February is American Heart Month, a movement to support healthier lives and communities.
To bring special attention to women’s health, Friday, February 6, 2015 was ‘Celebrate National Wear Red Day’. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. More women die from heart disease than breast cancer.
My mom is a 4 year survivor of heart valve replacement surgery. During the operation, she also needed a pacemaker/defibrillator to keep her heart beating. She is and was a healthy woman. She has been active all of her life from biking, running and step aerobics. She takes vitamins and eats a healthy diet. So news of a necessary heart surgery was very shocking. The surgery she endured was clearly hard on her physically and emotionally. Just imagine, an active person being totally dependent on others for even a month is a huge deal.
She made it through the surgery. However, she had to stay in the SICU twice as long as the surgeon anticipated. The total days in the hospital were also twice what the doctor anticipated. He had no explanation for the delay in her recovery. I visited daily and posted Bible verses on her encouragement board. I sat by her bed and begged God for more time with her. My prayers were answered. She is a fighter and she continues to fight every day. She continues to exercise 3+ times per week. It just took some time after surgery to regain her strength back.
She is my ROCK! She was there during my chemo and after my surgery and even before all of the medical stuff. She raised two girls as a single mom and now has 2 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
One of my best memories was that she signed me up for college while I was on vacation. I told her as a wise 18 year old girl, I just needed a semester off from school. Funny. She wasn’t having that. When I returned home, she informed me that I needed to go to the college and sign up for my classes because I was enrolled. Now that is a strong woman.
She saw my potential. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and became a teacher, Then, I got my Master’s Degree and became and Assistant Principal and eventually a Principal.
So for me, National Wear Red Day is very personal. We celebrate my mom and are thankful that she is still active.
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