Friday, September 24, 2010

Got my First Cardio "Report Card" Today!

Oh Happy first progress report from Cardio Rehab. In my first 4 weeks I have lost a little over 10 pounds and improved my physical capacity by 20%...the news was deliverd with a "good Job" and a happy face! The antidepression meds have kicked in and with working out 3 days a week life is looking much brighter. For the rest of this year I am totally focusing on my physical and mental health. To that end I am starting a group therapy program next week. We will meet for 10 weeks and deal with all the "stuff" that comes up when you face your own mortality. So 5 days a week it is all about Me!LOL About time I'd say....

AZ is still hot as hell....although we are getting some double digit temperature teasers just to remind us that soon we will be in the good times. I am soooo ready to be able to get outside and do some yard work. I've done about all I can manage in the house and am ready to plant some greenery. Doesn't look like I will be doing any major traveling until I complete my cardio programs in December. I do plan to spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family in San Diego. Looking forward to that. So onward we go....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's been a hell of a rollercoaster ride!

It's been about a month since I had my heart surgery and am enjoying the welcome flow of oxygen and blood in my body. I have acquired a boatload of "keeping me alive" medications which now require weekly organization. I "do my pills" once a week...never thought it would come to this.

I have been given lots and lots of wonderful information about the physical aspects of heart disease and my pulmonary hypertension but not nearly enough about the emotion component of heart attacks and heart disease. It has been an emotional roller coaster with feelings running in a range from total gratitude to total terror. Fortunately, I found a website called WomensHeart that has been a God send. I have now started my cardio-rehab exercise program and will be working out 3 days a week for the next 12 weeks...all that and some lovely drugs have improved my outlook dramatically.

Had a little setback last week. Up early, washing my face and all of a sudden my nose started bleeding....blood was running out of my nostrils like water....I tried everything I could to get it to stop but 45 minutes was still gushing and I was starting to get a bit dizzy. I thought, Oh God, if I pass out and keep bleeding I'll end up exiting this life over a nosebleed! This did not fit my plans at all. So, I dialed 911 and told them my story and said "no sirens please". Within 10 minutes (very comforting) the whole fire brigade and EMT's arrived. It's been a while (quite a while) since I've been surrounded by that level of testosterone...I liked it....a lot. LOL

The EMT's spent another 15 minutes trying to stop the bleeding without success, so off we headed to the ER. I spent 3 more hours in the ER bleeding now I had seen more of my own blood than I ever want to again. Finally, they were able to slow down one side of my nose and cauterize the offending spots but had to do a balloon pack on the other side. What a painful, miserable, solution that is. They kept me at the ER for another 2 hours to get some fluid in me and sent me home with my nose packed down to my throat. My instruction were to leave the pack in for a minimum of 48 hours and then go to an ENT specialist to have it removed to avoid restarting the bleeding. Unfortunately, the weekend intervened and I wasn't able to get an appointment until Monday to have the "Nose Monster" removed. I could barely swallow, hardly talk and only breath through my mouth. I just hunkered down for 4 days and went to my appointment 2 hours early on Monday. All went well and I nosebleed free and soooo happy to be.

Dr. said the blood thinners I am on for the heart stents is the reason....very difficult to get my blood to clot now. Great for the heart.....not so much for the nose. So now I must keep my nose moist (a neat trick in dry heat of 110) and not blow too hard or preferably at all and keep my fingers crossed it doesn't happen again. Can't wait to see what life will bring to me next....stay tuned!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Heart Song

You have been with me since I came to Earth. I have taken you totally for real thought about your needs. Living in innocence in the beginning, moving into awareness as the years past...still no consideration of you...yet you stayed, you did your work, you asked for supported me in all things, good and bad...unconditionally...the kind of love I wanted so badly...right there, beating loud enough for me to hear...if I had listened.

Years rolled by and in time you gave out...quietly, silently, not to bother me....not to worry me....just failing from neglect and giving up part of yourself, but still willing to stay with me. Finally I heard you....finally I recognized your needs...finally I understood that love is not a one way street.

In gratitude I return that love, I now understand your needs....I now see what my neglect has done to you and I am deeply sorry. I thank you for giving me another chance. I thank you for working so hard to give me give me an opportunity to live my remaining years in a different way...with a new awareness....a new respect....the respect that will lead me to make new choices, choices from the heart. My heart, my love.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

more sedona

Sedona, AZ.

The view from my hotel beautiful.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I'm grateful that I stayed in "the valley of the sun" this summer for obvious reasons but unless I absolutely have to, never again. The heat is impossible for me. At triple-digit degrees I can't be outside. I gaze longingly at my backyard and AZ room and cabin fever drives me nuts....don't know how people do it. Especially the folks working outside...road crews, landscapers, construction, etc. Yes, everything is A/C'd but you have to be indoors except for those brief moments racing from one place to another. Some hope in the early AM's when it is only in the 90's.

I have never lived in impossible winters....I expect you have to deal with the same issues of not being able to be outside....extremes on both ends of the temp scale are not for me.

So plans for summer getaways will continue.....perhaps modified a bit with my new situation but as long as I can, I'll be out of here! My admiration soars for those who choose (or have no choice) to live here fulltime through the summers.

P.S.S. October through May however are fabulous!!!

My Heart Adventure

I'm in Sedona, gaining some serenity and perspective on this new adventure. I decided I needed to write about what has been happening. So here goes....

Last February I got my annual physical, which this year included an first since 2002. Dr's office called to say "everything" looked good. All the blood monitors were fact improved". I continue on fat, dumb and happy. Had big summer trailer trip plans to meet up with my friend Sandy in the North Carolina Mtns. In the meantime, my Asthma was giving me fits....or so I thought. I was having trouble breathing, coughing almost constantly and just tired.

Being me, I pushed through all this and blamed it on the poor air quality in my area and my obesity. I signed up with a personal trainer and worked out 3 times a week for a couple of months until I got my typical respiratory infection and had to stop with the trainer. Flew to WA. in April for my friend Marianne's B'day...came home and started feeling less and less like heading out in the trailer for N. Carolina. I talked to Sandy and told her I just didn't want to make a big trip this fact I thought I'd try to stay home through an AZ summer and see how that went.

So I slugged through June and most of July, coughing and audibly breathing hard. Asthma Dr. upped my meds, did a breathing test and sent me on my way. In June, Sandy and I spent a week at Lake Tahoe and I realized just how out of shape I was....again, my fault for being fat and the old Asthma problem.

In mid-July I had a mid year app't with my Dr. to check in and check meds. I also wanted to talk to her about the headaches I had been stuff. At the app'tment she ordered an MRI for the headaches and renewed my prescriptions. As an afterthought, I said, "by the way, how did that Echocardiogram come out. She looked in the file and said in a rather alarmed voice, "you've got some heart damage here".....I was shocked and asked, "how could that happen?". She said, "people have silent heart attacks everyday". I said, "how scared should I be?"....She said, "don't be scared, get need to lose 50 pounds and start getting some you have high blood pressure"....more new news. So she gave me a script for blood pressure meds and sent me home to check back with her in 6 wks. Dazed I left the office, with a copy of my Echo.

I got on the internet and tried to figure out what the Echo said...the more I thought about it, the idea that I could have had a heart attack and not know it was beyond anxiety provoking. So I called the Cardiologist whose read the Echo and set up an app't. I had a week to wait and my anxiety levels were soaring....I ended up in the emergency room with an anxiety attack...they did an MRI...blood work, EKG and found no stroke evidence....but yes, I had had a heart attack at some time in the past...I was sent home with Valium, which I highly reccomment.LOL

Fast forward....Cardio Dr. checked all the reports and decided a heart catherization was the litmus test he needed. On July 21st I was "cathed". Dr. found one artery fully blocked but with a bypass created by "body magic"...two more arteries were 90 and 95% blocked....alas no magic there. So he opened them up with a balloon and inserted metal stents to keep them open. 24 hours later I was released from the hospital....and sent home. Turns out I had been in heart failure for all the time I was blaming it on Asthma. I almost immediately was breathing clearly and coughing very little. The joy of blood and oxygen cannot be overrated!

Once I was home, the emotional roller coaster began. I went from gratitude to terror to guilt and back through the whole ride again and again. My family, including my soul sisters, Sandy, Karen and Marianne, gathered me in their love and got me through. Also a wonderful website called "HeartSisters" and a great book, "From the Heart".

So now I'm moving into my new lifestyle....beginning with cardio-rehab in a couple of weeks. Three months of monitored exercise and education on heart, stress reduction, etc. A support group called "Mended Hearts" and quarterly visits with the Cardio Dr. for monitoring and more testing. There are some other heart and pulmonary issues to deal with but that can wait for another time to talk about. For now I am grateful to be alive and have the opportunity to change make adjustments to a lifestyle that no longer serves me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Living Fence in Bloom

Janet, my neighbor-friend called to tell my my Ocotillo "Living" Fence is blooming! She sent these picture. So cool...I can hardly wait to get home to see it in all its glory. I had my doubts when I had those dead looking Ocotillo spikes put in the ground but Wow.....

Washington Trip

This is the last day of my Washington visit. It has been great. I came up to celebrate my friend Marianne's 80th Birthday. She had a wonderful Party in Port Gamble. Lots of love in that room. Marianne and I have been hanging out and visiting...we have been friends for 32 years and I love her dearly.