Today we laid my mom to rest with her mother, father and brother. She is wearing her running shoes. Rest in peace, Mom. I miss you already and I love you so much. I know I’ll see your smiling face in Heaven again someday; but until then, I will cherish the times we had together and all you have taught me since I was a child.
My mom wrote this testimonial a couple of months ago for her Zumba Instructor, Pamela. I found it tonight as I was reading some of her emails to me. She would want everyone to hear her story and her message.
|My Mom after her first race! Panerathon 5K August 19, 2010|
My journey to good health started November 1, 2007 when I was scheduled to have a cauterization of my heart after a stress test and a CT scan. During this procedure, the doctor inserted three stents in the artery they call “the widow maker” – because a severe blockage can lead to certain and sudden death. My artery was 80 percent blocked. While I had no apparent symptoms or heart problems, a family history of deadly heart conditions lead me to get my own heart assessed just to be safe. A routine assessment very well could have saved my life, and I have since come to believe that it truly does pay to be your own advocate when it comes to your health – only you can initiate the steps to take care of yourself and get healthy!
After the surgery, I completed cardiac rehabilitation and laid out some goals I wanted to accomplish to further improve my health. For example, I wanted to lose weight and I wanted to jog – a lifelong aspiration of mine. I had tried to run several times in the past, but felt that I didn’t know how (breathing, pacing, good form, proper fuel and clothing, etc.), and was never successful. My oldest daughter, Sara, got me involved in the No Boundaries 5K training program through Fleet Feet Sports. Last summer, I not only learned to run, but trained to run a 3.1 mile race over a 10 week long program. I found that with a manageable training schedule and helpful coaches to answer my questions and provide me with the support and encouragement I needed, not to mention the support of fellow beginning runners just like myself, I was on the track to success this time. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of hard work especially with the extreme heat last summer but, I was determined to get to the START line and then the FINISH line! Quitting was never an option for me. On August 19th, 2010, I completed my first 5K in under an hour, with the rest of my training group – and my goal was just to finish! Crossing that finish line, I gained a sense of achievement that I have never quite known before – it truly changed my life and as I enter 2011 a much healthier person, my next goal is to run and finish a 10k.
In August of last year, I also joined Weight Watchers. Combined with making smart food choices, drinking water, and continuing to run and participate in ZUMBA regularly, I have successfully lost 20 pounds on their program. Another goal crossed off my list and an extreme sense of accomplishment!
However, the ultimate test for me came when I had routine blood work done in December 2010 to evaluate the health of my heart. When I read my results I knew all my hard work had finally paid off! In five months’ time my total cholesterol dropped 9 percent; I raised the HDL (good cholesterol) 19 percent, lowered the LDL (bad cholesterol) 14 percent, and dropped the triglycerides by 43 percent. For the first time since my stint procedure, I can’t wait to see my cardiologist this coming March. The doctor was striving for my LDL (bad) cholesterol count at 70 percent and I got it lower than that.
So, between Zumba, running, eating a healthy diet and exercising at least five days a week, I am so proud of myself. A person once commented to me about how slow I am with my running and while my feet may be slow, everything is working together for the results that are undoubtedly keeping me healthy.
My message to anyone that is thinking or trying to change their health, it can be done! I am living proof.