Category Archives: Tests and Procedures

Let the countdown begin…

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Let the countdown begin…

It was a really good activity day today. I think it was due to the nerves driving me to get in as much cardio as I can before my tests. Started the morning with a nice mile walk with Sammie dog. Managed to take time at lunch to get in another 3/4 mile. And even got in an after work walk with Sammie dog again. According to my FitBit tracker, I got in 7600 steps so far today! Not bad at all, and I feel great!

I have had a great food day as well. Yummy crumpet and egg whites that I posted for breakfast. Salad for my mid morning, and homemade no salt added chicken veggie and rice soup for lunch. For dinner I decided to cook a good size plate of food since I have to fast after midnight. (So there is also room for a late snack)

Tonight’s creation is 98% lean turkey patty, topped with creamy Swiss cheese, sautéed mushroom spinach and Vidalia onion, on a bed of kelp noodles.

The meal is super simple, spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and start to cook onion and mushroom on low heat so they sweat and make a nice moisture in the pan. Add fresh spinach and mix. Cover pan so the spinach will sweat and cook down.

In a skillet, spray with cooking spray and cook turkey patty until fully cooked, turning half way through to evenly cook both sides. In the last 2 min top the patty with Swiss cheese and cover skillet to help steam melt the cheese.

While the Swiss in melting, go back to the mushroom and spinach mix and take a spoonful and put on top of the Swiss turkey patty. With the rest add a handful of rinsed kelp noodles and 1 tablespoon low sodium Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly until noodles are warmed through and softened.
You can add any no salt spices you would like to taste. I love just the natural flavor of mushroom and spinach so I don’t add any spices to this dish.

Place the noodle mix on the plate and top with the turkey patty and enjoy!

Healthy and filling dinner for only 256 calories, 10 carbs and 211mg sodium! Thanks to the kelp noodles we cut approx 200 calories that traditional spaghetti noodles would add, as well as cut approx 35 carbs!

Grab a big plate, eat up and feel no guilt! Your heart will thank you!

Calculate Heart Attack Risk

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Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • being overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity

It’s essential that you measure your risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it in the near future. Use this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years. It will also check to see if you may have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that greatly increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes. This Risk Assessment can be use by people age 20 or older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.

After you have finished using the tool, you can print a copy of your risk assessment results, risk factor summary report, metabolic syndrome assessment and action plans for those areas you need to work on in order to reduce your risk.

Learn your Risk Graphic Text

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp

Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

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Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

In addition to following a healthy diet and incorporating important heart nutrients, you must also exercise to maintain the health of your heart. Exercise can help you prevent as well as reverse heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, you should include a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, three to four days a week.

Why is exercise important?
Many studies have proven conclusively that making improvements to and maintaining your physical fitness will significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease and all other illnesses. Put simply, regular exercise keeps your body in a healthy condition, and a healthy body can ward off disease much better than an unconditioned one.

Let’s take a look at the various types of exercise and why it can improve your health:

Aerobic Exercise
The word aerobic means “oxygen-producing”, and as such aerobic exercise stimulates the production of oxygen. Aerobic exercises include those where you are in motion including walking, running, biking, swimming, etc., exercises which make your heart rate increase for an extended period of time.

When your heart rate increases, this means more blood is being circulated around your body, providing necessary oxygen to your cells and tissues. Regular aerobic exercise is very important for maintaining heart health.

Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise comprises short-lived, intense bursts such as sprints and weight lifting. Whereas aerobic exercise is best for cardiovascular strength and endurance, anaerobic exercise is best for muscle strength and flexibility. This will help you maintain your health and avoid injury.

Should you do aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
Although it depends on the time you can allot to exercise each day, we recommend a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise if possible. This way you can improve your cardiovascular health as well as increase your muscle strength. Adding stretching to your routine will also warm up and loosen your muscles so you can avoid injury.

Following are the many benefits of a regular exercise routine. It’s easy to see why exercise is so important:

1. Improving cardiovascular efficiency – heart & lung functioning.

2. Improving strength and endurance.

3. Increasing energy levels and metabolism.

4. Relieving stress and tension.

5. Increasing range of motion and flexibility.

TIPS AND TRICKS

1. Before you start any exercise program, consult your physician to make sure you don’t have any heart conditions or other health problems that might prevent you from safely performing certain exercises. Your physician also might be able to recommend a program that is right for you.

2. Set aside time each week to exercise, and make sure you are consistent. Try to work out at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities (i.e. running on the treadmill and lifting weights).

3. Start slow! Don’t rush into an exercise program. Rather, take your time and ease into it, increasing your time, intensity and/or weights gradually as you go along. You will see much better results like this, rather than going overboard with it.

4. Make sure you stretch before and after exercising. It is important that you warm up before you begin any activity, and cool down once you are finished. if you do not adequately stretch your muscles before and after you exercise, you will be much more susceptible to injury or muscle tearing. We recommend 5-10 minutes of warming up before you begin, and at least another 5 minutes of cooling down post workout.

5. Keep water with you at all times, make sure you are hydrated throughout your workout.

6. Maintain a steady workout regimen. Sporadic workouts are not the way to go about it. Stick to a schedule. Also, make sure you maintain a heart healthy diet and include important heart nutrients to improve and maintain your heart health.

Moving Forward

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It is amazing how quickly things can change. Hard to believe that 4 months ago I was in a bed in an ICU unit. If there was ever a testament to the power of healthy lifestyle changes, I would be it!

In 4 months I have managed to keep strong and clean my life of the toxins of alcohol, and cigarettes. I have improved the quality of my health through proper nutrition that includes low fat, low sugar and most importantly extremely low sodium. I have increased my ability to move and workout. In relation to that I have also lost 32 pounds, thanks to my new lifestyle!

My heart ejection fraction has improved from 20% to 35%! I no longer have trouble with dizziness and blurry vision when I walk. On the other hand I have been able to walk 1 mile every day in the last 2 weeks. Today was a test of my endurance, I increased my walk to 2 miles!! It was a push, but I did it! 

From not being able to walk to the mail box, to walking 2 miles in my rural area is a wonderful improvement! I am so amazed and proud of the changes I have made and the strength that I have found to not only keep it moving forward, but learn to love it!

New Workout Charts

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My weight this morning was 280. I am down 29 lbs since I went to the hospital on Jan1st 2012. Actually, I weighed 335 when they checked me in, but by the time I got out of ICU I was at 309 because of the fluid that they took off or me. So I don’t count 335 as my starting point, I go with the 309 base weight after.

Since my A-Fib has converted and I have much more energy, it is time to start a workout routine. SO today I put together simple routines to get started 3 days a week with the dumbbells I have here at home.  I will also be walking the dog daily, planning on at least 20-30 min to get the heart going and burn some calories. I got out and walked her a mile in 30 min today, that is about 150 calories burnt so it is a start.

Here is a copy of my chart I made up to keep track of my workout, I did different sections of the body on Mon, Wed, and Fri, and added dates and boxes to mark off when I complete each exercise . Hopefully this keeps me on track to an even healthier me.

Tomorrow is my follow up EKG and Blood work to make sure my heart is still beating correctly. I have been feeling better than I have in years so I am sure this will be a good doctor visit. God has been on my side for this journey and continues to help give me the strength to steer my path in the right direction and to continue to improve my health and wellness.

Monday I start college again, It has been 7 years since I left my studies and I am ready to get back into the swing of it. I will be finishing a Bachelors in Business Management and Business Technology. Luckily I have enough transfer credits that I will finish these degrees in just 2 years. I am excited to have something new to fill my time and stimulate my brain.

Everything continues to look up and improve each and every week, I can’t wait to see what God has for me next!

WORKOUT CHART

Strength and Power

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Thursday turned out to be the most amazing day I could have had. After a long sleepless night, I went to the hospital for my scheduled Cardioversion. Frightened and shaking I was directed into a room to get in a gown and hair cap and wait to go to the ICU for the procedure. The nurse came in and put the IV in my arm, she then allowed my hubby and Mrs. Geneva to come in to wait with me. Soon after the man came in to do the EKG to make sure everything was ok to continue. 

After about 5 min, the nurse came back in and to all of our surprise, and great delight, the EKG showed a regular rhythm. She said the cardiologist would be in to talk to me in a minute.  When he came in, I am not sure who had a bigger smile, me or him. He explained that it seems my heart has converted itself out of A-fib. This can happen in some cases, and we just have to keep monitoring it, in case it goes back into A-fib.

Of all the scenarios that I had run through in my head, all the possible outcomes I had imagined, this was never one of them. Wednesday evening I made sure to call my grandmother and my mother for comfort, to both them and myself. I prayed to Jehovah for the strength to endure whatever lay ahead. I never ask him for anything unreasonable, or place any ultimatums on him. I know that in life things will happen that are not as we wish them to, so I try to always just simply pray for strength and wisdom. I find it unfair to ask him to “make sure things go alright”, mainly for the reasoning that there is no planning the outcome just strength in traveling the path.  

As I was getting ready to leave for the appointment on Thursday morning, the phone rang and Mrs. Geneva called to make sure all was going ok and that she would meet us at the hospital and her and her family were praying for me. She also was so happy to tell me that my hubby’s Uncle Sam had called her the night before. This was such a great thing to her because Sam is a teacher and Elder in New York at the Jehovah’s Wittiness Headquarters, for him to take the time to call her and thank her for all she had done for us was very special. We hadn’t talked to Sam in a few weeks so he didn’t know that I was going into the hospital the next day, until Geneva told him. Not even 2 minutes after I hung up from Geneva’s call, Sam called to let us know that he and his wife were praying for me and hoped all would be alright. immediately after that call, the state of Louisiana called to let me know that my medicaid was finally approved and that all my hospital bills, dated back to January 1st, would be covered. It was such a weight off my chest to know that the $24k in bills that have been haunting me were finally taken care of. 

On the ride to the hospital I thought about how amazing it was that, of all days for Sam to call and introduce himself to Geneva, he called the day before my Cardioversion. At just the right moment he was directed to call me that morning when I needed a little extra strength and love. The power of this simple action brought tears to my eyes. At that moment I was sure that everything was going to be ok, and that I was being surrounded with all the support I would need for anything that lies ahead.

Thanks to the outcome of the EKG, and my heart converting on it’s own, I was able to just get dressed and return home. This also gave me the ability to attend the Memorial for the Lord’s Evening Meal at the Kingdom Hall that evening. This was to be my first Memorial, as I have just began to study in the last year. I was rather disappointed when my Cardioversion was scheduled for the same day, but I found the procedure far to important to re-schedule. To my joy and amazement, I was blessed with the ability to attend in the end. I am constantly amazed at the changes in my life since I have opened up to the power and love of god.

Such a wonderful, strengthening and amazing series of events that happened. What a great testament to the path I have been traveling. What better solidification of daily strength to continue this fight to eat, and live healthy. if the last 3 months of this journey has been able to result in the my heart accomplishing a conversion on it’s own, what is next? I will be excited to see what the results of my next Echocardiogram are in a couple months, will my heart be stronger?

I thank god for the strength, the power and the love that has been injected into my life and continues to empower me every moment!

The Waiting Game…Again…

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Once again I am sitting around the house, waiting for my appointment for my Cardioversion. I feel like I am stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario. Wasn’t I just here? Waiting for Thursday to come?

I keep thinking about the procedure. How will I react to the Propofal? How will I feel afterwards? Will it work? If it works, will it last?

The cardiology team said that if we wait too long, there is less chance that they can convert me out of A-fib. I keep thinking back on the end of the year, before I ended up in the hospital. I was sick for months, getting progressively sicker. My A-fib was diagnosed on January 1st, but I was sick a lot longer, so there is no real telling exactly how long I have been in A-fib. What if it has already been too long? What if this doesn’t work? What is next if this doesn’t work?

I have found myself just staring at my laptop, not really doing anything productive, just stuck in a zone. I can’t seem to focus on anything.  I can’t seem to find anything to successfully distract me and pass the time.

So many questions, that have no answers, but to just wait and see what haqppens….please God let Thursday come and be a success.

Cardioversion

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Last weeks blood work came back perfect. My cardiology team thinks we finally have the right dosages on my medications. My blood pressure has come up a bit, I am sitting around 95/56 most days. This is an acceptable range to go ahead with the cardioversion that had to be postponed. The procedure is scheduled for Thursday the 5th at 1pm.

Unfortunately this conflicts with the memorial at the Kingdom Hall that evening, but I decided that my health is more important and the longer we wait the less chance this will work. So Thursday I will be praying to Jehovah that this works and helps to improve my life even more than it already has been.

90 Days

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January 1st I was laying in an ICU unit attached to machines. I was faced with the daunting decisions of how to go forward and survive and live a full life, with heart failure. It seemed so overwhelming at first. When I came home, my head was swimming in all the guidelines I had been given, restrictions I had, and worries regarding how I would ever be able to follow it all. 

90 days later, I have found a great balance in my life, and managed to make it fun. What I thought was going to be a very hard task, giving up salt, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes all at the same time, turned out to be a great adventure. I had to have a conversation with myself, did I want to live a long happy life, and fight my addictions? Was I strong enough to fight this fight every day, one day at a time for the rest of my life? Yes, I was! 

From the very start I have had to change my relationship with food. I have had to change my relationship with alcohol. I have had to change my relationship with life!  I have been determined to be a survivor, not let this condition disable me. If there are things that I can do to strengthen my heart and improve my quality of life, I am going to do it. 

I have strengthened my relationship with god. I have asked and allowed him to provide me with the strength to keep up this fight and to win the daily battles. This has opened my life to an amazing support system of people and teachings that give me faith in myself. I am not sure exactly what it is, but I am sure that god has a purpose for me, and this is all part of the process of learning and growing.

When it comes to the food in my life, at first, I thought it was going to be a long boring life of under seasoned food that was just necessary to live, but no longer fun. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have had more fun, already, researching ingredients, reading labels, tasting herbs and spices, and finding the best resources for shopping. I quickly learned that this was neither a bland or boring way to cook or live. Soon after I started this lifestyle, my taste buds started to change and the foods began to taste better, the seasonings began to have a depth and flavor of their own. As my mind and body began to adjust and overcome the longstanding addiction to alcohol, so did my taste buds overcome their addiction to salt. I never knew how amazing natural foods tasted. never did I know the depths of flavor that herbs and spices have on their own.

I have for a long time have had a screen saver on my computer that I created that said “nothing tastes as good, as skinny feels”. I have had to change that because my relationship with my life has changed. I no longer live with the “diet” mentality, thinking constantly about all the things I can’t have, wishing I could have those things that I shouldn’t. I love the the things I eat, and even more I love the healthier steps I am taking in my life. Rather than being miserable, and gasping for air, and hoping I don’t die. I now live, create, smile, enjoy and look forward to everyday I have. I appreciate every little step in life and every accomplishment on a daily basis. My life is no longer a search for a buzz, a party, or comfort food  to forget my worries. My life is exactly what it should be, it is a Life that is being lived healthier, happier and will hopefully be longer and forever full of new foods, spices and fun. 

Busy, Busy, Busy….

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It has been a couple days since I posted, Sorry about that. I have been feeling much better the last few days since Dr. Hanna lowers some of my medication. I haven’t been getting dizzy and no blurry vision, YAY! My blood pressure is coming up a little, this morning I was up to 103/65, this is a huge improvement from the 64/44 i was at a week ago. I go do blood labs tomorrow, so we will find out how my kidneys react to the medication changes. I get short of breath really fast, and my heart races faster since the changes, but at this point I would rather breath heavy then not be able to see. I sure hope the blood pressure stabilizes soon and they can do the cardioversion. Then maybe I can have even less symptoms to deal with.

Since I have had more energy and the ability to move around more, I got some house cleaning done, some good grocery shopping done (I actually made it through the whole store without losing my vision) and been able to do some rearranging around the house. it feels so good to be able to get up and do something!

Saturday was weekly bible study, and Sunday I was well enough to get up and make it to the Kingdom Hall for Watchtower Study. I always feel so much better about my ability to fight this health battle when I get to make it to fill my spiritual plate. Just being around such positive people and learning all the great things the bible has to offer makes it easier to get through each week. I thank god all the time for each day I manage to get through with out a set back. It is certainly by the grace of god that I have had the strength to quit smoking, drinking, caffeine, and salt all at the same time. Many people struggle each day with just one of those battles, I have managed to endure all four battles for 86 days now. I know that I by no means have been fighting alone, and I appreciate it every day.

I am also very excited to say that I have enrolled in an online Bachelor degree program. Since my mother works for Charter College, I can use their family waiver program and complete my degree online for free. I figured that as long as I can’t work, and am stuck at home with all this extra time on my hands, I may as well be learning something. I decided on Business and technology. I will be learning things like computerized accounting systems, e-commerce, project management and employment law. I am a sick individual and these subjects all have me very excited.

I have a few things in the works in the kitchen, I will port them as soon as I get the last tweaking of preparation right. I also have had requests for a list of some of my favorite no sodium seasonings and spice mixes…these are also soon to come.

Hope you all had a blessed weekend