5 Year Heart Anniversary

Today is the 5 year anniversary of my heart attack. Five years ago today I was fighting for my life at Dr Phillips Hospital – surrounded by amazing cardiologists, an attentive team of nurses, medical professionals, and staff, including a hospital chaplain, who all saved my life. The doctors say I’m a miracle.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about what happened to me that day. And I’m so thankful that I can celebrate five years of a healthy life!

Tomorrow is never promised.

I Tried HeartGuide for 2 Weeks and This is What Happened

I am excited to partner with Omron on this initiative.

I was recently given HeartGuide, the firs wearable blood pressure monitor, to wear for 2 weeks. Have you heard about this? It’s FDA-cleared and it’s new on the market. It’s a wearable blood pressure monitor that is a wristwatch and links to the Omron HeartAdvisor app that you download to your smartphone.

Here I am trying out HeartGuide for the very first time…at a restaurant!

As a heart attack survivor and someone who used to have to check my blood pressure daily for weeks following my heart attack, I was excited to get this device and start monitoring my blood pressure again on a daily basis. I eagerly took it out of the box, downloaded the app, synced the device to my smartphone, and immediately tried it out! I have to say that I was hooked instantly.

The monitor is so quiet and unassuming. Over the 2 weeks that I wore HeartGuide, I took my blood pressure everywhere – in the airport, at work, in my car (it was parked), in bed, on my couch, in the waiting room of my Dr’s office, at a restaurant – and no one around me ever suspected a thing. I was obsessed. I took my blood pressure at LEAST twice a day but usually 3 or 4 times a day. If it seemed a little high for my liking, I would take it again a few minutes later after calming myself down and relaxing and the numbers would go down. It was great to see how the numbers fluctuated with different factors – sodium intake, activity, anxiety, relaxation, etc.

Every night before I went to bed, I would go into the app where there is a prompt that says “tell us about your day” and I would complete the super short questionnaire where you check off boxes and answer whether or not you took medication, drank fluids, exercised, etc. This helps the app determine trends in your blood pressure numbers over a period of time. A cool feature of the app is that it will give you daily insights. For instance, it told me that my blood pressure tends to be high on Tuesdays. So then I can go back and think about what I’m doing on Tuesdays that may cause my blood pressure to be higher on those particular days. I determined that it was probably because I have an acting class on Tuesday nights and I’m always very nervous during the day leading up to and through the class because you have to perform monologues and scenes in class. So it makes sense!

I was obsessed with HeartGuide and loved wearing it everyday!

On one of the last nights that I was wearing the HeartGuide, I actually got an irregular heartbeat detected during my blood pressure reading. This happens when an irregular rhythm is detected 2 or more times during a blood pressure measurement. This really freaked me out, and I proceeded to take my blood pressure 6 more times that night to see if an irregular heartbeat was detected again, which it was not…thank goodness! But this is definitely something that I will want to share with my doctor since it is not normal for me to have an irregular heartbeat.

Did I mention that HeartGuide also monitors your sleep pattern (yes, I wore it to bed every night) and tracks your fitness? I set a goal for my daily steps and reached it almost everyday! Now you can see why I was so obsessed with HeartGuide!

If you want to learn more about HeartGuide and Omron’s Going for Zero pledge, visit their website: Omron Healthcare

Orlando Health Facebook Live Link




It’s here!  The link to the Facebook Live segment that I did with Orlando Health is here!  Please take a look and share with your friends, family, and colleagues.  I had a great time with Alayna and Dr. Kolli.  Both were so nice, and Dr. Kolli has some great information to share about heart attack signs and symptoms and about heart attack prevention.

Take a look for yourself.  Thank you for your support!

https://www.facebook.com/orlandohealth/videos/388398291970936/

Happy Heart Month!

I Completed My 90-Day Journey With Omron!

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Well, I’ve completed my 90-day journey with the Omron EVOLV blood pressure monitor.  Over this time, I’ve had good days and I’ve had bad days; I’ve had good blood pressure readings and I’ve had bad blood pressure readings; but overall, I think things have mostly gone well.

It is comforting to know that if I am “not feeling right” (and if you are also a heart attack or stroke survivor, then you know what I’m talking about) that I can sit on my couch or my bed in the comfort of my own home in the middle of the night and check my blood pressure to see if all my numbers are normal.  The monitor is even small enough that I’ve thrown it in my purse and taken it to work on those “not feeling right” days in case I needed to check my blood pressure throughout the day.

Generally, my numbers have been pretty consistent during the past 90 days, but a couple weeks ago, I did have a little scare when I checked my blood pressure one night and the numbers were kind of high compared to my norm.  I continued to monitor my numbers throughout the evening, and they only dropped a little bit.  I attributed it to a pill I had taken earlier that day and hoped that the numbers would get back to normal over the next day or so, which they did.  But it was an alarming thing to see and to get recorded on the Omron Connect app!

My cardiologist has adjusted some of my meds since my last post, so I was interested to see if my blood pressure would be affected by the change.  There has not really been a change, but that is one thing that I was looking forward to monitoring with the home monitor!  So, I’m glad to have that ability so I can monitor how my body is adjusting to the med changes over the next few weeks.

A change I’ve made with my eating is that I’m now eating a serving of steamed broccoli almost everyday!

Mmmmm…plain steamed broccoli! Sometimes, I just crave this stuff!

If I don’t get broccoli, then I’m making sure to get a side garden salad or some fresh fruit daily.

I’ve never been a big fan of blueberries, but I’m kind of starting to like them a little bit lately.

So I may not be getting all the recommended servings in daily, but I’m definitely getting in more servings over the course of a week than I was before, and that feels great!  I’m better about this on the weekends when I have more control over my meals than during the work week when things can get crazy.  So, on the weekends I try to do two vegetables and a protein per meal.

I have not purposely increased my steps lately but I did have a couple days last week where I was so busy that I got over 10,000 steps on 2 different days!!!  Man, I was exhausted last week!

What successes did you have on your 90 day challenge?  Did you make any changes in your daily routine/lifestyle? If so, do you plan to stick to these changes?

And remember Omron’s Going for Zero mission (which I personally think is fantastic) to eliminate heart attacks and strokes through prevention and education.   Make sure to check this out and make it your personal mission, too!

 

 

 

What is the Heart Walk Celebrating in 2018?

The American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year!  Can you believe it?  25 years!!!

I was honored to be invited to a kick-off event for the 2018 Orlando Heart Walk recently with some of the Executive Champions that I shared a billboard with last year for reaching a specified fundraising goal by a designated date to kick-off the 2017 Heart Walk.

This year, that goal has been raised to $5000!!!  Not sure if I’ll get to be on a billboard again to help promote the Heart Walk if I reach the goal, but I am definitely going to make every effort to reach EACH OF YOU to raise this money; so start putting aside some dollars now!  I will post my team and donation link in a couple weeks to get the fundraising ball going!  Everyone was so wonderful and giving in your support of the Heart Walk last year (even if you couldn’t be there to walk), you helped me surpass my goal.  I can’t do this without all of you, so who’s with me?!? 🙂

I wanted to put a few things in perspective on this post since it has been 25 years since the Heart Walk started – to show you how far your dollars have come in making a difference over the years.

This is relevant because I’m sure Jurassic Park got your hearts racing 25 years ago, and now it’s come back full circle with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom coming out this summer to get your hearts racing again! I feel old! eeekkk!

 

If you smoke, stop! And don’t be around smokers. Second-hand smoke is even worse. When I had my heart attack, the first questions the doctor asked me in ICU were if I smoked, if I EVER smoked, or if I was ever around smokers. My answer was “no” to all three.

 

This is direct proof that research dollars are getting put to good use!

 

Wow! We’ve come a long way! Think of how many lives can be saved over the next 25 years with your donations!

 

Take a moment to think about what these signs will read  in the next 25 years with even more donations for research for heart disease and stroke!  It really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

During the event, we also celebrated our Heart Walk Ambassador, Zane!  He was there with his parents.  Zane was a little shy and didn’t want to speak, so his mom shared his story.  Here’s his very own sign displayed at the event.  What a brave young boy!

 

And here I will leave you with the mission statement and impact goal (even though it is only 2 years away, not 25).  

 

I hope you found this helpful and are getting as excited about the 2018 Orlando Heart Walk as I am…even if you can’t walk and you can only donate…you are doing something good.  Take it from me, a heart attack survivor.  Look for upcoming communication from me with additional information on how to donate towards my $5000 goal or to join my team.  Every dollar counts!

The 2018 Orlando Heart Walk will be held at UCF Memory Mall on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

Did You Know? May is Stroke Awareness Month

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Did you know that May is Stroke Awareness Month? Are you doing anything in your daily routine to manage your risk factors for strokes? Do you know the signs of a stroke? Would you know what to do if someone you work with or a family member was having a stroke?

It’s May, so let’s take some time out of our busy schedules to ask these questions and learn the answers!

First of all, knowing your numbers can always be helpful, and that is why Omron Healthcare makes it so easy for you to monitor your blood pressure in the comfort of your own home with your EVOLV blood pressure monitor. Tracking your numbers in the app on your mobile device can help you monitor your health so you know if you need to make changes or see your doctor if the numbers are trending high or low versus your norm.

Here I am checking my blood pressure in my living room in my pajamas. If you look closely, the monitor display says “HELLO”!

By doing your part, remember you are supporting Omron’s mission of Going for Zero, which is the elimination of heart attack and stroke. This is why they are educating the public about the importance of prevention by regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure.

What are you doing in your daily routine to protect yourself against strokes? Below is an infographic that shows you what you can do daily to protect yourself.


I may not go out and exercise daily, but I try and get as many steps in as possible with the walking that I do at work.  I also check my blood pressure regularly with my EVOLV blood pressure monitor.  I haven’t measured lately, but I hope my body composition is healthy according to this infographic!! (Note to self: buy a measuring tape.) I am constantly managing my diabetes, as I pointed out in my last blog post, and that has been going well! I must admit that I am excited to practice #6…but only in moderation, as it says.  lol. You do have to be careful about alcoholic beverages, especially when taking medications.  My cardiologist has limited me to two drinks per day, but since becoming a diabetic, I don’t have much craving for alcohol so I rarely drink – maybe an occasional glass of red wine at social functions or with dinner on the weekends.

Do you know the signs of a stroke and what to do if someone around you is having one? Four very important letters to know are F.A.S.T.!  Below is an infographic that explains these letters and how to react if someone around you is showing signs of a stroke.

It seems so easy to learn these letters, but I have to admit with as much volunteering that I’ve done since my heart attack for local associations, I’ve seen F.A.S.T. time and time again, and I still have to read the descriptions and reminders.  This month, I am making it a point to memorize and learn this acronym as well as I know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack!

What additional steps are you taking this month to become more aware of stroke and stroke prevention during Stroke Awareness Month?

How Omron EVOLV Inspires Me To Be More Heart Health Conscious

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

For the past few weeks, I have been regularly checking my blood pressure in the convenience of my home with the Omron EVOLV.


Thankfully, my blood pressure has been normal with only one reading being considered “Hypertension Stage 1” on the Omron Connect app because my diastolic reading was 80mmHg while my systolic reading was still below 120mmHg. This didn’t worry me too much since I am on medicine to keep my blood pressure lowered, and I do have regular doctor visits. However, it is enough to keep me in check and remind me to continue practicing a heart healthy lifestyle.

March was National Nutrition Month, and now that April has begun, I am continuing the practice of eating healthy by incorporating lots of vegetables into my diet – daily, if I can. Many of my meals consist of salad and grilled chicken, and while many think this is boring, I really do not get tired of it because I enjoy the fresh taste of the vegetables and the chicken so much that I actually crave it! One change that I have made in the past month or so (because my cardiologist said my blood work showed I was a little dehydrated) is that I have been trying to drink more water rather than fruity sports drinks, which I would keep with me so as not to unexpectedly let my blood sugar dip since I have Type 2 Diabetes, as well. But I think I am at a good place now with my eating schedule and my water intake so I’m no longer craving the fruity sports drinks, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting my blood sugar at all!

I’m trying to make healthier snack and munchie choices, too, when I’m at home. For example, right now, my refrigerator has a bag of grapes and a bag of carrot sticks in it. If that’s all I offer myself then that’s all I can want, right?

Does anyone have any other healthy snack recommendations?

Getting in exercise is difficult for me sometimes because of my work schedule, but I do have a one mile walk from the parking lot to my office each morning and then again back to my car in the evening. I can’t stand this walk, but all of my doctors say it’s good for me, and I know it’s good for me. I’m trying to turn this downside of my day into a plus by smiling and thinking happy thoughts during this walk to make it more pleasant and release some endorphins during the walk. Occasionally someone will drive by in a golf cart and offer me a lift, and I take it…because it is hot in Florida…and I know I will get my steps in somewhere else that day! Don’t judge me! LOL!

What are you doing to get in your exercise or your steps?

I hope I can keep up these small tweaks to my heart healthy lifestyle and maybe even come up with a few more!

Taking care of your heart and your body certainly feels good and inspires you to keep going. I’m a true testament that you only have one heart (and I only have 80% of mine) so you better make it count! In fact, Omron’s mission is Going for Zero – zero heart attacks and strokes. I definitely believe this is possible with more education and awareness, if everyone works towards prevention with the right lifestyle choices and early intervention!

If you have any heart healthy tips for lowering blood pressure or keeping your heart healthy, please comment below! I’d love to hear them!

Going for Zero Pledge

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

I took the “Going for Zero Pledge”, and you can do it, too, by clicking on this link Going for Zero!

What is Going for Zero? It is Omron Healthcare‘s company mission – to eliminate heart attacks and strokes. One way they are doing this is through new heart health technologies like the Omron EVOLV, which is a portable, wireless upper-arm blood pressure monitor.

This device is clinically validated for accuracy and has received FDA clearance. It is a one-piece monitor that fits easily over your upper arm with no tubes, wires, or tabletop unit.

It easily syncs to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology and with the Omron Connect App (free) that stores, tracks, and shares your data. The easier and more convenient it is to record and track your blood pressure, the more people will do it and be aware of their heart health, thus leading to healthier individuals. Therefore eliminating heart attacks and strokes, right!? It’s one step in the right direction for a healthier YOU!

As many of you may already be aware, the American Heart Association announced new guidelines for high blood pressure last fall, which lowered the threshold for hypertension from 140/90 mmHg to 130/80 mmHG. This means that it is even more important now to be aware of your blood pressure, especially if you were at risk of being hypertensive before. What better way to monitor your blood pressure than the comfort of your own home. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I used to get white coat effect anytime I went to a doctor appointment, which caused my blood pressure readings to be high and inaccurate. The reasons for this were that I would have anxiety about my doctor visit, and I would be overwhelmed by the office in general. If you can take the readings in your own home, then you won’t have this issue because you will be doing it at your own time when you are most comfortable. You will get more accurate readings, and you can take them more often so you can keep a record of your readings, which you can then email to a family member, friend, or your doctor.

As a heart attack survivor, I am very aware of my blood pressure and keep track of it regularly because I know how important a healthy reading is. Even though I am on blood pressure medicine since my heart attack, I still keep track of it.

For the next 90 days, I will be reporting back to you to let you know how I’m doing with my new Omron EVOLV blood pressure monitor and any key learnings I find along the way. Please let me know if you take the Going for Zero Pledge! I’d love to hear from you!

As a survivor, I want nothing more than to get everyone as heart healthy as possible so no one has to go through what I went through.

Did You Know…March is National Nutrition Month?

Well, it is! So, what will you do this month to get healthy or maintain your healthy eating habits?

Here are tips from the American Heart Association for eating more fruits and veggies:

  • Add frozen peas or broccoli to rice when it’s almost done cooking.
  • Add extra veggies to soups and stews.
  • Have a meatless meal once a week.
  • Fill out a sandwich with fruits and veggies.
  • Keep frozen and canned fruits and vegetables on hand for when you need to throw together a meal in a hurry.
  • Work fruits and vegetables into your family’s favorite dishes.

Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any other tips to add? Please share in the comments, and have a happy and healthy March!