I was contacted by Juliet Dobson at the British Medical Journal recently, who asked me for a heart patient’s perspective on a new cardiovascular risk calculator. It’s been launched by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), and claims that it can tell you your real heart age. Here’s what I wrote . . . Continue reading
“All in all, was there anything positive about experiencing a myocardial infarction?”
Once discharged from hospital following my heart attack, I was gobsmacked by how physically frail I felt. Simply taking a shower meant a 20-minute lie down to recover. Just walking to the corner with my son, Ben, required me to clutch his arm for support. But it wasn’t only this new weakness that alarmed me. As a former distance runner, I felt suddenly afraid of any exertion that might bring on the horrific heart attack symptoms I’d so recently endured. That’s where cardiac rehabilitation (a 2-4 month supervised exercise and education program for heart patients) literally saved me. Continue reading
Hobby: häbē/ noun. an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. “Her hobbies are reading, knitting and gardening”
I’m guessing that those of us who have ‘graduated’ from the WomenHeart Science and Leadership Symposium For Women With Heart Disease (a training program held each fall at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota) rarely consider our volunteer contributions as a “hobby” in the birdwatching/jewelry-making/focaccia-baking sense of that word.
We already know that our Mayo training gives us ‘street cred’. The days we spent experiencing world-class “cardiology bootcamp” in Rochester opened doors that allow us to share what we’ve learned as community educators, media spokespersons or heart patient support group leaders. So far, over 600 WomenHeart ‘champions’ in the U.S. (and two of us here in Canada) have been trained to be “the boots on the ground” in the fight against women’s heart disease – our #1 killer. According to WomenHeart, 45% of the women who graduate from this annual training at Mayo have been credited with saving someone’s life.
But sometimes, we are smacked upside the head by those who simply have no clue about the difference between a volunteer and a hobbyist. Take, for example, this story from my heart sister, Leslea Steffel-Dennis. Continue reading