Sunday, July 27, 2014

Solvin' Mysteries & Crossin' Out Stuff

I'm well on my way to completing my list of 34 things I want to accomplish before turning 34! I figure that if I complete an average of 1.79 items a week I will be right on track to finish by my birthday! Yes, I realize I just dorked out. Math is cool, yo.

This week I solidly accomplished 2 items and I'm working on items in blue/italicized.
I'm working on sticking with OTF, blogging weekly and stressing less. Those are *in progress.* (I think stressing less is always in progress for me, but you get the picture!) My 2 solid accomplishments were to try Stitch Fix and to go to The Great Escape room. Now for a quick recap.

The Great Escape Room
The Great Escape Room is a place that recently opened here in Central Florida. It's basically a puzzle room. You get a team of 10 people (in our case we were a team of 6 and a team of 4 signed up with us) and you are placed in a room. A number padlock is placed on the door. You have an hour to solve all of the puzzles, answer the clues, find the code and get the heck out of the room. We definitely rocked it but we were literally a minute too late. The puzzles were amazingly challenging and we are definitely going to try again when they have a new room next month! So glad we did it!
The team!

Stitch Fix
I'm not going to say this was a total fail, but this was a...complete....bust. Ok, it was a fail. Now, I consider myself to be a stellar shopper. I know what style I like, I pick out great pieces and I even bargain shop and find some kick booty deals. I've been told numerous times my blog should really be about shopping. Sure, in all my free time. So I was a little hesitant about Stitch Fix. But I've been dying to see some new, different things in my wardrobe that you might not see everyday. That is exactly the opposite of what I got. Below are 4 of my boring-as-heck pieces, plus I got a pair of jeans that fit amazing but there was no way I was going to pay $78 for a pair of jeans, no matter how slammin' my backside looked. I got a very basic white top and a boatneck striped shirt. They were both just ok, but I could find the same shirts at H&M for a fraction of the price. The teal, draped-neck top was just horrible. No one with a chest needs the combination of v-neck AND draping in a jersey material. Whew. The striped dress on the bottom right was just cheap looking and I'm pretty sure I've seen the same piece at Ross for under $15. This dress was over $50. So everything got sent back. I wrote one heck of an online review and I'm giving it one more chance in September so we'll see. For now I'll stick with my own picks.

This week
Tomorrow I begin my first week of Nutrisystem. The food has been sorted and is ready to go, the body measurements have been made and recorded (horrifying) and I am determined to make it through 2 months of this. Things I will miss? Alcohol, coffee creamer (just the first week), and my freedom. I will just keep visualizing the hotness that will eventually occur and power through. The first week is definitely the hardest because it's just the food plus 4 veggies a day. Next week I will be able to add things like string cheese (OMG cheeeeese.....I really love cheese) and yogurt.

This week I also hope to accomplish updating my media kit and maybe getting trying Fabletics or buying a Keurig. I'd like to say I'll be ambitious and rebuild the shelf or clean out the closet but I will probably be an angry little elf this week. I also realized that I have a few things that aren't going to happen until my Nutrisystem time is up (Orlando Brewing, Cafe Tu Tu Tango) so those would be easier to cross out but they will have to wait until October or November. So this week I will be easy on myself and do what I can. 

The kids helping with my Nutrisystem food

Don't forget that in honor of my 200th post, I'm doing a giveaway! Big stuff people, big stuff!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

A Little Trip to the B&B

Hey, remember those chest pains I was talking about? Hm well they didn't go away. Then some tightness happened, then my feet started then I went to the ER. Turns out it was just some random chest pain, with absolutely no explanation. C'est la vie. But with my history they admitted me, strapped me to a heart monitor and did bloodworm every 3-4 hours. I'm so glad it was nothing but feeling kinda ridiculous. The worst part? The usual crew of nurses that can't find my veins and poke me like a Christmas ham. Bruises for days, y'all. Oh, and if one more person comes to my door and said, "You're so younnnngggg" I. Will. Scream.

I took Thursday to relax and recuperate since going to the hospital is definitely emotionally draining. The smells, the blood...did I mention the smells? I seriously couldn't wait to get home and wash the smell of the hospital off of me. It's this combo of rubbing alcohol/sweat/hospital gowns that gets me. When I smell it, I swear I'm back in the moment even after 2 and a half years. I don't know if the PTSD symptoms ever go away completely.

Swollen feeties
Duck face in the hospital realness

I'm plugged in
the usual accessories
the port from Hell

Thursday, July 24, 2014

200th Post Giveaway!

Holy motha...this is my 200th blog post! In honor of my 200th post, I am having my first giveaway! This giveaway is for a red (duh) Nalgene water bottle. So let's stay hydrated together!

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

34 Things To Do Before 34!

This week I'm taking a cue from my heart brother from another mother, They Call Me Mini. You might recall his guest blog on my site not too long ago. He decided to make a list of 38 things he wants to accomplish before turning 38. So, challenge accepted! I decided I should do the same. My birthday is at the end of November and I will be...*gasp* 34! Crazy how time flies! 

Actually, I've already accomplished number 1! My sister and I finally booked our trip and we will be heading to the motherland in March! 1 down...33 to go! Each week I will update you with my progress and let you know where I am at. Some will be easier than others but I am determined to finish the list by November 28th! Any suggestions? Leave 'em below! 

2 1/2 Years & Feeling...WAIT. What Was That?!

This week I will celebrate my 2 1/2 year anniversary with Stewart the Stent. This past week I thought about how long it has been since I've been concerned about my heart. I mean, I lost my nitro spray (old purse maybe?) and I have been running without it this session. That's a huge step for someone who wouldn't leave home without it the last 2 years. So I can already tell that I'm weaning myself off of the constant panic and paranoia. Or so I thought.

Friday night I was minding my business, cleaning the house and watching mindless entertainment on Hulu when out of nowhere I got a pain in my chest. A sharp, stabbing pain on the left side. It was quick, but it definitely took my breath away. I figured I had moved wrong so I kept going, throwing my laundry in the dryer. It continued. It hurt so badly that I had to sit down and take a moment. But it continued. It was the kind of pain that makes you panic a little bit because it is so sharp and painful that it can't just be a pulled muscle. Plus it's riiiiiiight where my heart is. 

When I had my heart attack, the pain was in the middle of my chest. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my sternum while a mop was being wrung out underneath it. Intense. This was not the same feeling but it still had me upset. I haven't had any chest pains for 2 years now. Weird fatigue? Yes. Weak body? Sure. But chest pains? Nope, definitely not.

When I had the heart attack I walked the dog and drove to the hospital. Again, it's a miracle I'm still alive. But I figured it worked for me last time so I walked Max, took a few aspirin, packed a quick bag and drove to the hospital. No, seriously. But as I was parking the pains stopped. I got out of my car, walked the parking garage ramps a few times to get my heart rate up, but nothing happened. Feeling like a moron, I headed home. Well, first I bought a smoothie since Kathleen told me an iced coffee would be asinine. Noted.

The next morning I got up to go running, figuring it was all a fluke and I might as well get my training in. But, as I was waking up the dreaded pains were back. Two of them. Then nothing. I went to my running group and we ended up walking 5 miles which I think was probably a wise decision. But, NO PAINS. Score. I headed to meet everyone for breakfast but had another chest zinger on the way there. I also felt like my chest was tight, but that could have been my paranoia which was building rapidly at this point. 

The breakfast club convinced me to put in a call to my cardiologist's office and when I finally got a call back the on-call doc said it was probably premature beats and to have some magnesium. So, a fistful of almonds and a 3 hour nap later, I was feeling better and I've only had one zinger since. The moral of the story? Having a chronic illness never goes away and always be on your toes. Also, have amazing friends that force you to call your doctor.♥

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Greater Orlando Heart Walk!

It's that time of year again ladies and gents! The Greater Orlando Heart Walk is September 6th this year. I have a fundraising goal of $500 but let's blow that motha out of the water! Please take a minute to visit my fundraising page and donate a dollar or two. Wanna walk? Sign up and let me know so we can meet and walk together!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2 Months, 0 Lbs, 'Murica

Ok, the universe is hilarious. First of all, I'm precisely the same weight I was 2 months ago. But, the real winner winner, chicken dinner goes to my sunburn from last week that is now peeling like a motha and making me itch like I have some serious leg dandruff. It ain't sexy. I swear I put sunscreen on but when I reapplied I missed some half my leg. Whoops.

It looks like you could fry an egg off of it

However, even with my body covered in aloe and a few Aleve in my system I still managed to make it to Orange Theory Fitness 3x last week! The rowing machine was rough because I could barely bend my legs, but I made it through. I even had a conversation with one of the trainers. Apparently my medications are preventing me from getting my heart rate as high as others in the class, so I shouldn't be discouraged if I'm not in the orange and red. I'm still burning almost 500 calories in an hour and that rocks.

I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July! We had a great time hosting a party at our place. There was an insane amount of food, delicious drinks and dips and awesome company. Lina and friends even had a crab/shrimp boil (I hid inside and ate my turkey dog). The only negative? Our A/C gave out in the middle of the day. No bueno. But maintenance was here within the hour and we were back in business. It was a lovely, happy, celebratory day. 

So this week? No lbs lost. So, no ridiculousness at the end of this post. Just me, trying my best to be healthier everyday. If the weight changes, I will be happy. If not, I will continue logging my food, running, working out, loving, wearing my FitBit, smiling and being me. The end. 'Murica.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week 7: #$%!

First of all, a moment of awe to honor my new Forerunner 220. She's a beaut, eh? The 405 and I have ended our 3 year relationship and decided it's best we part ways. Actually, in a fit of frustration I threw it on the floor of my car and bought a new one that morning. I named her Violet. She has Bluetooth. Judge at your leisure.

Hey Violet, hey girl.
Also, let's take another moment to be excited that Trader Joe's finally opened in Central Florida! Yes, we went. Yes, we filled our cart with amazingness. Yes, we waited 30 minutes to checkout. Yes, it was worth it. I've waited for this since I moved to Florida, frankly. Healthy(ier) food at reasonable prices? I can't.

But wait...there's more! I started working out at Orange Theory Fitness this week! OTF is a 60 minute workout that combines strength training and cardio. Each client wears a heart rate monitor (I'm no stranger there) to track their workout on screens in the room. The goal is to spend most of your workout in the green, orange and a little in the red. It's supposed to torch fat like a lighter. It has definitely worked for my friend Amy, so I thought it was time to kick it up a notch and I joined. I'm starting out with 2x a week for now to see how it works with my schedule. So far so good. I like it because it's a small class (20ish) so I don't feel lost in the crowd but I don't have a one-on-one trainer (those make me nervous). The trainer definitely knows what everyone in the class is doing and the workouts are never the same. Let me tell you, I'm sore. Super sore. Like, just rode a horse sore. So I know it's working.
This is not an actual screen from my gym, photo creds go to Just wanted to give you a reference point.
My runs are already feeling stronger. It's been 3 week since we started this running session and I definitely notice a difference. Saturday's run was easier, with less walk breaks and we even walked another 2 miles after! 

Ok, now all of that being said, here are my stats for the week. I almost couldn't believe it either. But, instead of throwing in towel, I shall #justkeepswimming. Err, running....y'know what I mean.

lbs lost: 0.0 lbs (Total lost: 3.4)
Yes, that's correct. Running, OTF, logging my food and I'm STILL STUCK.
$ earned: $3.40 total. #ridic #stillbroke
Toughest Part of the Week: The. Scale. Still. Says. Zero.
Easiest Part of the Week: Getting excited about working out at OTF.

Tomorrow is another day. Another day where I work out at 5:30 AM. G'night.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 6: Still Nada

Another week, no weight loss. Not even a tenth of a pound. So, this week I'm trying something new. Tomorrow I'm going to try an Orange Theory Fitness workout class. These classes are HIIT based (high intensity interval training) and they mix weights and cardio. If I never post again, you'll know what happened to me. Send positive vibes. Seriously.

Running is...going. I'm slow as heck, but I'm out there. I'm reminded of that amazing t-shirt pin on Pinterest that says something like, "You may be slow, but you're faster than everyone on the couch." True dat. Plus, I have to keep remembering that I ran my fastest half marathon to date just 10 months after my heart attack, when I couldn't run for 4 months. It can be done.

This week I've had some weird flashback moments. Granted, the weather in Florida is hotter than Hades, but I've had some hot flash moments, and then my heart will race super fast. I'm sure it's nothing, but I've been a little panicky. Anyone ever have this happen to them and get upset? Do tell.

Do I even need to do this? Ugh....
lbs lost: 0.0 lbs (Total lost: 3.4)
$ earned: $3.40 total.That's barely a grande skinny vanilla latte at the 'Bucks
Toughest Part of the Week: The. Scale. Still. Says. Zero.
Easiest Part of the Week: Running has made me happy. This is huge, people. Huge.
Pic for this week:
#selfie y'all

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Go Red for Women Luncheon Interview

At the amazing Go Red for Women Luncheon I was interviewed by Channel 6. It finally aired! Again, a huge shoutout to the Orlando Chapter of the American Heart Association, who change my life with every opportunity, and the women they help everyday. I am so lucky to be able to meet the people I meet and connect with heart attack survivors everywhere. Support it now.

Week 5: More Running, Zero Pounds

The running is....progressing....slowly. I think this week it really sunk in just how much I have regressed after taking my little running hiatus. Sure sleeping in until 6:00 am felt great, yes I loved not doing 14 loads of laundry a week, and I'll even agree that my thigh jiggle was on point, but the fun is over with. Mama has serious work to do.

Tuesday I overslept for running and work. By the time I got home I felt like crap, so running was a bad idea. Thursday I ended up on the gym treadmill because of the insane storm outside. Welcome to hurricane season in Florida. I happened to be on a treadmill next to a decently fit dude, so what do I do? Race him, obvi. I ran the first mile non stop, coming in at 12:02, whooping this man by a good minute (who had no idea we were racing anyway...that's his problem). The 2nd mile I decided I probably shouldn't kill myself so I ran modified 4:1s and still took him out, even though my pace was 13:03. That poor man didn't even know what hit literally, he had no idea. Saturday's run was brutal. Kathleen and I cranked out 3 miles of 1:1s before walking the last mile. Did I mention it is hurricane season? Helloooo humidity.

On the weight front I have had zero progress. This isn't really shocking me. Actually, when I started half marathon training back in the day I actually gained weight. There is a science behind it but I will also blame it on my ravenous appetite after a long run...sounds better. Thing will even out soon, I just have to stay on track and keep working hard. See how I just pulled that positivity out of my @?!

Week 5:
 lbs lost: 0.0 lbs (Total lost: 3.4)
$ earned: $3.40 total. The dollar store is calling my name.
Toughest Part of the Week: My summer job is a lot of sitting. Need to make more of an effort to take some walks as breaks.
Easiest Part of the Week: Eating at a regular time for lunch. This job runs like clockwork!
Pic for this week:
My dog is way cuter, let's be honest.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 4 Recap: Progress!

Picture this: a 33 year old woman with a few extra lbs on her, blogging about trying to lose weight while eating a Starburst. You'd judge her, right? Dang, that's what I thought.

This week I made zero progress. Numerically, that is. So no pounds were lost, no inches gone, no 6 pack abs sprouting from their fatty topsoil. However, I did come a long way this week in another aspect: running. This week was my first week back with my training group and (SHOCKER) I made it out of bed all 3 mornings! Tuesday I ran mile repeats, Thursday was a 5k and yesterday I stumbled through 4 miles! I wasn't the fastest (nor the slowest) or the the sexiest piece of running meat out there, but I made it through. I. Am. So. Frickin'. Proud. So, true, the number below is zero. But progress is happening.

Week 4:
 lbs lost: 0.0 lbs (Total lost: 3.4)
$ earned: $3.40 total. Still barely got that lip gloss.
Toughest Part of the Week: Getting up and running!
Easiest Part of the Week: Orange is the New Black - Season 2 is out! It gave me a perfect excuse to relax!
Pic for this week:
No selfies were taken this week, so here is my baby boy <3

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 3 Recap: Tales from Ft Laudy

Traveling is really a kick in the pants. When I'm not on the road, I get to make my ah-dorable little bento box lunches, drink my green juice in the AM and have a sensible dinner. This week I was in Ft Lauderdale for a conference for 5 days. That meant food on the run that was convenient. I tried, I swear I did, but I didn't log like I have been and I also didn't get enough steps in. Also, our days were jam packed with lots o' sitting.

But am I going to beat myself up over this? No. Why? I have bigger fish to fry. This week I start back with my running group. I've been on a longer hiatus than I intended, so this is gonna be rough. Tonight I'm taking the night to relax and de-stress because at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning, my large tookus will be running mile repeats. <-I really hope that stays plural. MileS, darn it!

Week 3:
 lbs lost: 2.0 lbs (Total lost: 3.4)
$ earned: $3.40 total. Sheesh-barely a lip gloss!
Toughest Part of the Week: Being on the road
Easiest Part of the Week: De-stressing...mama likey the beach.
Pic for this week:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 2 Recap

Have you ever had one of those weeks where the Earth feels like it is spinning around you and you are just standing still? This was how my week started. Work was demanding, personal life obligations were demanding and then...bam. I got hit with a bomb, as if things weren't spinning fast enough.

This week I went home because my grandmother passed away. She passed away early in the morning on Tuesday and by Tuesday evening I had a plane ticket home. Rather, to Buffalo. Buying a ticket from Florida to New York last minute is never pretty, so I chose the cheapest route, which was Buffalo. Since my middle sis lives there I flew into the Buff and drove the 5 1/2 hours home with her. So after my 3 hour flight to D.C., layover, delayed flight, 2 hour flight into Buffalo and drive across the state, Wednesday was over before I knew it.

Thursday was a day with my sister and mom and then the private service at the funeral home. My grandmother's house is on a huge farm in upstate NY and I spent a lot of time getting into a ridiculous amount of trouble there with my siblings and cousins. So, when we arrived at her house for a family gathering after the service, the memories definitely came flooding back. The window we broke, the hill we went down in a plastic pool, the rock wall I hit with a 4-wheeler. It was a lot to take in. [Side note, what is it with white people and funeral food?! Casseroles, carbs and sweets...the 3 groups of food for those in mourning.] But, I digress.

I will leave any other details of this week out of this post out of respect for my family, but I will say that I was glad to be there for my mom and rekindle relationships with family members. It was a good couple of days to remind myself to slow down, because life is short.

On the weight loss front, I wasn't expecting much. I tried to do extra laps in the airport and log my food, but when I stepped on the scale I was pleasantly surprised!

 lbs lost: 1.4 
$ earned: $1.40? Nope, mama rounds DOWN!
Toughest Part of the Week: Making good decisions on the road & not eating my feelings
Easiest Part of the Week: Logging-LoseIt is so convenient!
Pic for this week:
Congress Park selfie

My fam

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 1: SUCCESS!

Week one is over with! Not bad, not bad. Let me tell you, the FitBit is the coolest thing ever. I didn't meet my 10,000 steps goal on a couple of the days this week, but it was fun getting as many as I could. This week was cray busy, so next week will be better as far as that goes. I literally was driving from one thing after another each day. I also drank an insane amount of water. 4 lbs is a great weight loss week. I was worried my stress level would kill any progress. Think I can lose 2 this week? That's my goal.

lbs lost: 4!
$ earned: $4....hmmm....I guess if I stopped now I could buy a lip gloss....NOPE!
Toughest Part of the Week: This week was insanely busy. I sing with a local chorus and our performances were this weekend so I was super stressed. It definitely took a lot of planning and thought.
Easiest Part of the Week: Using this FitBit! MAMA LIKEY!
Pic for this week:
Like my hair scarf? It's all part of the show!

Ok, back to eating my chocolate covered cashews. Noms.

#MoveItMay-Arm Circles & Superman Holds

Remember that upper arm strength thing I was telling you about? Yeahhhhh...arm circles hurt too. But, I finished out my week of social media fun with The Heart Truth & #MoveItMay!
Rocking my moves at a training

Friday, May 16, 2014

#MoveItMay-Chair Dips, Stretchin'

Yesterday I completed my chair dips as well as a person with my upper body strength could do. This is definitely a good reminder that I need to lift some WEIGHTS this summer!

Today? Stretching. Made this ah-dorable video for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#MoveItMay-Calf Raises

You thought I was kidding! Today's challenge was calf raises. Since I had chorus practice tonight I rocked them out on the risers!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#MoveItMay: Baby Carrots!

Today's #MoveItMay challenge was to eat 13 baby carrots...mission accomplished! I ate them as my pre-run snack this afternoon with a little 100-cal guac! Delish!

Monday, May 12, 2014

#MoveItMay? More Like Move It, Sarah!

This #MoveItMay has me all sorts of inspired (today I rocked my 12 flutter kicks. I hope you did too!). I'm embarking on a new challenge!

At the time of the heart attack I had another 20 lbs to lose. Instead of losing these 20, I've gained another 20, making me 40 in the red. No bueno. I know this isn't good for my heart but I've had such a hard time finding any energy to do ANYTHING. On weekdays the battle is just to get through the work day without kicking it. By 4 pm I'm beyond exhausted. But I need to do something.

I know this isn't a weight loss blog. Never has been, never will be. So my challenge is driven by heart healthy reasons. Time to get my energy back, reclaim my body, and make my heart happy.

My challenge has 4 components:
1. Log my food on Lose It. I've been doing this for awhile, but I lack consistency. Time to kick it up because it syncs with....
2. FITBIT! The fur babies got me a FitBit for Mother's Day! How sweet! ;) I WILL meet my 10,000 steps goal everyday.
3. green stuff....dough. I put a dollar for each lb I want to lose in one jar and I will move them to the other jar when I've lost the weight. When that bad boy is full, mama is going shopping.
4. RUN! The new session of my running group starts June 3. Time to log some miles baby!
Make it RAIN!

Each Sunday, here's what you'll get:
$ EARNED: $0
Toughest part of this week: Seeing the number on the scale
Easiest part of this week: It's always easy starting...
Pic for this week: (Do I call this week 1? week 0? Whatevs.)

Friday, May 9, 2014


Guess who is taking over The Heart Truth's social media next week for #MoveItMay? This girl! This is a perfect opportunity for me to jump start things. I have been in a bad cycle of fatigue and inactivity. I have big plans. Look for a video on Monday to explain my new challenge and my activities for the week! Interested in participating with The Heart Truth? Check out this info graphic for more info!

Also, looking for a Spotify playlist to get you moving? Look no further! Click on this picture to get your jam on.

Happy moving kiddos! Look for my next post on Monday! Let's #MoveItMay!

Go Red for Women Luncheon #OrlandoGoesRed

The American Heart Association has done it again. They have left an amazing impact on my life. I was asked to speak at the American Heart Association-Greater Orlando's Go Red for Women luncheon and the experience did not disappoint.

First of all, anyone who knows me knows I am HORRIBLE at doing my hair. My usual hairstyle is a high bun on the run. So I decided to conquer this mop and get a blowout before the big event. Here's what it looked like Thursday night.

Aaaaand here's what happened this morning. FAIL. #EPICfail. I tried pinning it overnight but by the morning it was a hot mess. So back to the bun I went. Florida weather + my hair = frizz city. This was another challenge for another day.

I arrived at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios bright and early. So glad I took the day off from work. Hurrying there would have stressed me out and I was already nervous as anything. The lobby looked amazing! Ladies were bidding on fantastic silent auction items (I thought someone was going to get cut for the Tory Burch clutch), taking pictures, having their makeup done and even getting their numbers checked with Florida Hospital! I was also interviewed by Channel 6!

Check out the selfie stop! Great idea! I was a tweeting fool with #OrlandoGoesRed!

Right next to the stage, just before Orlando Ballet performed! They were amazing! What a view for this event!

Table #1 y'all! This was the media/speaker table. Check out Martie Salt (WFTV) & Leslie Gale (Magic 107.7) in the background emceeing the event. They sat at table 1 as well.

Here I am, giving my speech. Also choking back tears. I really love speaking in front of people, no matter how nerve-wracking. To see reactions to what you're saying and to see the impact on their face is so rewarding. See below for my speech.

Sweet swag bag.

After the luncheon I was able to connect with amazing women. I even met a 28 year old stroke survivor and a 27 year old who had a quadruple bypass surgery. This is why I continue to blog, tweet, Facebook and speak. These connections. These women. Survivors.

Speech: (the picture is below)
This picture was taken in October of 2011 when I was 31. Today I stand before you at the age of 33. At the time of this picture, I had just finished my first half marathon. This picture was taken just moments after I crossed the finish line. It’s pretty obvious that I was thrilled. You can see the Daytona track in the background, since this was at the Daytona Half Marathon.

I had worked so hard to get to this point. 2011 was my year of positive change. I joined a training group, running 3-4 times a week, eating well and discovering my love for running. However, one thing I had yet to conquer was stress. At the time I was single, working on my doctorate and teaching middle school.  I was definitely living life one to-do list to the next. Running became my solace.

Just 3 months after this picture I had a widow maker heart attack. They nickname it the widow maker due to the low survival rate. My LAD was 99% blocked.  I had no idea what a heart attack looked like or felt like. No family history and a clean bill of health. In fact, I knew so little I thought a cath was a catheter. But, I knew something was desperately wrong.

Call it luck, fate, a miracle, but I stand before you today as a survivor. Widow maker heart attacks get their gruesome names from the damage they cause. The sooner you get treatment the better. I survived mine after suffering for 4 days. I shouldn’t be standing before you.

To say that those 5 days in the hospital were a low point in my life isn’t doing it justice. My entire world was shattered. I wondered if I could run again, how I would date again, if I could have or even want kids anymore and how I would manage to deal with the thought of a little metal spring inside of my heart for the rest of my life.

On my way out the door to the hospital I grabbed 3 things-my glasses, my phone charger and my iPad. I’m so glad I did. Instead of lying in my hospital bed writing lesson plans, doing research or writing a paper, I began to explore the world of a heart attack survivor.  As I began googling, I found the American Heart Association. I read stories of survivors and their triumphant return to their real lives. I read articles that validated my feelings All hope was not lost. I became inspired.

After the heart attack I started my blog, Heart Attack at 31. I’ve communicated with heart attack survivors from all over the globe, hearing their stories and bonding for life. My blog, which began as my own little piece of cathartic happiness, turned into opportunities and experiences.

However, since the heart attack my most rewarding work has been working with the American Heart Association. I have been a highlighted You’re the Cure Advocate, spoken at Cocktails for a Cause and at the Go Red for Women breakfast, guest blogged, and I’ve even been on TV and radio. I will never tire of hearing women tell me their stories after these events or making connections with other survivors. The American Heart Association is the reason I move on. Although I’m not thankful for my heart attack, I’m thankful for the work I’ve done with the American Heart Association and the amazing things they are able to accomplish daily. These connections have saved my life. Let’s continue helping survivors like me *point to picture* live better and richer lives.
This pic was displayed on the screen