Misconceptions

Sorry it has been awhile since posting a new blog. I’ve had a little bit of writer’s block and there has been a lot going on.

So…. remember the old saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover”?? I think we were all raised with that one. Things are not always what they seem. I’ve been meditating alot on that statement lately. over the last month or so, I’ve had various comments made to me, and experiences that I felt maybe I should clear up some misconceptions that might be out there. I want to preface this blog that this is not directed towards any one person, this is a culmination of comments and experiences that I just need to clarify somethings…. Maybe if nothing else, I am clarifying them for myself.

1. Heart failure is the same as having a heart attack.
Nope. I didn’t have a heart attack, so I can’t talk about what that feels like or everything it involves. What I can tell you is about MY heart failure. Heart failure is when the heart muscle becomes weakened after injury from something like a heart attack or high blood pressure (or in my case – chemotherapy) and loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs. The ejection fraction (EF) is the percent of blood that your heart pumps out to the rest of the body per beat. The normal heart’s EF is 55-60%.

2. I’m dying.
Heart failure does not necessarily mean that my heart has stopped working, is about to stop working or that I’m having a heart attack. Many people live long, healthy and normal lives with heart failure. That is my goal. If I don’t watch my sodium intake, various environmental factors, etc then I can get into trouble really fast. But I am not going to drop dead tomorrow, and well… if I do – my will is in place. Which leads me to my next one…

3. Because I wrote out my will I am giving up.
That is the farthest thing from the truth. I am simply being a responsible adult. I have a condition that could one day cause me to lose my life before my parents, so I need my affairs to be in order. There is a chance one day I may be in a state where I am unable to make medical decisions for myself and need to make sure I have an advocate who can legally speak on my behalf. This is not me giving up the fight, this is me making the necessary precautions to ensure myself and my estate are protected. As Woody Allen said, “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

4. A low sodium diet is as simple as not adding salt to your food.
Man do I wish that were actually the truth. My life would be SOOOOOOOOO much easier. No, its not that simple. Salt is just one component in the mix. You have hidden sodium in many foods that is an enemy.  (bread being on of the biggest culprits, along with anything frozen).  The only way to 100% control my sodium intake is for me to make every last piece of food I eat. Realistically I can’t do that. (so my awesome mother has made me lots of food I store in my freezer…) Your typical fast food value meal combo will be about two days worth of my sodium allotment. But the simple act of not shaking a little bit of the white stuff on my food isn’t going to cut it, isn’t going to get my heart stronger and isn’t going to keep the fluid out of my chest. I have to cut out sodium.  And if you feel there is NO way on God’s green earth you could live that way, then that’s fine – but you can keep that opinion to yourself. Because this is my life, I don’t have a choice in the matter. I don’t get the luxury anymore to add a little salt to spice things up. (which by the way, red pepper always worked better anyways…)

5. It has the American Heart Association seal on it – so its safe for you. Or it says “Low Sodium” so I can eat it.
NOPE!  Heart failure is just one area of heart disease. I am affected by sodium. But others have to watch their cholesterol levels very closely. Some foods that have the AHA seal are low in cholesterol, but over my limit for sodium. Also, many foods advertise that they are “low sodium”, but its still more sodium than I can have. A good example is chicken broth. The average chicken broth has over 900 mg of sodium in 1 cup. That’s my entire day’s allotment of sodium. Now you look at the package advertised as lower sodium chicken broth and its still 700 mg  per cup. My gauge for eating is it needs to be 100mg or less per serving. I am thankful that many manufacturers are going lower sodium, but they are going to need to bring it down a few more levels before I can consider it.

6. But I don’t look sick…
Actually, thank you. I do love that comment. No one wants to look sick.  But unfortunately underneath this glowing skin are two demons battling everyday for my soul. Just because I don’t look sick doesn’t mean I don’t feel like shit. I try very hard everyday to carry on the most normal of lives. And I try to stay as healthy as I can. Most people can tell when I don’t feel good, but for anymore TSA agents out there who are feeling a little bullish – listen up = DO NOT insult me with that statement and ask me to show you all my medicine to prove I have heart failure. You don’t have the slightest clue what any of those pills do for my heart, and furthermore you probably can’t even properly pronouce their names. When you can explain to me what a betablocker is then maybe, just maybe I will give you one ounce of credit and respect in regards to that statement.

7. Because I’m tired I must be really lazy.
Ha! PALLLEEEEEZZZEE! If I’m tired its because either my MS is acting up, or my heart is not keeping up with me. I operate at 90mph on a constant basis and don’t allow myself the rest I should. Here lately, or sense the little December fiasco, I have been tired. I am still adjusting to having heart failure, I’m trying to get my heart stronger so I can go back to the life I had…. (and I will get there). And if you really do think I am lazy, then come walk a mile in my shoes.

8. Because I write this blog, any topic of my life is open for discussion.
No people. I do realize by having this website that I open my life up for some type of scrutiny. But that does not mean I will write about every aspect of my life on here (there are some things that are personal), and that doesn’t mean I will even talk to you about everything in my life. Let me just clarify here – my divorce is not a topic open for discussion.

9. I am a china doll that is about to break.
Again, NOPE. Trust me, I do have thick skin, inspite of what some people think. I can and have taken beatings in my life, so this fight is no different. Just because I get knocked around a little bit doesn’t mean I am out for the count. I may take a step backwards today but can run a mile forward tomorrow. The only thing that needs protecting right now is my heart because its been injured and is trying to recover, but I as a person am just fine. I don’t need things sugar coated, I don’t need everything laid out on a silver platter for me. I am not going to and will not break.

10. And lastly…. This will just go away.
OOOhhhhhh, if only it would! I would go streaking thru the streets of New York if that could happen. Until they have a way to repair the damage done to my heart, this isn’t going away. Same with the MS – until there is a cure, this isn’t going away. I will live with both of these diseases until the day I die (or until they have cures…).  And I have to come to a place of peace about that (that is kinda going back to the whole chinadoll statement). I’m tougher than people think. I may stumble several times along the way, but I will handle this.

I know my blog about “Somewhere there is a village missing its idiot” scared people from asking me questions or inquiring how I am. I don’t want that to scare people, and I don’t want this blog to scare you either. Sarcasm is alot of how I deal with stupidity at times.  Some of these misconceptions are honest ones that I felt needed to be cleared up, and some are me just being sarcastic to events that have occured over the last month or so.. I’m pretty sure you can decipher which is which.

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One Response to “Misconceptions”

  1. Cathy Bowyer Says:

    Great information!! Thanks for sharing that with us. You continue to amaze me, I love you

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