Archive for January, 2009

Reality Strikes

January 6, 2009

Well I got totally slapped in the face by reality today. In my mind, this whole process of dealing with CHF, figuring out this new lifestyle, trying to get my heart stronger is one massive fight for me. I guess that is just being raised in karate coming out in me. When I get pushed, all I know is to fight back. MS is another fight I’ve been battling. And given the fact that it tried to put me in a wheelchair and I got back out of it, and have maintained my mobility, I would say I am winning that fight. Score 1 for Team Lindsey!!

So why can’t I figure this one out? I know, everyone is probably saying, “Just have patience Lindsey. Its going to take some time. You’ll eventually get it.” I DON’T HAVE PATIENCE. That is just a virtue God did not instill me with.

Yesterday I had to get back to the nitty, gritty of my job and start back traveling. By the time I got to my final destination last night, I was exhausted. Today I woke up to see that I had lost two pounds, but my BP had increased. I’m thinking we’re going to be okay. I did good with the food I had packed and planned ahead with the travel. I have been a walking zombie all day. I mustered up enough energy to give a riveting sales presentation at my meeting this morning (he didn’t suspect anything was wrong), and then could barely keep my eyes open driving home. I barely made it up to my apartment before I just crashed out, hard. And here’s the frustrating part is that I have no appetite right now, but I know I need to eat. And I have absolutely no energy to get in the kitchen and even put a stupid plate in the microwave. Right about now is when I would LOVE to be able to order a pizza. But NOOOOOO, those dumb things have too much sodium. Oh, what about that chinese restaurant…. wait – again, too much sodium and now MSG. This little luxury of “fast food”, “take out”, just convenience in general is something we take for granted. I know I did.

Travel is going to be tougher than I thought. And I get to fly out tomorrow for Chicago. Yahoo for me!! Travel used to be fun, now its so much work to make sure I have everything I need.

Alright reality, listen up. And I mean listen up good…. You may have slapped me across the face today, but beware – I have a really MEAN right hook and a deadly sidekick. And I don’t get knocked down very easily. So while I am a walking zombie, I will get in that kitchen and fix some dinner, I will get my meals prepared to take with me to Chicago and I will finish the work I need to get done tonight.

You may have won the fight today, but this war and I will come back. In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but through persistance. Meditate on that one reality!

I Didn’t Freak Out, I even DANCED!!

January 5, 2009

I gained a pound today and for the first time I didn’t freak out!! You’re probably asking yourself why this is such a big deal. Here’s why… for 10 years I would wake up every morning to the reality of a shot. That vital shot is what tried its best to keep me walking. Now I wake up and weigh myself every morning (along with taking my blood pressure). Let me just start with the obvious – what woman likes to weigh herself in the first place. I mean, really? So I get the daily reminder of what size clothes I can’t fit into? (and yes, even when you have heart failure you still care about the materials things…) But this morning it was different. This morning I was a woman on a different mission. Ever since I got out of the hospital on Dec 13th I have been terrified to get on that scale. If I gain weight (depending on how much it is & for how many days in a row) it could be an indication that my sodium intake is not at the correct level and my heart is going back into failure. So not only has salt been my enemy, so has the scale. And for that reason I have been terrified to eat. Too much sodium and my heart starts to shut down (essentially…). Too little sodium and my body gets completely dehydrated and my kidneys start to shut down. So for someone who has never had to watch what she eats before (except to watch calories every now and then) how in the hell do you find this delicate balance and feel normal???? Therefore, where I once LOVED food, I was now terrified to eat it. Food was now my enemy too. (okay.. I need to interject a little side note that will make sense in a minute – I’m listening to Montley Crew’s “Kickstart my Heart”!! How appropiate..) Sounds like I’m stacking up a lot of enemies, huh??

Hmm.. I digress….. back to this scale, weight issue… So over the holidays I gained two pounds one day and completely freaked out. I wouldn’t eat anything (to the point I thought my parents were going to start force feeding me…) and I adjusted my medicines. I dropped four pounds in one day and all of a sudden I start blacking out and fainting. I just couldn’t seem to get it right. It was tiring, frustrating and to be honest… it just pissed me off. I’ve always been a fighter my entire life, very little if anything in this world has been able to keep me down. I’ve become a black belt all over again in fighting MS, but this heart failure was kicking my ass! And I couldn’t understand why.

One of the first rules of fighting is to identify your enemies weaknesses and use those against them. And one of salt’s and the scale’s weaknesses is my body. My body is going to be one of my greatest strengths over these enemies and I didn’t even realize it! Over the last week I’ve really tried to pay attention to what my body is feeling and what it’s telling me. More times than not, your body will tell you exactly what is wrong with it, if you only know how to listen. God tells us to just be still in His presence and He will lead us. The same is true with my body. If I will just be still and listen, it will start to tell me what it needs – more fluid, more salt, less salt, more exercise, less exercise, more relaxation, etc… So I knew, based on what my body was telling me, that I wasn’t getting enough sodium in my diet. And I also knew that I was gravely dehydrated. Gaining a pound was a victory for me today. And for the first time, I didn’t freak out!!

I was trying to prepare ahead a few meals for this week. In the past, cooking was always a stress reliever for me. But after this heart failure, it felt more like a chore, it was work I had to do because I can no longer go through a drive-thru for dinner anymore. (Hmm… was cooking about to become my enemy as well?????) But tonight I had my Ipod playing while I was cooking and just chopping and dicing and zesting like no bodies business. The next thing I know I’m smiling. And without realizing it, I was singing like I was the next American Idol and dancing with myself in my kitchen. Thats right, stop the presses – I was actually enjoying cooking for myself to the point that I was dancing! Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain!!

These little victories… they may seem so stupid to who ever is reading this, but they are huge for me. My cooking spree felt like I had just run a marathon. So today, I just punched the shit back out of heart failure. You didn’t freak me out today with my weight gain, and kiss my behind – I learned to dance in the rain!! So… as Rihanna says, Please Don’t Stop the Music and for Montley Crew – I Kick Started My Heart!!

Here’s your Heart Healthy Tip for Today: The average American diet consumes over 8,000 mg of sodium. Per the American Heart Association, you shouldn’t consume more than 2,000 mg. Bread is one of the biggest culprits of hidden sodium. Try tracking your sodium for one meal. You’ll be surprised. Eat as many foods fresh as you can, not frozen and not processed and you’ll start to cut back on your sodium, and lead you on the path to preventing heart disease.


January 4, 2009

Well, please let me welcome you to my new blog. 2008 was hands down the worst year of my life and I am bound and determined to make 2009 one of the best years of my life. So let me quickly recap for you my lovely last year of existance. I continued my 11 year battle against Mulitple Sclerosis (and don’t feel I made any significant victories in my little war), I got divorced, I found out one of my best friends was really not my friend at all, I ventured back out into the dating world only to realize that not only was I not really ready but men still lie, cheat and steal to get their ways regardless of it’s impact on you (but have no fear – I am not a man hater), I started losing my ability to breathe and was admitted into the hospital for congestive heart failure (that’s right – the good ole ticker was only working at 15%!!), I won’t even venture into the family drama that has gone on lately that only makes me sick to my stomach, and I got to close out the year with a whole new life of low sodium diets & changing how I pretty much do everything. Oh… and did I mention I am only 31?????

So, my New Years Resolution for 2009 was me! To figure out this crazy path of living with heart falure, get to know me all over again so I can figure out what I want & who I want to spend my time with and find some cemblance of inner peace! There is a saying that negativity begets negativity (read Nicole’s post on facebook, it’s a good one!) What you put out into the universe comes back to you. My normal way of dealing with all of life’s stresses and ups & downs was to hit the gym for a hard workout or go for a really hard run or just dance my heart out. And right now with my heart, I can’t do those things (they say too much adrenaline right now could make the dumb thing explode!). Therefore, I am releasing in one of the first ways I know how to – to vent, to rant, to write, and to learn.

This blog will not just be a ranting of all the things that have gone wrong in my life. This will be a journey as I discover everything that has gone right. It will be a learning experience for both of us about heart failure, MS, health, love, life and new ways of living. I do want this to also be educational. Just the little bit I have learned about low sodium and the effects on your body are amazing. Anyways, more on that later….

Now to explain why I chose the name, “Salt is NOT the Spice of Life”. Think about salt in your life. What do we use it for? Chefs, cooks, people in general use salt to flavor food – to add a certain spice, taste or kick. It enhances the flavor of the food. If you ever watch Rachel Ray on Food Network, she always throws salt over her shoulder when she cooks with it for good luck. There are containers of bath salts that you can add to your bath to help relax the body and create a more enjoyable bubble bath experience. While that is how salt effects most normal people’s lives, it does none of those things for me. Salt is not only my enemy now, I have to also learn how to make it my friend. Too much salt and I’m in trouble. Too little salt and I’m in trouble. It’s a weird balance that I am trying to figure out. Salt doesn’t add flavor to my food or my life, it doesn’t relax me. In fact, it does the exact opposite – I stress out all the time now about salt. So for me, Salt is not the spice of my life. But I know in 2009, I will find out exactly what is!!

I have always believed that when God closes a door He opens a window somewhere. I feel a lot of doors were slammed in my face in 2008 and I am crawling thru this window for 2009. I hope you will come with me and help me enjoy this journey!