Happy October 1st. The holidays are here. My favorite time of year... for so many different reasons.
October 1st has always been very special to me, not just because the holidays have arrived, but because today was my mother’s birthday.
Today my mother would’ve been 82. She passed two years ago. So, in honor of my mother’s birthday today I’m going to share a little piece of her story, in the hope that something I share today can help someone.
That will be my birthday gift to her.
So, there are a few parts to this story that I think are important to share.
The first thing is, my mother was born with a heart condition. I also was born with the SAME heart condition. And without going into too much history, my mother’s doctor told her that she could never play sports or exercise too vigorously and she needed to live a pretty sedentary life to manage her heart condition.
So, when I was born with the same heart condition, my mother, naturally, would tell me the same thing that her doctor told her. However, I didn’t listen and I played ALL sports. I was on every sports team in school, and I was even quite the little track star. I live for movement.
I mean, any of you that are friends of mine on Fitbit can contest that I am a 20,000 steps per day gal. My mother’s nickname for me was 'beautiful hummingbird'.
So, yes, I had my mother’s heart condition... and it would take me down at times. And when I say, “take me down”, I would have to lay down from the heart pain and breathe into a paper bag, to slow my racing heart down.
My mother actually carried little brown paper bags in her purse, and she would get these “heart spells” (that’s what we called them) several times a day.
We would be at the grocery store, (when I was just a little girl,) and she would send me to get something on her grocery list, (while she walked all the aisles), and I would run as fast as I could to get whatever she sent me to retrieve. It was like a game, “how fast can I get back to her.”
And on several occasions, when I was frantically searching for the next item that she had sent me to get, I would hear over the store's loudspeaker, “We have someone down an aisle five. Is there a doctor in house?”
Every time I would hear that, I would race to whatever aisle they had yelled out, because I knew it was my mother. I would grab her paper bag out of her purse, and place it over her mouth and let her breathe in her own oxygen. I would calmly tell everyone (that was looking)
that she would be fine, that she, "was just having a heart spell."
The terror in all of their eyes looking back at me as a little girl, calmly dealing with my mother on the ground is something I will never forget.
So, the reason I’m sharing this story, is because what I’ve learned is that we don't have to become our genetic footprint.
And when we do things that are proactive, (or preventative), they can work. What most people don’t realize is that heart disease is preventable and reversible.
Now, had I have listened to my mother’s story, and lived her story, the same way her doctor told her to do, my life today would’ve been very, very different. I would’ve lived the same way she did, with these “heart spells”....these debilitating, painful, heart spells, that took her down to the ground, several times a day, breathing through a paper bag... I would’ve later in life been prescribed all these heart medications to “bandage” this reversible condition.
The second thing I want to talk about is diabetes. My mother had Type 2 diabetes... and as we all should know, type 2 diabetes is preventable & reversible.
However, just like her heart disease, she took some daily medication and periodically checked her blood. She did NOTHING to reverse it, or prevent it. She just “lived” with all of her conditions, as if they were part of her identity.
So, as I got older and started learning more about these conditions that she had...me being the personality that I am, took on the role of caretaking for her.
I mean, I was now old enough to understand that I was “living proof” that her heart condition could be reversed with exercise. I no longer had signs of it, at all. But trying to tell my mother anything that went against her own beliefs, or her own doctor, or her own “story”... THAT was MY challenge! Even though I was living proof that heart disease was reversible.
So, I would find the “next new article”, or the next new diabetic diet, or heart disease cookbook... you name it. I would do my best to enroll her into all of it, because I knew I could help her make a change in her life.
I was on a mission. It was definitely part of my life’s purpose: to help heal my Mom. I mean, I had already cured myself of ovarian cancer...TWICE... but that’s another story.
Over time, my mother went to a lot of hospitals and doctor visits. Her medications were changed many times. (All of which continued to damage her organs, and other parts of her body).
My siblings and I grew up in constant fear that our mother would be dead at any moment.
If one of us could not reach her, someone would have to go over to her house to check to make sure she was not dead. (She was never dead: just doing laundry, or talking to a friend in her community.)
And then, when cell phones came along, (OMG, I remember racing out to get myself one, and of course, one for my mother) we thought that was going to be the answer.... BUT of course, she would forget it, or she would forget to charge it... So, that madness continued.
I became relentless in my care for her, and she grew resentful and resistant. But I grew more determined to get through to her...The struggle was real!
Then one day, I received a call from my Mom.
Now, my Mom NEVER called us. We called her. So, I knew this was important. She told me she had just returned home from her doctor’s appointment, and the doctor told her, that if she didn’t change her ways, she was going to "lose her leg!”
Her diabetes was so bad that she was going to lose her leg if she didn’t make changes.
For her, this news was terrifying. For me, it was an OPPORTUNITY to help her make a change!!!
I raced to her house, and told her she was going to live with me for 3 months, so we could turn this all around!
Most people would be horrified to hear this news from their mother. I wasn't. I knew this was the wake-up call she needed, so that I could help her become more proactive in improving her health...and saving her life...and leg.
I mean, I had prepared for a moment like this...my entire life!
So, to my house she came. After a grueling first month of complaining, and resistance, and resentment, from my mother: on week five we had some significant change. She was in the clear. But not out of the woods.
We pressed on for another two months and by the end of her 3rd month with me, she had lost 30 pounds, and no longer needed ANY of her medications. NONE of them. She had reversed her diabetes and heart disease.
She had turned her life around in 3 months. And all I did was make her walk 5 miles a day (with a walker that had a seat, so she could periodically sit and complain) AND I changed her diet.
So, movement and nutrition. That was her needle mover.
She went back home, joined a group of women that walked every day and sustained her new healthy, happy lifestyle for years... I'd NEVER seen her this happy. MY heart was full. She was a NEW woman!
So, then, naturally, with this newfound LoVe of LiFe, she entertained the idea of possibly wanting to date!!! Wait what?!!
I'm now 40 at this time, and my mother has not dated since my father died, when I was 14!!! So do the math...
My sister and I had tried to guide her down the dating road many times, and were always met with “not interested.”
So, here she is, healthy, happy, and wanting to date...! ALL THE THINGS I'd ever dreamed about for my mother were finally coming true!
So, I did what any good daughter would do. I put her on seniors.com.
Now, my mom did not know how to use a computer. So, I had to teach her everything. And in the meantime, I had to read to her, and answer ALL her senior.com emails!
I’m going to spare you the details... but I'll tell you, I've seen way too many Santa’s naked!
I put my Mom on the website, and within minutes, she was being inundated with emails! It was so overwhelming, BUT just the confidence boost she needed to move forward.
She dated a few guys... had some fun... But there was this one man that had her interest. He was the VERY FIRST email she received. Ken. A man in Texas.
Well, we all knew he was not a contender for my Mom's heart. She would never move to Texas! She had a fear of travel. Too bad for Ken.
So, in 2012, she moved to Texas.
Now pay attention to this...
2013 (one year later) she went in for open heart surgery.
2016 knee surgery... and we all can now predict what I’m going to say...Leg amputation. Got bed sores, a sepsis infection for ONE year... Lost her will to live... and died in 2017.
Only 5 years after leaving her family’s care...she was dead.
Did we all see this coming? Was it predictable? Yes. To all of us, it was...we knew...we all knew. BUT to those two self-sabotaging Lovebirds in Texas, it was not as clear. We all tried to
help him understand what her life had been like, and what she did to turn it around. And most importantly, what she needed to do to keep herself healthy.
My Mom was in LoVe for the first time in 29 years. Were we going to stop her? NO. Did she know what she was doing? NO. Was she going to listen to anyone, other than her NEW lover? Not a chance.
Now, I am not a doctor. I knew nothing about heart disease or diabetes. But, with a little research and a lot of love, in 3 months' time, I helped make the change in my mom's life, that saved her life... And it only took her 1 year to radically, carelessly, revert back to her old “known” habits, that she'd done for so long. She had diabetes and heart disease, again, and died five years after leaving California.
So, I've brought this to you today, with the hope that if you have heart disease, or diabetes, or know anyone that does, please share this story, or take this story to heart for yourself, or a loved one, and BE the change.
Heart disease and diabetes are preventable and reversible.
(Just Google Heart Disease, or Diabetes, and this is what you'll find.)
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the country. A significant number of research studies have documented that heart disease is easily and almost completely preventable (and reversible) through a diet rich in plant produce and lower in processed foods and animal products.
Prediabetes is now recognized as a reversible condition that increases an individual's risk for development of diabetes. ... Investment in a diabetes prevention program now may have a substantial return on investment in your future, and help prevent, a preventable disease.
Type 2 diabetes is a reversible condition. Losing less than 1 gram of fat from the pancreas through diet, can re-start the normal production of insulin, reversing Type 2 diabetes.
This reversal of diabetes remains possible for at least 10 years after the onset of the condition. **************************************************************************
So, when people ask me WHY I would come out of an 18-year retirement to become a health coach...My mother is ONE of my “why’s”. My mother's life of suffering from preventable diseases is WHY I need to educate the willing.
Doctors, dietitians, and other practitioners typically don’t have the time or the skills to help people stay motivated and follow through to get a lasting result.
That’s where health coaches like us come in: to provide the right curated SYSTEM, SUPPORT, and ACCOUNTABILITY, so you can finally make a total mind & body transformation!
We offer a 90-day total heart and/or diabetes transformation, if you or anyone is looking for support.
Thank you for reading.
This one’s for you, Mom...Happy Birthday.