These stats are an awakening to many in our country. Since I've achieved this elite status of "heart disease' and am well aware of the dire consequences, it came to mind that there is always something good that can be found in the bad.
We could say that heart disease entered into our world back in Genesis 3 when Satan deceived Eve into eating from the forbidden fruit from the tree of life and shared it with Adam.
My purpose in writing this is to share a few lessons that I have learned in my journey with living with heart disease and hope that it may resonate with some of you who may also be challenged with this disease. God has created us in his image and gave us the responsibility to care and have respect for our bodies.
One lesson I learned is the importance of sacrificing or giving up those things that were not good for me. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I do fail at times. I'm far from perfect. I'm a project making progress. What have I given up? Baked goods. I absolutely love pastries. My father was a baker. At Christmas time he would make over a thousand cookies of various kinds. He would leave cookie dough sitting out and I would walk by and grab a handful. He would make over a hundred loaves of assorted breads. My favorite was gum drop bread. Then there were cakes and pies. I would sit up with my mother on college break and eat cookies and watch TV until the stations would shut down at night. Other things I gave up, were ice cream, soft drinks, beer and pretty much everything in the center aisles at the grocery store. Yup! that leaves mostly veggies and fruits. I do have some chicken and seafood but that is limited.
Is it difficult to give up the foods and drinks you like? It can be if you focus on what you're giving up instead of what you can have. But when you look at what can happen to you, the consequences could lead to heart disease. My decisions, your decisions have gotten us to where we are today if you're challenged with heart disease. What helps me is to interrupt my thoughts and focus on what I need, not what I want. What I've given up has been my gain of living a longer healthier life. It has given me hope. My heart diagnosis has forced me to change, and it has been for the better.
1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.."
When first given my diagnosis I had a choice to accept what I have and do nothing else or choose to find ways to improve my life. My first choice was to seek Jesus. I prayed for wisdom, understanding, discernment, guidance, and his presence. Friends and family prayed for me. I started researching and reading about heart disease and what could be changed to improve my condition. I started looking into alternative ways other than the strict medical model to more of a holistic approach. This diagnosis led me to a different world of information I had not known. Just to let you know, I consulted with my primary care physician on what I was doing. She was impressed with the results that I was achieving.
Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
Lastly, this diagnosis has given me a cause. I realized that the decisions I've made lead me to where I am today. By God's grace I haven't experienced a heart attack. What good has come from this? I can help others who may be in a similar situation. I can come along beside them, be a guide, encourage, provide hope and be a resource. It can feel like a lonely journey when your by yourself
Because of my journey with heart disease, I'm not only impacting those with the disease but I'm also a role model for others who may be in my life: my children, relatives and friends. They see how I'm living my life and what I'm doing to improve it. They make comments like: "I wish I was as disciplined as you or "I know I shouldn't be eating this." Hopefully they are making small changes to improve their lives.
No one wants this diagnosis but if you have a heart disease diagnosis, there are many resources that can help you. I can also be a resource for you.
Romans 8:37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us."
Please reach out to me if you want to discuss what's happening with your challenge. I've come a long way and I'm still on my journey. I just may be a step ahead of where you are.
You can email me at, firstname.lastname@example.org
It's your heart, your life. Claim it!