Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Muscular Aches and Pains

Monday, August 13, 2012

One Year Ago Today....

....I had a heart attack.  Yep, healthy fit me had a 'mild' head scratching type heart attack.  The small clot had to be dissolved.  That took 4 or 5 days in CVICU.  I had a reaction to the meds used to sedate me. They made me very sick.  When they dissolve a clot, you have to remain very still.  They leave the Cathe wire in you.  If it breaks, you can bleed out.  So they sedate you.  And I had to have phenegren (I know I spelled that wrong) with every dose.  So I slept for 4-5 days.  I know that I was in CVICU for 5 days total.  Then 4 more days in a private room on the cardiac floor.  I still had and unexplained pain that to me, was severe.  I had it some time before the heart attack and for a week before going to the hospital, I was very uncomfortable.  At times it was very severe.  My only description of it is that pain you feel with acute gallbladder issues or that gas pain you feel for a day or two (if you do not take you pain meds) after gall bladder surgery.  (I had my gallbladder removed 5-6 years ago.)

The pain was actually a small tear beginning in the aorta.  That was diagnosed on December 7th.  Several months later.

To an inexperience eye (That eye usually comes from a Radiologist, sometimes a Cardiologist.) aortic dissections are difficult to diagnose.  A Cat Scan or an MRI  with dye contrast is the only way that they can see it.

I still believe that is what caused my mild heart attack.  I also believe that the meds slowed down the tearing process.  Shortly after my heart attack, I went back to training as though I was rehabbing for a heart attack.  Totally unaware of the aortic dissection.

As I have said in my previous posts, aortic dissections are a bit rare and heard to diagnose.  In the US there are about 2000 a year.  1/2 of all aortic dissections are diagnosed on the autopsy table.  If you have lived with an aortic dissection, it is by the grace of God that you are able to tell about it.

And I give all glory to God.  I am here because He has a purpose for me.  You are here and reading this because He has a purpose for you.  I do not believe in coincidence or happenstance, only in divine ordination and intervention. 

I am so blessed.  When the dissection was found, it was a tear from the internal wall the the medial wall (the aorta has 3 layers in it's wall).  I was in what the surgeon called stage 4.  I had not totally torn through and  bleeding out, nor had ripped up into the heart.  The goal for the next 2 days in CVICU was to keep my blood pressure down (very low) in order to keep the other two scenarios from happening.  

When you get home, you sit, walk around, fold clothes, put dishes in the dish washer, and that is about it!  You move around to keep from getting sedindary, but very limited.  After a few weeks, 30 minute-1mile walk was the max exercise I was allowed to do. 

Some of you may or may not know, I am a professional photographer by profession.  I have been for 20 years.  That is a workout in itself!  Of course, I could do little work.  Again, God provided.  Expenses for a business do not change just because you are sick.  I still had bills and my fixed costs to take care of.  I did maternity sessions, business portraits, etc.  And God was always there for me.

My restrictions have been lifted.  I am blessed to not have surgery.  I have read so many stories about  people who go into the ER in my condition, wake up 5 days later with a zipper down their chest.  I recently heard of a success story of a very fit woman who is also a cardiac therapist.   She is in Decatur, Alabama.  While on a trip to the beach, felt something happening and knew exactly what was going on in her body.  Her aorta was ripping.  It was so quick that she had a total tear through and was bleeding out by the time the paramedics got to her.  She survived surgery, healed, became a bride and is back to cycling.  Her passion.  So there is life after aortic dissection.

How does an aortic dissection happen in a younger to middle aged, fit person?  Good question!
  • Hypertension can start setting in.  Not bad, but that blood pressure starts inching up. 
  • Genetic.  Something we like to blame everything on.
  • In most stories I read, many people had one or more high sodium meals within 12 to 24 hours of an extreme workout or sports game.  Sodium raised the blood pressure and stayed in the system.  The workout raised it even more.  Beyond what the walls of the aorta could handle.  
  • 13 year old girls....  OK, so that is an inside joke at our house.  LOL!
I want to leave you with a couple of links
Medline Plus
Ritter's Rules

God has a reason for me being here and a reason for you being here as well.  Seek His glory and honor and guidance.  It might be to raise your children, encourage others, lead others to Him, write a blog, what ever it is, seek Him first and everything else will fall into place.   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A healthy eating lifestyle is a must if you want to maintain or lose weight.  Two of the most important tips I can give anyone would be:

  • Avoid eating at your desk or place of work (Get out of the office or building even if you bring your lunch to work. Fine a place to enjoy your meal outside and walk to it if you can.)
  • Avoid snacking while you work.  This applies if you work out of your home, a SAHM (stay at home mom... or dad), retired and especially applies if you work in an office where someone is bringing goodies  in everyday.
I have to add a few more:
  • Avoid eating meals or snacks in front of the TV.  It can cause mindless eating and distraction.
  • Plan your meals and snacks and plan where you will be (ie: sitting at the kitchen table, park bench, break room, etc.) when & while you eat.  
You will be surprised at how many calories you will cut out of your day when you follow these simple, common sense tips.  



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is Your Sodium Intake?

WoW!  Good question.  That hand full of chips or snack crackers can increase your intake by 100-300 mg.  Processed low-fat foods have extra sodium in order to increase flavor.  What about when you eat out?  Restaurants always seem to have increased salt in their menu items.  You can eat a days recommended amount (2300 mg) in one meal. Even "healthy choices" are very high in sodium.

A few tips for a lower sodium diet (for home and eating out):
  • Decrease your amount of dressings & condiments
  • Use oil & vinegar or squeeze a slice of lemon on your food/salad
  • Don't add salt to your coffee 
  • Don't add salt to your food at the table
  • Read labels and avoid items high in sodium
  • Order dressing & sauces on the side
  • Go online or call the restaurant and read the sodium & fat content of the menu items
  • When eating out, request "lite sodium" options.  Many chefs will prepare your food with little or no salt.  This is wonderful!  Especially if you are a heart patient.  Stix Japanese Steak House is an example of this.  One of our favorite Chinese restaurants will do this for us as well, and we have found that the food is much better!  We love it!
  • Purchase low sodium foods.  Read the labels.  You will find that there are many good and healthy options out there right on your market shelf.
  • Eat fresh veggies and fruit
  • Cook from scratch and modify your ingredients.  Recipes, especially those from older cook books, do not call for a lot of sodium.  Just enough to bring out the flavor.
  • Avoid fast foods
  •  Use a common sense approach to your diet (I know, it is a 4 letter word!)
 Be aware of what you put in your body.  You only have one and need to take care of it! :-)

Have a blessed day!

Editing to add: The American Heart Association has so much information on their website as well.  Especially about eating healthier for your heart.  They even have a pamphlet called "Shaking the Salt Habit".  They are wonderful to help you in anyway that they can.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tips for Lowering Stress and Blood Pressure

Last week was some week!  I started w/a sugar fast.  And did not have the discipline to hang in there.  I will try again though.  Not sure when.  I did not begin with a prayerful purpose.  In the past, I always did that and God lead me through the fast. 

I also had a check up w/the cardiologist.  He is pleased w/my progress and told me I can increase my cardio getting my heart rate up to about 120 - maybe even 130!  That will help with some of the fluid retention and weight gain. 

Blood pressure medicine will cause fluid retention. So will a sedentary life or day in your life.   Staying busy is key.  And it is great to finally have the energy and stamina to stay busy.  Including being able to more than dusting, light house keeping and .... as most of you know (or may not know) I am a freelance photographer.  While editing is sedentary, shooting is almost an athletic event.  LOL!  Especially with a 1 or 2 year old child.  LOL! 

Today I have some tips for lowering blood pressure and stress:
  • A walk.  Just at your own pace.  Check with your doctor first and make sure he/she clarify how much, etc.
  • If you are able to care for one, get a pet.  There is nothing that will bring blood pressure and de-stress you like petting and loving a pet.   Do keep in mind that house-training a dog or puppy can increase your stress and blood pressure. 
  • Stretching exercises.  Lite Pilates or Yoga.  Anything like that.  Nothing intense.
  • Working on a hobby, craft, cooking.  I find cleaning my kitchen counter tops relaxes me. 
  • Gardening.  
  • Spending quality time with your family/spouse.
  • A trip.  (We went to Walt Disney World the week of Thanksgiving. We enjoyed it at a slow pace and we loved it!)
  • Walk away from business that will be "not worth it".  If you can tell in the initial client interview/consult that they will be high maintenance, don't take them as a client.  I know, hard to do in this economy, but you will be glad that you did.
  • Take your meds.  Everyday and on schedule.
  • Lower your sodium intake.  We only need about 2300 mg a day.  The average American takes in 3500 mg or more a day.  A heart patient could stand to take even a tad less than 2300 mg a day.  Read your labels.  You will be surprised at how much you will take in w/processed foods.  
  • Let it go!  That is any bitterness, anger, etc. that you might be harboring.  Just let it go.  Give it to God.  Let things, words, etc. roll off of you.  If there is a person who gets under your skin (deliberately or otherwise), just stay away from them. 
If you have other tips for lowering blood pressure and stress, please feel free to share them by posting them in the comments section.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Recovery and "White Fast"

My recovery is continuing and doing great!  My energy is returning, I have less pain and really beginning to feel great!  I covet your prayers and if you are going through the same thing, please post a comment so that I and others reading this blog can pray for you.

A couple of months ago, I told someone that I was cutting back on caffeine.  She told me the best thing I could do is cut out my sugar intake.  If you read older posts, you will see that I do believe in cutting out sugars in ones diet.  However, if you love sugar, like I do, it is very hard to do.  I went w/out sugar and 'white stuff' (starches, etc.) for about 6 weeks.  After a 2 week slump of feeling like I was starving all the time as I was working out quite a bit, I started feeling better than I have ever felt!  Today I am starting that same diet.  In fact, I am not going to call it a diet, I am calling it a 'Lifestyle Change'. Because I will need to eat this way forever.  Now I do eat healthy, I simply love fro yo, ice cream, sweet tea, flavored creamers to add to coffee.... Well you get the idea.  Snack crackers are good as well.  I love them!

To read details on Sugar Fasting or better yet, I now like to call it "White Starch Fasting" read this post.You will find a good bit of information.  I do not include white potatoes & dairy in a white fast.  I have read and heard that corn should be considered a 'white starch' and it does make sense.  Corn syrup and many other sugars are derived from corn. 

I always encourage a "treat day".  No more than once a week.  And it this is tempting to 'fall off the wagon', then don't do it.  Increase your calories with fruits and veggies.  I will say that it takes a lot of fruits and veggies to add up to the same caloric intake as a piece of cake or an ice cream cone.

Have a great and blessed day!  If you have questions, just post or email me.