Last spring my mother had a heart attack.
She and my father were visiting my grandparents in Kansas and I was ordering Chik-fil-A in the drive thru when I got the second scariest call of my life (right behind the time #3 fell down the stairs, had a seizure, and had to be rushed to the hospital. Seizure & fall turned out to be unrelated. Go figure!).
Papa: Your mom’s in the hospital.
Me: Lemme call you right back, I’m ordering lunch.
Worst daughter ever.
But, in my defense, I had my response to him all worked out before I even answered the phone. Because I was going to send it to voicemail, but my dad rarely calls me so I answered with my predetermined answer. I didn’t listen to the strained sound of his voice. I didn’t register the words that were coming out of his mouth. I just responded, hung up, and ordered my kids meal before what he said actually even had a chance to sink in.
I called him back while I paid despite the fact that I hate people with such poor cell phone etiquette (yep, I should probably stop judging).
Me: Wait, what? Mom’s in the hospital? Why? What happened? Ohmygosh, is she okay?
Papa: I don’t know. She had a heart attack. She’s okay. She is going to be okay. She’s just, you can’t talk to her yet. But, she’s okay.
Me: disjointed moaning sounds from my hyperventilating and hysterical crying
Papa: She’s okay. Okay? And we will call you when I get more info. I gotta go talk to the doctor.
I pulled my car over into the Chik-fil-A parking lot and had a full on cry.
#3 sat silently in the back seat after his numerous what’s-wrong-mommy’s went unanswered.
I called Dumb Dad, and Bruncle (my brother; their uncle).
I cried more.
I drove home with my hands shaking. #3 didn’t eat his fries.
We discovered that Mimi has a rare heart condition. Like get 100,000 people together and it’s likely that less than a handful of them will have what she has. Unless it is a room filled with 100,000 Japanese men, and then mayyyyybe you’ll get a few more.
My mother is NOT a Japanese man.
She doesn’t have clogged arteries. She’s not grossly over weight. She doesn’t smoke, she doesn’t drink (okay, she has wine sometimes), and she leads a relatively active life for a 60 year old mature woman enjoying her semi-retired life.
And yet, heart got buck and tried to kill her (joking aside, it was a massive heart attack and I thank God everyday I got to keep her).
Here I am driving through a Chik-fil-A, 40lbs over weight, with two bad kidneys in my back and a family tendency towards diabetes (my dad) and heart problems (my mom’s father died of a heart attack before celebrating his 60th birthday) when I find out that my mother just had to have her life literarily saved from a heart attack?!
Talk about a wake up call.
I admit, I didn’t respond to it immediately because giving up daily cupcakes is hard and it took me 6 more months of doing evil to my body before I finally got my brain in line to make a life change.
I hemmed and hawed and made excuses (after this blog trip, after this vacation, when school goes back after summer, wahhh-I-like-cupcakes) until finally, Weight Watchers.
I started it in October of 2012 looking like this (I weighed 176lbs, which at 5’3 means I was nearly as wide as I was tall)…
Since then I have changed my approach to eating for myself and my family (true story: I used to buy fast food at least twice a week, sometimes more).
I make more waistline-friendly, heart healthy food choices and it’s almost as simple as driving through a Chik-Fil-A. I definitely feel better eating and offering my children meals like this…
I’m not talking about being perfect here, you know that’s not how we roll. We still eat food that isn’t the most amazing thing created, we still eat out at restaurants, we go thru a drive thru like once a month; but we’re better. More conscious. More deliberate. Less eww.
And the kids? Haven’t even noticed. No begging for Happy Meals or shunning whole wheat bread. Clearly it was ME and not them wanting the junk food. They are just as happy to enjoy a hearty meal at home.
Even more exciting, I’ve started working out (I will be running, not walking, my first 5k in March)! That’s right, peeps, the girl who hates to sweat has fallen in love with Zumba and free gym babysitting the treadmill.
And, right now, I look like this (148, still 5’3)…
I like to call it my DURING since I plan to not have an after until I’m in my grave (this isn’t a diet; it’s a way of life!). And, I want to actually drop 10 more lbs (off of my back and belly specifically).
I know that I can’t prevent myself from acquiring the heart condition my mom has; if I’m going to get it, just like my kidney disease, I just am. But, I want to ensure that this body and heart are in fighting shape.
For whatever is to come.
That’s right, heart disease, Mama said knock you out.
I’m so doing that right now.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Campbell Soup Company’s Address Your Heart initiative. The opinions, text, and images are all mine.