Mama Said Knock You Out.

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.

I know.

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.

Share how you care for your heart to participate in Campbell’s contest and you could win a $50,000 kitchen makeover. Contest Rules & Prize Page.

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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.


  1. says

    Wow! You look fantastic. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m also 5’3″ and just starting to get my brain to line up with the idea that I have to start eating better. A family history of heart disease and other conditions should have gotten through my head years ago.

  2. says

    Oh that would have been such a scary moment! So glad she made it and is okay.

    And good good for you! You look great and should be very proud of yourself!

  3. says

    I keep thinking if I see enough gorgeous pictures of you in all of your weight-loss glory, it will inspire me to actually stick with the change that I promised myself I would make 6 weeks ago. I have started and stopped so many times I’ve lost count. In just 6 weeks.

    You keep at it woman- and I’ll keep cheering you on!

    • Dumb Mom says

      So, I should put up this photo of me tearing down a chili dog this past weekend? Maybe that will get you in the mood! I break down some now and enjoy a treat or two, but I hit that gym like a mofo afterward.

    • Dumb Mom says

      Thanks! And, I wish. I don’t know if I’m going to be going to any conferences this year. Just not budget friendly!

  4. says

    You look so great and I’m so very proud of you. I’m glad Mimi is still with us. And your description is perfect: even when we know we need to do something it’s not an automatic ability to do it, let alone keep at it. Each of us reaches that moment at different times, for different reasons. I’m glad you found yours.

    I used to fry a few times a week and decided to cut it out. I now instead oven fry chicken or meat using Panko bread crumbs and the kids have not said a word. Amazing.

  5. says

    OMG I’m so glad your mom is ok. I’m going through a health scare with my mom right now (cancer :-( ). I know how scary that can be.

    I’m glad you are taking your health seriously. I like your attitude. If your going to get it your going to get it. But you’ll be in fighting shape. I nerd to adopt this. It is time for a change.

    • Dumb Mom says

      So sorry to hear about your mom. It’s so hard to have someone who’s been taking care of you all of your life get sick. You guys are in my thoughts for sure!

    • Dumb Mom says

      Thanks! I’ve become a running fan. Not like run-a-marathon-fan or anything. But, jog for a couple of miles, no problem!


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