Rosie O’Donnell Goes Red for Women 2014

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell

I am my own biggest critic.  There is no doubt.  I continue to muster up the courage to move past my own vulnerability and uncertainty to deal with life’s next challenge.  We all have a need for validation.  We all want to be seen.  We all want to be heard.  Everyone wants to be respected and appreciated.  Yet, as human beings, we all share a certain fear of criticism.  I certainly feel this when I attempt to write or when I move out of my comfort zone to speak, both of which I want to integrate into this next chapter of my life.

With that being stated, I would like to say that I admire the compassion and energy of people like Rosie O’Donnell.  She speaks easily, telling powerful stories with conviction and sincerity but mostly with an over-all caring allure.

Some presenters can take your mind to another place and on another level, making an impact that seems to stay with you.  They teach you important and meaningful information and you really listen and take their information to heart. They always have the right words and they never stumble when they speak.  They are not afraid of criticism.  They leave you thinking they are your best friend; that they care about you and they will always be a part of your life.

Rosie O’Donnell is one of those individuals.  She speaks so naturally.  She speaks about a topic that is dear to my heart… and her heart, as well.

Rosie O’Donnell has gained national attention since her heart attack in August of 2012.  Her story is similar to mind in her reluctant mindset to seek help when she was experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.  I can totally relate to her story.

What started as a normal day soon turned into one that would change her mission in life. You see, O’Donnell suffered a heart attack. But like so many women, she missed the signs.

Hours after helping a woman who was struggling to get out of her car, O’Donnell felt something strange happening to her. Her body ached and she felt bruised, but she dismissed it as over-exertion.

The pain, however, persisted. Her skin started feeling clammy, her temperature rose and she threw up. She even went online to look up heart attack symptoms in women. “I had many of them,” remembers O’Donnell. “But really? I thought: Naaaa. (So) I took some Bayer aspirin.”

O’Donnell waited until the following day to see her doctor, as her symptoms hadn’t gone away. That’s because while an aspirin can help with symptoms, it won’t stop a heart attack – which is precisely what O’Donnell was experiencing. An EKG revealed that she had 99 percent artery blockage, a situation called “the widow maker.” Today, she considers herself one of the lucky ones.”

Rosie is not afraid to speak her mind.  I marvel her frankness and straight to the point fortitude.  Having Rosie as the spokeswoman for Heart Week 2014 was remarkable, contributing a large quantity of concise and easy to remember heart knowledge.  She makes remarkable analogies and tells her story succinctly and vividly.

Go Red For Women is an impassioned and often emotional campaign designed to empower women to take command of their heart health. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading killer of women in the United States, stopping over 505,000 women’s hearts each year—that’s about one woman every minute.

Rosie has the power to uplift any weary attitude with her charismatic presentations.  I watched Rosie recently on both The View  and on the internet when she was in Detroit at the Go Red for Women luncheon, where she was keynote speaker.

The “take-away knowledge” on heart health is easy to remember.  She developed the acronym HEPPP for heart attack symptoms that require immediate attention:

HOT
EXHAUSTED
PAIN
PALE
PUKE

Rosie further elaborated on her new healthier lifestyle which includes a reduction in red meat intake, carbohydrates and sugar.  She has added exercise to her daily routine. You can read Rosie’s Heart Story on her blog at Rosie.com

Rosie’s message as a one-woman crusade for women’s heart health is powerful and imperative.

“I did what many women do.  I did not take care of myself.  And that’s why I’m here, to try to get women to know you’re worth it; take care of yourself.   Know the symptoms.”

Women take heed.  According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined.  Heart disease remains the number one killer in women because we do not recognize and react on the symptoms.

An estimated eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat. In fact, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.  Women are content on putting themselves last and taking care of the ones they love.  Women need to prioritize themselves.

Rosie’s story bears a remarkable resemblance to my story in the aspect of woman putting themselves last.  That is a tough concept to change.  Her words make an impact on me, and hopefully, if the time comes again, I will act more quickly.

Today, Rosie tells all of us that not calling 9-1-1 immediately was a mistake.  Obviously, we cannot call for every ache and pain, but if you are at risk for heart disease, have a family history or a sudden development of unusual symptoms, you need to get to the hospital quickly.

Please… Think of yourself.

Take care of your heart. 

Rosie O’Donnell in Detroit for Go Red Luncheon 2014

SMILE! It is Good for Your Heart

SMILE!

SMILE!

“Laugh, even when you feel too sick or too worn out or tired.
Smile, even when you’re trying not to cry and the tears are blurring your vision.  Sing, even when people stare at you and tell you your voice is crappy.”  ~
Alysha Speers

GOAL of the DAY:  Make others smile!

How am I doing?!

According to the University of Kansas, “smiling during times of stress helps you to recover from a stressful event.”  It certainly sounds simple enough.

This study, published in Psychological Science, suggests that retaining a smile on one’s face during periods of stress may help the heart.  As the study states, this contributes support to the old adage “grin and bear it.”

Your Tip of the Day:  The next time you are waiting in an slow-moving check-out line, a provoking traffic jam or listening to an unending voice recording, simply – SMILE  !

I want to make your heart HAPPY!

I want to put a SMILE on that face of yours!

Dr. Stephen Sinatra M.D., a respected cardiologist offers his own personal list of how to create a smile on your face and feel better.

This is a great way to take care of your heart! 

Note number 101 – that is how I am taking care of my heart.

01. Call an old friend, just to say hi.
02. Hold a door open for a stranger.
03. Invite someone to lunch.
04. Compliment someone on his or her appearance.
05. Ask a coworker for their opinion on a project.
06. Bring cookies to work.
07. Let someone cut in during rush hour traffic.
08. Leave a waitress or waiter a big tip.
09. Tell a cashier to have a nice day.
10. Call your parents.

11. Let someone know you miss them.
12. Treat someone to a movie.
13. Let a person know you really appreciate them.
14. Visit a retirement center.
15. Take a child to the zoo.
16. Fill up your spouse’s car with gas.
17. Surprise someone with a small gift.
18. Leave a thank-you note for the cleaning staff at work.
19. Write a letter to a distant relative.
20. Tell someone you thought about them the other day.
21. Put a dime in a stranger’s parking meter before the time expires.
22. Bake a cake for a neighbor.
23. Send someone flowers to where they work.
24. Invite a friend to tea.
25. Recommend a good book to someone.
26. Donate clothing to a charity.
27. Offer an elderly person a ride to where they need to go.
28. Bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.
29. Give blood.
30. Offer free baby-sitting to a friend who’s really busy or just needs a break.
31. Help your neighbor rake leaves or shovel snow.
32. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
33. Help someone with a heavy load.
34. Ask to see a store’s manager and comment on the great service.
35. Give your place in line at the grocery store to someone who has only a few items.
36. Hug someone in your family for no reason.
37. Wave to a child in the car next to you.
38. Send a thank-you note to your doctor.
39. Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.
40. Leave a joke on someone’s answering machine.
41. Be a mentor or coach to someone.
42. Forgive a loan.
43. Fill up the copier machine with paper after you’re done using it.
44. Tell someone you believe in them.
45. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
46. Welcome new neighbors with flowers or a plant.
47. Offer to watch a friend’s home while they’re away.
48. Ask someone if they need you to pick up anything while you’re out shopping.
49. Ask a child to play a board game, and let them win.
50. Ask an elderly person to tell you about the good old days.
51. During bad weather, plan an indoor picnic with the family.
52. Buy someone a goldfish and bowl.
53. Compliment someone on their cooking and politely ask for a second helping.
54. Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
55. Tell someone you mentioned them in your prayers.
56. Give children’s clothes to another family when your kids outgrow them.
57. Deliver extra vegetables from your garden to the whole neighborhood.
58. Call your spouse just to say, I love you.
59. Call someone’s attention to a rainbow or beautiful sunset.
60. Invite someone to go bowling.
61. Figure out someone’s half-birthday by adding 182 days, and surprise them with a cake.
62. Ask someone about their children.
63. Tell someone which quality you like most about them.
64. Brush the snow off of the car next to yours.
65. Return your shopping cart to the front of the store.
66. Encourage someone’s dream, no matter how big or small it is.
67. Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee without them knowing it.
68. Leave a love letter where your partner will find it.
69. Ask an older person for their advice.
70. Offer to take care of someone’s pet while they’re away.
71. Tell a child you’re proud of them.
72. Visit a sick person, or send them a care package.
73. Join a Big Brother or Sister program.
74. Leave a piece of candy on a coworker’s desk.
75. Bring your child to work with you for the afternoon.
76. Give someone a recording of their favorite music.
77. Email a friend some information about a topic they are especially interested in.
78. Give someone a homemade gift.
79. Write a poem for someone.
80. Bake some cookies for your local fire or police department
81. Organize a neighborhood cleanup and have a barbecue afterwards.
82. Help a child build a birdhouse or similar project.
83. Check in on an old person, just to see if they’re okay.
84. Ask for the recipe after you eat over at someone’s house.
85. Personally welcome a new employee at work and offer to take them out for lunch.
86. While in a car, ask everyone to buckle up because they are important to you.
87. Let someone else eat the last slice of cake or pizza.
88. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
89. Forgive someone when they apologize.
90. Wave to someone looking for a parking space when you’re about to leave a shopping center.
91. Send a copy of an old photograph to a childhood friend.
92. Leave a pint of your spouse’s favorite flavor of ice cream in the freezer with a bow on it.
93. Do a household chore that is usually done by someone else in the family.
94. Be especially happy for someone when they tell you their good news.
95. Compliment a coworker on their role in a successful project.
96. Give your spouse a spontaneous back rub at the end of the day.
97. Serve someone in your family breakfast in bed.
98. Ask someone if they’ve lost weight.
99. Make a donation to a charity in someone’s honor.
100. Take a child to a ballgame.
101. Share this list to 10 of your favorite people!

Tell me, are you smiling?!

 

The Story of the Five Bears – A Lesson of the Heart

The Story of the Five Bears - the new multigenerational family

The Story of the Five Bears – the new multigenerational family

The Story of the Three Bears” is a fairy tale written by British author and poet Robert Southey in 1837 using the traditional family living situation of Father, Mother and child.

“The Story of the Five Bears” is an essay updating Southey’s “Story of the Three Bears” into the year 2014, showcasing the trending multigenerational household arrangement where three generations are all living beneath one roof.  It is told from the perspective of myself, the oldest generation.

ONCE upon a time in the year 2014 there were Five Bears, who lived together in a crazy, multigenerational household, filled with crazy, unconditional love.  and crazy – sometime uncontrollable commotion and organized chaos.  All the Bears called it simply and tenderly “Home, Sweet Home.”

One of them was a small, wee-size boy bear named Wee Bear and one was a small average-size boy bear named Small Bear, and one was a medium-size mother bear named Mother Bear.  One was a medium size grandmother bear affectionately called Grams Bear or just plain “Gramsi” and the other was a great big grandfather bear called Bumpa Bear. Read More

A Diamond is Just a Lump of Coal under Pressure

Our Journey

Our Journey

“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now, and now is right on time.” ― Asha Tyson

My most recent health struggle has led me to examine the above concept in full.  I have come to realize that I have had the most distinct opportunity to meet some extraordinary human beings, from patients, to nurses, to physicians.  This journey is not about what I lost.  It is all about what I have gained.

I met a gentleman, kind and soft-spoken, with his tender and “this smile is just for you” welcoming me into his space in the world.  His eyes told me he had weathered a storm and had come out on the other side appreciating all the moments he was granted, like Dorothy returning home from the Land of Oz.  Life has a way of chiseling away at your mind and body and spirit to make you unique and as valuable and as precious as any gold or silver or diamond.  There is a saying that goes: “A diamond is just a lump of coal that handled stress exceptionally well.”  (source unknown)

I sensed immediately that this man was a diamond.

He was standing next to me in a line of treadmills in a cardiac rehab center and I would see him daily for several weeks.  You know those people alongside you when you are at the gym – in line with you on the treadmill – the ones that readily offer a listening ear and an empathetic heart.  It seems we always have “our treadmill” too, much like mankind has their supposedly “own church pew.”  Woe to anyone who inadvertently takes your treadmill!

His name was Bob.

His story slowly unraveled as we each stepped forward respectively on our treadmills, conversing and distracting each other with our heart stories.  Bob was a man that had reached a stage of advanced heart failure where his heart could no longer pump enough blood to meet his body’s needs.  He had LVAD (left ventricular assist device) implant surgery. Read More

How Do You Make Your Heart Happy?

"There is no way to Happiness.  Happiness is the way."

“There is no way to Happiness. Happiness is the way.”

“Are you kidding me?!”

That was the flabbergasted response to a young man’s reaction from a waitress when she told him that their meal was paid for by an anonymous donor.

Still dumbfounded, the young women across the table from him, tried to clarify:

“That is SO weird.”  “Are you serious?!”

The waitress reassured them that, it was, indeed, the fact.  The couple sat in disbelief, looking as if they just had won the lottery.

It was only a small gift felt from the heart of two little boys, on a mission, to make their heart and their grandmother’s heart “happy.”

And, there, in that scene and within that moment, sat these two, unnoticed, little boys cunningly, like the two secret spy agents they always aspired to be, peering between the rails overhead of our booth and surveying this couple’s reaction – strangers to them, but now new “secret friends.”

The 10-year old boy, with eyes widened and thunderstruck: “Did you see their big smiles?!”

And the younger 7-year old boy, with scrutinizing eyes, watched every detail and hung on every word.

It was all merely a lesson in love and in “doing small things with great heart.”  It is February – the month of the heart, of giving and loving and caring.

And like all good deeds, the giver receives even more the recipient.

You know those moments – the ones where your heart melts because of the goodness and kindness of strangers.  Your day is revitalized by another individual’s thoughts and actions.  That was this moment.

I had been reading Michael O’Riordan’s article: Happy hearts: Positivity Plus Exercise Linked to Lower CVD Mortality”, when my mind wandered onto the thought of how to make my heart happy.

It sounded like the perfect challenge for the day.  This should be uplifting, perhaps adrenalin-producing, bring a smile to my face and a skip to my step.  I just wasn’t sure how to make it come about.

What is the secret to a happy heart? Read More

Her Story, Her Heart

"Her Story, Her Heart"

“Her Story, Her Heart”

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, I had the privilege of sharing “My Heart Story” at Mayo Clinic Health System-Eau Claire.  Entitled “Her Story, Her Heart”, the presentation was developed to treat your sweetheart or yourself to the gift of heart health. It was a panel presentation and included cardiologist Regis Fernandes M.D., Susan Pope,N.P. nurse practitioner and Robert Wiechmann M.D., cardiovascular surgeon, heart attack survivor Sheila Dutter and myself.

Sheila and I told our stories of struggle and triumphs of dealing with heart disease.  The physicians elaborated on topics we discussed such as stents, coronary bypass surgery, enhanced external counterpulsation and any and all heart subjects.  The panel was open to questions from the audience who shared some of their heart stories and asked stimulating and insightful questions.  It was an evening of gaining knowledge and perspective, flowers, treats, music and prizes.

“My Heart Story is included in this blog posting for thisoldheartblog.”  For those of you who follow my blog, you will note that I did not find my red dress.  I AM STILL SEARCHING!  I did find a red patterned scarf though!  HAPPY HEART MONTH! Read More

Will you be my Huckleberry?”

Huckleberry Bush

Huckleberry Bush

Yup!  I want YOU to be my HUCKLEBERRY!

Who wants to be a commonplace and unpretentious Valentine!?  The word is so overused and so blasé!  The word huckleberry has more oomph and meaning and pizzazz!  I would love for you to be my HUCKLEBERRY.  What do you say?

I love words!  Huckleberry is one of those words that rolls off the tip of your tongue and just makes you feel alive and robust.  Furthermore, huckleberries are heart-healthy and being an alliteration addict, it just sounds so perfect together with all the words melding one into the other – the humble, heart-healthy huckleberry.  Similar sounding words are part of the pressing human need to shape and order life.

Turning to the Dictionary of American Regional English, I found the word huckleberry to take on a meaning comparable to “you have been discovered,” “the desired or suitable person for a task” or just “an all-around nice person or even a sweetheart!”  Although small, huckleberries are special, as seen in the phrase “the only huckleberry on the bush,” demonstrating something unique and exclusive.

“I’m your huckleberry” is a phrase that denotes one as “just the right person for the job.”  It has a range of slang meanings from the 19th century with an emphasis on a huckleberry as a significant or nice person.

Are you more fascinated with the possibility of being “my huckleberry” now? Read More

In Search of My Red Dress

Has anyone seen my little red dress?

Has anyone seen my little red dress?

National Wear Red Day 2014 is Friday, February 7th – it is a day of celebration and a time to raise awareness about women and heart disease.

It is common knowledge that every woman needs “a little black dress.”  But if you are a woman with heart disease, you must also have “a little red dress.”  It symbolizes that common bond you have with other women who share your diagnosis.  It is symbolic of the struggle, the “ups and downs and all arounds” of your personal journey to get where you are in accepting and living with heart disease.  The red dress celebrates the miracle of survival and the union of the struggle.

Therein lies the problem. Read More

What if I Told You…

Rx:  30 minutes per day             5 days per day

Rx: 30 minutes per day
5 days per week

What if I told you…

I have a pill that is so AMAZING that it could be considered magical and miraculous and, in fact, this is well established in journals in renowned medical fields.

With this powerful “medication” you will be protected in your life’s journey, no matter where you travel.  It will improve the quality of your life, making all things possible.  It could give you success in family life, relationships, and in business, making you more charismatic and secure and safeguarded in all feats.  You will be able to maintain your weight and control your appetite, giving you an alluring and captivating physique and chiseled body.

Furthermore, this “pill” will reduce stress, thereby changing your bad luck into good luck.  You will be more optimistic and enthusiastic about life.  It will relieve tension, anxiety, depression and anger.

With this “wonder drug” you will have the mental fortitude and improved self-image to do such great phenomena as achieving the promotion in the field of your choice.  You will be able to answer difficult questions with ease, and you will even be more attractive to the opposite sex!

This pill will stave off major serious diseases and disability.  These include such illnesses as heart disease, dementia, diabetes and depression and obesity.  It will bolster your mental health in astounding ways.

You will be able to sleep better and more soundly, leaving you more exuberant about living and loving and laughing.
When the “pill” is taken it quickly circulates through every part of the body, blood, veins, muscles and tissues, recharging the whole system with powers that refuel the nerve cells and every organ, destroying disease, germs, and restoring new energy and power.

PLEASE USE THIS “PILL” with CAUTION!

Do you want to know where to get this medication? Read More

Let’s Eat Like the Greeks!

The magic of the island, its people and its food settles within us.

The magic of the island, its people and its food settles within us.

Let’s Eat Like the Greeks!

No, not geeks, GREEKS!

Do you even know what geeks eat?  I had to research this topic myself.  The Urban dictionary defines Geek food as:

“Food that, stereotypically, computer geeks, specifically programmers, eat. The food falls into three categories: high in calories, easy to make, and high in caffeine. The idea of geek food comes from programmers staying late into the night, well, programming. In order to waste no time, they need sustenance that can be made quickly and can give them a caffeine boost. Some typical foods include hot pockets, ramen, Jolt cola, take-out Chinese and various chips.”

There is no doubt that I am NOT a dietician, nor do I consider myself an authority on how to eat healthy.  I can tell you, however, that the GEEK DIET is not for us if we want to eat heart healthy.  I think we should try the GREEK Diet!  You know what I mean – the Mediterranean diet.

Has your New Year’s resolution of losing weight and eating healthy failed or lost the strong commitment component?  Are you tired of winter and cold and darkness and in need of a refreshing and uplifting initiative?

Let’s eat and think GREEK! Read More

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