Archive for July, 2009

Jumping in Puddles

July 30, 2009

I now get why Hallmark is in business. Had one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong from the second I woke up. I get home and have the most fantastic card in the mail from my Mom. On the front is a very stylish girl holding her heels, standing in a puddle. It says, “She’s the kind of person who looks at a cloud and says to herself, ‘There’s a rainbow coming in just a little while.’ Then she kicks off her shoes and dances in the puddles until the sun comes out again.”   I cannot tell you how much I needed that card today!! I needed that reminder that I do love to dance in the rain. When you are waiting for everything to come together in your life, and your leaving it in God’s hands, sometimes it gets a little nerve wracking. Don’t get me wrong, I am adamantly working hard to get where I think I want to go…. think being the key word. But there is a big piece of this puzzle that I have decided to leave in God’s hands and let Him guide my life in the direction He wants it to go. Having said that, I am also constantly reminded that money doesn’t grow on trees in my backyard. Oh…. wait…. I don’t have a backyard anymore!!! But man it feels good to let it go again and just…… DANCE! And that helps me re-gain my focus. I lose focus for too long and things stop working around here.

So on a day I was a little overwhelmed, a little discouraged, a little frustrated, a little worried, a little ctazy, a little mad, and even a little sad – I’m kicking off my shoes and I’m going to dance in the puddles!! (And tonight is the perfect night – we’ve had the most wonderful thunderstorms in Atlanta) I know there is a rainbow coming in just a little awhile. And if nothing else, I at least got a glimpse of it last week. Won’t you come dance with me?????

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BetterMe – Week 4

July 28, 2009

Technically this should be week 5, but I took last week off for vacation. So we are on week 4.  Ironically the theme for this week is to “strengthen your resolve”. After taking the week off, I need that – need to get my focus back on my heart and getting it as strong and healthy as I can. And we will be focused hard core this week.

There are strength in numbers. This is true across the board. So don’t feel like you have to tackle your heart all by yourself. Surround yourself with people who can help get you where you need to be, and people who will follow healthy lifestyles. When you are surrounded by that, it’s easier to be healthy yourself. And this should be the only heart you get – we have to make it work!! This week’s material forces you to look at your activities and identify where you need help. I will say it’s hard for me to go out of town. I love to!! But it’s just so hard to follow my diet when I’m out of town. And now with the airlines getting stricter on your carry-on’s – it’s next to impossible for me to travel with my own food.

So.. how did I do on Week 3?? My goal was to keep a physical activity log and I did that. I’m really excited about the workout program I’m working on. In a later blog I will write more about it.

Here are my goals for this week:
1. Add resistance training to my workout at least 2 days. (Note: I have to be really careful about this, my doctor has given me tight restrictions on what I can and cannot do, so I will be operating within those boundaries.)
2. Share a healthy recipe or nutrition tip with a friend. (if you go out to eat with me, trust me – you’ll get some tips!!)
3. Ask one person to help me with a Go Red Makeover Goal.

I am bound and determined to makeover my heart to be a BetterMe, and I hope you will join me. You can sign up at anytime for the BetterU program at Go Red for Women’s website –>  http://www.goredforwomen.org/BetterU/index.aspx

Stay tuned next to week to see how I did!

Explanation

July 27, 2009

Hello faithful blog readers. I feel like I owe you an explanation for my absence. Part of it has been writer’s block – happens to the best of us. But the bigger issue has been where I am at in my life right now. I’m still getting used to the idea of putting my life out there on the internet for anyone to read. And lately, things have been really great. I’ve been feeling strong physically, I’ve been happy. It feels like things are finally heading in the right direction. In fact right now I have a perma-grin from my Indy trip over the weekend. I’ve been working on this little project with workouts that could lead to something big…. You would think with all of this I would have tons of writing material. And I do. But it also scares me a little bit. I don’t want to jinx anything, does that sound stupid? I don’t want to set expections out there I can’t fulfill with you guys, or with my family. And there is a part of me that is concerned over being this happy and things finally going in the right direction. Not to be a pessimist, but if anything I have learned with my heart that one day it’s strong and the next day it’s not. So does that mean a big black hole is waiting around the corner for me to fall in? I really hope not, there has been a lot of exciting developments and break thru’s I want to share with you. Just give me a little time…. And pray that the side of my brain that writes will kick in strong soon too!!

BetterMe – Week 3

July 14, 2009

One of the things I love most about the 4th of July weekend is you have the Wimbledon finals, Daytona under the lights and the Tour de France. I remember my brother used to tape every stage, I always thought he was crazy!! Until he passed the cycling bug onto me, now I’m glued to the tv watching every stage. And especially this year with Lance’s comeback. If Lance can come back, so can I!!

I could feel my fingers & feet tingling to get on my bike! So that’s why it was a goal of mine for week 2. Before HF, I would commit to 100 miles a week (when I was training for the MS Bike Tour that’s what we would ride). But starting over, I just need to get back on the bike and take it from there.

So, how did I do on my goals for week 2?
These were my goals:
1. Keep up with the three times a week walks.
2. Take one of my favorite recipes and re-do it to make it heart healthy.
3. Take the Go Red Heart Check-up (on the Go Red for Women site) to learn my risk for heart disease and stroke.
4. Get my bike ready to ride.

I hit all of my goals. I was sooooooooooo excited to get my bike back. Terry did a great job getting her all cleaned up and prepped for me to start riding again. For the Go Red Heart Check-up, I took the test and I am at high risk for having a heart attack. Well… I knew that one. What’s important is that you go take the test to see what your risk is.

My physical activity training is completely opposite of how I have ever trained for anything in my life. Which leads my to Week 3.  Knowing your heart could and can save your life. It’s important that you know all of your heart numbers – your blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, etc. Next time you go in for a physical, write down these numbers. In addition to knowing your numbers, tracking what you eat and your physical activity  is important. I know I get on my low sodium soap box, but if we don’t start lowering the amount of sodium we intake the consequences will be detrimental. Your heart’s life depends on it. And studies show that the more you choose to track your progess the higher your chances are for success.

So my goal for Week 3:
1. To get a log of my physical activity and how it effects my heart rate.
I already track my food pretty closely, but this week I am continuing to focus on eating more servings of fruits and vegetables.

I hope you will join me and make your heart Betta For You!!

Why do you do this to me????

July 10, 2009

One of the most frustrating aspects of the heart failure side of this journey is not knowing exactly what is happening to my body and where it’s coming from. Over the years with MS, I got to know how my body reacted so well to different elements that I knew what caused certain relapses (some I didn’t), but I knew if it was the heat, too much stress or overworking or just MS running its course with me. I don’t know these aspects of heart failure with me and it drives me up the wall. And worse, I can’t figure out if its my heart or the MS acting up. I’m leaning towards my heart, just because I never really felt like this with MS. And if you are a doctor and ask me to explain exactly what “this” is, I’m not sure I can. (great patient, huh??)

Why do you do this to me
Why do you do this so easily
You make it hard to smile
Because you make it hard to breathe
Why do you do this to me
To me, to me, to me
– Secondhand Serenade

I had been feeling so good. ( or well… I always confuse the two grammatically..). Was really making progress on the treadmill, getting ready to get back on my bike (Tour de France here I come…) And then bam, out of no where I get knocked out. Maybe I did overdo things on the treadmill (as freakin pathetic as that sounds), maybe its because I finally caved in and indulged in my favorite Indian food (which I am still paying the price for. No worries, a water pill on Sunday will knock that one out). Is this really to the point that every splurge or indulgence will have this dramatic of an effect on my body?  I had stuck straight & narrow to my diet. Now comes the frustrating part. Thursday morning I could barely move out of bed. It felt like a 500 pound cement block was just lying on top of me. And going from the bedroom to the bathroom you would have thought you just saw me come across the finish line at the Peachtree Road Race. Again, if I could put my finger on what’s causing this then I could adapt.

Why do you keep doing this to me? I was following all the stupid rules. Moving up is the direction we were heading…. So why this? Why now? I don’t know if we’ve taken a step back, but it sure feels like it. I came home today and just crashed. I know part of the problem was the food I ate, that’s why its harder for me to breathe. But could someone please take this cement block off of me??

You would think after all the years of MS, this would somewhat be a walk in the park. But they don’t exactly offer “adjusting” as a course at any of the schools I went to. And no matter how many times your life gets flipped upside down, it doesn’t get any easier to adjust.

And no matter how horrible I feel, how tired I am – there is still a sink full of dishes and a pile of laundry I need to get thru. Why can’t I just wiggle my nose and make everything all better? Or at least get this damn cement block off of me????

BetterMe – Week 2

July 6, 2009

We are now on Week 2 of the BetterU program. This is a 12-week program to makeover your health and makeover your heart. To read more about this program –>
http://www.goredforwomen.org/BetterU/program_overview.aspx

There are certain risks factors for heart disease that you have absolutely no control over – age, race, family history. But there are several risk factors you do have control over – your weight, the foods you eat, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, chloestrol and physical activity. The time has come that we change our everyday habits to keep our hearts healthy, and keep them alive! I turn 32 in a couple of weeks and I’m trying to survive heart failure. My heart disease didn’t come from one of the above risk factors – my damage was done from chemotherapy. But making changes in the risk factors I can control will help my heart get stronger. And I need every inch I can get. The scary part is while I thought I was relatively healthy before, my habits would have put me at risk for heart disease later on in life.

Do you know the warning signs of a sroke or heart attack????
From the AHA Website:
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are some of the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

If you or someone you’re with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1.  Get to a hospital right away.  (Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.)

If you’re the one having symptoms, and you can’t access emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away. Don’t drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.

The warning signs of stroke are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Don’t ignore signs of stroke, even if they go away! If you or someone with you has one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don’t delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent for you.

For Week 1 these were my goals:
1. Eat heart healthy fruit, veggie, whole greain or lean meat with every meal.
2. Exercise at least 10 minutes three times this week.

So, how did I do….. The exercise part I blew out of the water, I even surprised myself. I was able to stay on the treadmill for 60 minutes by the end of the week, keeping my heart rate under the max the doc gave me. It was really motivational for me. I haven’t really been able to work out at all since my heart went out in December. Just when I got to a point the doc would release me to start slowly exercising, my heart went south again and put a hault to everything. It feels good to sweat!! I will admit the little bit I can do on the treadmill is rather pathetic compared to the exercise regiment I had before December, but it’s a start. I have to start somewhere, right?? And like I said before it’s not about how fast I get there, it’s the act of getting “there”. I’m looking forward to moving up on speed (eventually) on the treadmill. As for the heart healthy foods – I’ll give myself a B-. I will admit, I took the 4th of July off, but I did get lots of yummy fruit in the sangria (does that count???). Outside of the 4th, there were only two meals I missed having a heart healthy food at, but did try to make it up with snacks.

For week 2 here are my goals:
1. Keep up with the three times a week walks.
2. Take one of my favorite recipes and re-do it to make it heart healthy.
3. Take the Go Red Heart Check-up (on the Go Red for Women site) to learn my risk for heart disease and stroke.
4. Get my bike ready to ride.

What you don’t know CAN hurt you! Join the program and become a Better U for your heart!

Join me today!!
http://www.goredforwomen.org/BetterU/program_overview.aspx
You can follow all of the BetterU blogs by clicking on the category BetterU.

Sometimes Goodbye is a Second Chance

July 1, 2009

Today is a day I didn’t quite know if I would make it to. And this year, 2009, is the only year I plan to “celebrate” this day. Today is my 1-year anniversary of being divorced and officially becoming Ms. Lindsey Bowyer again. The road I have painfully fought down to get here was a rough and bunpy one. A road I don’t care to travel down again.

To say I have been broken over the last year is an understatement. When we announced we were getting a divorce all I heard was how this would be the most painful “thing” I’d ever experience. I adamamently and naively disagreed with that. Little did I know the emotional evils that were waiting right around the corner for me. While I don’t know if this is the most painful experience in my life, it was painful none-the-less.

Divorce is a death. It’s the death of your marriage, your life as you knew it and you as a wife. And just like a death, you go thru all the stages of grieving. The unknown is that just because you “made” it thru one stage, doesn’t mean it won’t come back to haunt you at a later date. And you’re left wondering if there is too much that time just can’t erase. Divorce is an amputation of your soul. I used to jokingly call my ex-husband my better half. And whether that person is the better or worst part of the marriage, it’s still the surgical removal of half of your soul, half of your heart. Just like you can take a photo and tear it in two, someone came and ripped half of me apart. And you wake up in the middle of the night reaching for that missing half, only to find it’s still not there. Divorce is a failure. It means the sacred entity in your life in the eyes of God you couldn’t do right. Divorce is a boxing match. You constantly have to keep your guard up because you don’t know what will hit you next. But even if you get knocked down, you have no choice but to get up and keep fighting. Because for the first time you’re alone – it’s just you. No one will fight for you but you. There isn’t that spouse, that best friend, that soul mate to lean on for support. There are days you don’t know if you can get out of bed, days it hurts to breathe. Days you wonder if you will be able to laugh again, days you wonder if you will ever feel again. You constantly are asking if the worst is over yet, and then you realize it has only yet to come.

And here I am a year later, a year stronger – still standing. There is so much about life and love I still don’t understand, and that’s okay. Here is what I do know – divorce is an experience I will not go thru again; time truly can heal a lot of wounds – ones you never thought could ever heal; this is a time you find out who your real friends are and it’s okay to say goodbye to the ones that are toxic to your healing; you can’t change what’s happened in the past, but you can change how you respond to it;  no one will stand stronger by you than your family – so lean on them and let them help; that which doesn’t kill you truly does make you not only stronger, but wiser; finding your smile again is vital to survival – laugh often & laugh hard; learn to let go and let God!

But most importantly, I’ve learned that I can do all things thru Christ who gave me strength this last year when there wasn’t an ounce left in my body. Who picked me up everytime I fell, and Who held me crying when I was weak. And who allowed me dignity to break down in prayer when I was ashamed. With His mercy and grace we can have and find forgiveness. With His love we can heal and let go of anger. And with His guidance, we can find our way again after a broken heart.

Saying goodbye to my old life is a chance to open my arms and heart to whatever God has in store for me. So I celebrate today as the first day of the rest of my life. The sun is rising and it’s the start of a new day, leaving all my worries in the past. Today, I say goodbye to the divorce I painfully lived over this last year but survived with a fighting spirit, and say hello to a life of love & happiness awaiting me. Somewhere along the way I found my smile. But for the first time, my heart has found its way to feel again. And I look forward to this journey I have yet to travel in this life.

Goodbye is a second chance. I’m ready for what mine is.