Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's T-Shirt Time!

Come one, come all to the 2011 Central NJ Heart Walk! It’s hard to believe that October 1 is just ONE week away! It’s definitely time to order the latest limited edition t-shirts!

I am honored to be this year’s survivor ambassador – what an improvement from last year, when I wasn’t sure I could even complete the 5k walk! Experiencing the energy at last year’s walk and having many friends (and my mom) walk with me was really special, and I hope to contribute to that kind of energy again this year. My goal is to give hope to at least one person early in his or her heart disease battle the way people did for me last year.

If you can join the fun but haven’t signed up yet, click here. The more the merrier! Our team name is We Got The Beat.

The We Got The Beat design team has created a versatile selection of shirts for your wearing pleasure – for men, women, toddlers and even pregnant ladies! Go to this link [fast!] to order yours:

If you can’t attend but want to contribute to this great cause, please click here to make a donation. The American Heart Association works tirelessly to fund important research initiatives and to educate people about the risks and symptoms of heart disease.

Two of my very good friends already participated in the San Francisco Heart Walk – thanks so much to Rachael and Ioana! You guys are the best!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fire Alarm Lullaby

When you think about an industrial fire alarm going off, it may make you wince. Thoughts of that shrill sound and flashing strobe light don’t evoke positive feelings in most. But among the varied and unpredictable noises in the hospital, the fire alarm recently served as a lullaby for this girl.

Let me start from the beginning. Good news: I have now been sick twice since my transplant, and I have survived. One of my biggest fears last July was getting sick, since commonplace illnesses can be far more debilitating for those with suppressed immune systems. That, combined with the risk of rejection masquerading as a cold or the flu, really caused me to worry about getting sick post-transplant. I had a cold a few months ago that did stick with me longer than it probably would have affected someone with a fully functional immune system, but it was overall uneventful.

More recently I caught something more than a cold. I spent a full day in bed with a horrible headache, followed by vomiting six or seven times through the night until I finally called the heart transplant service in the morning. My nurse advised me to head straight to the emergency room to get checked out. The first priority was determining if I had an infection, which would have been dangerous for me. Fortunately, we determined it was just a virus. The second concern was eliminating the nausea in order to allow me to take my important medications, so I stuck around overnight to be sure I could keep food down.

Well, my visit happened to coincide with Hurricane Irene’s visit, and the hospital lost power late that night. I had been awake after yet another date with the toilet and was trying to get to sleep in spite of the erratic beeps and voices and other sounds that are omnipresent on the heart floors and probably throughout the hospital. Fortunately, the power loss (which was quickly remedied with generators) triggered the fire alarm. This was just the consistent white noise I needed. It lulled me right to sleep, I had the best sleep I’ve ever had in the hospital and I awoke ready to try some breakfast. Breakfast and then lunch stayed with me, and the challenge promptly became finding a route home from New Brunswick in Irene’s aftermath (which was obviously nothing compared to the damage a lot of folks faced).

I’ll consider pulling the alarm during any future visits when a lullaby is needed…but I hope they don’t have a prankster-prevention apparatus like the one featured in the ad below!

What happens to the people that legitimately pull the know, when there's a FIRE?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seven Months Ago Today...

Seven months ago today was National Wear Red Day for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement. In keeping with my recent timeliness, I want to FINALLY share some awesome pictures from that day! In my defense, my good friend (to remain nameless…) took the great office pictures on February 4 and promptly suffered HTWTCA (How-To-Work-The-Camera-Amnesia), so I only received them a few weeks ago when her fabulous husband took matters into his own hands!

I was traveling by air on the big day back in February, which provided a captive audience for my awareness efforts. I had the lady in the window seat pinned in for a good two hours. I didn’t lay my whole story on her, but I did take the opportunity to [briefly] tell her about Go Red for Women and why it’s important to me.
My Go Red Outfit
Meanwhile, back at the office… I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. I think it's clear that these are some good friends!! (More pictures in photo album page.)

My good buddy Sean ended up staying home sick from work that day. However, thanks to his dedicated friendship (and probably the larger factor – his crazy competitive nature), he rocked his red outfit for the camera before conking out for the day.

Rico went Red remotely too! (Can't get the photo to work...)

And my wonderful cousin Emily dressed her precious little girls up in red for the occasion. Aren’t they sweet?!!

Thanks to all!

Also, mark your calendars: The American Heart Association Central NJ Heart Walk is on October 1. Click here to sign up to walk with our team (WE GOT THE BEAT) or click here to make a donation to this important cause. All support is appreciated!!