In January of 2012, I was stopping by Blockbuster video with our two toddlers. Everything seemed normal as I pulled the double stroller out of the back of our van. Then oddly enough, I felt like someone stabbed me in the back. The sensation didn't seem to go away so I texted my husband and he immediately called me back. The conversation went something like this...
Hubby: "Are you short of breath?"
Me: "Yeah...I kind of am but it's not like asthma."
Hubby: "Are you hot? or do you have arm pain?"
Me: "I don't have arm pain but I'm really hot!"
So after sitting in my car for awhile with the boys and feeling the pain subside a bit. I drove home the few miles to our little house. Now it was an incredibly blustery day and as I put our two dogs outside upon returning home I felt the sharp stabbing sensation strongly again. I called my husband and said I think I need to go in.
To spare you some of the details of my long weekend in the hospital I'll fast forward to the end of my ordeal. After several tests and a long time of being monitored they determined that I had suffered a minor heart attack. My EKG showed a normal heartbeat since I didn't have total blockage but my troponin levels were elevated. Troponin is a protein in your blood. If elevated it shows that there has been some damage to the heart. My echocardiogram showed swelling as well which indicated damage. As they did the cardiac catheter through my arm they realized I had blockage. 20 percent plaque had erupted and my platelets attacked it and created a clot that blocked an additional 60 percent. So in all my blood flow was blocked 80 percent. I had experienced a heart attack at 34 years of age.
Now you may have a stereotypical image of me. You're thinking...overweight. Eats poorly. Family history of heart disease. Never exercises. None of these was true.
I am an anomaly.
My parent's fed us a healthy diet that was mostly meat and vegetables. My mom didn't buy box mixes for things other than cakes. We didn't have a bunch of pop in the house or junk food. Didn't do fast food a lot. We were made to turn off the t.v. and go outside. My siblings and I played together. We cross-country skied on the trails in our woods. We had a garden that we took care of for my mom. Swam in the summer. Took walks in the woods. Biked.
As I grew older I realized I was gluten and lactose intolerant and I began to eliminate those foods and continue living an active lifestyle. I've always been interested in health and the causes of diseases and health problems. Always been trying to be a little bit healthier. I'd go in waves of exercising and eating right and then giving into my sweet and carb tooth for awhile. This would go in cycles. Likewise I would go in cycles of taking care of me and giving too much of myself to others so I was spread too thin.
I met my husband. We married and were gifted with Superhero #1. He seemed to have several allergies like me so I began to pursue natural routes to take care of all of us. I read about leaky gut syndrome and other things that cause or contribute to allergies. I had one miscarriage that broke my heart and was soon after gifted with Superhero #2. He entered the world with a bang and has been living that way since day one.
Fast forward to today...it's been 8 months since the heart attack and now my true health journey has began. No more cycling back and forth. This time I want to stay on the path to health permanently. When I lay on the table in the hospital room looking at the blockage on the monitor, I realized I had been given a second chance. I thought I lived life fully before. I was wrong. I needed to reclaim the life God had given me. He wasn't bringing me home yet. I was at peace and ready but wanted so much more time with my boys. I wanted so see them grow up. I didn't want to be weak. I didn't want a heart attack to stop me from taking canoe trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness like I did when I was single. I wanted to parasail with them and travel and watch them marry and grow. I needed to make the most of everyday and live intentionally. I needed to seize every moment God had granted me and be thankful for everything.
So this is my story of my reclaimed life.