Sunday, December 4, 2011

HINDSIGHT is often NOT 20/20...

oops... I forgot to post this blog entry back in August, so here it is now ... 


Good day fellow bloggers!

I hope this past month has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me!  I have spent the last two weeks in NY with my husband Tony and last weekend with our girls as they decided to visit their old folks.  We spent two full days walking the big city, walked twice across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate on both sides... heart healthy of course!  I  even traveled home this month and visited Henderson Lake with plans to return next week!

I have come to enjoy and appreciate the absolute opposite attributes of NYC and northern Michigan. I so enjoy the endless restaurants, parks, theatre and hustle bustle the "Big Apple" offers.  The sights and sounds are endless, all hours of the day and night. I seem to find something new every time I walk the streets, visit the parks, and enjoy the seemingly never-ending stimulus. Just when I think I am ready to move here for good…I have an ache for home, good old Royal Oak, Michigan and our northern Michigan home on Henderson Lake.

The sights and sounds of NYC  are much different from those of Henderson Lake….obviously. Henderson Lake is where I have found a little slice of heaven on earth in this crazy  life.  It’s a place where I can hear myself think, my thoughts and internal dialog are often my company.  The sounds of the night crickets, the breezes, the morning and evening songs of our Loons are music to my ears. When I get up early to kayak around the lake, I  appreciate the calm of the lake; our loons spring/summer home, and usually see them teaching their baby or babies to fish or bathe. It is a beautiful sight to behold.

When I visit the Lake house, I find so much time for quiet reflection of my life’s journey, thus far. I love to read and here I devote time for it. One book I have read recently provoked me to look at my past with loving and forgiving eyes and subsequently a deeper understanding of my responsibilities and feelings of guilt I have carried for some time, in regards to my parents deaths.  Through much reflection, I have truly come to the conclusion that life’s hindsight is often not 20/20.  We carry with us all to often guilt and negativity from our past experiences, which are truly not of our making, our fault and quite frankly just not anything we could ever control. This has to be acknowledged, reflected on and the guilt released for us to move forward.  This guilt is a form of stress, I believe and must be acknowledged, relinquished to move us into the direction of leading a heart healthy life style.  My philosophy of living in one day at a time…not the past , not the future but in today has no room in it for revisiting skewed thoughts of the past... only forward bound !

I was massively  affected by my parents illnesses, with Heart Disease, and subsequently their deaths, deciding  early on that I could help their plight by understanding the heart by working as an echo-cardiographer in Cardiology.  I could and would make a difference in the outcome of their lives, their Heart Health… I thought.  I placed myself in a Heart profession, learned about their issues, knew their Doctors personally and helped  them through their journey, in hopes of helping them  sustain longevity; the thought of losing them early was not an option...I could not accept it.  I know many of you have had to go through some of the same thoughts and experiences I have.  Our parents are our world in our early years, they provide, teach, and are our rock, our support, our comfort… our people. When we have to deal with sick or aging parents at any age but particularly early ages, it is natural to have a great deal of doubt, confusion, they have been the answer to our needs and questions for so long . When dealing with this at an early age we often evolve immediately by taking on the parenting role ourselves.; how can I help them, what can I do for them, and help make this wrong they are going through a right.  When we later embrace the fact that there is often very little we can do, we can then relinquish much of our earlier guilt.  This is not an easy task when one is young because the tools we have are limited and our ability for self-analysis hasn’t developed yet.  Having wisdom to know, that often things are what they are, is mastered in our later years, not youthful ones.   Through wisdom  we realize that when we file, in the lexicon of our memory, all of the bad things only to retrieve them later to beat ourselves up, this  becomes  unhealthy, however when one acknowledges how uncontrollable life really is, this self-destructive process is thwarted.  In my case it required  stopping  myself from questioning  every decision that I as well as they made, and to stop looking for fault or answers as to why they died so early and was there anything else I could have done? This process I found only after my heart attack and not before.  I then found calm in the absence of all my angst.  Life is… well life.  It has its twists and turns, ups and downs, and everything in-between.  Some of us are blessed with long ones and some very short.  It’s just the way it is, no ones fault, and with faith, it becomes part of the bigger plan in this universe.  However, even having  a strong faith base, it has taken me many years to get to this awe relinquishing stage in my life that catapulted me into a world of calm and I thank God I am here now.

The years preceding my heart attack and epiphany, I had often questioned myself, as to the why’s of and the outcomes of my parents illnesses and deaths. My mother was diagnosed at the age of 39 with Congestive Heart Failure and her choice of treatment was to take only medication; no surgery for her she stated, I was only 12 then.  When I started working in Cardiology 7 years had past and I was 19.  I worked and attended a local university in the evenings.  My mother seemed content with her quality of life for the most  part, being supported by medication and several cardio-versions ( zapping her with paddles to get her out of an arrhythmia call Atrial  Fibrillation). My family was very supportive of her during her illness, but I often caught myself being the only one who harped on her about her smoking, that of which she eventually quit, however not until she was near the end of her life. She also had a few surgeries during this period, one was the removal of a tumor the size of a grape fruit on and in her spleen. 

I recall the morning of this scheduled surgery quite well.  Dr Ingold was her Surgeon and stopped by Cardiology on his way to the OR to tell me he would come out as soon as the surgery was over to let me know how things went.  I was working that day, my father and sister were up in the waiting room and I worked on the same floor that the OR was on.  Shortly after he left, my mother was being brought right past my office, I  started to walk by her side, assuring her that all would be fine.  She was frightened …I remember this well.  It was hard for me to keep my mind on work and not on my mother. An hour passed and I was confident she was in good hands through pre-op and in surgery. I called down to check on her, and as I did, I looked out my office door and she was being escorted back to her room while weeping.  As I jogged to her side she babbled “I don’t know what the hell they’re doing”.  Well , if  I hadn’t been so perplexed myself, I may have found some humor in the expletives she was uncontrollably verbalizing . I walked by her side to her room, where I spoke to her Doctor. Dr Ingold assured me that her surgery would be rescheduled when her potassium level was brought up to normal limits.  She had the surgery two days later, the tumor benign…thank you God.  This same scenario happened again for her a few years later, but this time it was her coumadin levels were off and surgery was postponed again.

One of the reasons I share my little stories in hopes that someone with similar experiences can gain either insight or solace knowing there is someone that understands.  Another is that I find it quite cathartic.  I also thinks its particularly important for us older folk to share our experiences with younger mothers and fathers so they realize that their health, whether they are proactive or reactive to disease, has a huge impact on their children.  When we choose to have children, our health has to become paramount as we often don’t think of the impact it has on these little neophytes.  We need to embrace proactive measures in hopes of  tipping  the scales in our favor away from disease.  Even working in a medical field, with all of my family’s health baggage, I never really became proactive until after my heart attack and I had a lot of information available to me, at my fingertips.  Please moms and dads, in the scheme of things, much of life is out of our control, however isn’t it prudent to be proactive with the things we know.  Given the science,  knowledge, information available to us today, we really have no excuses.  We all need to embrace our heart health now, not only for ourselves but for our family...our children.  

Sincerely and from the Heart,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale♥

July 18, 2011

My wish for you, today and always, is that you have many fairytales…

Happy Monday fellow bloggers!

I hope everyone is enjoying this hot summer, hopefully in water or air-conditioning! I have had a very eventful summer so far and at the for-front of my mind are last weekend’s events surrounding my daughter Angela’s wedding to Mr. Chad Jenkins , July 9th! The joy I and my family experienced all weekend cannot really be put into words, however the deep genuine feeling of love that encompassed the weekend and wedding was very evident and will forever be a fairytale in my life.

Sharing a very important event like this one with family and friends is so very important in life . It brings all those who you love together, under one roof, to bond and share a major lifes joy, the love and lifelong commitment two people make to each other. It is the bonding of two families, often from different walks of life, together, what a life affirming experience and I thank everyone involved with their special day, all of those present, sharing their gifts and those there in spirit.

Experiencing this beautiful weekend with family and friends, caused me to stop and take stock of the last several years of my life. The year I had my heart attack was a horrendous year of trial and tribulation. In one year, my daughter Amanda had broken her femur and tibia in a soccer accident, had one major surgery that required the opening of her leg over 10 inches, cast from groin to toe for almost 3 months and two more arthroscopic surgeries. She underwent 15 months of intense physical therapy, that of which I attended, me being the necessary driver in getting her everywhere, as well as my need to feel her pain ( my control issue rearing it’s ugly head). She had no right leg to use for 15 months to drive with , therefore no license at 16, ugh for her and I. I wonder what a psychologist/ psychiatrist would find in the deep psyche of my brain, to have had to witness every part of her journey back to health and then just when Amanda was turning the corner and getting full mobility back from her accident, I had my heart attack.

Just days before my cardiac event Amanda had left to take a well needed vacation with a high school friend’s family to Florida. We had both been under a lot of stress during her rehab and we really needed a break from each other. Nursing her during her rehab, getting her everywhere she needed to be, from school to physical therapy, doctors visits and extra curricular events, she was determined to be at, was not an easy task, but one done with love and often times frustratration. There are too many stories within this time frame for me to mention right now, very humorous to gut retching, I will get back to some at a later date (ever picked up a cast from groin to toe all day, every day for 3 months for someone?!? And showers…what a hoot!). Suffice it to say, I could write a book on this one year in our lives…

Amanda went off to Florida for her vacation and I stayed home for some much needed rest. I recall laughing at her friend’s mother’s face when I told her that Amanda would be accompanied with a machine for her leg. This machine rotated her let at night, every hour on the hour for 20 minutes. Amanda had just had her last arthroscopic surgery and needed this to lessen scar tissue. Well, what was the mother going to say…they had already invited her, hahaha… Honestly they were troopers to take her with them and off they went to the airport, with machine in hand! I will also never forget, right before Amanda left, we both hugged and she said “ I will see you in 10 days mom” my response “God willing...if I don’t have a heart attack after all of this” . Well guess what a few days after her departure, that’s exactly what I had. Lesson, be careful of what you say Janine, it can come back and kick your butt.

I chose not to have Amanda notified of my heart attack. She so needed a break from medical issues. Angela, had come home from College to be with her father and I. I gave Ang strict instructions not to call Amanda unless things went south and I required open-heart surgery. Thank God a stent was the method of medical choice and was successful. The morning Angela picked up Amanda from the airport, Amanda inquired “where is mom?” Angela’s response, “she’s in the hospital, she had a heart attack”. “Right…sure" responded Amanda giggling, "she told you what she said to me before leaving, didn’t she?” Amanda looked at Angela and saw no smile or sign of humor… Amanda... ”take me to the hospital right now Ang…”

The hospital stay was very familiar to me. I was admitted to Beaumont just two months prior to my heart attack for an entire week, with a throat infection. I picked up a germ from the preschool I had just returned to working at, since Amanda’s accident, and it settled in my throat. My throat had swelled up so much that I was unable to swallow at all. All I could do was spit constantly into tissues and as a result, I almost got to experience a tracheotomy so to open my airway. Thank god the anti-inflammatory medication kept the swelling at bay. This visit to the ER that night extended into a full weeks stay in the hospital, I just couldn't believe my bad luck. I will revisit this experience later as I had a few very humorous experiences in the ER with my sister Julie that night. I was once again becoming accustomed to the hospital I had worked at for 12 years and might I add very grateful I had managed to stay away from it for the past 15 years!

Three hospitalizations for Amanda, two for me (within 2 months) and just when I think we were out of the woods, Amanda starts having stomach and back pain. Less than 2 months after my cardiac event, Amanda is up crying from 2am to 4 am with severe back pain and cramping. It was bad enough that she asked me to rub her back to help lessen the much more can this child take, I thought. It took two visits to our pediatrician to convince him to do an upper GI. He knew I would go elsewhere to get some answers for this pain. I didn't bye his explanations that it was "nerves and from the medication she had taken for her leg issues", so he succumbed to my request and ordered the upper GI.

Amanda’s upper GI was anything but typical. After drinking the darn awful barium required, we were taken to the exam room. Yes I say we as I wouldn’t leave her side. The technician took all the necessary pictures of her upper GI track covered in barium and revisited the same area several times to take additional pictures of her stomach. Was it just my imagination or my parental concerns in overdrive that I saw something in her stomach. Having been an ultrasound technician of the heart for years I could tell differences in tissue densities. A large growth, the outer edges brightened and dense? I of course say out loud, “what the hell is that”, then the tech reaches for her phone making a call and shortly one Doctor comes in,f ollowed by another…then one more…SHIT, I say under my breath…tearing up…

The results of the test and the Doctors initial concerns of the type of tumor it was lead me to seek out a University of Michigan specialist. Beaumont Doctors had told me they felt it was a very aggressive tumor, one that should be removed immediately. We visited the specialist at
U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor Michigan a few days later and he ordered numerous more tests. We then organized a meeting with a well know pediatric surgeon to remove the tumor. First an endoscopy was performed, to get a portion of the tumor to biopsy, but failed due to the nature of the tumor. From the time Amanda had her first UGI at Beaumont Hospital, to her surgery, only a week had passed, but it had seamed like months. She was admitted into U of M hospital quickly, they were still very concerned about the nature of this growth since they couldn’t biopsy it from the endoscopy and had surgery the next day. The Doctor resected the growth off of the inside wall of her stomach, the size of a large orange and thank God their preliminary diagnosis post removal was that it was benign.

The week stay at the U of M Children’s Hospital, our family staying with her was, an interesting time. Not yet having the official confirmation back from the lab for several days, confirming the results of the biopsy, led us all to some quality family time of talk and reflection and yes…joy. U of M has a hotel right smack in the middle of the Hospital! I spent the nights with Amanda, listening to the draining of her NG tube…, which often put me to sleep… I know weird. The nurses were wonderful, changing her surgical bandages and administering her pain meds. Her dad would come down and relieve me in the morning so I could shower in our room and her sister would keep her busy in between breakfast lunch and dinner breaks. Several of her friends from Bishop Foley High School and soccer buddies would come all the way to Ann Arbor to visit her ( a 45 minute drive from Royal Oak) and family and friends we there also every day. All and all a positive outcome to a potentially grievous one. Amanda’s recovery at home was full of stories again many humorous when I look back, but not then. I will save the constipation and the Birmingham House of pancake stories for another day!

The reason I wanted to share this story of our year of medical trial, tribulation and growth is to show you the paradox between that year’s story and the past year of positive growth, joy and love I have experienced. Both of these years having significant growth in common, however, one obviously easier than the other, but growth non-the less. I believe that without the valleys of our lives we would not get the true understanding and joy out of our peaks.

The past two years of my life have been sometimes challenging, from moving my husband and I to NY in a 1990’s old non air-conditioned Dodge Van, pulling a Saturn L200 with the kids driving our Honda behind us , up and down the hills of Pennsylvania ( 10 hour trip which took over 15 hours), in the heat of the summer, to the streets of NYC and my “Go Red Adventures”… to many to mention here. Suffice it to say being dinned in the NASDAQ for the “Go Red for Woman” premier last September, with many CEO’s CFO’s and celebrities is a big leap from Royal Oak Michigan , Beaumont and U of M Hospitals. We have been blessed with it all… although initially when my husband Tony came home a few years ago and said to me “ I’ve decided to take an early retirement from my job”…of 25 years mind you, I stood dumb struck in my kitchen. Little did I know that it would lead me to the two most adventurous, humorous, fun packed, challenging, and lovely days of my life. From Royal Oak, Michigan to New York’s Times Square NASDAQ…quite a journey. Traveling back and forth from Michigan to New York monthly has its perks! Through it all my faith has been and is all encompassing, it sees me trough everything life sends my way and never let’s me down…

Angela and Chad’s wedding is a fairy tale in this life of mine. It has certainly topped the past two years I’ve experienced, with a cherry! The love of these two, whom I love deeply, and their loving commitment to each other, while sharing all of this with our closest family and friends, is a gift from the man upstairs. After the last several years’ experiences I can honestly look back and give thanks and look forward to what the future holds… Life’s ups and downs are …awe inspiring and…a wonderful thing!

Mrs. Angela Jenkins! You were stunning as a bride, beautiful inside and out and this is for you...

Yesterday Angela, as you walked down the aisle
You saw many faces wearing smiles.
But as we remembered those young tender years
Our smiles concealed a few hidden tears.
It wasn't through sadness, our emotions just whirled
As we both were thinking back to our dear little girl
And now you have grown and made us so proud,
As you smiled for the camera and the rest of the crowd.
Remember dear Angela as you become a new wife
You're still very much a part of our life!
We've not lost a daughter but have gained a wonderful son,
You're new lives as husband and wife have begun!
So be blissfully happy and we hope you enjoyed your 'Big Day'
Have a wonderful marriage with a rose strewn way!
We love you very much and are so happy for you and Chad!
♥♥♥ Mom and Dad...

Sincerely and from the heart


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

‎"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along . . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy Tuesday Fellow Bloggers!

It has been several months since my last post and I will make no excuses, however, promise to do better in the future! So much has gone on the past several months that it is hard for me to focus now on a few “Heart” events to write about. Three things, however, are in the forefront of my mind and let me add that’s a big deal for me as most things leave my mind quickly these days…LOL!

First I want to thank everyone who was involved with the May 14th’s “Detroit Heart Walk”! Nearly 20,000 peopled joined together in Downtown Detroit, raising over $ 1,394,688 for research and education and exceeding the Detroit AHA’s $1,200,000 goal for this year! The “Walk” was a huge success with the hard work and dedication of the AHA employees and thousands of volunteers and organizations! Thank you personally from the bottom of my heart to all of you and to my own special “TEAM Janine” It was so exciting to see this happen in our great city!!! Also, it is never to late to give! If you would like to donate and or watch the progress still occurring please visit:

Secondly I would like to touch on the Local AHA’s involvement in this year’s Novi International Women’s Expo that was held on April 28th through May 1st. This event is attended by thousands of women yearly, with hundreds of vendors all over the US. The Southfield AHA had a beautiful booth, educating and bringing awareness to many women about heart healthy lifestyles while also raising funds for much needed research and education! Our AHA Fashion show hosted by Macy’s was a great success and the gals from Body Language Fitness and Yoga, did a wonderful class/exhibition of Zumba on stage! ( Thank you Alicia and all of the ladies involved, for organizing everything at the Expo for the AHA… you did a wonderful job!
For local Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Flint area AHA info please visit:

Thirdly I would like to touch on something near and dear to my heart… the American Heart Associations Go Red for Women’s Heart Match Program! This Program is free to anyone and takes only a few minutes to use. By filling out a short profile on oneself, it automatically links together women who have similar “Heart” history and experiences. This is a wonderful way to network and share our experiences and support each other! I know it works because I have experienced it myself. A few ladies who have similar family histories of Heart Disease that found them selves needing support and just plain camaraderie have already contacted me! Please visit;
For more information on this wonderful program through” Go Red for Women” !

I opened this blog with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt because I find it to be so true. Thank you Rick for sharing it today! I can relate to this quote and know how important it is to hit difficulties straight on and learn from them…it is vital to positive growth. I would like to add another dimension to this thought and one that I think is vital to our success in battling Heart disease. We all must fight this good fight and forge forward but not alone. We often need each other for support in getting over the bumps! Don’t be afraid to ask for support when needed. Whether we ask for support from our Doctors, family members, friend or acquaintance we’ve met through ‘Heart Match”…sharing is necessary to move forward. If we tap into this and share as often as we need I think we will be much healthier and happier individuals. Don’t be afraid to seek this out . If you’re not getting what you need from your Doctor, family member or friend… find another. Seek and you will find!

Also, we should not only share when we’re down and out, (however, absolutely then) …but share the good things too. Share your heart triumphs and let others around you learn from them…this is very important ladies. Just yesterday I had a visit to my Cardiologist and of course thought all things were great and they’re pretty much. However, she pointed out to me that I could even do better on my heart numbers! Particularly my LDL , which was 83. She informed me that I should shoot for under 70 :/ I have been a little lackadaisical lately and I needed that little kick to firm up my resolve! When I got home I had an e-mail waiting for me, from one of my “Heart Matches” and immediately started writing a new blog entry. She motivated me to write. Now this blog entry won’t bring my LDL down below 70, however it certainly will help my psyche to move forward and work at lowering it. I felt good after writing my thoughts down. Doing this helps me to strengthen my resolve while also sharing with all of you! This is a win/win…you share, I share and hopefully we help motivate each other to move forward! Got to love it and we so often need it!

Also remember that every month is not going to be like February Heart Month, up beat and full of support. We don’t have special events everyday in our lives when we’re with others that understand what living with Heart Disease is like. I have certainly enjoyed all of those special days when the community and friends come together to support the cause. However, the many quiet days in between those are ones where we have to seek and find support when needed. The Heart Match program is a place you can turn to…

In closing I would like to again thank all the lovely people involved with our “Detroit Heart Walk’ and the “Novi Women’s expo…you all know who you are! Also thank you to my “Heart Match” ladies…you inspire me to stay focused and give me a much needed lift also!

Sincerely and from the heart,


Sunday, February 27, 2011

8th Annual Detroit Metro “Go Red For Women” Luncheon was Incredible!

Happy Sunday AHA / GRFW supporters and bloggers!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the February 24th 2011 “8th Annual Go Red For Women Luncheon” at the MGM Grand, Detroit. It was a fabulous event for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement and certainly all involved!

The MGM Grand Hotel is absolutely magnificent. The beautiful chandeliers, furnishings, and overall richness of this hotel lent itself to be the perfect place for the AHA to have this luncheon. The staff was polite and diligent in making the day a success. From the time I dropped my car off at the valet, to picking it up at the end, I can honestly say the staff out did themselves. What a wonderful group of individuals!! This is a Gem for the City of Detroit!

The event started promptly at 9am with registration, a Silent Auction and numerous exhibits. From 9:30 to 11:45 there were “Educational Breakout Sessions” being held in adjacent conference rooms within the same area as the Ballroom. These educational sessions made it possible for attendees to listen and talk to local Cardiologists, physiologists, dietitians and many medical professionals about Heart Disease. From 12:00 to 2:00 a delicious heart healthy lunch was served while watching the Fashion show and listening to guest speakers. The Fashion show featured all of the “ My Life Check” participants, Linda Blair VP of ITC Holdings in Novi, and Cardiologists, Dr. Joanne Crawford from St. John Providence Health Systems and Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan of Beaumont. Our own 2011 GRFW Executive Leadership Team, and guest speakers (heart survivors) Susie Dubin and myself also strutted down the runway! Beautiful red dresses designed by five students from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Troy were also modeled. Deloitte sponsors the “GRFW Miniature Red Dresses” that travels the Detroit Metro area for viewing. Deena Centofanti, news and medical anchor for channel 2 news, was our MC and Frankie Darcell, radio personality from MIX 92.3 was the Fashion Show presenter and speaker. Both of these ladies did a wonderful job and added so much personality to the event!

The “My Life Check Makeover” involved eight local women who made it their mission to get heart-healthy. The American Heart Association, St John Providence Health System and Beaumont Hospitals selected them. The makeover was based on the AHA’s newest on-line tool: This online tool was designed by the AHA to help people adopt healthier lifestyle choices. With the help of the healthcare experts from both of the hospitals, evaluating and providing direction for 12 weeks, these ladies were able to make changes in their lifestyles to that of a Heart Healthy one! Congratulations to Melissa Ely, Janice Ford, Sandy kovach, Cheryl Campbell, Cheryl Kuzmanovich, Deena Baubie Kim Pratt, and Laurie Tikkanen !! You ladies are not only healthier but also look marvelous!!

Shortly after the “My Life Check” results, we all watched a short video on the “Power of Woman (all inspiring) and then made personal donations to the AHA. Our donations will fund research and education that will help save lives. Macy’s VP Manager at Lakeside Mall, JoAnne Gunn, shared with us Macy’s commitment to the movement and presented everyone in attendance with a $10 gift certificate. A $250 gift card was presented to a lady who had a gold star on the bottom of her bag that held the $10 card. This is Macy’s 7th year as a National sponsor of the American Heart Association’s GRFW campaign. Since 2004, Macy’s nationally has raised $21 million for Go Red. This is absolutely incredible and ladies please remember this when you’re out shopping. Please frequent Macy’s as they are a huge reason Go Red has been able to thrive and bring awareness and education to women about heart disease over the years!!

General Motors is another of our large supporters. Dr. Jamie Meys who is the Manager at GM Performance Parts, took the stage to tell everyone that on January 21st GM auctioned the first powerful small-block V8 engine in Scottsdale, Arizona. This sold for $67,000, which was donated, to the Detroit Go Red For Women Campaign! Thank you GM!!

Also, a thank you to our other National supporter, Merck who partners with Macy’s to raise millions of dollars in support of the cause. I had the privilege of meeting the CEO’s, Presidents and several VP’s this past September (of both Macy’s and Merck), in NYC at the Premier of the NBC special, “Speak Up To Save Lives”. These two National supporters make it possible for Go Red For Women to thrive and make awareness and education available for women all over the US . Thank you so very much! Thank you also to the additional local supporterers, Toyota, Quicken Loans, St John Providence Health System, Beaumont Hospitals, ITC Holdings Corp, American Axle, Cargill, Arvin Meritor, Deloitte and Federal- Mogul Corporation. Also thank you wonderful Donors like Dr. JoAnne Crawford, Dr. Pam Marcovitz, Barbara Allushuski, and The Gambino Girls, Virgina Bova and Vita Harter for the generous gifts to GRFW.

The GRFW Executive Team this year is fabulous. I have been amazed at how professional and graceful all of the ladies are and I would like to thank Deborah Greenman Arlin, managing counsel for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, North America and Paula Silver, Vice President of Communications for Quicken Loans. Both of these ladies are part of this Executive Leadership Team and have joined forces to Co –Chair this beautiful Luncheon and lead locally the Go Red initiative this year! Thank you ladies!!

The Media also has been wonderful in getting the information out about the Luncheon and informing ladies in the Metro Detroit Area, that Heart Disease in the #1 Killer of Women and 80% preventable with heart healthy lifestyles! Thank you Fox 2 News, MIX 92.3, Fresh 100.3 , Corp! Magazine as well as HOUR Magazine! A big thank you to the Local Tribune, Huntington Woods, Berkley Patch, for local coverage or our events and a special thank you to the Detroit Free Press and Patricia Anstett, their medical writer for her wonderful segment on Women and Heart Disease, last Sunday February 20th. Your wonderful article and photos by Kathleen Galligan will raise much awareness to the women in the Metro Detroit Area about Heart Disease. You ladies did a fantastic job and I am sure it will help to save lives.

There is one more group of ladies I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart. The volunteer women who have been at several of February’s events including this luncheon. They come early for set up and stay late for take down. Their countless hours are given freely without reserve. You ladies are exactly who I talk about when I speak of the internal power of women. You give so graciously of your time and efforts for the cause and I thank you so much. I too am a volunteer. I have been personally affected by Heart Disease since a young girl of 12. For whatever reason, you have chosen the AHA, GRFW movement to donate your gifts of time and energy to, I thank you sincerely.

I also want to again thank the AHA/ GRFW for allowing me to share my personal story nationally as well as locally. It touched my heart deeply when I looked out at the sea of red at this luncheon. I am reminded again and again that I am not alone in this Disease and I find comfort in each and every one of you. I have grown very fond of the AHA/ GRFW and all it encompasses and I care deeply about the wonderful staff, nationally as well as locally (you wonderful ladies in Southfield …you know who you all are) and the volunteers, donors, corporate supporters and everyone that makes it tick. Thank you all for what you do.

In closing, all of us shared a common purpose this past Thursday, February 24th 2011, as well as the entire month of February, Heart Month. As this month comes to a close let us all be reminded that the battle to lessen the strangle hold Heart Disease has on women is an every day, monthly, yearly endeavor. The way to lessen this disease in women is through funding, research and education that will help save lives. During these difficult economic times please remember that the gift of life is the greatest of all and to please continue to support this cause in anyway, whether it’s dollars or that of your time. Please consider being a supporter of the AHA’s GRFW movement if you are not already. Together we women are a force to be reckoned with and together we can help to save the lives of our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters…ourselves …our lives truly depend on it.

Sincerely and from the heart,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First Half of Heart Month was a ... WOW!

Hello friends of Go Red For Women!

Two weeks have gone by since “National Wear Red” day and I have to say that the Metro Detroit area has been rockin’ red ever since. I hope that the rest of this month is as fruitful in getting the all-important message out...Heart Disease is the number 1 killer of women, 80% is preventable and it’s time to take action to lessen its impact on all of the lovely ladies in our lives!

I am going to play catch up in this blog post, as a great deal has happened in the past 2 weeks! I had the privilege of speaking to the employees at the ITC Company in Novi on National Go Red day, Feb 4th. At their annual luncheon I told my heart story and Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan from Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital also spoke. She brought us all up to date on the rising numbers of women being affected by Heart Disease and how we can change these ever-increasing numbers. She was wonderful and extremely informative. I am very concerned when I hear that the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks the State of Michigan number one among all states in the country with the highest cholesterol at 38.6 % of its adult population. Michigan also has one of the highest numbers of obesity, nationally. I myself wasn’t aware of this and this information makes the mission of change all that more important. Later the same day I spent the evening at a fundraiser “Wear Red happy hour” at the Black Finn in Royal Oak. I had a chance to meet several new people and enjoyed old friends and family! Thank you Black Finn for all of the wonderful hors d'oeuvres you donated for our fundraiser!!

The following week, on Feb. 9th, I was invited to speak at the annual “Go Blue, Go Red” Luncheon held at the U of M Dearborn Campus. The wonderful staff at U of M has an annual fundraiser, giving out beautiful baskets, 50/50 drawing , and many prizes! The models in the fashion show there were all staff members, Professors and all were in good humor. I loved speaking to a sea of red when I looked out into the audience! Thank you U of M Dearborn!

My agenda the rest of the week was very full. Friday, the 11th I spoke to many GM employees at the Renaissance Center. The Southfield AHA staff set up a beautiful area in the Ren Cen’s Wintergarden for employees to come down for lunch and listen to our message, our mission. The response was great, and successful. Many of them took additional information with them in the form of brochures and even had blood pressure screening done! The following day, the 12th, I was asked to drop the game-starting puck for the Plymouth Whalers hockey team, at the Compuware Ice Arena in Plymouth. I dropped the puck with a young hockey player Tyler Seigen. He is a newly signed NFL player for the Boston Briens, who was a Plymouth Whaler not so long ago. One of the fundraisers at the game was called “Chuck the Puck”. I had never heard of this before and was pleasantly surprised to find out that soft spongy pucks are purchased to toss on the ice after the 2nd period. Several of the pucks are then picked up and prizes are won! Interested parties bought 6 pucks for $5 or one for $1. It proved to be a very delightful way to raise funds for the AHA. When the horn blew after the 2nd period hundreds of pucks flew through the air onto the ice!!! Thank goodness they were only sponge inside! Mine never made it to the ice, as I have a pretty weak throw! There were also several tables of literature to hand out, a table where children colored to win prizes, tattoos and stickers were also given out. I had a wonderful time handing out this literature because it gave me an opportunity to converse with many ladies and gentlemen about our mission. It was a very fun evening! Thank you to the wonderful Plymouth Whaler organization!!

The following day, Sunday the 13th I attended “Zumba for the Heart” at Body Language Fitness and Yoga Center in Commerce, where an hour presentation by Andrea von Behren RD taught us “ How to make healthy choices while grocery shopping!” This was then followed by a full hour of intense Zumba, which kicked know what! This was my first experience with Zumba. This particular class was by no means a 100 level, but more like a 700 level class. If you want to get in shape quickly and stay in shape, this is certainly the thing for you. It mingles dance and exercise moves together. This fast paced and often times intense aerobic movement is set to, rap, rock and reggie, music. After this intense work out for an hour we spent the next hour recovering with food and drink while sharing heart healthy information with each other.

Just prior to the beginning of the Zumba evening, we were all pleasantly surprised when the Detroit Free Press arrived to take pictures of our fundraising event! Battling the #1 killer of women, isn’t for the faint of heart or prideful. News coverage of these events is extremely helpful in getting the AHA’s message out and quickly becomes a very humbling experience when one (that would be me) looks ridiculous sucking in air! This kind of experience happens in this line of work and is well worth the fight for team “Life”! Thank you Body Language Fitness and to the Detroit Free Press for covering several of our AHA GRFW events!

The most recent GRFW event was just this pass Tuesday evening, Feb 15th,, at the Huntington Woods Library, viewing “Go Red For Women Presents; Speak Up To Saves Lives” and the unveiling of the “Red Dress Tour”, sponsored by Deloitte and Designed by the Talented students of the International Academy of Design -Technology of Detroit. The local AHA gals again set up a beautiful event, with delicious food, donated by Buca di Beppo and again a lot of informative literature available to hand out. We had the privilege of having Dr. Pam Marcovitz, Director of the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center speak to all the lovely Huntington Woods ladies and I too shared my story. It was a fantastic evening of sharing information, food and company! Several years ago I worked at the local Huntington Woods Lutheran Preschool. I worked for 8 years there until my husband’s work relocation to NY. I have grown to love this community and have made many lifetime friends! I was so happy to see so many come out to learn about how Heart Disease is affecting women today and helping in our mission to spread the word.

The next big upcoming event, I will be involved in ,is next week February 24th. It is the “Detroit Go Red For Women Luncheon” held annually. This year it will be held at the MGM Grand, Detroit. It is locally presented by Toyota and Quicken Loans and nationally presented by Macy’s and Merck. If at all possible come join in the celebration with over 700 of southeast Michigan’s most prominent female leaders from corporate, medical, educational and social communities to raise awareness and funds for meritorious research specific to women and heart disease. Registration, health screenings and exhibits, educational sessions and silent auction, Estee Lauder “Red –Lipstick” station, shutter booth, massages and more start at 9 AM. The “Red Dress Fashion Show” and a heart healthy lunch will start at 12:00 noon. I, with our Executive Leadership Team, will be learning how to walk down the runway this Monday evening in anticipation of the fashion show! If you’re interested in attending please contact Shelley Rusinek , AHA Southfield contact # 249-936-5807, tickets are $175.00. As you can see it has been a busy few weeks and there have been many events I haven’t attended. Please visit the Southfield AHA web sight for events specifically in your area!

I want to thank everyone I have had the privilege to work with at our local Southfield AHA office ( Shelly, Alicia, Melissa, Dana, Heather, Kathy and many more). They have facilitated most of the “February Heart Month” events in the Metro Detroit area and many of these allowed me to share my story. It is so rewarding to touch others lives in this way. I have met so many ladies affected by Heart Disease personally or family members. The common thread I have felt these past weeks, that connects all of these events together, is the necessity to spread “awareness” of this Disease. Awareness is imperative first, and then we can tackle the need to empower women to take action and control of their heart health. So many women these past weeks have told me that they had no idea that Heart Disease is the number one killer of women, this has to change. Currently 50% of women do not know this still! Ladies we must not only pass this information on but also encourage everyone we do pass it to, to then pass it on to others. The AHA asks that each of us tell 5 women and then they tell 5 women and so on...that heart disease is the number 1 killer and is 80% preventable with heart healthy life style changes! This is wonderful news. In doing this we can make a huge difference and save many mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, and daughters lives. Please join me in this effort...our lives depend on it!

Sincerely and from the heart

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thank you for your wonderful support of National Wear Red Day and Happy Super Bowl Sunday! February 6, 2011

Hello to all of you wonderful supporters of “Go Red For Women”!

Today is the day to stop, pause, and take note of the wonderful … game of football ! I bet you thought I was going to start with something really inspiring and “Go Red” oriented. I guess if you ask any man, he would say that football is a very inspirational game and rightfully so, I even enjoy it now and then. For me, however, I have come to correlate it to my life, in a way. Football parallels our lives. Being a player in this game "life" requires us to advance the ball forward on a large field of earth, in hopes of winning while enjoying the journey. However, as we all know we just don't play it we live it. In our effort to move our lives in a positive direction, we often have to stop for a time out and redirect these efforts. Often we need to change our game plan due to the circumstances on the field of life. These changes make a difference on whether we score or not, scoring of course being the positive result of our efforts. Who ever scores the most points, wins big. Who is our opposition? It is often ourselves. I believe ultimately our internal struggles often thwart our efforts to win in this game of life.

One of my struggles, that I try to advance the ball in, is with my weight. My entire adult life I have worked hard to move my weight in the right direction. It has always been a difficult battle, and I continue in this effort everyday. My effort to reduce my weight goes way beyond aesthetics. Increased weight can be life threatening for me and for many others. All the current medical data point to these facts, that obesity and diabetes are epidemic. To advance myself forward on the field requires me to continue to lose weight. My game victory is to live a long and healthy life.

My personal game always has someone or something on the playing field thwarting my best efforts. I equate my well-stocked refrigerator and pantry to that of a defensive linebacker who tries to always stop me and derail my best efforts. Even having stocked these with healthy foods, it is a battle to keep the amount eaten down to a level that not only sustains me but hopefully helps, me lose weight. If I don’t advance myself out of the kitchen and choose something positive or physical to do, I lose the game for team Janine! To be aggressive with myself and advance my ball forward with determination it requires getting myself on the elliptical machine, walking outside, cleaning, or visiting with someone. I can always resort to shopping (not my husband’s choice for me), but the key for me is to do something, anything that will get me out of the kitchen! When I am successful in doing this, I feel good about myself and my efforts pay off. However, sometimes, quarterback Janine takes too long in releasing the ball and the opposition, Mr. refrigerator and Mrs. pantry, sack her. The most important part of this game though, isn’t that I get sacked, it’s that I get up, with all my effort, and make the necessary game changes that allow me to win the next time and advance my ball forward. I will not win every play or every game, but I strive to win more than I lose, and that is what’s important.

In my effort to win more than I lose, in this challenge with my weight, I have found that a great deal has to do with how hard I am on myself. If I can let go of that gnawing voice in the back of my head saying “You screwed up” and I immediately forgive myself for a bad choice, I then can advance my next game plan into a positive direction. When I string the positive advances together and when they outweigh poor choices, I still end up winning the game! That’s the great news. We can mess up now and then. It’s okay to make some poor choices, but we have to get back up with our best effort and move forward in a positive direction. Life is exactly this. The harder we judge ourselves, the harder it is to move forward. It is imperative that we move in the right direction and that we forgive our poor choices immediately. With all this being said, I strive everyday to move my ball in the direction of making a touchdown. Touchdown after touchdown leads to my goal of a long and healthy life. I choose to forgive my poor choices and strive to continue to make better ones. I choose to move the ball forward with forgiveness and perseverance. In doing this, I know my efforts will lead me to a strong win!

Also, it is not just the occasional poor choices that send me to the stainless steel cooler in my kitchen but circumstances out of my control. It may be that the experience I had looking for that knew dress for my daughters graduation party that put me into a tail spin...going straight to the size 7-8 dresses wasn't the best thing for me to do, clearly I was no where near that size. Also the first day of Kindergarten for my daughter, when the teacher asked us all to take a chair... yes I sat in it one of the kids chairs, thats all there was and I landed on the floor with all of the legs giving way. This was not a good day for me and how I viewed myself or my weight. My daughters teacher, Mrs Doubtfire the second (Miss Lemke) Immediately came to my aid and tried to trivialize it. These events are out of our control often, what we have to remember is we need to acknowledge them for what they are ( just a moment in time) and move past them as quickly as possible. We cannot beat ourselves up with these humors in life but learn from them. I have never sat in a child's chair since.

I hope all of you will join me in advancing the ball for the AHA’s Go Red For Women campaign and their mission to “Speak up to save lives” throughout this February (Heart Month) and every month… and years after. I want to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support of this cause and for your continued support of me (you know who you are). We are all in this game of life together, and sometimes we feel alone. By reaching out and touching lives and supporting this cause, you will have passed the ball in a positive direction and helped “Team Life.”

Thank you for your wonderful support of National Wear Red Day and Happy Super Bowl Sunday!
Sincerely and from the heart,

Friday, February 4, 2011

National Wear Red Day is here!!!

    For those of you who didn't get a chance to watch my Heart Story on WDIV Channel 4, 11:00 news last night, I am attaching the link below, so you can read it if you feel inclined to do so and there is a link to the online video interview there also.  My symptoms...what I did right and not so right are in this written story that Channel 4's Medical Producer Sarah Mayberry wrote...

    Have a wonderful National Wear Red Day Ladies... spread the good news, we can make a difference in the fight against Heart Disease through awareness and taking action to lead a heart healthy life style.  Know your risk factors by visiting; and take the online  Heart Check up today! If you don't know your Heart numbers.... make your appointment today to visit your Doctors to find out! The tools are all online to help you start living a heart healthy life style!!! Please pass this on to 5 women and then they can pass it on to 5 more..... this message could reach so many that do not know what we know and that is, Heart Disease in the #1 cause of women's death... and it needn't be...

Thank you, sincerely and from the heart!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February's HEART Month activities and Tomorrow's National Wear Red Day!!!

February 3,  2011

For our mothers, grandmothers sisters, aunts, friends, and all women….wear RED tomorrow!!! Friday 2/4/2011
It’s National Wear Red Day! You will be helping save lives!
Watch Channel 4 news tonight at 11pm for my heart story!

Good afternoon fellow Go Red Ladies!!!

     Tomorrow is the day to speak out and help save lives by wearing RED. Something as little as this can make a huge impact, and I encourage everyone I know to do this for the women in their lives!

     In my endeavor to write about my “Heart Month” events I though I would share a few events I had on Tuesday… and yes one was  smack in the middle of our largest snowstorm this season! The first was  a radio interview with WGPR 107.5 FM radio station here in Detroit.  The Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) produces a weekly, 60 minute, magazine-style radio show that is aired every Saturday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and it is called the “Senior Solution!”  Mr. Paul Bridgewater, President and CEO of the DAAA interviewed  me for a 15 minute segment for this Saturday 2-5-2011, so if you get a chance drop in for a listen. We conversed about Go Red for Women’s mission to bring awareness of Heart Disease to women  and how they can take action to know and lessen their own risk factors for the disease.  He voiced his appreciation of the fact that women’s symptoms can be much different than men’s…he had a heart attack himself and received a stent to open up the blockage in his  coronary artery.  So if you get a chance tune in to listen!

     My second Go Red event was at the Charles H Wright Museum of  African American History, downtown on Warren Ave in Detroit.   I was asked to talk to the attendees of  the “’Living to the Beat of your Heart”  program about heart disease and my personal experiences.  Channel 2’s morning news anchor, Anquenette Jamison, was the moderator for the evening, a very warm and approachable young lady.  There were less numbers than anticipated, mostly due to the largest snowstorm in the Detroit Metro area this season, but we had a wonderful evening.  I arrived early at 6pm with little snow falling and left at 8:30pm to an accumulation of already 4 to 5 inches! It ended up being a very warm evening inside, of sharing and many questions and answers.  The participants were delightful and energetic.  We even had a hustle class taught to us, to learn how to mingle dance and exercise together!  I had a great time! Since it took me over an hour to get home driving 30 mph  on I-75’s snow covered road, I had some time for quiet reflection of the evening.  I had talked about my heart related experiences, the AHA Go Red for Women initiative, and what we as women must do for ourselves to reign in this disease that affects so many women in our families, friends, and ourselves.  I found myself talking about a very dear philosophy of mine and that is “Living in one day often one moment at a time” 

After my heart attack, I decided to change my approach to life in regards to stress management.  I’ve known for a long time that the way I approach life, in a very controlled way,  continued to be counterproductive to leading the  peaceful existence I so longed for.  So simply put … I changed things up. My newfound philosophy requires me to work hard everyday at acknowledging my controlling self and tendencies and making choices to counteract their deeply imbedded position in my psyche.  I am happy to say that every day I get closer to winning the struggle between the old  and new me.  I used to add so much unnecessary stress to my life and that of my families, so when  I was asked by Angela King,  the “30  Days to Lose It Program” museum educator and coordinator, “how did you de-stress your life,” I said by “Living in the day, often one moment at a time.”  She replied “Really… how do you do that?”  I have come to sincerely believe that the stress we live in is unreasonable and too often self-inflicted.  We ladies often live in the past, by second-guessing ourselves, and in our tomorrow’s list of all we need to get done…the day we’re living in is somewhat lost..  I asked myself sometime ago, what benefit, if any, do I derive from revisiting yesterday? My conclusion was absolutely nothing…that day is done, over ca-put.  What benefit do I derive from worrying about tomorrow and all it encompasses? I get not one positive thing from that; I do however find myself wasting precious energy with tomorrow’s worries.  The fact is ladies… life is so dynamic, ever-changing hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, and we deal with change constantly.  Why do we  try and plant in stone what is going to happen tomorrow or worry about it, when anything can happen and ultimately change all of your well thought out plans and worries?  I truly feel that if I work diligently to stay in my day in thought and effort, I lead a much happier and less stressful existence.  Now many may think, this sounds good but really, it’s not realistic.  I prefer to think otherwise, and it has worked for me.  The key to this endeavor for me is to truly rely on my natural instincts and confidence in myself.  Ladies, if we tap into our wonderful instincts, and talents, and are confident in them, we become able to deal with anything at any given moment.  We are our own worst enemy when it comes to questioning our abilities and ourselves.  Instinctually, we have amazing capabilities and when we learn to block out the negative that makes us question ourselves, which ultimately puts us in a whirlwind of panic, which is followed by over  analyzing everything, we then start lessening our  stress.  Now,  I’m not a psychologist or claim to carry a PHD, but I do know how I feel today versus pre- heart attack days…and I feel so much better today. I have found that my choice to “live in the day” I am in, slows me down and allows me to make better  heart healthy choices for myself.  If I take a few breaks, moments, in my day to stop and think and give thanks for all I’ve been blessed with, then I always make better, healthier choices for myself.  I choose the stairs rather than the elevator…I walk (in NY) rather than take a taxi…I make a better choice in my midday snack.  Things become so much more pleasant. 
   I made a choice after my heart attack to “live in the day I am in,” and I make a genuine effort and work hard everyday to do this. It has been difficult to master, and I continue to work on it everyday…. But the rewards are immense for me. I have a deep faith in the man upstairs, that when I fail, it’s okay with him and so why not me?  The old adage, “What doesn’t break us will only make us stronger” is so true.  But take it a little bit further and look at the “break us” term.  We have the ability to not allow anything to “break us” or our spirit.  Tap into this strength and learn to rely on it.  I do and by doing this, the sky’s the limit “one day at a time.”  Yesterday’s gone, a memory, tomorrow is off in the future…today is what living is all about. 

Sincerely and from the heart,


Saturday, January 29, 2011

February's HEART Month activities...

 January 29, 2011

Hello fellow bloggers,

     The trees outside are once again lined in white today with newly fallen snow and all is beautiful and good. In my efforts to share my life with heart disease, I thought I would share the Go Red For Women events I am involved with this February, Heart Month…

     Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity of having local news Channel 4 come to my home to do a segment on Heart Disease and my story.  It will be aired next week to kick off Heart Month and Sarah, their wonderful Senior Medical producer, and Rob, her cameraman and an Intern, greeted me mid-day. Melissa Thrasher, AHA’s Communications Director, Midwest Affiliate, was also here as I asked her to stop in for moral support and I am very grateful she took the time to do so!  They were all so approachable and kind; I was immediately very comfortable. If you would like to read the story please visit;  
To see the video, just click on the video camera on this story page!

     Sarah asked me several questions that of which were easy to answer…it is my story…I lived it.  I spoke about the pain that started between my shoulder blades a week before my Heart Attack and how the pain intensified the day of and wrapped around to my chest, with the feeling like a tourniquet was being tightened.  I spoke of sweating and vomiting and the fact that I minimized the significance of  these cardiac symptoms to possibly having a gallbladder attack.  I even showered, shaved my legs,did my hair, put my make up on and clean clothes before leaving for the Doctors that day. After answering all of her questions they took video of me around my home and of my cherished photographs of family. It was a lovely afternoon of sharing and getting to know each other.

     The most poignant moment of my day came when Sarah ask me one specific question…"If you could change anything in your life experience what would it be?"  I had to dig deep down for this one. You would think that my answer would be to not have had a heart attack, but I have grown so much since this event and now I’m hopefully helping others by sharing my experience, so that wasn’t my answer. Then it came to me, an epiphany of sorts…what I would change…it would be that my parents would have been able to live a long and happy life; they died way too young and I have missed them so very much. However, my wish isn’t for my own selfish reasons, that of which I most definitely have, but for my children.  You see, neither of my girls ever got to know my mother or father.  My two daughters never got to experience my mom and dad’s wonderful presence and their kind loving spirits.  This is such a huge loss to both of my girls, as well as my parents and me.  My parents would have so enjoyed watching both of them grow into beautiful young ladies, inside and out. My mother always wanted to become a teacher.  She was valedictorian of her high school class and to know that both girls became high school math and english teachers, here in Michigan and went on to earn their masters degrees,  would have made her so proud.  Tony, my husband of 31 years and high school sweet heart, and I share countless stories of my folks with our girls. I have been blessed that he knew them well.  However, these stories can never touch either of our daughter’s hearts like having known them personally would have. My father was a Sergeant firefighter in our local City of Royal Oak and had countless stories he told of his endeavors on the force. I can re-tell the stories,however, not the way he did. Having my girls know my parents would be the change I would a heartbeat, if I could.  I hope to change my family’s history and meet my future grandchildren someday.  I want to know them and them to know me!  I want to share my life experiences with them and learn from them too.  This is the most important human gift we have… each other.  My parents have ten grandchildren, and all of them never knew their grandparents. With that being said, I will do everything in my power to change this course of history in my family and be healthy, wealthy ( in love of family) and wise in my endeavor to beat the odds and live to share life with my grand-babies! 

     Ladies, I have been given a wake up call by the man upstairs!  I thank him everyday for the chance to share my life with anyone I can help.  In doing this I have found that I receive so much more than I could ever give when touching others lives. Please join with me in pursuit to  lessen this disease, by taking care of your heart health.  Know your own personal risk factors and work to lessen their impact on your heart. Take action this February, Heart Month by visiting Go Red for Women’s website and register for a Red Dress pin to wear. When I wear this pin, I am amazed at how easily it becomes a topic of conversation, not only with family and friends but also with complete strangers and this my friends is what the AHA’s GRFW initiative is all about… awareness and taking action!

     Now off to do my elliptical walk! Since the beautiful snow covered walks have not yet been cleared,  I will enjoy my walk inside today!

Sincerely and from the heart,


Thursday, January 20, 2011

FEBRUARY: Love month + Heart month = Love your Heart Month... through education, awareness and action!!

Thursday January 20, 2011

     February 4th, 2011 is “National Wear Red Day!  Join the American Heart Association and “Go Red For Women” organizations with me by supporting their mission to spread Heart Disease awareness and Heart Healthy lifestyles in your work places, homes, ladies organizations, exercise classes, group functions, anywhere and any place you will be, by wearing Red all Day!

     I am so excited and looking forward to a very busy February, working and sharing with the Metro Detroit area American Heart Association and Go Red For Women organizations!   This month will be full of local events, bringing awareness and educational information, and these events can be found on our local AHA website;  
Also, please see what is happening on the National level through the web site:

      I have been asked to share my story by the American Heart Association as a National Go Red For Women Spokeswomen.  I have spoke several times sharing my Heart Attack experience; the days before it, the day of, days following and rehabilitation. My personal experiences with Heart Disease goes way beyond this cardiac event, as I have lived with it in my life since I was a young girl, living in fear of losing a loved one to it.  I support the AHA and GRFW movement and ask you to consider this also.  By supporting this organization and its mission to educate women about risk factors, heart healthy life styles, this disease can be significantly lessened. All of us can contribute by educating ourselves our friends, loved ones, and children with information that is available to us today, especially with the Internet. I didn’t have this available to me when I was younger and appreciate that our children, with this information and action, can avoid this disease with early Heart Healthy choices. As I pause to think about how I got to this point in my own life’s journey with Heart Disease, having a Heart attack at age 46, both of my parent’s deaths from Heart disease, I realize that it all has contributed to who I am today and why I have chosen to share my personal journey with you…
      Ever since I was a young girl, age 12, I have been affected by Heart Disease. At the age of 39 my Mother was diagnosed with Mitral Stenosis, a narrowing of the Mitral valve in her heart. She was diagnosed with this only as a result of it having  progressed into Congestive Heart Failure.  I remember, like it was yesterday, the feeling I had when my father said " your mother has heart failure and needs open heart surgery"...what does that mean ?!! ... I thought.  I was frightened by the prospect of surgery and experienced a deep sense of aloneness.  Thirty two years ago, it wasn't a common place thing, and my mother had lost her mother to the same Heart Disease, her mother dying at the young age of 39.  Now,  here my mother was, the same age with the same diagnosis. She  was convinced that if she allowed the surgery to be done; she would not live through it. Her choice was to be treated medically (only medication) and opted out of surgery, this choice gave her ten more years of life.  She remained in the hospital a few more weeks, as the Doctors worked to regulate her heart rhythms and support her failing heart.  I missed her very much while she was hospitalized.  During my childhood years  things like this were not discussed with “the children”…that was our family dynamic. I don’t recall even going to see her at the hospital…just waited for her return. 
     As the eldest daughter, two older brothers and younger sister, I recall being very hard on myself during this time.  I instituted a self-directed crash course in domestic engineering immediately,  to fill this momentary void my family was feeling, experiencing.  My well-planned direction however was somewhat thwarted when my Italian Aunt Theresa (Bucciarelli, being my maiden name) came and visited, bi- weekly, to  inspect and help during my mother’s absence.  I found her to be a bit scary back then, and felt Attila the Hun had arrived.  She is a wonderful Aunt, this is just how I viewed her then. She made it very clear to me that I was to help take care of the home while my mother was away, a roll I took very seriously at a young age. I recall getting up early one morning with her clanging pots and pans in the kitchen, she emptied two huge pantries (each 5ft wide by 8 feet high, by 2feet deep). One was for food and the other housed all our pots, pans and utensiles.  She felt a need to have me clean, reline, and reorganize both.  I then was given a crash coarse in cooking by her.  Again, I felt very alone.  My focus became one of domestic issues and not of my mothers illness.  I had a need to understand her Disease, illness and hoped for any explanation… information. I felt the same way with my Father’s journey with Heart Disease.  I will share his story another day as well as what I experienced having my own heart attack, everything I felt before, after, in between and my stupidity and denial.
     This is one of the reasons I chose to share and tell my Heart story… it’s to encourage those who have had similar experiences in their lives, to share with those in their own families, friends and particularly the children.  Aloneness visited me all through my growing years, and continued to through adulthood in regards to my family’s experiences with Heart Disease. Suffice it to say even after choosing a heart related field to work, as an adult, this sense of being alone, in understanding and sharing, still haunted me, until I found, or should I say they found me…an organization, Go Red For Women.  They are an organization under the direction of the American Heart Association that has helped fill a void I have had in my life, in regards to Heart Disease.  I have found a caring, sharing, empathetic, wonderful, full-hearted group of ladies (yes, and men) who have opened my eyes, heart and desire to share my story, so that others can learn from it.  Interesting enough, I wasn’t truly aware of the depth of my aloneness, in Heart Disease, until asked to speak a few sentences at the National, NBC Special Premier, held at the NASDAQ in New York City, this past fall.  I have always been a very controlled individual, however when I got up in front of the many that attended and started to speak, I was overcome with emotion... I had an epiphany. These people who were in attendance were here to support me,  to understand and help me and others understand the complexities of Heart Disease and what can be done to lessen it. They understood… they were CEO’s, CFOs’, Presidents, Vice Presidents of huge corporations, journalists, American Heart Association Staff, Go Red For Women Staff, Heart disease survivors… and they were there to support, raise funds to fight and understand this insidious disease, that of which had affected me so deeply for so many years. I found myself welled up with emotion and tears, which I very rarely show anyone, ask my kids!  I quickly regained my composure and spoke.  I don’t remember what came out of my mouth to be quite honest, but I do remember and always will the feeling of joy I had... and a short thought  I spoke internally…“ They understand".

There can be no happiness equal to the joy of finding a heart that understands.
~ Victor Robinson

     As this February draws near I want to turn heads and hearts towards this wonderful organization.  Their mission is to truly help women lessen their risk of Heart Disease.   Our Detroit Metro chapter will be lighting Municipal buildings Red, having our Go Red Luncheon at the MGM on Feb 24th (everyone welcome), many local events…February 4th at the Black Finn in Royal Oak (Happy Hour 7pm to 10pm), February 15th, Huntington Woods Women’s League’s sharing and watching GRFW NBC special, and so much more.  Again, please check out the local web site listed above.
     By wearing Red all day, Feb 4th, you will be supporting this organization and women all over who have been affected by this Disease, either themselves or a loved one. Heart Disease is not gender specific or age specific.  It affects all nationalities on all continents and is now Nationally the number one killer of Women. Lets lessen the number of Women that are affected by this disease.  Ladies, we need to learn to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of our loved ones!

Sincerely and from the heart,

Oh one more thing... If you feel inclined to help Go Red For Women, the American Heart Associaion and National Go Red Day" by your cash blessings, please feel free to do so.  Your support would be greatly appreciated and welcomed!
Please visit: ... to help me reach my goal by February 4th!