Straight from the heart . . .

Straight from the heart . . .

Cardiac Rehab: Week Two - Check!

When you go through a life-altering event of any kind, it seems you spend a lot of time in stages of reflection.  You learn a lot about yourself and, as I have found, you ponder about the influences in your life that made you the person you are.  I have always believed that it is this personal make-up that helps determine how successful you will be in overcoming obstacles and recovering from that event.


My second week of cardiac rehab went pretty well, I think.  The follow-up visit with the cardiologist was very positive and I am beginning to feel like my old self-again.  One of the things they give you in rehab is a bit of homework ... that makes you reflect on yourself ... so they can learn more about where you are.  Your eating habits, for example.  How much you understand about coronary artery disease that lead to this event.  How you feel about what has happened to you.


As with any life-altering event, it isn't unusual for women (or men) to struggle with depression.  I can certainly understand why. It is more important than ever to maintain a positive mental attitude and there are days when that becomes the quest ... just to remain positive.


I remember my paternal grandfather always saying, "God helps those who helps themselves."  He quoted that like he was quoting Scripture and it wasn't until I was older and looked that up in the Bible that I found out that wasn't actually in there.  He further made his point by showing me beautiful Christmas cards.  The scenes on the front of the cards were exceptional and then he turned the card over.  The scenes on the cards were painted by disabled veterans.  Veterans without hands who painted with the brush held between their teeth or between their toes.  


The greatest example of strength, faith and determination come from my parents.  My father, who had a heart transplant more than 20 years ago, and my mother who has struggled with crippling rheumatoid arthritis since her early thirties.  Talk about life-altering.  When I have moments of self-pity, I think of those two ... I think of those veterans who painted so beautifully without hands ... and as a dear friend once told me, I "pull up my big girl panties" and get going again.


The real obstacle I face each day now is more related to the arthritis that holds me back.  If anything peeves me more it's the limitations from that because with the improvement in my energy level, I want to get out and do so many things.  For a gal who wasn't born with a "pace yourself" button, I'm having to learn.


It's on those days, when I get a little discouraged from being held back, that I remember what my paternal Grandmother said to me on my last visit with her before she passed away at age 97.   Her Cherokee ancestors were among those who hid in the North Carolina mountains and escaped the Trail of Tears.   She told me,  "Stouts (my maiden name) do NOT give up!"    


I have been given the precious gift of life again and I resolve not to waste it.  I've always been that "creative problem solver" and in this case, I'll find a way to do everything I need to so that I live a long, healthy life.  




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