My mother was a force of nature. She was unstoppable, or so we thought - doing everything at warp speed and with a seemingly endless supply of energy. Our family was absolutely devastated when she died of a heart attack just weeks after celebrating her 65th birthday. She is dearly missed, every day, by her daughters, her father-in-law, her grandchildren, and her husband of 45 years.
Heart disease runs in my family. After Mom passed, my father told us that she had actually said that she didn't think she would live to see 65. Her mother died of a stoke at the same age. Yet even in the face of this knowledge, she did not take steps to try to beat the odds. I believe that she could have potentially lived for many more years had she watched her diet and taken other small steps. She loved junk food, Coca-Cola, sweets, and salt. She ignored her doctor's warnings and when asked about her annual check-ups, she said she was fine. But she wasn't fine.
My sister and I both believe that Mom knew something was going on with her health in the weeks before her death, and that she didn't do anything about it. Maybe she was waiting for Medicare to kick in; maybe she was afraid to find out; maybe she just felt helpless against what she considered inevitable. We'll never know. I wish she had told us. I wish she had said something. I wish she had taken herself to the doctor, or to the emergency room, before it was too late.
I spent a long time reading other pages here on the AHA site, and was heartbroken to find many stories similar to this one. I hope that during American Heart Month, awareness is raised. I hope that people take advantage of the opportunity - while they still have it - to take better care of themselves and help their loved ones to do the same, even if it requires some effort. I'm personally going to make a renewed effort to improve my health, and I hope that some of you will do the same after reading this. And if you suspect - even a little bit - that you may be experiencing heart-disease-related symptoms, SPEAK UP. You'll be glad you did, and your loved ones will be, too.
I am lucky to have an amazing online family who provided much needed moral support when I needed it, and we've set up this page so that people can donate to the American Heart Association during the month of February. I hope that some of you - even one person - take away from this a commitment to making a change in their lifestyle and taking charge of their health.
With much love,
To learn more about what Heart Disease is, go here.....
Today, over 70 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease. We suffer as individuals, as families and as a nation from these devastating illnesses, which will claim nearly 930,000 lives this year alone.
Or go to the top of this page, click on the heart icon "Twihearted" and give what you can. Even $1 means more than you can imagine. I could not afford to donate much more. We in the Twitarded community are dedicated to helping raise money for American Heart Association. Heart Disease, the number one killer of women, can be prevented. Educate yourself and your loved ones and help spread the word.
To all my fellow Twitards, especially Snarky/Deb, I love you!