Sunday, September 14, 2014


Can we talk?

I’ve been trying to avoid this conversation for about 6 weeks now and the time has come to wait no longer. You see, September is National Cholesterol Education Month the perfect time to be upfront and personal:)

I don’t usually like to discuss health matters on this blog especially my own. Unless, I feel the discussion will bring light to someone else, as was the case with my daughter Michele’s story back in May of 2013. After I posted that story, many wrote me emails assuring me they were going to be more diligent about their mammographies. Hopefully they were and still are.

Today, I have a story of my own. Now, I don’t want anyone to be alarmed. It was a minor stroke and I am totally fine. As a matter of fact, I haven’t felt this good in I don’t know how long. Funny thing is, I actually thought I was feeling pretty darn good before my “episode” but now I remember the difference, lol…I suppose the transitions of life don’t always allow us enough time to reflect on the incidental changes that often go unnoticed. Sure, we might spy a new crinkle here and there or even perhaps a bump or bruise that we just whisked away as we were shuffling in and out of the car. If they don’t put us down, we chalk them off to “the course of doing business.” Sure, I was feeling a bit more tired than usual but I figured it was because I was working in the garden so much and trying to get 100s of things done all at once. I felt like I was gaining weight but totally dismissed that because I’m not much of an eater as it is, how could I be gaining weight? I’m overly active! Seems I was though. Unbeknownst to me I had gained 10 pounds!!! So that’s what was weighing me down? No, it was the darn cholesterol!

Every 2.2 pound rise in body weight elevates cholesterol levels 2 points. (The Doctors Book of Home Remedies Rodale Press)

They called it a TIA, short for Transient Ischemic Attack.

While transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often labeled “mini-stroke,” it is more accurately characterized as a “warning stroke,” a warning you should take very seriously.

TIA is caused by a clot; the only difference between a stroke and TIA is that with TIA the blockage is transient (temporary). TIA symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes; the average is about a minute. When a TIA is over, it usually causes no permanent injury to the brain…

They kept asking me to smile, it seemed rather strange to me at the time. They kept asking me to play airplane. You know that childhood game kids play where they lift their arms up and pretend they are taking off or coming in for a landing. I couldn’t raise my left arm. It kept drooping. Little did I know, my smile was crooked. I have a nice smile, I’ve been told. Doesn’t everyone? My left leg was weak but, I could stand. Inside I thought to myself "that has to be a good sign."

I didn’t quite understand what a TIA was and while I was waiting and they were waiting for the tests and the results, time seemed to lapse into hours. They made me stay in the hospital. I really didn’t want to. As a matter of fact I headed toward the door as soon as my legs were less weak or just strong enough to carry me and my 10 extra pounds:)

They explained that the next 36 hours of observation and more tests were crucial. I finally agreed:) Good thing I did. I learned so much about myself those three days in the hospital both physically and mentally. I knew one thing for sure, I didn’t want my time to be up if I had anything to say about it! After all, the kids would be arriving in just a few days and I just had to be…

They blamed it on my cholesterol levels. Way, way, way too high!!! If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how I feel about taking medication. My family doctor had warned me about my cholesterol levels about 5 years ago. My attempted solution was to try and keep it under control with diet and exercise. I admit, I wasn’t as diligent as I could, should have been, obviously…

Managing my cholesterol was extremely challenging at first. It has since become much easier and I can honestly say that with the exception of not indulging in a garden fresh BLT this season with lots and lots of mayonnaise, I’m handling it rather well. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a daily challenge. However, I feel more than confident knowing there’s a delicious way to lower cholesterol and I intend on doing just that!

I don’t go back to the doctor until November. It seems the medication needs time to take hold. As you can imagine, it is driving me nuts, literally:)

…People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol level in their blood…

Sifting though the in and outs of cholesterol management is a daunting task. Thankfully, I am up to the challenge! However, I am in no position to offer any kind “education.” I do feel confident enough to encourage each and every one of you to get your cholesterol checked. Oh, I know, many of you are still young and the thought of “hardening of the arteries” seems like a conversation you might not be having for ages. Not so. Truth is, hardening of the arteries can start young. There are now simple tests that can test children as young as 9 years old!

Now don’t you worry, I’m not suddenly going to become a self righteous preacher of the good, the bad and the ugly of cholesterol intake. For most of us, a change in season means so much more than a change in wardrobe. Although, I must admit, I’ve already dug out my flannel shirts:) This year, I’m virtually going to do an about face. It’s time for me to metamorphosize and you’re more than welcome to stay tuned…Louise:)

P.S. I won’t be blogging again until next Sunday. I have agazillion things to do this week! However, I will be visiting your delicious blogs as time allows. Have a wonderful week everyone and please celebrate Cholesterol Education Month like your life depending on it!!!