Amy's Story

Debbie's Blog

Amy's Story - How your speech saved this Momma’s life

So glad I was able to make it to MOPS today to hear you for the second time this year and that I got to share a little of the impact your speech has had on me and hope it will be an encouragement to you to keep doing what you do….
So last Feb I went to MOPS, I had just started a new job that very week, and when I heard the speaker was going to be talking about women’s health and heart disease I was about ready to hit the door.
You see I was, and still am, a very, very, very busy person. At the time I was juggling 3 jobs, a husband that was out of work and injured and has a serious medical condition, my three kids, leading our other MOPS group at night, and trying to balance life, I knew I wasn’t healthy but I had no time to take care for me or see a Dr.; I didn’t even have insurance to do so. And all those “healthy” girls don’t know what it’s like to do all that and face foreclosure, bankruptcy, loss, a kid with ADHD and learning disabilities, a kid that has terrible sensory, social, transition difficulties and has debilitating meltdowns, a baby that likes to stop breathing every time she gets sick….and so much more….yeah how’s this lady gonna think that I’ve got time for this, or eat at home I work 16 hour plus some days…I can’t do it without my diet soda and drive thru….so for some reason or another I thought ugh it’s too late to bolt they all saw me come in so I guess I’m stuck.
So I sat there, and then you opened your big mouth (That’s a compliment by the wayJ) and you shoved your mom’s picture in our face (Also a compliment) and you raised your fists, and you stomped your feet and you scared the living crap out of me. And I needed it.  The whole time you talked I heard what you were saying but it was muted at the same time to the voice in my head…YOU…YES YOU DUMMY….SHE’s TALKING TO YOU, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE IF YOU DON’T START LISTENING TO WHAT SHE IS SAYING….yes that sounds dramatic but it was truer than I even knew then.
When you listed the risk factors, I had ALL of them….and I was on a one way track to a heart attack. My insane workload, family stressors, financial burdens weren’t helping either…. What’s interesting to note is that Lent started the day before you spoke (not catholic but I always thought lent was a great practice). I had a 1 liter bottle of diet soda in my bag that I had brought to mops and would have drank before the afternoon and would of likely had 2 more cans at work that day and grabbed drive thru on my way home with a large diet soda to boot that day after working even later so I could go to MOPS. Once you started talking I didn’t dare touch that bottle. I remember raising my hand and asking you what do I do with no insurance. You told me about the clinics.  I had been stirred by you but yet it still wasn’t really sinking in that I needed to go a DR. (Yes insert “you dummy”…right about ….here) But I decided Hey, I’ll give up diet soda for lent- I can do this.
I was listening but still I didn’t get the whole picture. I had had 3 high risk pregnancies where I had gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and other health problems, I hemorrhaged and crashed on the table when delivering my last child, I lost so much blood it took 2 years to raise my iron levels back to normal, I had had migraines all my life, sleep problems, a family history of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and more….what the heck was I waiting for….the actual heart attack.  But it started with the diet soda for me.  For the first time I saw that I was drinking a chemical for all these years and I hate to admit it but there were days I would put away a 2 litter or more, plus drink my light powder drinks, dump 2-3 artificial sweeteners in my “unsweetened” tea….I ate through the drive thru at least once a day if not more. I wasn’t home to cook so my husband fed them a steady diet of nuggets, mac and cheese, spaghetti, or nuggets, mac and cheese or spaghetti…see where this is going….
I had EVERY excuse….some really good ones too….I really truly HAD NO TIME. But that’s the thing, if I didn’t start making the time now, right now….it’s not a matter of IF it is a matter of WHEN I was gonna run out of TIME, and to be honest I was truly running out of time.
So that day I posted on Facebook…. Got a wakeup call at mops today....been making small changes but as busy as I am I have not done away with all i need to and done what needs to be done so we'll start with lent to jump start this new life....goodbye diet soda, fast food, trans fats, sugars, and salt....hello healthier hearts...she scared the crap out of me!
SO….I started that very day.  February 23, 2012, the last day a diet soda was in my bag. The last day I put artificial sweetener in my drinks, or had light powder drinks. The last day I was gonna excuse my way right up to a heart attack…..
Now that being said, yes it felt great, exhilarating, inspiring, awesome! Got me a bunch of likes and you go girls on Facebook….but it was still hard. Day two I had a terrible head ache, shakes, felt like crap and thought what did I do… I NEED a diet soda. Then I remembered when I quit smoking, and how I really had to detox, and I realized I was detoxing.  It really was hitting home, you don’t detox when you stop drinking milk, or eating apples….you do when you are ridding your body of CHEMICALS….WOW….insert life changing moment right about….here.  And then I started looking at labels, realizing I was ingesting over 10,000mg of sodium A DAY, that my heart was beating an irregular beat for years and I was ignoring it, that my vision had gotten really bad from my high blood pressure, that I felt sick and tired ALL the time.
As the days went on, my headache went away, my aches went away, my headache went away, my heart didn’t always feel like it was skipping a beat, I felt so much better. I had called and tried to come into the clinic but was on a wait list. Then I fell on our basement stairs in early March, I went in for my knee, and I came out of that Drs. Appt with a script for a sleep study, EKG, diabetes screening, blood work, and for blood pressure meds. The changes I had begun to make just 3 weeks before the Dr. said probably saved my life, (I know it did) because that appt. after making those little changes my blood pressure was still over 200, my diastolic was over 100, the circulation in my legs was bad, my cholesterol was through the roof, the Dr. looked at me and was amazed as we pondered how worse it was just three weeks before, so I got more screenings, I got more education, I continued on my diet soda sobriety. The dr. even suspected I may have already had a heart attack, and that I was heading right straight ahead for one.
I remember thinking…if I hadn’t gone to MOPS that day, I might not be walking out of this clinic right now (well hobbling as I did still have a knee issue J) At the next check up my blood pressure was still high but lower, my cholesterol had drop double digits, I lost a few pounds even my heart rate normal and arrhythmia was GONE FOR GOOD.
Each month I have gotten healthier and healthier and last month they took me off the blood pressure meds, my cholesterol is in the normal range, I have had only one migraine in the last 8 months when before I would have had 3-5 each month. We don’t do drive thru nearly as half as much as we did, and if we do we are smart about what we get.  I drink over a gallon a day of water; I drink REALLY unsweetened ice tea and squeeze a lemon or lime, or orange in it.  I LOVE KALE, I love nuts, I love spicy food packed full of veggies…like my favorite food fish tacos, I LOVE a whole wheat tortilla, grilled fish, cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes,  peppers, avocados, and lots of spices and I love it…when before you couldn’t pay me to eat that over a big mac…
I still work 3 jobs, juggle my kids and their unique medical, emotional and educational needs, but I’ve come from a place where I didn’t let myself matter to knowing that if I can’t be a healthy ME first I can’t be a healthy mom, I might not even get to keep being here with my kids.
So Jeanine, and Carol for the Heart, thank you, THANK YOU for scaring the crap out of me 8 months ago, I truly undoubtedly, undeniably may not be here right now to write this to you even at the age of 32.  My health is a priority, and the message you brought me I will carry always, and I can’t thank you enough for saving my life from the heart attack that was waiting for Me and in all reality would have happened in these last 8 months. Thank you for giving me my energy, my voice, my HEART BACK TO ME, AND MY KIDS.  Thank you.


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Debbie's Blog


At 46, after realizing I qualified for the mid-life crisis checkout line at the supermarket – you know, the one that says: “If your cart contains only hair dying products, age defying products, and ice cream", I decided to take my own Carol For Heart advice and commit to a real step towards a healthier lifestyle.
Follow Debbie’s trek from non-runner to running her 1st 5K at Carol’s Annual Run Of Love on September 18th.  Share your story, show her your support, get moving yourself as you follow her progress.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


As CAROL's Annual Run of Love 5k is getting closer, Jeannine is now referring to "flying pigs".  Picturing animals, the one that comes to my mind while I am training for my first 5K is more of a reptile, " Mrs. Slowski", the tortoise in the cable company commercial. I have come to realize two things about myself and my running. First, my slow and steady pace of running gets my heart pumping and my circulation flowing without leaving me too sore to try it again next time.


If you ever catch a glimpse of me from your car as I run, you will quickly notice the second thing I have realized; that I am truly ok with every man, woman, child, and dog (including one German Shepherd with only three legs) passing me. I am jammin' to my iPod music, blissful in my own little world, sweating all the day's stresses out, happy with my progress in distance, no matter how long it takes me.  


After nine weeks of exercising regularly with my son's fiancée Ashley, we are not looking to be the first ones over the finish line, truthfully, we will probably be in the last few that do, but we will be smiling from ear to ear when we finish together. We set out on this journey to exercise our hearts and our bodies; to be proactive in our health so we can hopefully win the bigger race against heart disease and other preventable health issues that are so common in women.


Please join us on Sunday, September 18th to walk, run, or cheer us on; be a part of a group decision; a decision to come out and do something to prevent more women from dying of preventable heart disease.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


If there is a metaphor for every situation in life, picture my journey to train for my first 5K as me driving carefree, with the wind in my hair, on a highway with my GPS programmed for me to arrive at Carol's Annual Run of Love on September 18th and the soothing male voice saying, "stay on the current road for 10 weeks". 

Ok, truthfully, my GPS voice has not exactly been my best friend these past 3 weeks and there's been no wind blowing anywhere in this summer's record temperatures. My GPS has yelled out "Detour (family member's medical crisis), Recalculating route"......"Road construction ahead (my hip problem), recalculating route".....and "Road closed ahead (no time to run today), recalculating route".

Point is, no matter how many times life seems to yell "recalculating route" at you, the trick is to keep the same destination and enjoy, or just endure with a smile, the twists and turns that these new directions can take you.

I am still happily working at exercising my heart along with my spirit and it has become a great stress reliever. Hope to see you running or walking along the path with me or cheering me on at the finish line on Sunday, September 18th!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011


I lace up my new hot pink running shoes and clip on my tiny ipod full of music and walk out the door to endure another 5 minute drive to the park as my inner monologue says “Tell me again why you are doing this because you know everyone’s going to be looking at you; you don’t look anything like someone who can run……”  30 minutes later I get in the car and say back to myself “So what if I look like Woody in Toy Story when I run, I did it, I am Woman, hear me Roar!!!”

Rewind to three weeks ago when my son’s fiancée and I decided to embark on a 10 week journey of training to run our first 5K distance event - Carol’s Run of Love - September 18th  at Warminster Park. Both of us are new to running but our ages and our reasons couldn’t be more different. At 24 and a year from her nuptials to my son, Ashley is looking for that perfect wedding dress shape and also wants to take up running in honor of her stepdad, an avid runner, who recently passed away. At 46, after realizing I qualified for the mid-life crisis checkout line at the supermarket, (you know, the one that says “If your cart contains only hair dying products, age defying products, and ice cream”) I decided to take my own Carol For Heart advice and commit to a real step towards a healthier lifestyle.

So with our motivating reasons in hand, we got the ok from our doctors, found an online training plan geared towards couch potatoes, and started our 10 week journey. Now at the end of our 3rd week, I can honestly say, along with the sore muscles and public displays of sweat drenched huffing and puffing, there is a giddiness of not wanting to wait to try it again the next time, a feeling of accomplishment and self esteem that I haven’t felt in a long time, and a building excitement for the big day in September. The rush of exercising my heart in more ways than just one is really addictive!

As a 7 year board member for Carol For Heart, I’ve done a lot of running; I’ve helped run the 5k events, I’ve run errands, I’ve even been accused of running off at the mouth but I’ve never actually “run” at our 5k, so this year will be very special for me and I want to share it with all of you.

We are roughly ten weeks away from this year’s event and it’s not only a place to try your first or next 5k run, it’s a place to walk with us, or come cheer on others like Ashley and me. Be a part of a group decision, a decision to get up, come out and start a journey to a healthier you. 

So mark Sunday, September 18th on your calendar today and choose one healthy goal to accomplish in the next 10 weeks. Your goal can be as simple as substituting a healthier snack in your day, or adding a quick exercise to your morning or training for the 1 mile walk or 5K run!

We want to hear from you; let us know what your goal is and how it’s going. Humor is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Laughing is music we should all hear every day so send us your funnies too PLEASE!

Our new blog page is here: I’ve started it off with my funny for the day: 

The only reason I would consider running is to hear heavy breathing again!!  -Erma Bombeck


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