I think what scares me the most about my heart scare is that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. It was a true wake up call to live everyday like it is your last. It did however “wake me up” so to speak. I am now fully aware that I am not invincible.
In the past three months I have been to many doctor’s visits, many blood draws, and several visits to the Heart Failure Clinic. I am now wearing a Life Vest. (A wearable defibrillator, which means if my heart decides to stop working this will give me a shock to get it started again.) I have been told that I can walk now but that is the only work out I can do until I get my echo done. I have wonderful people working in the Heart Failure Clinic that hold nothing back from me. Which I love. Be honest with me and let me know what is going on with me. I know that I have a few things against me. I know that once your heart is at 30-35% you are at risk for Cardiac Arrest. Which is why I am wearing a Life Vest. I know now that I will be on heart medicine for the rest of my life.
Let’s just talk about this Life Vest for a minute. The life vest is very uncomfortable for a woman. It is definitely made for man or someone who is flat chested. But I have to say wearing it in the middle of summer is no fun also. It fits snug to your chest and back so if it is hot out you are a sweaty Betty. Also they only give you two vests to change from so you are constantly washing them. But if it saves my life I will continue to wear it until I know where I stand.
What changes have I made in my life since my heart scare?
I have cut salt out of my diet. Trying to limit
my salt intake to below 1500 mg.
I lost 32 pounds so far.
I am cutting sugar out of my life. Just have it
Cut caffeine out.
Take my blood pressure twice a day and weigh myself
Trying to find time to relax and stop to smell
What are my hopes in the coming months?
One that when I have my partial echo on Aug 1
that my EF rate is above 30-35%.
Two if it is not over the 35% that I get the
implanted version of the life vest called an ICD so that I can take the vest
What are my future plans regarding my health?
Take a mediation class to calm my thoughts
Walk every day
Keep up with blood pressure readings and weighing myself.
Keep learning how to eliminate salt from my diet.
Try to stay positive in every situation.
So remember to stop and smell the roses. Don’t wait for tomorrow for what you can do today. Tomorrow is not promised.
Let me tell you about the last few months in my life. I had quite a scare a few months ago regarding my heart. I want to share with you the night it all happened and some of what I think lead up to my scare.
This morning I woke and had a strange pressure in my chest.
I am not feeling good. I think I am getting pneumonia. I am going to Urgent
care to see if I am. Sitting in Urgent care now. Doctor came in listened to my
lungs said he did not hear anything. Blood pressure was 148/102 pulse was 108. Doctor
said I had a virus and I just needed to let it run its course. He did give me
an inhaler and sent me on my way.
April 22nd-April 24th
I spent the last three days at home with a horrible
headache. It hurts all the way to the back of head. I still can’t breathe very
Back to work today. Jon is gone on a diving trip. Came home from work and started to walk Captain. I walked to the middle of the first block. I feel like someone has stabbed my back. I can barely breath and I feel like I might pass out from the pain. Good thing Captain is a puller, I am going to let him pull me back to house. Finally, I am sitting on the porch. I think I have been sitting here for 30 minutes. At least the pain is gone.
Made it thru the weekend. I was so tired that I stayed home
and tried to get better before I went back to work on Monday. Still coughing
and can’t breathe very well.
I went to work today. I seem to be doing better. Still coughing but at least the breathing is slightly better. I am just exhausted though. Jon came home yesterday so he is getting dinner thank goodness. I decide to have a coconut ice cream pop. This will make my throat feel better from all the coughing. Nope, oh my gosh, I cannot breathe again. I am going to bed. Oh man I tried to lay down and I can’t. I can’t catch my breath. What is going on? Now I am scared. Ok I will just sleep in the chair. Jon keeps asking me if I should go to the ER. ER? Huh, they won’t find anything. Ok Jon wins we are going to the ER. Here at the ER getting checked in. My blood pressure was 183/125 and pulse was at 130. Wow that must have scared the nurse checking me in because she rushed back to a room. Now they are doing all the normal things. Getting me set up with a heart monitor, checking all my vitals, drawing lots of blood. Ugh I must go get an x-ray of my chest. Man, I can barely stand to get this x-ray. I get back to my room and off I go to get a CT Scan. I tell the nurse that I can’t breathe. Can’t I just sit on the edge of the bed to catch my breath. Nope we are on our way to the CT Scan. I feel sick, I feel like I am going to throw up. Nurse hands me a bag to throw up in. Good thing he did because I started throwing up. The nurse looks at me and says we must go back as I continue to throw up. Then I looked down and saw that it was pink. Pink? What is that? Oh my gosh I am throwing up blood. I start to panic and now I can’t breathe. He is screaming we have blood here as he rushes me back to my room. Then like the scenes in movies and tv there were people everywhere. I remember saying Please help me as I try to breathe. And that was the last thing I remember from that night.
Here are the doctor’s notes from my ER Visit.Continue to read past notes for the rest of my story.
A 49-year-old female with a history significant for hypertension, gastropathy reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea on CPAP at home. She presented to ER with worsening dyspnea over the last week and a half. According to the patient’s spouse who is the primary source for this history in addition electronic medical record, patient was seen MidMichigan urgent care on 4/22 for symptoms of started on 4/20. Symptoms include chest tightness, cough and congestion. She was diagnosed with viral infection and given a Ventolin inhaler. Patient’s husband stated that she was taking this at home did not seem to help her shortness of breath. She initially felt that she is feeling better but then had worsening of her symptoms over the last 3 days. She finally presented to the emergency department by family vehicle at the prompting of her husband tonight.
Upon arrival to the emergency department, she was undergoing workup for pulmonary embolism when she had sudden onset hemoptysis and acute respiratory failure. She was intubated emergently and CT scan was negative for pulmonary embolism did show bilateral consolidation and small bilateral pleural effusions. Patient has not undergone any recent travel, had any recent falls, any exposure to illness. She lives alone with her husband.
Notes from Cardiologist
I have seen and examined the patient with my APP colleague. I have personally gathered history and performed my own physical exam. I have personally reviewed laboratory and diagnostic studies. I agree with the comprehensive note and plan of care.
Amy Pangborn is a 49-year-old female seen in consultation for new cardiomyopathy and LBBB. She presented to the hospital with progressive shortness of breath, hemoptysis, and peripheral edema. She was found to have ARDS as well as new CHF. She is currently intubated in ICU. Echo reviewed showing LVEF of 30-35% with no prior history of CHF. Initial focus on diuresis while also being treated for multilobar pneumonia / ARDS. Plan for ischemic evaluation when extubated. Start lasix gtt at 5 mg/hr.
General: alert, cooperative, no acute distress, critically ill
Notes from Cardiac Team
Amy Pangborn is a 49-year-old female patient who is unknown to our service. Primary cardiologist: None prior. The patient has a history of HTN, OSA compliant with CPAP and GERD and was admitted 4/30/2019 for acute respiratory failure. Sought evaluation in the ED for worsening dyspnea for the past week. While in the ED, patient has sudden onset of hemoptysis which precipitated acute respiratory failure needing emergent intubation. ED work up, negative for PE. Positive for bilateral multilobular pneumonia.
Upon evaluation of this patient she is awake but intubated. When asked, she does report dyspnea on exertion for the past few months, no chest discomfort. Does have more lower extremity edema recently than is normal. Must use 2-3 pillows at night recently to sleep. Denies PND. She is currently scared, but in no pain. No family is present, but patient requests for information to be relayed to her husband. She reports no known history of LBBB and has not had a cardiac work up previously.
I woke up early morning hearing my husbands voice greeting
our friends Andie and Jeremy. I couldn’t talk due to the tube down my throat. I
remember looking at Jon and crying wondering why my hands were tied to the bed.
(I guess I was trying to tear out the tube) As tears were slowly falling down
my cheeks my best friend Andie was talking to the nurses about why I still had
blood all over my face and gown. She asked for a washcloth so she could wash my
face. I just love her. Mama Bear was not having any of that. I remember her
squeezing my hand and telling me everything was going to be ok. I was so
scared. I couldn’t remember much of the night before, so Jon was telling me that
I was in ICU and what had happened since I arrived in the ER. I
remember spelling out words to family and friends with my finger on my sheet. I
know I had a lot of visitors that day. I am so sorry for the ones that came to
visit but I don’t remember. I was heavily sedated. Much of the day I was trying not to choke on
the tube in my throat. I wanted a drink of water so bad or just an ice cube on
my lips. My room of course was right
next to the ice machine which I heard being used all night.
I was more aware as the morning went on. I remember a Doctor
coming in and talking to me about my Left Bundle Branch Block and if I had been
told that I had it previously. I shook my head no. I pointed to my wedding ring
and she asked me if I wanted her to relay this onto my husband. I shook my head
yes. With the tube still in I could not answer the questions she was asking me,
and my hands were still tied to the bed. The nurses said they would be doing a
test to see if I would be ok to take the tube out. I did everything they told
me to do. I wanted that tube out so bad. Sometime this day they did finally get
the tube out but no ice or water for at least an hour or two. That was a longest
2 hours of my life. I just wanted a sip of water so bad. Later that day is when
I finally realized how close I was to losing my life. It was one of the moments
where you take a minute to collect yourself. At that moment I told Jon God must
have a plan for me because I am still here. I must have more to do.
May 3rd– May 6th
The next few days I went from ICU to progressive care to a
regular room. May 6th I was supposed to have a Heart Cath done. One
to see if I had any blockage and two to see if there was any damage done to my
heart. But I was cancelled until the
Early morning, I went in for the Heart Cath. They found no blockages, but my heart failure rate was still in 30-35%. I waited for most of the day to be sent home. Around 5 o’clock I was told I could go home. One week in the hospital was enough. I was scared to leave but glad to go home to my own bed. We scheduled appointments with my family doctor, Cardiologist, and the Heart Failure Clinic. Nurse ordered all my new medications and then I was off to go home.
I just wanted to give all the nurses at MidMichigan Medical Center that took care of me a huge shout out. They were the best. Some of you made staying at the hospital so much better. You took great care of me. Saying Thank you does not seem enough.
In my next blog I will go over what has happened to me since this day. I want to share some links that helped me understand what I was going thru.
One of my favorite salads to make for a potluck style gathering is my Chinese Chicken Salad. I have to say that I have borrowed bits and pieces from a few different recipes to come up with this one. But I think this is the best version. Most of the time I do not come home with leftovers. I normally take pictures of the process of the recipe, but I forgot. This is super easy though so I think you will be alright without the prep pictures. If you wanted to create a smaller batch just cut this recipe in half and it would be perfect for a small dinner party.
I always buy a rotisserie chicken and pull the meat off and then shred them for this recipe. But in a pinch, you can just cook up 4 chicken breasts in chicken broth and shred them with two forks. Let these cool. While they are cooling, I cook up a pound a bacon. I cut the bacon before I cook it into small pieces. Then I shred a whole small cabbage. To do this I just cut the cabbage in half and take out the core. Then I lay the flat side down and cut thin slices and then cut those in half add those to a salad bowl. I bought matchstick carrots, so I just added those in the bowl. Next, I throw in the sliced almonds and the black sesame seeds. Slice the green onions and add them to the salad bowl. Once the chicken is cooled add that to the bowl as well. Toss the salad.
Once the bacon is out of the pan, I then pour out the grease but do not clean the pan. I then add in pieces two packages of the oriental ramen noodles. Sauté them until golden brown. Now usually I would take the season packages and sprinkle them over the ramen pieces. But I have found that when you add the dressing it makes it a bit salty. I am from now on going to omit the season packages. These two items I do not add to the salad until just before serving to retain the crispness.
For the dressing I take one cup of olive oil, the juice of two lemons, sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk it all together. I always taste test the dressing because due to the lemons you might need to add more salt. Just add a half a teaspoon more until your liking. Pour into a dressing holder. Then add to the salad right before serving.
What did 2018 bring us? Let me start out with that 2017 was a bad year and we needed a pick me up. Something or someone to bring joy to our lives. In 2017 Jon and I lost both our dads and our beloved lab Joey. Jon worked with his dad every day and he also took Joey with him to work every day. When they both passed within 2 months of each other, Jon was depressed, and it was hard for him every day. But we had decided long before Joey passed that we would not get another dog. We did not want to worry about dog sitters to watch him while we boated or traveled. Around January I just felt that Jon needed a buddy to go with him to work again. He just wasn’t himself. He needed that unconditional love that a dog provides. In January of 2018 I started the search for this unconditional love giver, joy bringer, and family member dog. Jon has always loved the look of the silver lab. I searched the internet for silver lab puppies in Michigan. I found three that I thought was the most reputable and showed them to Jon. He fell in love immediately and asked what I was doing to him since we said we would not get another dog. I then told him that he needed to have his buddy back and that it was alright for us to get a puppy he could love. I saw tears in his eyes and since 2017 these tears were from joy not sadness. When I was showing him the three websites that had silver lab puppies, he was shocked to find out that one was from his Dad’s home town- Belding, Michigan. So that was our deciding point, we decided that this was the place we would get our unconditional love giver, joy bringer, and family member. Jon immediately email the owner of Rustic Sliver Labs and we were very happy to find out that they had English Silver labs and the summer of 2018 she was going to have two litters to choose from. We were fourth on the list to pick and we could not be happier. But the wait was so hard to do. We knew that we wanted another boy. We started to look forward to the day we would bring him home. Jon had for the first in a very long year smiled again. Through this process Candace Hall the owner of Rustic Silver Labs kept us in the loop about the process of the puppies. Once they were born, she immediately notified us. Few weeks later we were visiting the puppies not necessary there to pick one just to visit and see them. Candace showed us the litter that we would soon pick from. We were talking with her and telling her how this new puppy would go everywhere with us and Jon would take it to work every day. She then looks to her husband and says “should we show him”, and he said yes. She told us that a lady from the second litter could not take this puppy because she just found out that she had breast cancer and it would be too much for her. Now Jon loves the bigger, stockier labs and she knew this. She went to get this puppy, so as she placed this chubby silver puppy in Jon’s lap, I knew we found our unconditional love giver, joy bringer, and our new family member and his name would be Captain.
I have been MIA from blogging. It has taken me almost a year to get back. I think this is therapy for me. So why haven’t I blogged lately? Well let’s say that 2017 was not my year. Jon and I had such a bad year. First thing Jon’s back went out and was in the hospital during my dad’s last days. So thankful for his sister Janis for staying with Jon so I could be with my dad.
My dad passed away in April 2017.
August of 2017 our basement flooded, and we lost the entire contents of our basement.
October 2017 Jon’s dad Paul was taking Jon’s nephew for a helicopter ride for his 16th birthday and the helicopter crashed, and Jon’s dad was killed instantly. Jon’s nephew is ok, but the family is stilling dealing with the loss of Paul.
Three weeks later we had to put down our beloved lab Joey. It seems like death does come in three.
That is why I haven’t blogged lately. What brings me back to blogging today? Well, let me tell you. It starts with I missed a very important event today. Here is the story behind today.
Ever wonder if the decks are stacked against you. I am feeling this way today. I struggle with my weight. I have for many years. There are many reasons for this but not enough to be an excuse. I had a full hysterectomy a few years ago. Because of my sister who passed away from breast cancer I choose not to do hormone replacement therapy. I had my gall bladder removed because it just plain stop working. I sit at a desk all day. I had a terrible year last year. I have multiple things that I could use as excuse. I just don’t want to anymore. I have been doing the Keto Diet for about two months now. Today I must stop. My body just does not like it. This is where I am at today. Trying to figure out why. This leaves me wondering because today I missed a very important event because I was dealing with problems from this diet. I have lost 13 pounds on Keto and I would continue except for that my body and my doctor are telling me to stop. I had some severe side effects from this diet. This diet does not work for everyone. I did learn some very good information and that I will continue to use. So, what now?
I could not do this without my husband and some awesome cheerleaders in my corner. I will continue to use the information I learned from Keto but also follow my doctor’s instructions. Eat a healthy breakfast every day, weigh myself twice a week and workout an hour and half every day. Vegetables and a fruit for every meal along with some protein. No processed foods. Try, try, try again. Right. So, do you have people in your corner to cheer you on? I hope so because when I missed the event today I was so upset. My cheerleaders made sure I was ok. I am so thankful that I have cheerleaders, support, and people making sure you are ok on the days they know are hard for you.
Let me tell you what the event was that I missed today. Today was a Pancake breakfast for the EAA Chapter 1093. Paul Jon’s dad served breakfast for this chapter and the family wanted to continue in Paul’s shoes. Helicopters and planes flew in to show the kids. Paul loved doing this. It amazes me how Jon’s family honors our dad. Here is Jon, Janis (Jon’s sister) and Mike( Jon’s Brother in law) at the pancake breakfast today.
Let your love ones know you love them. EVERYDAY! Miss you Dad and Miss you Paul and Miss you Joey! All three of you left a hole to big to fill.
In my last few years of physicals I have found out I have high triglycerides. So I was reading that if you have a diet high in omega 3 you can lower your triglycerides. Chia seeds are loaded in Omega 3’s. I also read that if you eat a pound a strawberries in a day you can lower your triglycerides by 20% in a month. Not that I would do that,but hey any bit can help. So I created this chia seed pudding in hopes that it would taste great and then I could get my omega 3’s in.
I mixed together the following ingredients in a medium bowl.
1 cup of coconut milk
¼ cup of chia seeds
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
Mix really well. Then I put the mixture into two small mason jars. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Then I sliced some strawberries and added them to the top of the mason jars. So after tasting this I would use less cinnamon. It adds something to the pudding I just put a just a pinch to much in. But I wasn’t sure if I would like the texture but after putting in the strawberries and stirring it up I loved it. I will make this again with less cinnamon.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.
My Dad just loves this song. He always sings it when we play it for him. He struggles to get it out but he sings. I miss his singing voice, “how sweet the sound”.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed.
How a year can change your life. My dad last year started having problems with his brain. We found that he had a viral tumor on his brain and then he lost his short-term memory. Our fears were just beginning at that time. Fear he would walk out the house and not know where he was. Fear the tumor would become bigger. Fear that we could lose him. But through God’s grace we knew that all in his time.
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
The past year has brought many dangers and toils for my dad. My dad has endured many doctor visits to U of M and here in Midland. But nothing was ever a definite answer as what was truly causing his short-term memory lost. The tumor had disappear but he still had short-term memory issues. But now as we have come to expect that he has been suffering from mini strokes all along. Jan.28 he had his first major stroke that took his ability to swallow and move the left side of his body. Somewhere in the past week or so he suffered another major stroke the involved the front lobe of his brain and it was a big one. He stills responds to us but is sleeping most of the time. But it is grace that lets us know that God has him in his hands. And by God’s grace he will be with him until he goes home. Hospice is now helping him to be comfortable.
The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
The last few months Dad has become very agitated and to calm him we play hymns or read the Bible to him. ”His word my hope secures.” This has calmed him some and made him peaceful. He knows what God has promised him and many times he has told us he is ready to go. We often hear him talking to God and asking him to take him home. We know he is ready to go to heaven. “As long as life endures.” “a life of joy and peace.”
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine.
My Dad has always been a Christian. As a child, we went to church every Sunday. He even sent the last three children to a Christian High School in Saginaw, Michigan Lutheran Seminary in hopes that one of us would become a pastor or teacher (that didn’t happen by the way). His love for all his children was to make sure all of us would be in heaven together someday. I have no doubt that my sister Lillian is waiting for him to give him a great big hug.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.*
Well it feels like it has been 10 thousand years instead of just a year that my Dad has been dealing with all of this. We continue to rely on God for our support and strength. We will continue to sing his praise through this storm. Letting God’s light shine on us while we struggle thru this trial. We cannot thank all of the people enough that are standing by us and continue to pray for my Dad. Your love and prayers are such a blessing to all of us. Thank you!
*Song written by John Newton.
One of favorite versions of Amazing Grace is by King and Country. Use the link to check it out.
I love pasta. Any pasta really but hands down I am partial to Alfredo sauce. Don’t get me wrong I love all sauces but I really really love Alfredo.
Jon and I are blessed to live very close to an authentic Italian resturant. This resturant is the best. In the summer you can sit outside on the patio that is surrounded by grapes and fresh herbs. So if you are ever in Midland Michigan please check out Villa D’Alessandros.
One of my favorite dishes they have is the gnocchi with the gorgonzola sauce. It is to die for. So this is not even close to that dish but it is still very delicious.
1 pgk of parmesan gnocchi
1 pgk of pancetta diced
1 jar of Alfredo sauce
First you boil the gnocchi as the directions state on the package. While that is going saute the pancetta until crispy. When the gnocchi is done drain and put them in the pan with the pancetta.
Saute until the gnocchi are slightly golden. Then you can add the Alfredo sauce and stir.
Then add the parmesan. Add a little or as much as you want. There are no rules for cheese. I don’t judge.
This is what I used for parmesan cheese. But if you have a favorite use that.
The end result will amaze you and deliver a great dinner.
It is another new year. 2017 oh what will you bring? I am looking forward to this year. Looking forward to all the possibilities that it holds. I have adjusted my sails for this year and the goals that I have. I want to make this year more of appreciation than that of goals. As I get older I have learned to celebrate to the small things as much as the big things in life. I have learned to look at life differently.
“Only the small things in life are important.” By Joseph Roth.
“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the everyday things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.” Booker T Washington
Don’t get me wrong I still have goals because if you don’t you stand still. They are just not as important to me as noticing the small things in life. I decided to make a list of my goals and the small things so that I can look at both throughout the year and keep myself in check. I want to make sure that I keep the small things in focus.
Here are the goals for 2017.
Be debt free except for house and cars.
Lose weight-it truly doesn’t matter how much long as I am making progress
Go somewhere new.
Try new foods.
Here are the small things I will try to notice.
Breathe in fresh air
Smell the rain
Feel the sunshine on my face
Make someone smile
Enjoy the silence
Spoil someone else
Find something good in every day
Focus on the people in my life
Be present more, less phone, Facebook, etc.
Tell others how important they are
Plant a garden and enjoy the process
I ask you as we have entered the new year… what will your focus be on? What adventures are you going to do? What goals do you have?
I leave you with this quote and wish you a Happy and Joyful New Year.
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you a happy. In the future think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” Earl Nightingale.