February is American Heart Month

The timing seems especially appropriate this year.

As I type this, I am hooked up to a 30-day heart monitor – electrodes stuck to my chest, monitor on a lanyard under my shirt, cell phone monitor in my pocket. I have to say, it’s actually pretty cool – it’s not nearly as bulky as I anticipated, it’s wireless and sends my information via Bluetooth to a cell phone that magically transmits my every heartbeat to a monitoring company that then sends reports each day to my cardiologist. Very cool.
Until I notice that I just typed the phrase “my cardiologist.” I’m 35 and have a yearly appointment with a cardiologist. I recently sat in the waiting room for my check up as the youngest person by at least 3 decades. I smiled behind my magazine as I realized this. Then I noticed the pitying glances of several octogenarians as they must have been wondering, “What is she doing here?”
What am I doing here? Honestly, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a follow-up on some symptoms I’ve had the last few weeks related to the arrhythmia episode I had right after Pumpkin was born. I trust my doctor. I believe him when he says it’s not serious. I understand that this is simply for a better understanding of what is going on inside of my body. I know I’m being responsible by monitoring this condition instead of burying my head in the sand and hoping I’m fine.
It’s the buts that have been torturing me this week. The buts that have been creeping up on me in the dark hours. The buts that have me holding my babes a bit closer at night.
So this month, this month of heart health awareness, I feel compelled to tell you all to take care of your hearts. You only have one. Although mine has expanded a hundred fold to hold the love I feel for my kids, if it’s not working right, no amount of love will make up for a less than one hundred percent healthy mama.
And so I face the fear of the monitor, take ownership of my health care and will spend the next 30 days dutifully replacing electrode stickers and monitor batteries. Because I love my kids. Because they love me. Because it’s not cliche to say that a mother needs to care for herself first, it’s an obligation.
Get your physicals. Don’t ignore symptoms. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Don’t be one of them.

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