfO7hptRB4_2sU0WsEBhmXi0C1dhKMBG36fAMRWLmqWhiM5sBxRdKh3vAy7Z12DZAQGAI=s0-d-e1-ft“As he swam further and further out, he became drowsy and started to drown.But Adam Warwick, a biologist with the Wildlife Commission, wasn’t about to let that happen.
Adam went into the water after the bear… yeah, after a bear … to stop him from going under.”40axVLexcJTvHeifCV1gu-jxGopjgf4DcKea0A9UrFKmXGFIRtniErAGR-tbfHMuGsZU9c2M4QH4XbmiuWMiQmKyRxE3hMeBCNhxwpAQ5UKd6fqEr9tBv8BlQHvAqNu-Dm8zprLp-ZwvdWghNq0OoccREirBxyM=s0-d-e1-ft It was a spur of the moment decision. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping when I saw the helpless bear in the water dying. HAmEt5lRE48RGDSEaJzTvdiArNlbls91Gcq56uJrLm4wadHGCFAPYZPnFBUocfv0jcmww5NdSMY3bZfyWnq2YriOMG4NUt2HYAOB4Ko31KZ14IBUEIdBzL0_fq_XjZ4CjVOSEc4mB2bS9ZNilyJOMt-NmjYX1eU=s0-d-e1-ft“He knew the very high risk, considering the powerful bear was scared and could have easily became aggressive to defend itself, killing him with a single swipe or bite. But the bear somehow seemed to know it was in good hands.”sAGKW1wlXLw8kNmaphgZc2yHjRk13eBVsIaOMo7ksQy1oAaO7gj-4FMqQ9-gmL_VxvvEZxVxhCzPkcze3x2PGMV_iADgUsq3jlKDtb_-7rAUPFlBF-fLyWebQsWcPqkRpwytEM45mJSSuvdlE4XuwBN7pEPYcY4=s0-d-e1-ft“It seemed to become calm when under the man’s control? Adam’s determination finally got the 400 pound wild creature safely back into shallow water.”vte4GprBuWFbo40-9xMrBeNs0uP8dy2wrxKdfV98_K1XgTLL05cZSKA-_vHJUxYHiAN_16ukZyXJtbbe1LjZzXEuS8-u-Tme4X6n4gQL1JKD6QTXFd1Enc8dVeiccn459laHcMn5zV292d5CnRVH5z7bAlt10zQ=s0-d-e1-ft“Adam suffered only a scratch from the rescue.”Oz21XB48nnCHA5OOTH-xwltIfLb9E2K9yO6UjpYLGYL7UufsXi2iqSOAIE-5b3vxFC76Li-G8rGHWXXyn9iu1CeOHgN8dkZYImVE7MPRdq28FXBXaKwiLkqFIo3Xzu2IGEs6QMnHwzAQsqQsUZXku0CbpeZ7K4w=s0-d-e1-ft“Once they reached the shore, other team members came to help.”IMOvW4YSw6Uzno8H20E6aTs9y9egWXtLPdDquq9YygdrEFl2GZNcQET-CyNpl8Dd3E04pkR7k8sMeejdkBeCA-KpwZVtdavZpe2tukIm4sXSd8kxuKE8cQKvzd7k3x2JTjXbN8CY9wAq0z0DYZSB7yCqxPSU8XQ=s0-d-e1-ft“The team was able to use a tractor bucket to transport the poor guy back to his home in Osceola National Forest.”unnamed-3“Adam rode with him back home … a sight you don’t see on the highway every day (neither had a helmet).”vF6bhPUyG4lDCge6kSr0SHQP0ztyyIiPZp4iGU9ypd1tFJ4Ailuwg7-KR6ewamvT-sogAwX7SWFECvAc_joeR3oWNja93k_mXhGfsKp7YOglSViyfsBlRsVumq2qiAlkP0G4rD5kWnko5UuFTh-jgC8yIPGBZDpb=s0-d-e1-ft“… where he is safe and happy again and has one honking’ story to tell the grand kids.”

64cSblYYT0ZmtyEFNfyj6NJBDE5LRqyn-Og0xuNbmbr5s89yFB-CYRo-E_j5HJ25wC9Hzkm9T1Ka_CHVPMkCnHIaysQILfV2R62F62Zkp8crUtSvpKoFTR7f_3QF9wJOTtJLWvSr0Qjq0OtF5q3Wnc2cZqihiBwj=s0-d-e1-ft“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take,

but by the moments that take your breath away”

Thanks Linda B. for sharing this!!!

 

Everyone has a story

Don’t let the cartoons throw you off – this is a real life interview and worth every minute of your time (watch all the way to the end).

“Kay Wang was a strong-willed grandmother who was reluctantly taken to a StoryCorps* booth by her son and granddaughter. Though Kay resisted, she still had stories to tell—from disobeying her mother and rebuffing suitors while growing up in China to late-life adventures as a detective for Bloomingdale’s department store.”

“Kay passed away just weeks after that interview, and her son and granddaughter returned to StoryCorps to remember her gentler side, which she kept to herself.”

“Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind . . . “

You can donate to this incredible project and find out where recordings are made, click here for the StoryCorps website.

“H” is for Hunger

This video is worth 2 minutes and 50 seconds of your time.  

“We surprised kids with a stunning fact: 1 in 5 children faces hunger in the U.S. Then we asked them for ideas on how we could fight child hunger together. Their thoughts were smart, creative, and heartfelt.

Visit http://ChildHungerEndsHere.com to learn more.

“Special thanks to ConAgra Foods and Points of Light’s generationOn for helping to bring together these bright, creative young kids to help #FightHungerTogether.”

http://soulpancake.com

 

 

 

What’s your biggest regret?

When I regret something I’ve done (or haven’t done) it’s a signal that I’ve not learned from my choice.  I believe that making mistakes, taking wrong turns is ultimately about learning and growing and not repeating what didn’t work.

Photographer Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi took pictures of people from all over the world sharing their greatest regrets. She captured a range of emotions—humor, heartbreak, and guilt.  It would be fascinating to talk to these same people in 10 years to see if they’ve learned from what they now regret.

Anyone can contribute to the ongoing project by taking a photo to share. Participants can send the image to the artist via a Facebook message. Dragoi references an anonymous quote as inspiration to those who wish to take part:

“If we spend our time with regrets over yesterday, and worries over what might happen tomorrow, we have no today in which to live.”

To see Alecsandra Dragoi’s site and many more photos click here.

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Post-Traumatic GROWTH?

Skimming my surface

tell-tale signs of suffering

The pain buried deep

My haiku was inspired by Carolyn Thomas’ Post-Traumatic Growth: how a crisis makes life better – or not.  Carolyn had a myocardial infarction – the “widowmaker” heart attack.  Since that life altering experience she has been overwhelmingly affected by the ongoing pain of coronary microvascular disease.

Mask by moi
Mask by moi

Until I read Carolyn’s excellent post I had never heard of Post Traumatic GROWTH:

“Post-Traumatic Growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises.

“Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient.”

“Reports of Post-Traumatic Growth have been found in people who have experienced bereavement, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, cancer, bone marrow transplantation, heart attacks, coping with the medical problems of children, transportation accidents, house fires, sexual assault and sexual abuse, combat, refugee experiences, and being taken hostage.” 

Read this informative and thought-provoking post and Carolyn’s concern for patients & people regarding this concept.  Click HERE

Haiku Horizons - prompt SKIM
Haiku Horizons – prompt SKIM

A story sure to warm penguin hearts along with yours

Tiny sweaters for penguins!!!  “. . .  knit by a group of volunteers that includes Alfred “Alfie” Date, who at 109 years of age is Australia’s oldest man.”

Australia’s oldest man knits sweaters for penguins

 |  By

“When disaster strikes, the wildlife clinic at the Phillip Island Nature Park will be ready, equipped to deploy hundreds of tiny wool sweaters at a moment’s notice.”

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“Date told Australia’s Ninemsn he started knitting the “easy single-rib and double-rib” sweaters shortly after moving to a retirement home in southwest Australia. After learning he could knit, two nurses who knew of the “Knits for Nature” program approached him to gauge his interest, Date said, adding, “I’m a sucker. I can’t say no.”‘s-OLDEST-MAN-KNITS-PENGUIN-SWEATER-480x360

“In the event of an oil spill near Phillip Island’s 32,000 little penguins, wildlife clinic workers put oil-covered birds in sweaters to minimize the amount of oil they ingest while preening themselves. According to the Philip Island Penguin Foundation, the substance also matts the penguin’s feathers, which both prevents it from regulating its temperature and reduces the animal’s buoyancy in water.”BiE9gr9IQAASNqQ

“Following a spill near Phillip Island in 2001, 483 little penguins ended up at the rehabilitation center, with 96 percent ultimately being released back into the wild.”

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I should’a announced retirement 10 years before I retired – A Valentine Love Letter

I’m a bit upset with all of you who have e-mailed me or commented on my retirement with such incredibly loving, affirming messages and gifts.   I’m upset because it’s now too late to use all of you for testimonials to promote my services.  Where were you when I could have taken advantage of you?  I could be retiring a millionaire.

There are so many people who have touched my life I can’t begin to list them all. These are just a few in recent time:   Sherry, Lisa, Linda, Margo, Susan, Joyce, Bryan, Adele, Liz, Peggy, Cathy, Doug, Chris, Ramesh, Paula, Ron,  Kathy, Denise, Ann, Rich, Nan, Kate, Erin, Alma, Kathe, Ruta, Lyn, Abbie, Jackie, Jan, Ida, Jan, Alma, Rosemary, Denise, Fariba, Margi, Diane, Vivian, Christine, Theresa, Mike, Becca, Carolyn, Vandi, Kim, Daru, Bernice, Deborah, Laura, Tessa, Hank, Jamey, Carol, Theresa, Mary, Blair, Barry, Sandyha, Marc, Cindy, Sam, Laurie, Sally (if I’ve left anyone out please be forgiving as there are literally hundreds and hundreds). 

I have met the most wonderful people in my life and career – people who dedicate themselves to helping others, giving to others, people who have gone through painful, frightening, confusing times only to come out stronger and wiser and more loving on the other end.  You all have been an inspiration to me and I say that from the bottom of my tired, irregularly beating heart.

I’ve been a psychotherapist for 30+ years and needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) it’s been a huge part of my identity.  I painted this canvas a few decades ago when I was in another “identity” shift – 

Acrylic on canvas
Acrylic on canvas

struggling with who I was as a person with a chronic medical condition.  The picture was done in about 15 minutes, spontaneously, without planning or forethought.  It surprised me.  It is symbolic to me of emergence and hung in my office.

It’s probably time to paint another and see if I’m growing a third head.

With love and gratitude to each and every one of you who have touched my life,

judyJudith

P.S.  I suggest you consider announcing your pending retirement or your demise (which ever you think may come first) as soon as possible so you can enjoy the nice things people say . . . . and find out who is keeping mum .  . .

In case you missed my announcement: Are the rumors true I’m retiring?

My Birthday Season – 17 years and 2 months left to live

Two months ago I had 17 years and 4 months to live.  I’ve used up 2 of those months.  Time is slipping through my fingers.  I’m thinking about a make-over to match my new retirement lifestyle.

My current “look” is PROFESSIONAL. I try to project an image of normalcy for my clients.  It helps instill deep trust in my intelligence and respect for my accumulated wisdom.  Now NO HOLDS BARRED.  I can be meeeeeeee.

I googled fashion trends so I don’t look out of place in my new role.

1. Starting with my hair.  I’m going to change the style which requires letting the sides grow longer so there is enough hair to style.

First step: Letting the sides get a bit longer

2.  Once sides of hair grow out create a signature style, something symbolic of stepping out of the old and into the new.

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Second or TWO-STEP

3.  Next is wardrobe. Out with the black pants, black skirts, mono-chromatic tops, structured jackets – all calculated to allow clients to use me as a blank canvas to project upon just as Freud would have advised.

I love color
Step 3: Reflect my inner artist.

4.  Gotta take a nap and rest now cuz the thought of shopping is wearing me out and I hear getting enough rest helps the hair grow.

I’m a work in progress.

Happy is as Happy Does! – Jump’n for JOY

Can’t stop smiling when I see this video of pure excitement!

“The video, posted to YouTube by Kevin Clancy, shows an adorable puppy showing off its cute little dance moves.”

“The dog broke into dance and then literally started jumping for joy when its owner came to take the little pup home from what appears to be a doggie day care.”

 

My Holiday Haiku

images-1To all far and near

singing prayers for harmony

musical love notes

 

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Haiku Horizons - prompt NEAR
Haiku Horizons – prompt NEAR

 

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Find out how it started

Meet the mom who started the Ice Bucket Challenge – Great speaker!  Inspiring!

“When Nancy Frates’ 29-year-old son Pete hurt his wrist in a baseball game, he got an unexpected diagnosis: it wasn’t a broken bone, it was ALS, and there is no cure. In this inspiring talk, Nancy tells the story of what happened next.”

Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking) CHOC it up to Blu

(Dear Human-beings,
I am writing to you and not your canine owners because it’s you human beings who we allow to make the big-picture decisions.
My human-being told me that Blu is going to Disneyland.  I’ve never gone to Disneyland.  
Huge, distorted creatures live there judging  by the pictures Blu sent. 
Blu and Mini
Blubear and Minibear
Blu is taking  his human-beings who sent this announcement): “This adventure is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Please support Blu by walking with us through Disneyland and California Adventure on Sunday morning, Oct. 12th. You can sign up by going to CHOCWalk.org and look for Team Blu.   If you are unable to join us, your sponsorship to either Adele or Bryan Green would be appreciated.”
Blu
Adelbear, Blubear, Ginormousbear & Bryanbear
“Blu and family understands that we all have limited resources.   If you are unable to help, your prayers and thoughts are welcomed. Blu needs all the help he can to be good while walking through Disneyland to remember that he can’t use the park’s fire hydrants for his personal use!”  (Even if  huge, distorted creatures live at Disneyland I would take my chances and go there to check out the fire hydrants.  ALL the fire hydrants around here are already mine).
Sincerely yours,
Freddie Parker Westerfield, philanthropist

 P.S. Blu has his own facebook page for the children at the hospital: 

www.facebook.com/chocblubear

(I don’t have my own Facebook page.  If it’s as good as a fire hydrant I want one too)

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT Philanthropist
Freddie Bear

Weird Wonderful World – The Elephants Knew

The Elephants Knew* 
. . .THE ELEPHANT’S JOURNEY TO PAY RESPECT, BUT HOW DID THEY KNOW?
Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller, The Elephant Whisperer. He bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. 

He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons, and numerous elephants.

Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home  led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves  to say goodbye to their beloved ‘man-friend’.

A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 112 miles  to get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence’s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly, for days, making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house. Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years! 

But yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who’d saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. 

Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home. 

Sharon, thank you for sending this.
* I did check this out on Snopes’ Urban Legends and it is listed as” undetermined”.  Despite my checking I LOVE elephants and know they are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet.  It’s well documented that they will mourn and bury their own.  No doubt that Lawrence Anthony was one of their own.

Can we handle the truth?

Veteran’s medical care and the private medical system. I rarely post about current events or politics.  After reading  a clear-minded, HONEST and APOLICTICAL post by Dr John Mandrola I’m making an exception.

Here are just a few thought provoking paragraphs from his post. (bold/red print is mine)

The VA healthcare system — Can we handle the truth?

by  JOHN MANDROLA, MD

“I am also connected to veterans’ healthcare. For it is in the VA system that I learned to be a doctor—a feeling doctor, an imperfect doctor, a human doctor. It’s ironic, and not often said, that the $48 billion-dollar VA healthcare system gives as much as it takes. It’s impossible to put a value on the benefit to society from the legions of caregivers who emerge from years of training in the VA system. Algorithms be damned; wealthy Americans benefit from what young doctors learn in the VA system. Veterans give when they serve in battle, then they give again as patients, as teachers.”

“And it’s not just the past that connects me to veterans’ healthcare. My wife Staci works as an attending physician in hospice and palliative care at the Louisville VA. When we share stories, I mostly tell of relieving the palpitations of the rich, she of relieving the suffering of dying veterans. Another irony of the VA: you don’t get Staci if you have private insurance.”

imagesIndicting Obamacare:

“This is a huge mistake. Obamacare fails because it lacked the courage to do enough. Its proponents avoided the truth. (Maybe they had to.) What policymakers set out to do was to correct a great American scar—that a country this rich does not provide basic healthcare to all its people. The problem was that Americans were not told the truth. A leader (or leaders) should have said that to get care to all people, excesses and inefficiency would need to be removed. Hospitals would not look like luxury hotels. Medicine and surgery would be for the ill, not the worried-well. Evidence, not eminence, would guide medical care. And prevention of disease would come not from doctors but from patients.”

“But Americans didn’t get the truth. We got magical thinking about metaphorical free lunches, insurance reform, cost-saving EHRs, patient-safety “quality forums,” and the like. Nonsense. All of it.”

“The VA system is the truth. Rationing is the truth. Triage is the truth. Imperfection is the truth.

And yes, death, too, is the truth.”

 

Failure to see the obvious:images-2

“You simply cannot deliver suburban excesses—the antithesis of efficient and honest healthcare–to the growing numbers of veterans. Thank goodness. Both Dr. Harlan Krumholz and Dr. Kevin Pho remind us that if evidence, not hype, is considered, the VA system performs either better than, or comparable to, the private sector.”

“Yet this should be obvious to anyone who reads anything about US healthcare. It’s clear that the private system is broken. If you hold up the US private system—with its humanity-extracting EHRs, expanding layers of bureaucracy, conflicts of interest, expense, inequalities, and geographic and racial differences in care–as a model that the VA should aspire to, you are not mastering the obvious. My colleague at theHeart.org Dr. Melissa Walton Shirley suggests veterans should be moved to the private system. I wouldn’t do that; veterans deserve better than our mess”.

images-1“Yes, of course, patients die waiting for medical care. It’s utter nonsense to call that a scandal. Why? Because patients die regardless of medical care, and too often, as a result of medical care. This death-denying culture has led to a major humanitarian crisis, one playing out in nearly every ICU in this country.

But please don’t misunderstand. I’m not arguing that medical care is pointless, or that we should not try to extend and improve human life. Rather, it is time to adjust the mindset that more care or faster care is always better care.”

Read the entire article click here. Can We Handle the Truth?

 

Riley isn’t just a dog – he’s a service-dog-to-be

A poem for Riley, by Freddie

Donate if you can.

help train Riley be a man

One dollar will do

even better is two.

It’ll all add up

for the pup!

Dear Human and other Beings,

20140308-203729
This is a ferret

Riley is adopting Lydia.If you can help my friend Riley it would be very nice.   Lydia was a member of the armed forces when she suffered a head injury in a crash.

Lydia has ferrets whose job is to entertain her.

Riley’s job will be to help Lydia be more independent.

Riley
Riley

Riley will help Lydia when she is overloaded by sensory input. He’ll learn to remind her to take medication, how to balance her when vertigo hits her and help her be more involved in living life.

His training is expensive and he’s very smart like me. Riley, it appears, is all poodle.   I’m part poodle. I’m very smart, even the part that isn’t poodle.

There’s an online fundraising project to raise some of the expenses to train Riley.

GIVE FORWARD – Service Dog Fund

Thank you for Riley,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT

Canine Dog Therapist

You can read more about Riley and Lydia HERE and HERE

http://ferretrunner.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/service-dog-in-training/

A peak into my world – Hit and Miss

"Here she goes . . .again"

Bob the Blobfish: “Here she goes . . .again”

Important background information

I remember the first time I was called “Ma’am”. It was spewed out by a 15-year-old bag bog at the supermarket. I was barely into my 30’s.

Stay with me

 This morning I had a heart halter monitor “installed” (Nothing serious – just trying to titrate off of anti-arrhythmia medication which necessitates 24 hour monitoring just in case my heart protests)  It’s always a bit sobering when I have anything heart related.  It reminds me that while I’m aging on the outside for the world to see my insides are wrinkling too.  On my way back I stopped at Costco for lunch.

Be patient it will all make sense

I often go to Costco for lunch or dinner (for those of you in other parts of the world – it’s a warehouse store where the smallest quantities are packaged for a family of 20).  I  feast on food samples being handed out to market products.  

The best times for dining are Saturdays and Sundays where the aisles are replete with men and women, wearing white things over their hair, dishing out miniscule samples of food.  It is a leisurely meal because it takes time going back for seconds and thirds without looking conspicuous.

Today there was a new product – energy bars. Energy is something I can always use so I stopped to eat.  The samples were being served by a very friendly, manipulative young man.   He was youthfully cute wearing a white thing over his hair .

He informatively explained, “WE only use the best ingredients.”  WE don’t use additives”, “OUR bars have low sodium  . . . ”  If I hadn’t been around the aisle a few times (figuratively and literally) I would have thought he owned the company or at least was a major imagesstockholder.

He encouraged me to try all the three flavors and sample as much as I wished.  What’a treat not having to sneak back for second and third helpings.  Instead of reeling down the aisles looking for the next food cart I lingered at the table slowly savoring each sample – very tasty. I read the label – good ingredients. Checked how many bars a package – good price.  I threw a box into my cart.  “Thank you, Miss”, he called out. The “MISS” ricocheted off my psyche just as the MA’AM had done decades earlier.

images-1I’m seriously thinking of going back to help him fine-tune how he markets to MATURE women.  This is what I’m going to tell him: Call women “Miss” from  20 to 50. Those are the ages when we desperately care and love the recognition that we still look youthful;  Call women 50 years and older Ma’am.  This is when WE crave respect, know how we look and NEED ENERGY to care.

If this helps him sell more energy bars I may ask for a cut.

I TOLD you if you stuck with me it would make sense.

Betty Blobfish: "Growing old is not for the faint of heart"

Betty Blobfish: “Growing old is not for the faint of heart”

 

6 word stories and Stephanie – The Foundation for Art and Healing

The Foundation for Art and Healing  is a great organization.  They are asking for submissions of six-word poems for National Poetry Month in April.  Click on this link The Foundation for Art and Healing to submit yours!

Here’s 2 of mine and 1 of Freddie’s:

*      *     *

Hello.

Long time no see.

Adieu.

*      *     *

The earth gets drunk on rain

*      *     *

Need to pee?
Find a tree.

*      *     *

AND read Stephanie’s story on the The Foundation for Art and Healing newsletter.  Here’s an opening paragraph to whet your curiosity:

“When I was sixteen years old, I unexpectedly went through severe heart failure. After waking up from a month-long induced coma, my UCLA doctors told me that in order to survive, I would need a heart transplant. I was stuck in a room with four blinding white walls, tethered to machines on full life support. In the process of suffering, with death just around the bend, I made the conscious choice to continue. I asked my parents if there was any way I could write. I knew in order to find strength I needed the tools to soar above my sixteen year old body, and I needed words to set me free.”

The Aftermath of a Health Crisis

Health Crisis

Mind Body And Soul

None unscathed

P1020309

In the aftermath of all health issues imilar situations, feelings, responses occur for all people trying to find the NEW NORMAL after all chronic physical impairments, illnesses and conditions.

I URGE you to read the rest of this excellent post at My Heart Sisters to have a first person account. 

Dr Keddy goes into detail about the impact of her unexpected heart attack once back home.  Here’s how she begins:

Dr. Barbara Keddy: “It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me and my life has been changed forever. I now have the label of a ‘cardiac patient’. I am a new member of a club I did not want to join and worse, I don’t know the ins and outs of this organization. There is so much to learn and I am dragging my feet as I learn, wishing there was some way to resign from the membership.”

Haiku-Heights prompt - HEALTH
Haiku-Heights
prompt – HEALTH

Conflicted: Should I hug or SCREAM?

Conflicted

Should I hug or SCREAM

perhaps cry

*

Human condition

Thoughts can betray, lead astray

No one is immune

I just spent an afternoon in an intensive care hospital unit with a colleague.  She had open heart quadruple by-pass surgery. They split her chest open, separated her ribs, stopped her heart, took veins from her legs and grafted them onto her heart.

P1020063
Acylic painting by Lisa,
survivor of a potentially fatal Heart Attack in her 30’s

She had a Widow Maker heart attack – so named because it is usually FATAL.

Listen to what she told me.  It could save your life:  At first she figured it was indigestion, took ant-acid; thought the back pain was because she strained her back;  Symptoms progressed into nausea, fatigue, sweating, (figured something was wrong but she’d feel better in the morning).

When the excruciating pain (as she described it – worse than any childbirth) she didn’t want to go to the ER that night because she was sweaty and needed to take a bath (which she took in the morning before her hair cutting appointment);  Pretended excruciating pain wasn’t anything serious BECAUSE she was “healthy”; During her hair cut she felt faint.  Her hairdresser said it sounded like a heart attack and wanted to call 911; She refused to have her hairdresser call 911, TOLD HER TO FINISH CUTTING HER HAIR, PAID the bill AND THEN DROVE HERSELF to ER (where they immediately wheeled her into surgery)!!!!!!!

My colleague’s story is NOT uncommon.  Why don’t we hear more about Widow Maker Heart Attacks?  Most of the women who have them are DEAD.

I’m screaming at YOU: Stay current. Read Carolyn Thomas  ♥  My Heart Sisters blog  It may not be your life you save but a relative’s, friend’s, colleague’s, client’s . . .  or  . . . it could be YOUR own.

Symptom in women are different from men.  Our Female stubbornness and, dare I say, STOOOOOOOPIDITY has no bounds.  (I know.  I drove myself to the ER when I was having serious heart arrhythmia)

 It’s better to call 911 and be told you’re fine than to die or be disabled for life. 

Haiku-Heights prompt, Betrayal
Haiku-Heights
prompt, Betrayal

Faint of Heart Need Not Apply

Human Condition

Faint of heart need not apply 

Varied positions

Picture, emerging head, DCP_8561Been a hard couple of weeks, maybe months, but who’s counting  . . .  won’t go into the gory details . . .  When I complained about aches and pains, my loss of energy and motivation to my Baha’i “guide”, Jim, his response was:

“Being human and/or getting old is not for the faint of heart…….”

It made me think (There she goes again . . . “thinking”): Very few of us get out of this condition called human without pain, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional;  I have to accept (perhaps not like) that my life, all life, is ultimately about loss.

Starting from birth and losing the comfort of our mother’s womb, we are on a continual, unremitting passage of loss.  Some of the loss is welcome and some not.

Perhaps what is important is less about the actual loss and more about how we “work”  it.  

(But right now I’m too exhausted to work anything . . .)

Haiku-Heights open prompt
Haiku-Heights
open prompt

 

Man in a Van

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston Churchill

Americans are the most generous of the generous.  Thousands of dollars flow in for all disasters whether they are on United States or foreign soil.  Individual tragedies don’t get much press.  Take a minute to read this excerpt:

Living in His Van, Trying to Rebuild a Life Upended by a Bullet

judy’s P.S.:  Mr Leonik does not go to a public shelter because animals are not allowed and he can not give up Sonia, his Boston Terrier.

By COREY KILGANNON

05cityroom-badleg-blog480“Andrzej Leonik’s problems started one summer night in 2006 after he returned from his carpentry job, changed shirts into a red tank top and took his Boston terrier, Sonia, for a walk on 56th Drive in Maspeth, Queens, where he lived.”

“Suddenly, a man in a green Cadillac pulled up, aimed a 9-millimeter pistol at Mr. Leonik and shot him in the right leg. Mr. Leonik fell, and Sonia jumped onto his chest.”

“The bullet shattered Mr. Leonik’s femur and his life, which has unraveled in the ensuing years. Now he and Sonia spend their days and nights living in his 2005 minivan. On cold nights he leaves the engine running, and his dog sleeps on his chest as he reclines in the front seat.”

“Recently, I woke up with frostbite on my toe,” Mr. Leonik, 53, said in a recent interview outside the van.

“The shooter was Matthew Colletta, an unemployed bricklayer with a long history of mental illness and erratic behavior. Mr. Colletta, then 34, went on a serial shooting spree that night in August 2006, leaving one person dead and five wounded, including Mr. Leonik.”

“After the shooting, Mr. Leonik underwent a series of surgeries to repair his right femur. Fifteen long screws were put in, to stabilize the damaged bone. But to this day, Mr. Leonik’s leg still causes him pain and swells to nearly double the width of his left leg, so that he cannot pull on a pair of loose jeans. Since the shooting he has been unable to climb stairs or lift heavy objects.”

“He lost a full-time job working for a contractor renovating Manhattan apartments and has been limited to part-time carpentry. After a couple of days on his feet, he needs nearly a week of rest to let the swelling and pain in his leg subside, he said. He walks with a cane and is waiting to be scheduled for a knee replacement, which he hopes will allow him to work more than the part-time schedule he puts in for a contractor renovating a townhouse in Long Island City.”

Mr. Leonik said that after living for seven years in his Maspeth apartment he fell behind in rent and was forced out by a marshal in August.”

“Mr. Leonik, adding that he has been unable to secure public assistance and other social services because he has not been able to get help completing required paperwork.”

“He said that when the cold night permeates his minivan and Sonia is shivering on his chest and his leg is throbbing, he begins to envy others, even the man who shot him. At least prisoners have their meals and shelter provided for, at taxpayer expense.”

“Still, he said, he would not switch places with him. He hopes to borrow money to rent a simple studio and get back on his feet.”

“I came here to make a better life and support my kids in college,” he said. “I should be able to prosper on my own and get out of this predicament.”

HERE’S HOW TO DONATE:

Every life matters.  Please send $1.00,  $5, $10, $100 – whatever you can afford –
Checks and messages can be sent directly to him…
Mr. Andrzej Leonik
P.O. Box 863697, Ridgewood, N.Y. 11386
or
Checks made to Andrzej Leonik, account number 1088364,  written on the check, and sent to his bank at this address, Polish&Slavick Federal Credit Union, 140 Greenpoint Avenue,Brooklyn N.Y. 11222

for a gallon of gas,  dinner for him and Sonia, housing .

Click here to read the entire New York Times article: 

42,500 Acts of Kindness Needed

“. . . do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections.”*

Sense the breeze of love

soothing every beating heart 

Connected as one

Haiku-Heights prompt - BREEZE
prompt – BREEZE

My father, the oldest of 5 children, was born in England where his father and pregnant mother fled to from Poland.  The story of why and how has died with all my relatives.

No room in my heart for prejudice, Baha'i faith
No room in my heart for prejudice, Baha’i faith

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

“THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.””What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.””The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.”

“. . . Dr. Megargee said he expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.

“The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.”

“As Germany invaded and began occupying European neighbors, the use of camps and ghettos was expanded to confine and sometimes kill not only Jews but also homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and many other ethnic groups in Eastern Europe. The camps and ghettos varied enormously in their mission, organization and size, depending on the Nazis’ needs, the researchers have found.”

No room in my heart for prejudice, Baha'i faith
No room in my heart for prejudice, Baha’i faith

42,500 acts of kindness is a start – a tiny, symbolic start,

so that hatred and bigotry may end.

*“Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy.”
“Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls. He created them, trains and provides for them, endows them with capacity and life, sight and hearing; therefore, they are the signs of His grandeur. You must love and be kind to everybody, care for the poor, protect the weak, heal the sick, teach and educate the ignorant.” 
― Abdu’l-Bahá
To read the entire article click on the title or here: www.nytimes.com
 

Heart Rescue

P1010944My father had quintuple bypass surgery in his 70’s.  Doctor’s said it was mainly due to his smoking since a teenager.  He quit in his 60’s but by then the damage was done.  I won’t even begin to recount how horrible the recovery was for him and our family.

On my Mother’s side of the family my Mother, my Aunt and Uncle all had arrhythmia’s and pacemakers.  

With this history I should have been more aware of heart disease but I really wasn’t UNTIL I needed a pacemaker.   Here’s  a scenario of a heart attack happening and what to do.  It will only take a few minutes of your time to give someone else a life time.

CLICK HERE to find out what you should do – http://www.heartrescuenow.com/

Click here for a site that lists the places you are most likely to locate an AED
Thanks Sharon for sharing this really important information

What Is an Automated External Defibrillator?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life.

Overview

To understand how AEDs work, it helps to understand how the heart works.

The heart has an internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat.

Problems with the electrical system can cause abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs). During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body. These arrhythmias cause SCA.

  • The most common cause of SCA is an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation (v-fib). In v-fib, the ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers) don’t beat normally. Instead, they quiver very rapidly and irregularly.
  • Another arrhythmia that can lead to SCA is ventricular tachycardia (TAK-ih-KAR-de-ah). This is a fast, regular beating of the ventricles that may last for only a few seconds or for much longer.
  • Ninety-five percent of people who have SCA die from it—most within minutes. Rapid treatment of SCA with an AED can be lifesaving.

In people who have either of these arrhythmias, an electric shock from an AED can restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on someone having SCA also can improve his or her chance of survival.

“The Most Dangerous Word in the World”

Carolyn Thomas has done it again – written a post that I am compelled to steal.  She has single-handedly turned me from a law-abiding citizen to a “blogging” thief.  (use a British accent to reap the full benefit on my play on words).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been my focus as a therapist for many, many years. I stopped trying to figure out if clients had been weaned too early as enfants when I first read brain research on obsessive compulsive disorders and how thinking  literally changes the brain’s neurochemical activity thereby diminishing anxiety & depression in mood disorders. (whew! that was a long sentence).  

Research continues to show that cognitive behavioral therapy along with exercise (which also activates certain neurochemical) is better or as good as medication . . . and cheaper in the long run.  Read!  Here’s something even cheaper than therapy and you already have the know-how and tools.

Carolyn’s article hits a home run.  There’s not much I would change. I’m even brazen enough to steal her title.  Carolyn has so many jewels that, without an accomplice, I can’t haul all of them over here all at once.  So here’s an excerpt from her post: (Read the entire post, it’s worth it, by clicking on Carolyn’s title below)

P.S.  Max would have changed the title to “The most OVER-USED word in my world”

“The Most Dangerous Word in the World”

by Carolyn Thomas

It’s “NO”.

Any form of negative rumination – for example, worrying about your health – can stimulate the release of destructive neurochemicals.  Waldman and Newberg [researchers] explain:

“If we were to put you into an fMRI scanner – a huge donut-shaped magnet that can take a video of the neural changes happening in your brain – and flash the word “NO” for less than one second, you’d see a sudden release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of your brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.

“In fact, just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse, and the more you ruminate on them, the more you can actually damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions.

“You’ll disrupt your sleep, your appetite, and your ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction.”

“These findings are distressing for those of us who are living with a chronic diagnosis like heart disease that can involve quite a bit of day-to-day serious rumination about one’s health”

“But Ohio researchers warn that there’s apparently an intrinsic problem here: the brain barely responds to our positive words and thoughts; they found that even with simple examples (such as showing research subjects pictures of flowers vs pictures of snakes), we tend to react to the scary snakes but barely register a reaction to those nice flowers.** That’s why, they suggest, we need to bulk up on those positives to outweigh the negatives.”

“Finally, Waldman and Newberg remind us of the findings of Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, (one of the founders of the field of Positive Psychology) and others whose work suggests that we need to generate 3-5 positive thoughts and feelings for each expression of negativity.  They add:

“Our advice: choose your words wisely and speak them slowly. This will allow you to interrupt the brain’s propensity to be negative, and as recent research has shown, the mere repetition of positive words will turn on specific genes that lower your physical and emotional stress.”’

To get ALL the loot you will have to steal over to her site . . .Heart Sisters

(She already knows I’m  giving  you the keys to her vault – she never locks it anyway, she has a very trusting heart . . .)

Healing, The Living Matrix

I don’t often talk about it – in public at any rate – but I have been exposed to many cutting edge or “far out”  health & healing techniques and processes.

David Bresler, Ph.D. and Marty Rossman, MD, the founders of the Academy for Guided Imagery  (AGI), have been on the forefront of  alternative medicine and brought leading edge researchers and doctors to speak at  AGI conferences I attended.  Much of what I heard “blew me away” at the time.

This video reminded me of many of the concepts I heard about long ago.   Watching it made me rethink my heart “problems”.

Even if your ticker is ticking just fine it will make you view your heart differently too.  

Take the time to watch and expand your world of “possibility”.  

(And for those of you who have not been “cured” by western mainstream medicine, watch!)

http://vimeo.com/21432874

Thanks to Kathe Caldwell, hypnotherapist and instructor par excellence for sharing The Living Matrix Video with me!

My Stress Checklist Reminder & widespread pain

Even when I’m spaced out in front of the TV, gardening, petting Max I’m stressed out. It’s important that I remind myself of that since stress has become my norm.

It’s easy  for me to forget that with a chronic medical condition(s) my body itself is the stressor.  Pain is a signal that something is wrong and tells all my systems to be on alert . . . 24/7

This is a comprehensive easy to read article on stress and provides an excellent reference.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

There is a check-list in the article.  I love check lists so of course took it.  Here are my surprising results:

Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Memory problems  No problem, no memory.
  • Inability to concentrate I am a great multi-tasker
  • Poor judgment Posting this post
  • Seeing only the negative  I can barely see past my own nose.
  • Anxious or racing thoughts Never, I concentrate on relaxing
  • Constant worrying  “What me worry?” 

    Alfred E. Neuman

Emotional Symptoms 

  • Moodiness  Only when I’m moody
  • Irritability or short temper  I get  irritable when my temper is short.  
  • Agitation, inability to relax I try to relax all the time
  • Feeling overwhelmed This list is overwhelming
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation  I long for isolation . . .
  • Depression or general unhappiness Eh?

Physical Symptoms

  • Aches and pains  That’s what’s creating the stress in the first place.
  • Diarrhea or constipation  There are limits to my self disclosure.
  • Nausea, dizziness  Does ditsy count?
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat  No kidding!
  • Loss of sex drive  X-rated, no comment
  • Frequent colds Only my feet

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Sleeping too much or too little Much is more
  • Isolating yourself from others What other’s?  Remind me who they are.
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities Who me?, never! I’ll get to my paperwork . . . soon.
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax  My drug of choice is carbs
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing) Shaking my foot
  • Eating more or less  More is more

This stress checklist has irritated me.  I’ll decide if I’m stressed after I eat some cake and relax .

The Heart of the Battle

Humph! She can be so melodramatic . . .

Unseen forces aim

at the fortress of my heart

 no place now to hide

Judy’s Heart Series, mixed media
No Place to Hide

Unseen forces know

not possible to retreat

or even play dead

Judy’s Heart series, Mixed Media
No Place to Play Dead

Unseen forces rip

the white flag of surrender

blowing in my mind

Judy’s Heart Series, Acrylic
White Flag of Surrender
Haiku-Heights
prompt, battlefield

Footprint on my Heart

Footprint on mon coeur.

Haiku-Heights
prompt, footprint

                 dis-ease of broken heart or

                                 evidence d’ amour?

I’ve “borrowed” again from Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters:

“This year, heart disease will kill six times more women than breast cancer will.  In fact, heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer combined.”

Watch this 3-minute film called “Just a Little Heart Attack” from the American Heart Association. It was originally brought to my attention by Carolyn Thomas.  Please share with others.

And READ THIS from Carolyn

“When other researchers reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at more than 10,000 patients (48% women) who had gone to their hospital Emergency Departments with chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, they found that women under the age of 55 are SEVEN TIMES more likely to be misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack than their male counterparts are.”

“And it gets worse! In 2005, the American Heart Association surveyed physicians in the U.S. to see how many were aware that more women than men die of heart disease each year (a statistic that’s been true since they started keeping track in 1984).

Only 8% of family doctors knew this fact, and (much worse!!) only 17% of CARDIOLOGISTS were aware of it. CARDIOLOGISTS! This is their business. This is all they do!! Shocking, really!”

Do check out Carolyn’s blog.  She does an amazing job keeping up with the latest news and research and information.  Here’s a sample of a funny post that may not be so funny:

Is My Bra Too Tight?

. . . and the Steady Beat Goes on, Irregularly

Heart finger painting
stage 1

Spent 5 hours in the ER.  Chest pain, light headedness, fatigue, muddled thinking.  I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack since these symptoms have been going on for sometime.  In the past, by the time they got me on a halter-monitor my symptoms were gone.  This time I was told to go to the ER where they had the equipment to “catch” what was happening.  

Yes!  I’ve got rhythm

steadily  ir reg ula r

                                      JaZzy marching band

Heart of the matter:
Help me be independent
of unhealthy health

 

Drove myself to the ER (remember, I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack). Said I was having chest pain so I got preferred parking and was triaged in immediately.  If you are bleeding profusely (depending on what part of the body is bleeding) or have chest pains you go to the head of the line.  

OF COURSE the 2-second EKG  was fine and I was sent to the waiting room till they had a “bed” for me.  

Heart finger painting
Stage 2

Three hours later, having read every magazine in the waiting room (except for Popular Mechanics which my heart wasn’t into), I was disrobed, had blood drawn, chest x-rayed and  hooked up to a heart monitor with a comfy warm blanket around my legs.

Seems the culprit is bradycardia – my heart rate goes too low with any kind of exertion (including laughing exuberantly) and not enough blood is getting to my organs including my brain, which it turns out is an organ, (thus the muddled thinking –  a relief to know it’s not old age just heart disease).

Now I can add bradycardia to the PVC’s, atrial fibrillation, AV node block, high blood pressure, crabbiness and gray hair.

What to do?  I’ll see the Doctor November 8th.  

He’s not triaging me in first cuz my heart is still beating, albeit irregularly.

Haiku-Heights
prompt, paradox

30 THINGS ABOUT MY INVISIBLE ILLNESS YOU MAY NOT KNOW & didn’t know you wanted to know

I’m so grateful to Carolyn Thomas, My Heart Sisters for bringing Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week to my attention.   Carolyn suffered a Widow-Maker Heart Attack in 2009 and has Inoperable Coronary Microvascular Disease.

Carolyn’s post on her “30 things”  is wonderful, honest, informative and well written.  

Please read it to get another perspective on invisible illness. 

Carolyn’s intro is perfect so I’m stealing it!  (Don’t tell Carolyn! . . . ).  Here it is:

“Next week is Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and this year, the 2012 campaign organizers have provided a 30 Things template for bloggers like me. Most of us look and sound pretty much the way we did before being diagnosed with a chronic and progressive illness which may not be at all visibly obvious to the outside world. This can then make it challenging for those around us to ‘get it’ when we are struggling with debilitating symptoms. So with the hope of helping to expand public awareness into next week and beyond, here goes:”

Haiku-Heights

Divinity worn

My choice: A gossamer gown

or a horse hair robe

3 Heads are Better than 2, by Judy

 

1. The illness I live with is: fibromyalgia and chronic heart arrhythmias. Yup plural.  The meds I am on for atrial fib caused another problem with my AV node which caused a problem with my pacemaker which caused .. . 

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: Fibro – 1996, Heart – 2000ish

3. But I had symptoms since: Looking back I had fibro symptoms as a child.  My heart arrhythmia’s started in the 1970’s.  I believe my heart problems are fibro related as fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: remembering that my body is no longer 30 years old and not be upset with myself for not doing MORE, more, more.

5. Most people assume: I’m fine.  When I’m in public I look fine, I act fine. And that’s fine with me.

6. The hardest part about mornings are:  Waking up exhausted and wanting/needing to go back to bed even if I’ve slept 9 hours.

7. My favorite medical TV show is:  I don’t watch medical TV shows or anything that has death, dying, famine, pestilence, flood, suspense or mayhem.  My central nervous system is always on red-alert and anything that is even a tiny bit tense throws it waaaaaaaaay over the top.  I watch a lot of HGTV!

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  Romba.  I could watch her vacuum her little robot wheels off for hours!  If I could afford it I would have a robot clean counters, wash windows and COOK.  The best money I ever spent that I thought I shouldn’t spend.  (I did have a 20% off coupon . . .)

9. The hardest part about nights are: Hoping tomorrow I’ll have energy but knowing I will wake up exhausted.

10. Each day I take __ pills,  8 or 9 but who’s counting . . . two are for fibro the rest are heart meds.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: have tried most with no change.  I don’t do placebo very well either.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: NEITHER!  I do think that in many ways visible illness or injury is looked at as legitimate and invisible illness or injury is suspicious – particularly when it’s chronic.   Once I was on crutches for leg surgery. I got so much care and sympathy that I told everyone I was going to keep the crutches and use them when I had fibromyalgia flare ups.

13. Regarding working and career:  I have had to limit the number of people I see on a daily basis.  This past year I’ve had to limit the number of days in the office.  If I see too many people it takes me days to get any energy back.  The older I get the less resilient I seem to be.

14. People would be surprised to know:  At home I sit and stare a lot. I’m not always cheery and energetic.  When I’m at work I truly am delighted to see clients and I am able to keep my focus for and on them and push everything else into the background.  When I notice pain, fatigue  or irregular heart beats during a session then I know I’m not doing well at all.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  Not having the kind of energy I used to have, want to have and how unproductive I feel.  The hardest thing to DO is pace myself.  When I’m feeling ok I tend to do too much and then  I create a “fibro flare”.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Teach 4 day intensive for the Academy for Guided Imagery.  The teaching is from  9 am to 5 pm and then the faculty debrief etc until 6.  I take a nap during lunch.  The incredibly wonderful students that take the training keep me enthused and stimulated.  After the 4 days I crash for days.  It’s worth it.  I love teaching.

17. The commercials about my illness:  I’m glad that the words Fibromyalgia and Atrial Fibrillation are becoming known.  But all the commercials about medication in general drive me nuttier than I already am.  They make it sound like all you do is take a pill and the world is wonderful.  (The list of side effects makes me smile – I’ve had most of them)

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  Spontaneity.  I never know how I’m going to feel.

19. It was really hard to have to give up:  My previous way of living.  After all these many years I still have a difficult time pacing myself.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  Taking naps.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  I’ve come to realize that what I’m feeling and how I’m living IS my new normal.  I can no longer remember how I felt before my fibro and heart problems really flared.

22. My illness has taught me:  We all share invisible hurts, scars, pains and sorrows.  Invisible emotional hurts and pains are much more difficult than the physical.  In a weird way I am blessed.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:  Give me advice on what I can do, should try to be “cured” or feel better.  After 16 years I’ve read books, articles, blogs, research and have pretty much tried everything known to man (at this point in time).   I’m sick and tired of trying “miracle” cures and going to health care appointments.  I’ve tried acupuncture, herbs, vitamins, yoga, body work, imagery, hypnosis, been to over 30 different kinds of doctors etc.  Enough!   The only thing I haven’t tried is being stung by a bee 3 times a day.  Ouch! (I saw a woman at a fibro conference gave a demonstration)  Thank goodness I’m allergic to bee stings . . . or I would have tried that . . .

24. But I love it when people:  Forgive me for not calling back, forgetting their birthdays, understanding how difficult it is for me to make long-term commitments or plans since I never know how I will feel.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: ” This too shall pass”.  My Mother always said that.  She was right.  Everything passes.  This life is just a small blip in eternity.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:  Your life won’t stop even if your health has. Do what you can when you can, if you can.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  How exhausting and isolating it is.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: To be honest, I can’t think of anything.  People do nice things for me all the time that have nothing to do with how I feel.  Nice!

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  I believe that it is the only way to make invisible illness VISIBLE is to share and talk about it.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  Hopeful. Maybe my experiences can help others not feel as puny & crazy as I thought I was when I first developed debilitating symptoms.

Thanks Carolyn!  At least I didn’t steal your answers too!

The Heat’s On!

Solar Flare

Although Southern California has been having incredibly beautiful weather I’m aware that parts of the world are experiencing incredible heat.

One of my favorite electrophysiologists (cardiologist who specialized in electrical) is John Mandrola, MD.  I have internet appointments with his blog.  He is down to earth, a good writer and has good information.  He also is an avid cyclist which has given me a glimpse into the obsessive world of cycling which I shall never physically experience!

I’ve excerpted his information on how to deal with heat as there are several points he makes that I wasn’t aware of.

Although on this post he’s talking about strenuous exercise it applies to a lot of people: Those with medical conditions; Seniors; Children who play hard outside etc.

So for those of you sweltering in the heat right now take a look at what the doctor writes:

“. . . mild dehydration and heat exposure can play havoc with susceptible patients. Now I’m talking to middle-agers with (or without) AF. [atrial fibrillation] The stressful effects of heat-illness–electrolyte depletion and high adrenaline levels–can act as pokers of the nests of cells that drive or initiate AF.  You don’t want to poke these cells. mild dehydration and heat exposure can play havoc with susceptible patients.”

  • “Hydrate immediately upon awakening. A number of years ago, I had to drink 30 ounces of water in the early morning before a kidney ultrasound. The sensations were amazing. I bopped around that entire day. Starting the day on ‘full’ can make a huge difference in dealing with the heat.
  • Drink an entire bottle of water BEFORE [exercise] the run or ride. Even when it’s not hot, exercising in a fully hydrated state improves performance. A side effect: the need to negotiate an early nature break.
  • Limit caffeine intake on hot days. I harbor little doubt that caffeine improves performance–in certain individuals–during short bursts of exercise done in moderate weather. I cannot imagine starting a cyclocross race without drinking a stiff Americano. But on hot days, the diuretic effect of caffeine wreaks havoc with heat regulation and electrolyte depletion. I don’t have studies; I just know this.
  • Talk to yourself during [exercise] a hot ride/run. Keep telling yourself to drink fluids. For guys like me, with imaginary friends, talking to yourself comes naturally. You may need to practice.
  • Colored water can help on long rides/runs [exercise] on hot days. I’m partial to orange and purple sport’s drinks. Of course, the best color drink needs to be individualized. Don’t ask me which proprietary formula best replenishes muscles. Just pick a good color. I say this with caution: The fizzy carmel-colored stuff in a red can also works for me.
  • Avoid Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Under normal circumstances, regular use of NSAIDs is risky. One of the greatest risks of these drugs is kidney failure–the dialysis kind. Taking NSAIDs in a volume-depleted state increases the risk of this catastrophe. Let me repeat: Do not take NSAIDs while dehydrated.
  • Don’t push through sickness. When fighting a viral infection—I say viral, because no one exercises through serious bacterial infections—you need to let your heart and body rest. By definition, infection means you are inflamed. Don’t risk pouring in more inflammation. Never add inflammation. That’s a severe health rule!
  • Exercise in the morning. The advantage here is that you may learn to go bed early.
  • Be alert for signs of heat-illness in yourself or your buddies. It’s pretty obvious. Being cold on a hot day is a really bad sign. Babbling is a less specific indicator.”
To read the entire post click here:  Dr John M.

Vision Masks

Stephanie

Had a deeeeeeeeeelightful time with Stephanie Fermelia’s Heart Support Group at Hoag Hospital doing VISION Masks.

We ran out of time to fully process the collages (or even finish some).  Vision Masks are based on vision boards but can give you a lot more personal information on what you “Face in your Future“.

Here’s a sample.

Judy’s Vision Mask

I doodled on my mask with marking pens and just got a few images pasted down.  Here’s an example of how I might process my own mask.  I’ve not processed it prior and will do so as I type so you can see my processing.

As I look at the mask and pictures I just allow my imagination, my intuition speak without questioning or censoring.

  • Broccoli:  Mouth open ready to receive healthy nourishment in the coming months (probably because the only vegetable in my garden that produced was broccoli!)
  • Shopping bag/right ear:  I need to listen to myself to be able to fill my bag with what is right
  • Right ear: the 5 yellow triangle doodles point inward and the top one is open.  Not sure what this is.  Almost like “mouths” talking to me . . .
  • Nose filled with pictures of trees:  It’s the only opening I filled so I’ve “put my nose” on what I need – nature, outdoors.
  • Right eye – three dots:  Tears?  Tears for past, present future?  Tears for cleansing mind, body, soul?
  • Left eye 3 lines filled with dots:  Perhaps a flood of cleansing tears so that I can listen well.
  • Left Ear 2 large dots/flowers touching the lobe:  Stands for my physical heart, emotional heart and spiritual heart.

There’s more but the bigger VISION emerging for me is to pay attention to my senses – what my mind, body and soul are saying, needing and wanting.  However, I need to listen less to my physical symptoms/being and more to what nurtures and nourishes me.

Dem Bones

I’ve not been blogging as frequently.  Did YOU NOTICE?  (Don’t tell me.  I actually don’t want to know!)
My saggy saga. . .
the medication that was controlling my atrial fibrillation. . .  caused the long q-t interval (life threatening). . .which necessitated Tallulah Pacehead to be implanted.  Tallulah  caused . . . my AV node to act up which activated light-headedness and propensity to pass out when exercising.  The great news is this is not life threatening.  The bad news is I’ve been poooooooooped.
So . . .
The doctor and I decided to titrate off the atrial fibrillation medication to see if some of the dominoes could be righted.  Wronged!  I’m back on the meds after having chest pain with every little move, wild blood pressure and constant arrhythmia.  Guess that medication has been working just fine!

The weird part is I couldn’t get these Dem Bone lyrics out of my head while all this was going on.  I don’t think I’ve heard this song since I was a child.  AND I had no idea, until now, that the gospel song was actually based on Ezekiel.

How great is this!?  
I wouldn’t have had the song play in my mind if all this hadn’t happened to me and I wouldn’t have googled it to see if I remembered it correctly and I wouldn’t have known the song was from the Bible and YOU wouldn’t be reminded of the Dem Bones song which will now play over and over in your mind which will lead you to heaven-knows-what . . .
Gospel Song Lyrics
James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)

E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

The foot bone con-nected to the (pause) leg-bone,
The leg bone connected to the (‘) knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the (‘) thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the (‘) back bone,
The back bone connected to the (‘) neck bone
The neck bone connected to the (‘) head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

The head-bone connected to the neck-bone,
the neck-bone connected to the back-bone
The backbone connected to the thigh-bone
the thighbone connected to the knee-bone
the knee bone connected to the leg bone
the leg bone connected to the foot bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord

Ezekiel 37
The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!

5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath [a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.

13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.

14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”

Humph! The dear girl is losing it . . .

Why Stand-up Comedians Live Longer than Sit-com writers. Why Lap-dancers die sooner than Pole-dancers.

If you are sitting down while reading this, STAND UP RIGHT NOW!  

My favorite heart blog, My Heart Sisters has a great post.  Here’s a tidbit: 

“The Australian study on prolonged sitting adjusted for other factors such as age, weight, physical activity and general health status, all of which can also affect longterm health risks. It found a clear dose-response effect: the more people sat, the higher their risk of premature death.

Healthy or sick, active or inactive, the more people sat, the more likely they were to die prematurely compared to those with non-sedentary lives. While the death risk was lower for anyone who exercised five hours a week or more, it still rose as these active people sat longer.

In other words, we still need to exercise, but it’s also important to spend less time sitting.

Why is prolonged sitting so comparatively hard on human beings? This study’s researchers concluded:

“The adverse effects of prolonged sitting are thought to be mainly owing to reduced metabolic and vascular health. Prolonged sitting has been shown to disrupt metabolic function. Sedentary behavior affects carbohydrate metabolism through changes in muscle glucose transporter protein content.

“Our findings suggested not only an association between sitting and all-cause mortality that was independent of physical activity but, because the findings persisted after adjustment and stratification for Body Mass Index, one that also appears to be independent of BMI.”

In another Australian study reported in the journal Diabetes Care, scientists at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne observed adults who sat for seven hours on some days and who rose every 20 minutes and walked leisurely on a treadmill for two minutes on other days. When the volunteers remained stationary for the full seven hours, their blood sugar spiked and insulin levels were erratic. But when they broke up the hours with movement, even that short two-minute stroll, their blood sugar levels remained stable. The scientists concluded that what was important was simply breaking up those long, interminable hours of sitting.”

I wonder if lying down with my feet pressed against the wall would work? 

Read more here: http://myheartsisters.org/2012/04/29/sitting-down/

Men Explode, Women Erode

Tallulah Pacehead sez: "DRINK MILK"

Tallulah, my pacemaker, is doing her job and luckily resting on her laurels a lot (translation:  my pacemaker is only having to work 2% to 25% of the time).  I still having a bit of “heart matters” going on so this post on my favorite Heart blog: Heart Sisters caught my attention.

(P.S.  Fascinating information on Stem Cells and their impact on MEN)

If you are a woman or know a woman take a moment to listen.

“One out of every two of you reading this right now will be impacted by cardiovascular disease in your lifetime, warns cardiologist Dr. Noel Bairey-Merz, Director of the Cedars Sinai Women’s Heart Center in Los Angeles. And worse, diagnostic and treatment strategies “developed in men, by men, for men for the last 50 years” are not working so well for women.”

Sign up for My Heart Sisters Newsletter. 

http://myheartsisters.org/newsletter/

Don’t Jump to Conclusions even if it is Leap Year

I got home from the office early tonight.  My last appointment was with a wonderful couple I’ve seen for a few years. The woman didn’t look like her usual smiling self and said she didn’t feel good.  On the drive to my office she suddenly had a strange feeling that spread all over her chest, felt nauseated, had pain across her shoulders.  They thought it was anxiety.

I sent them to the nearest emergency room.  Why?  I NEVER assume physical symptoms are simply stress or anxiety unless a person has ALREADY had it checked by a doctor and disorders/disease have been ruled out.  It is better to be relieved that it’s just stress rather than to be dead or disabled because you dismissed the symptoms.

I hope that they both are upset with me

for sending them to the emergency room because all she was experiencing was a stress reaction.

Heart Attack Warnings Can Be Subtle

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading killer of women in America, accounting for over one-third of all deaths. That’s more than the combined death rates from breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers.

“Studies on cardiac events in women reveal that many women may experience prodromal —  or early — symptoms of cardiac distress in the days, weeks, or even months leading up to a heart attack. Unfortunately, many of these signs may be dismissed as nothing out of the ordinary — by both women and their doctors. The most common early warning signs include:

71%  Unusual fatigue — “Fatigue is a common complaint and one that may indicate that you’re simply missing out on sleep, fighting a virus, overextending yourself, or experiencing a side effect to medication. But unusual or extreme fatigue may also be an early heart attack symptom or a warning sign of heart disease. In one study, more than 70% of the women surveyed experienced marked fatigue in the days or weeks prior to their heart attacks.”

48% Sleep disturbances –– “It’s not unusual to feel tired due to a lack of sleep or a particularly demanding week or month, you should still take special notice of any unusual or prolonged disturbance in your sleep patterns. A recent study revealed that almost half of the women who had recently suffered a heart attack also experienced sleep disturbances in the days or weeks leading up to their attacks.”

42% Shortness of breath during normal daily activities,

39% indigestion

35% anxiety

30% Chest Pain

“So how do you know if your symptoms are serious? Getting into the habit of noting your typical aches and pains and your normal reactions to foods and activities may help you recognize when something is truly amiss. Also, remember that if you have risk factors for heart disease, you should be especially vigilant about monitoring how you feel — particularly if any of your usual symptoms are often early heart attack signs. If you experience worrisome or unusual changes in your energy level, comfort, or sleep habits, you should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider, especially if you have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, a smoking habit, or a sedentary lifestyle. (Here are 12 things you can do right now to help prevent a heart attack.)”

http://www.realage.com/womens-health/

Tallulah: Getting it Off Her Chest

Miss Tallulah Pacehead

While Miss JudyJudith has been convalescing this past week I’ve been running my little legs off running her little heart out . . .  Unfortunately for all my diligence she didn’t appreciate all I’ve done for her and she schlepped me to the doctor today.  He said I had been working way to much – he didn’t need to tell me – and I could rest a bit.

Frankly, I just don’t understand why she’s been complaining.  She’s not done a lick of work all week.  Just sat and moaned and groaned about chest pains, and headaches and light-headedness.  She’s so dramatic.

Frankly, I think she just wants attention.  So please don’t reinforce her.  Tell her to get off her behind and act human.

On second thought.  Don’t tell her to act like a human – that’s actually what she does and it’s not always becoming.  Tell her to act her age!

On second thought.  Don’t tell her to act her age – that’s what she’s been doing and it’s not always becoming.  Tell her to act like Tallulah:  Always smile, always be gracious and always be grateful to have heart.

Go RED! Go Tallulah!

Tallulah Pacehead

My Dears,

I had such an incredibly mahhhhvelous, exciting day yesterday. Unfortunately what “Turns me on . . . and off” isn’t the same mahvelous experience for Miss JudyJudith.  Humans are rather delicate. Pity.

Well, back to me.  I commemorated Go RED! for heart disease day with a visit to my personal cardiologist.  For the better part of 2 1/2 hours I was administered to.  Such a delight since most of the time I toil unrecognized and behind the scenes.

I was turned up.  I was turned down, I was adjusted and tweaked.   Truely a spa day to bring out my glow. I am as magnetic a personality as always.

And I was exonerated.  You won’t believe how much I get unjustly blamed for.  It’s undoubtedly because of my feminine beauty that the finger always gets pointed to me. Being a star it comes with the territory but it is tiring.

Seems as if JudyJudith’s V-nodes (too complicated for those of you not as close to the heart of things as I to comprehend) are competing and the beats aren’t beating and the circuits are heating.  Blood pressure is elevating, Judy is deflating. Ah I wax poetic.

JudyJudith was told by the doctor to take it easy so I, ONCE AGAIN, am helping her out by writing all of you.  I’ll see to it that she’ll be just just fine.  Never as good as new, of course because she’s not new.  So what’s new . . . ?  She wants me to assure you that all is well.

Well, back to me.  I’m doing mahhhhhhvelously well.  And  I want to remind you that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women.  So please take heart, take care and review the symptoms of heart attack.  We pacemakers prefer being in the bodies of  humans who are alive.

Ta, Ta,

with much love,

Miss Tallulah Pacehead

Should you want to refresh yourself on my activities –  how Pacemakers are implanted etc here are past posts: Cranky Tallulah, Open Letter from Tallulah,  Pacemaker Activity Hospital Guidelines,  Pacemaker Implant Instructions)

http://www.goredforwomen.org

http://myheartsisters.org/

Heart Smart

Been off-line for a few days listening to my heart.

Experiencing . . . again . .. light-headedness when exercising and blood pressure careening from too too high to too too low.

The funny thing is that I have reverse “white coat syndrome” – You know, when you get anxious in the doctor’s office and your blood pressure becomes elevated.  My blood pressure goes into a perfect range every time a healthcare professional takes it!

Yup, my heart is REALLY smart.  It knows when it’s going to the doctor’s office.  It knows when it’s being monitored.

I wore a 24 hour halter monitor to see if the light-headedness had anything to do with the electrical activity.

  • As soon as they put the electrodes on yesterday I went on a long fast paced walk — no light-headedness.  
  • An hour later I walked a bit over a mile to my office to see a client — no light-headedness.  (Thank goodness the client I saw is compassionate.  She didn’t blink as I sat wiping the perspiration from my face, neck and hair).  
  • When I got home I went on another 45 minute walk  — no light-headedness.

Knowing I had to turn the halter monitor in today and I had meetings all morning I got up at 5:30 am and walked for 60 minutes, up and down hills.  You guessed it.  No light-headedness.

I can visualize my heart smiling wryly!

A NURSE’S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

As horrible and frightening as other diseases are cardiovascular disease kills more women over 25 than all cancers combined.  Furthermore, young women who have heart attacks are twice as likely to die from them as men are.

Thanks to Nancie Kohlenberger, LMFT

http://www.transformurlife.com/for sending me this e-mail.

Acrylic Painting from Creative Expression Workshop

I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard.

Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack. You know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies.

“I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation–the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR). This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws.

‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening — we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I’m having a heart attack! I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else… but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics… I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance.

He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.

Acrylic from Creative Expression Workshop

Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail?

Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand:

#1.  Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act).  It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they wake up… which doesn’t happen.

My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

#2.   Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics .’ And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the road. Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road. Do NOT call your doctor — he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

#3.  Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this information and sends it to 10 people,

you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life. 

more information: http://www.goredforwomen.org/