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Kathryn Wendell - Health Advocate

Posted

For lots of people a heart attack is their wake up call to watch over their health and take better care of themselves through diet and exercise. But for me, at 39, I was already in the best shape of my life ( or so I thought). I'm a working mom of 3 with 19 more kids in my second grade class. I was a purple belt in karate and I kicked boxed. I literally did it all. A master of the juggle. My double heart attacks last year baffled the doctors and gave me a hit I never saw coming. My doctors cleared a 99% blockage from my LAD, the "widow maker" vein. They placed a stent and sent me on my way. I walked slowly at first, unable to even go up a flight of stairs, and then I walked longer and faster when I could and eventually I began running. With the medication that I was on, specifically the blood thinners, it made the martial arts an impossibility for me due to do the excessive internal bleeding that could occur while I was sparring. It was heartbreaking, but I refocused my path and running became my new passion. Happily ever after? Well, not quite.

Suddenly, in the fall I began hemorrhaging from the blood thinners. I required surgery. Recovery sometimes takes longer on the heart medications and it did. This particular obstacle hit me pretty hard because I really did feel like I had climbed to the top of the mountain with my problems in my heart and now... to have to start all over once again.... it was absolutely crushing. But I was and am my force.

So, one step at a time, one day at a time, I began again. Using my Fitbit and walker tracker together, I walk, run, jog, or dance, about 20,000 steps a day. I walk with my Heart Sisters and even though they are not with me, they are always by my side. The more I move, the more my body craves it. My kids now use phrases such as heart healthy and too much sodium. They are already being checked out by their pediatrician so that they can confront potential heart problems years before they become an issue. We've all become advocates and warriors in the fight against heart disease. 

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