BayouKidZ: Focusing on our Health
Article by Cindy G. Foust
Hello, BayouLife nation from the comfort of my big chair where I find myself convalescing following my surgery this past week. You heard me right, readers, I had surgery on Monday and back to writing on Friday…nope, there is no rest for the weary. I’m just kidding, because the reality is I could hardly wait to get started on this month’s column.
Now, I know it is October, which screams all things fall and Halloween, and that should be easy for me to write about, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want the recipe for Roasted Zombie Eyeballs or Candy Corn Jello…but no, I’m not really feeling that, this month. Instead, I decided to focus on the parents of this great community we live in for this month’s feature.
That’s right, I’m going to by-pass all the writing I do each month in an effort to encourage our kids to be kind, well-rounded, non-bullying, neat-as-a-pin, healthy, sensitive, respectful young people. Wow, that was a mouthful. Did I leave anything out? No, this month I decided that the focus should be on the parents that make up the fabric of our BayouLife community.
So, as Barry Manilow sings, This One’s for You, because I think it’s an important message and if I had a soapbox, which I don’t, but if I did, I would ask you to close your eyes right now and imagine me standing on it.
This past week I had the misfortune of experiencing a health-related calamity. More clearly put, I had to have two heart stents. Can you say sadness? But, as with many of the experiences that I have faced over the last five years (exactly the length of time I have nearly been writing for this magazine, 60 columns, to be exact, and I hope I get a watch for my loyal and dedicated service), this one, too, is finding its way to the pages of this column. I first want to thank my good doctor and his staff, for taking such good care of me during this whole ordeal, and while I don’t ever advertise for anyone (just shoot me a text, I’ll hook you up), I would like to say that appreciation just isn’t a big enough word.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself and the real basis for this column. The truth is (and it’s kind of ugly), I have been having heart related symptoms almost a year. But like many people, I just dismissed them. I have Web M.D. after all, and when my chest was getting tight after simply going up my stairs, then I blamed it on indigestion (which I don’t think I have ever had in my life); and when my arm would tingle or ache, then I would blame it on carpal tunnel (which I don’t have a diagnosis for either); or when I would lie in my bed at night and I would feel somewhat winded or out of breath (in a completely sedentary, non-exertion position), then I would just think I had eaten too much and I was full (which I never do, because I am very skinny and I can hide behind a straw.)
So one afternoon, like Dorothy and Toto, I took off down the yellow-brick road for a brisk, fall-is-in-the-air walk, and nearly had to crawl back to my house. Wait, what? I’m sorry, but my internet medical degree didn’t have a logical explanation for this one. So would commence the exhaustive process of diagnostic testing on the old (only 51-years mind you) ticker. For those of you who know me well, you most likely would agree that I have had some rather unfortunate things happen to me over the years, and well, it might be reasonable to think that the stress of such incidents might have caused my heart to just finally break.
That sounds like a good Hallmark movie to me, but the truth is, my doctor says my heart muscle is in fact, strong and healthy. My arteries, ehhh, not so much. But, after my successful stent placement, as the old southern adage goes, “I am living in high cotton, now.”
But here’s the real story, I put off these symptoms for a long period of time; I made excuses; I ignored what my body was telling me, and just kept on with my very busy and important life. And why?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, but it was totally unnecessary, but fortunately, very fixable. Some people aren’t that lucky though, and that’s what I am here to say (well, scream, if my keys would let me.)
If you are having even the slightest of symptoms, no matter what ailment you might be experiencing, please address it with your doctor. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and from the day of my first symptom to my final diagnosis was only two and a half weeks. Yes, it scared the Bejeezes out of me, but I had to know what I was facing.
At the time I had a seventh grader and a second grader, and I was worried Scott would have to marry a 22-year old college graduate so she could tutor our kids. So why, you might ask, didn’t I treat these symptoms, five years later, with the same aggression?
I can’t answer that, except, I think, I just wanted it to be something else. I didn’t want to have heart disease at 51 years old. Listen, with that mentality, I could have been the real life Dorothy and Toto and we might have really had to go to Oz to get me a heart. But, as it turns out, I get to keep the one I’ve got. Thanks to the attentiveness of my doctor and his staff, over the week long progression of testing, I finally got the answer, and the treatment, I needed. And again, I thank God for modern medicine and skilled health care providers that help put you back on your feet.
So what do you say, readers, are you still with me? A good nurse told me that most of the time (not always but most) our bodies start telling us when something is wrong. Please, heed those warnings, friends, and make your appointment today.
Good health is something that most of us probably take for granted until we are facing a medical crisis. My doctor suggested that a lot of times, in his discipline of cardiology, he gets his patients when they have already had a heart attack, or their heart muscle has been so damaged that it makes his job much more difficult in giving them a good outcome. Don’t wait, make your health a priority, because after I finally did, I get to be here, at the end of my column, feeling very grateful to be doing good (well, except for my groin, wait, can I say groin in a children’s column?) and looking forward to the cardiovascular therapy that my doctor is such a proponent of. No, that’s a lie, I’m not looking forward to it, but I have researched it and I realize the importance and the necessity of this kind of treatment. Along with, of course, regular exercise and a good healthy diet (with the occasional dosage of cheesecake, wait, my fingers just typed that without my permission), that should make a good medical recipe for a healthy future and many opportunities to advocate for placing importance on your health.
Happy Fall, readers, may this season be filled with faith, family and good health.