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!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5, 2011 My New Years Resolution...

 My New Years Resolution... to touch someone with my voice, through a heart felt blog…

     I was asked sometime ago to start a blog that shared my experiences and insights into a private world of “Heart Disease”.  To you lovely ladies who asked me to do this… here’s my heart felt attempt at doing so.  You know who you are and now I start, in hopes of touching ladies lives …

Hello fellow bloggers,

    My name is Janine Krolikowski and I represent the American Heart Association as a Go Red For Women National Spokeswomen.  My journey with this wonderful organization started last February 2010.  I attended a “Go Red For Women” casting call at Macy’s in Manhattan, not really understanding fully what I was doing. I live in NY part time and Michigan. My husband's job change brought us to NY a year and a half ago and my life has never been the same!  Last February I was having my daily morning coffee and going over my e-mails when a local news clip caught my eye.  A local news caster was asking ladies to attend the American Heart Associations “Go Red for Women" casting call at Macy’s in Manhattan.  They wanted women to come and share their “Heart” stories so as to help promote heart healthy living and Heart Disease awareness, Nation wide.  Something in me stirred.  I felt I needed to do this.  I quickly tried to thwart the feeling, it was a cold blustery winter day, and I didn’t really care to trudge through the City.  I couldn’t shake the feeling though, so I decided to take the bus in and walk from the Port Authority to Macy’s, several blocks away… my last years resolution was to walk more :- /
     Upon arriving at Macy’s, I noticed all of the employees wearing a red dress pin on their collars.  When I got off the escalator, large photos were displayed of past Go Red Spokeswomen, and their stories immediately welcomed me. I was very emotionally moved by them and decided to approach the welcome desk.  I was asked several questions in regards to my heart history.  I had my own heart attack at the age of 46 and lost both of my parents to Heart Disease at a young age.  The impact of their struggles with this Disease affected several years of my youth and adult life. The ladies were very interested in my story and I was quickly whisked behind a curtain to tell some of it, to a huge camera!  As a result of this, I was asked to be a National Spokeswomen for them.  I am  now extending my heart and hands to all of you in hopes that by sharing my insight and experiences with you, I can make an impact on lessening the strangle hold Heart Disease has on women.  You will have first hand information as to how Heart Disease has affected my life and how you can lessen your own  risk!  Heart Disease is the number one killer of women today.  We loose one lovely lady to this disease every minute.  Please join me in my mission to fight this disease by visiting and our own local chapter in Southfield, MI ;

Please visit these websites to see what you can do personally to help lessen this Disease by contributing to the movement.  You can contributed immensely by just knowing your own risk factors, acting to lessen them and  encouraging all those in your life to do the same.  We can and will lessen Heart Disease with your help.

     This February 4, 2011 is “National Wear Red Day”  The AHA, through Go Red for Women, hope to light up the Nation by everyone wearing RED and lighting up many of our local and National buildings! Even the Empire State building will GO RED!  Please join me and the thousands already on board!  I will continue to post my story to all of you through my blog, and post upcoming events as I get them.  You can also read some of my story by getting a copy of  “PREVENTION MAGAZINE” February 2011 issue on the News Stands now! This issue features GRFW in a 30-page story on Heart attacks.  Go to the News stands and check it out!

     Please excuse any inperfections in my writing…I certainly am not a writer by trade…but a sharer...
Sincerely and from the heart,