In the month recognized for candy hearts and all things that beat wildly in our chest, Susan Lucci, aka Erica Kane, from the Soap Opera ‘All My Children’ went public about her recent heart scare. Thank you, Susan.
She spoke about not realizing her arteries were blocked, experiencing severe pressure in her chest and blowing it off as something that would pass. The experience reappeared, and by the third time, the intensity of discomfort forced her to have it immediately checked out and good thing. Two stents were inserted that same day. You gotta’ love how proficient science has become. In a recent interview, Susan said “I think that we are so busy in a good way nurturing the people we love in our family, we are not on our own ‘to do list.’” Wiser words have not been spoken.
In this, the month of hearts and romance, our huge pumping hearts filled with the capacity to heal so much, to help so many and to be there so often can be at the expense of the benefit of our own heart. The more critical illness is the perception we hold around health issues concerning our well being. That it will either pass or dismissing it as nonexistent while we continue moving forward with our day. Though it may very well be nothing, it’s prudent to have it checked out promptly. Best to get at something sooner than later. Fewer complications come with early awareness. Women our age would be the first to dispense that advice to anyone around them and sadly, the last to subscribe to it. It’s our attitude we have to change by taking the attention off of others while putting some onto ourselves. As my consciousness teacher would say, “It’s about being Self-Is.” Not selfish for one’s personal gain, but recognizing we are ultimately responsible for our selves. Anything less is a flawed perception holding with it the same severe repercussions as the physical manifestation of cardiovascular disease; a disease that can be an energetic manifestation, of not only a lack of attention towards our physical well being, but a deficit in the area of joy.
My mother served others and instilled that in me. As she aged, I was aware of the medical issues that could arise for her and wanted to get her a lifeline medical alert device. Living on her own, I believed it would give us both a piece of mind. I was wrong. She vehemently refused the idea and in her hearty Slovak constitution told me in no uncertain terms, if she were to have a stroke or a heart attack she would call me. There was no negotiating with that type of logic. She believed that in the midst of a traumatic physiological event like that she would have the capability to walk over to the phone, pick it up and dial me, on a landline no less. Jill Bolte Taylor, she was not. The brain scientist who did the Ted Talk about having a stroke and witnessing her brain functions shut down one by one.
I continued to argue with my mother over the years pleading for her to reconsider. Her stubbornness was stunning. Ultimately, I reluctantly surrendered. She had no interest in getting any version of a medical alert accessory, and I would have to deal with that. A few years later, my mother suffered a massive stroke. Had it not been for me checking up on her routinely I wouldn’t have found her. Unfortunately, it was too late. The neurological damage she incurred was severe and irreversible, and she passed a few weeks later. So much for her undying allegiance to her fierce Slovak constitution where she possessed some preconceived notion that she dominance over her health. A belief she acquired growing up on a farm in Europe, where hard work overshadowed any illness. As petite as she was, she came from a stock of women that would be farming right up until the last day of their last trimester. It wasn’t inconceivable to give birth while working anywhere on the farm and then go make dinner.
Ladies, we matter. It’s just that simple. We care for everyone around us all the time. We are everything from the doctor in the house to the social worker, nurse, grandmother, chauffeur, advocate, caregiver, nutritionist and the list goes on. We look after our life partners, our kids, our grandkids, our friends, our pets, even our car gets attention, but we forget to allocate the time, to look after ourselves physically. Not in the areas of things that interest us, but rather in the areas that force us to look at our mortality.
We were raised during a time where we were taught to serve, and we’ve done that amazingly well, but we must shift that perception onto our health, with attention towards our bodies, our minds and souls void of guilt or feelings of being selfish — focusing back on being Self-Is. Recognizing we are responsible for ourselves and we must allocate whatever resources we require to invest in that. It’s our time. As mentioned in earlier blogs, “If not now then when?” A quote by Rabbi Hillel, reads, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”
If you have severe pressure in your chest check yourself into an emergency room. No embarrassment in that and the best news is that the medical staff will take you right away especially if you say you’re experiencing chest pain. That’s the bonus of being our age. They don’t fool around, and you get to go to the front of the line without ever needing a Platinum Amex Card. How great is that? Odds are it may be nothing but what if it isn’t? If all is good, then you can march out of there and reward yourself with some foot candy at your favourite shoe store. You are precious to your family, community, to life, so take it seriously and admit to yourself if you’re feeling the least bit off.
I hated the character, Erica Kane, growing up. I wanted to see her get some vile disease. Her personality was so unscrupulous, and at the same time, she was also glamorous and larger than life. She was created to be despised void of fortitude or bravery. But if this can happen to her in real life, it can happen to us. I love that Susan Lucci is talking about this because there is resonance for our community of women. It takes courage to declare how vulnerable we are, especially since that realization is so nicely tucked beneath our Wonder Woman capes.
At the risk of sounding like the side of a high fibre cereal box, you matter more than you know. You’re probably unaware of that fact, but everyone else around you isn’t. Look after yourself. You’re not only a sweetheart to your family, but you’re also precious to the sisterhood.
Boom boom, boom boom, boom boom…
Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women
Though chest pain is the most common symptom in both sexes, women may also experience these other symptoms:
• unusual fatigue that gets worse with activity
• difficulty breathing
• heartburn that is unrelieved by antacids
• nausea and/or vomiting that is unrelieved by antacids
• a tightening and pain in the chest area that may extend into the
neck, jaws and shoulders.
• a general feeling of weakness