All About the Heart

Leap Into Better Health This Year

Happy Leap Day everyone! Wow, we get an extra day this year, what are you going to do with it? I know what I’d like to do. I’d like to sit here in my housecoat, sip on my latte and work on my current novel in progress. But I’m not. Today I’m going to exercise and believe me, I need it.

As a writer, I spend an awful lot of time sitting at my computer. Sitting and sitting and sitting. Occasionally, I get up for a snack and then I sit some more. I am not alone in this sedentary lifestyle. According to both the Canadian Medical Association and the U.S. Department of health, 2/3 of Canadians and Americans lead a physically inactive lifestyle. We are perched in front of our computers and/or television sets for a total of approximately 56 hours a week (according to a poll by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health).

Yikes!

We all know our bodies have not evolved to be sedentary. Our bodies were created to move and the more we sit, the more our bodies stop functioning properly resulting in such wide ranging problems as chronic back pain, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. This issue is becoming increasingly more problematic for women who tend to be less active than men. If you’re interested in checking your risk assessment click here and Desjardin Financial Security will donate $1 to The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

So what’s the solution? A regular exercise routine? Yes, that is beneficial, but guess what? Studies are showing that even if you exercise during the day, but still maintain long periods of inactivity, you aren’t actually avoiding some of the above health risks. In fact, it is becoming more and more apparent that we need to incorporate regular movement into our daily routine. The question is, when you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, how do you do that?

It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Simple things like standing instead of sitting while talking on the phone can make a difference. There’s a great article from Rodale.com called, Get Out of Your Chair if You Want to Live that shows us ‘sitters’ a couple of ways to incorporate movement into our sedentary days. Here’s a quick video from Rodale.com too. How not to sit so much

So I hope you’ll join me this Leap Day and take a moment to stand up and then sit down and then stand up and sit down again. Do this eight times three times a day. It could save your life!

Categories: All About the Heart | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living After Heart Disease

It was Mother’s Day, 2006—a beautiful spring day in the Okanagan. The air was heavy with the warm scent of blossoms, the buzz of bees and the graceful flutter of butterflies in and amongst the flowerbeds. Ron, Linda and their young son, Kristian, spent the day in their huge yard: cutting the lawn, pruning trees, weeding and playfully arguing over where to plant flowers. They had just bought a used play structure and Kristian—in his ‘big-boy-four-year-old’ way—helped Ron lay it out on the patio, even picking the color of the stain. They had planned to start painting that day; however, Ron was also preparing a wonderful home-cooked meal for Linda and ran out of time. He was confident he would get to it soon.  

After dinner, Ron finished up some work on the computer and went to bed around 11pm, complaining of feeling tired. Linda followed and while Ron fell asleep right away, Linda laid in bed, day-dreaming about all of their exciting reno projects. A short time later, Ron cried out in his sleep and sat up. At first, Linda thought he was having a nightmare, something that had been happening quite a bit, of late. What quickly became apparent was that this was not a nightmare.

This was something much worse.

Flipping on the light, Linda stood helplessly as her husband experienced a massive heart attack. The way she describes it, it was like he was wrestling an elephant off of his chest. His mouth was foaming and his eyes rolled back in his head. After a panicked call to 911, she did her best to calm him while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

The first responder was the fire department. Unfortunately they did not have a defibrillator with them and were unable to do anything, except move him to the living room. By this time, Ron was unconscious. Linda has a vague memory of this time, of making phone calls, of neighbors and friends arriving and of talking to her unconscious husband, waiting precious minutes (that seemed like hours) for the paramedics.

As soon as the paramedics arrived, they rushed Ron to the hospital, but despite their efforts, it was too late. Ron could not be revived.

“I felt so helpless,” Linda says. “I felt like I should have tried something to save him. But I couldn’t…” she chokes up as she recalls that night. Even six years later, the experience haunts her. “It was so much more violent than I’d ever imagined. I’ve heard all these stories of people simply going to sleep and never waking up. It wasn’t like that for Ron. It seems so unfair.”

Ron was only 55 when he passed away so suddenly in the night. He was a victim of heart disease, a genetic condition that took the life of his grandfather, father and older brother. His father was only 42, his brother 38 when they passed away. Ron was with his grandfather, working out on the farm, when he died. Ron tried to resuscitate him; he was only 16 at the time.

“We knew he had this condition,” Linda tells me. “But we just lived our lives, I mean you can’t carry on your life waiting for death.” In fact, if you had met Ron, you would never have guessed he had a heart condition. He was vibrant and fit, looking much younger than his years. Linda, a massage therapist, was a conscientious cook, making sure to keep their meals healthy and heart-smart.

But at the end of the day, there was nothing they could do.

Six years later, Linda has courageously carried on, changing careers and raising Kristian on her own. She misses Ron every single day and grieves, not only for the loss of her husband, but for the loss of her son’s father. “Kristian was only four when Ron died. There were so many things Ron wanted to do with him, share with him.” 

Linda is one of the bravest women I know and she is also one of my dearest friends. I will never be able to understand how helpless she felt that night. To a much lesser degree, I’ve often felt helpless wishing I could do more for her as she has struggled to come to terms with ‘life after heart disease’.

So, in my own small way, I have dedicated, Thief of Hearts: Wanted to the memory of her husband, Ron. It’s a fantastical retelling of the story of Robin Hood – which is fitting because Ron was the kind of guy who would give his last dollar to someone living on the streets. In the same spirit, I will be donating $1 from every book sold between February 14th 2012, and March 14, 2012 to The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Categories: All About the Heart, Thief of Hearts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Reading Romance is Good For the Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!  On a day filled with heart-shaped cards, chocolates, cookies and balloons, is it any surprise to find that LOVE is GOOD for the HEART?

The World Heart Federation, a non-governmental Geneva-based organization said that “findings show that being in love and being loved helps to keep us healthy and is particularly good for our hearts…love also reduces stress, depression and anxiety, three major risk factors for heart disease.” To read an excerpt from, Love Is Good For The Health, by Richard Woodman, Reuters Health (London) Click here.

Not only is being in love good for the heart, READING about love is good for the heart. Even more than watching movies, a reader is enmeshed in the story, feeling the emotions and the events that unfold as if they are right there. USA Today has a wonderful article out today called, Why Do We Need Romance Novels by Joyce Lamb where she has collected anecdotes from authors about how their work has touched people’s lives.

The key to romance? The happily ever after. In a world rife with conflict, economic hardship and uncertainty, people want a little certainty. Reading about love releases endorphins that mimic the feeling of being in love. This is why the genre is so popular! And guys out there, word to the wise, if you want your lady to be in the mood, buy her a romance novel. Or, better yet, read one together!

Thief of Hearts: WantedThief of Hearts: Wanted is out today! $1 from every sale between February 14th, 2012 and March 14, 2012 will be donated to The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Here are a couple more books I recommend for Valentine’s Day.

Vive La Valentine: An All-For-Indies Anthology

A Stranger’s Kiss by Roxy Boroughs.

Categories: All About the Heart | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s All About The Heart

It’s February and you know what that means…Valentine’s Day!

Did you know that it is also Heart Health Month?

On Valentine’s Day, I’m releasing the first book of my THIEF OF HEARTS trilogy THIEF OF HEARTS: WANTED.

In honor of Heart Health Month, I’m donating $1 from each book sold between February 14 and March 14 to The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

One of the reasons I’ve decided to do this is to try to promote heart health and awareness particularly to women. I’ve always considered myself healthy and active and figured I’d live as long as my grandparents (nearly all of whom lived well into their 90s). However, I conveniently looked to my adoptive family for heart health. It wasn’t until I met my birthmother that I became aware of the fact that heart disease may run in my family. Both my maternal grandparents died fairly young (59 and 66) from heart attacks.

That knowledge has made me view my own ‘heart health’ in a completely different light. I’d never really considered the possibility of a heart attack before. Now I realize that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. Death Loves Women (check out this 30 second commercial)

There was an email that came through my inbox a few weeks ago that I want to share. I do not know who the author of this email is and if you are the author and wish for this to be removed from my website, please contact me. However, the instructions on the email were clear that this information should be passed on. It is one woman’s experience with a heart attack and her atypical symptoms.

Please take a moment to read and pass this on!

NURSE’S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

Continue reading

Categories: All About the Heart, General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.