Posts Tagged ‘heart attacks’


Making His Appeal Through Us…

Last Sunday I preached at my church. I, with much trepidation, told about my experiences with God over the past 4 years. Some of my faithful readers are probably saying, “But you blog openly about it!” 

True. But I don’t have to look many of you in the face as you read it! So, if you hate what I’m writing, I don’t have to know about it. I can live in a delusional world where everyone loves me! 

So, to get up in front of people I adore and love and ask them to believe all of this stuff is really tough territory for me. Thankfully, some were quite kind and said it helped them. Others simply politely kept their mouths closed! (This would be why I love my church!) Others, who were unable to hear it for one reason or another, asked that I let them read it. So, for those folks and for my faithful readers:

For those of you who don’t already know me, I am a mother of three grown children, the mother-in-law of two great people and the new grandmother of one fantastically awesome grandson. I’ve been in the mother role for over 30 years now. And some maternal habits don’t die easily, even after your children are all grown and you have no need of maternal habits anymore.

So, when our pastor asked me to preach today, I almost instinctively reached up to put my hand on his forehead and check his temperature. Here’s why:

I’m a preacher’s kid.

Wikipedia says that the stereotypes of a preacher’s kid are twofold: “in one, they are perfectly angelic role models, in the other they are rebels at the opposite extreme.” I tended toward the latter so here’s what I learned about church being Dad’s daughter:

  1. If the service begins at 9:30 am, you will have to be at church by 7:30 am, properly dressed and CLEAN. And there are few excuses tolerated for not doing so. “Not being a morning person” is NOT on the list of acceptable excuses.
  2. You can fit exactly 12 tic-tac-toe games on the back of an offering envelope. You can fit 16 on there if you write really small. Theoretically, you can fit 20 if the pew pencils are really sharp. However, since the preacher’s kid is usually responsible for sharpening the pew pencils, this will probably never be proven.
  3. Never sit on the right side of your mother’s elbow if you are snickering at Mrs. Zwiefelhofer’s oddly flowered hat during worship.


I will attempt to do something a bit more productive than what I just mentioned. But, if this goes seriously awry, I’m blaming our pastor, since he’s a preacher’s kid, too.

Unlike my dad, unlike our pastor, I am not a theologian. I’m something far worse.

I’m a blogger.

I comment on what I see around me and tell stories. So, today, I’m going to tell you some of my story.

Here’s the first thing you need to know about me:

My body hates me.

It rebels at the most inopportune times. I have had horribly debilitating migraines since I was 6 years old. I have had 4 heart attacks without any pre-existing risk factors for heart disease and I will probably have more. My rare condition is not remedied by medication, diet, exercise or being in a Zenlike position for the rest of my life. I developed anaphylactic shock reactions to most antibiotics and some painkillers after the first heart attacks at age 39. I never know what the next moment will bring. While I feel fine right now, I may be in the hospital ER when I leave here. But yet, I consider all of that good stuff.

Yes, good stuff. I don’t think I would have gotten to the relationship I have with God now if it weren’t for all of my medical adventures. But, I’m hoping what I learned about God in the process is now of some benefit to you.

Heart attack # 4 occurred on June 17, 2013. It was a doozy. I thought it was my ticket to Heaven, quite frankly. What was even more unsettling is that I couldn’t sense God’s presence at the time in my life when I most needed Him. I tried to pray, but it’s a little difficult to pray when your entire body is in severe pain. The one person who could relate to my situation, our minister, was moving to Ennis. Our new minister was moving to our town.

I recovered from “4”, I came home, and began to weep uncontrollably for several weeks. Nothing consoled me that used to console me. And I didn’t understand what God wanted me to do.

I became convinced that writing a blog had something to do with what I was on Earth to do for God. I had this sense of peace about it that only comes when you know something is of the Lord. There was only one problem. No one and I mean no one, was reading this blog.

As part of the anguish of a life that I thought had not produced much for the kingdom of God, I asked, “Why do you want me to keep writing this blog? No one is reading it.” I just hung the question out there for once in my life. My normally busy brain and interior voice, for once, was silent. In that silence, a quiet voice said, “Because I want to be with you.”

What?! I knew that voice was not mine. My voice would have said, “No one wants to be with you.” I had never heard that voice and I sensed an instant peace I cannot even describe. The only conclusions I could reach? Either that was God or it’s time for a psych eval at the local hospital.

Whatever it was…all I knew is that I wanted more of it. But I had absolutely no idea how to hear from that voice ever again. And was I even supposed to hear from it again? If it was indeed God’s voice, who am I to want God to speak to me more than once in my earthly life? I should be thankful for such an awesome gift and let it be.

I don’t do “Let it Be” very well. It’s my least favorite Beatles song.

Thankfully, God led me to a program in the metroplex that teaches exactly that. I am now surrounded by people who not only hear from God often, but also have visions and experience God in a myriad of ways that I never knew were possible. It has been a huge paradigm shift for me…everything inside of me is changing.

How do these people know how to do this on a regular basis? Because our beloved Christian saints of the past left us a road map. That road map comes in the forms of prayer practices that unfortunately, are not often shared in our churches today. Kory said it was not presented in his studies at his seminary. A lot of the books written about them are no longer in print.

Do I think this gift of God’s real presence in our lives is just for some of us and not for all of us? No.

Let me say that again: No.

Acts 2:38 says, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It’s quite clear that Peter does not think that this inward manifestation of God at work in us is just something reserved for the Apostles or only really, really devout Christians. If I can have this type of relationship with God, so can you.

Will God speak to you? I don’t know. Why? Because I’m not you and I’m not Him. He may choose to reveal Himself to you in a completely different way because you’re very different from me. What is meaningful for me may have no meaning to you. But trust me on this—God is at work in your life.

Why don’t we hear more about this kind of encounter with God if it’s possible for all of us to have it? I have a few theories about that.

First, it sounds crazy. Obviously, I’m not the first person to recognize that. Today’s Scripture reading says:  “If we are crazy, it’s for God’s sake. If we are rational, it’s for your sake.” (2 Cor. 5:13-21) Even our movies consider it fun to mock a person’s experience of hearing from God. As a result, those of us who have had this experience often fear how we will be viewed by others.

Second, we think we want to hear from God, but also fear it. What if God says something that we don’t like? What if He asks me to make a huge change or sacrifice to my present life? Mary Ann Scofield says, “It is natural to resist anything that threatens the status quo: Since God is always leading us toward becoming more loving, we will often resist God’s approach.”

Third, this sort of experience requires silence and stillness. It takes focus. Does that sound like 21st century America to you? Scofield further states: “Our culture does not value stopping, waiting, noticing, or pondering, though all of these are required for prayer. Our culture…rewards good deeds and punishes evildoing; God persists in being extravagantly generous and forgiving, upending all of our ideas about what is fair. Our culture lauds talent and success; yet God chooses to identify with the least among us.”

Everything screams for our attention and if our attention is not solely focused on God, God is polite and waits until we get quiet. It was just pointed out to me yesterday that the word silent has the exact same letters as listen. We have to stop and listen to God.

Was I anxious to lose the respect of the people I love and admire? No. Was I fearful about what I might hear from God? Yes. Was I good at being silent and still? Um. No. I was lousy at silence and stillness. But that scripture that says, “Be Still and Know that I am God” is oh, so true. If we want to know God, we have to get still, inside and out.

I’m entering my last year of training. As a way of documenting our journey with God, we are encouraged to keep a journal. I have never kept up with a journal or diary all the way to the last page. (I held up my four, sizable journals.) These first 4 journals are full—completely full of God moving in my life. God talking. God giving me visions. God teaching me, sweetly, gently and lovingly.

Do I write every day? No. Because I, like everyone else resist this new thing in my life that is upending my status quo.

So, how do I know that this is God’s voice and not something else? As my training group leader has said, “Does it produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit when you hear it? If not, it’s probably not God.” These conversations are supposed to produce something good, something kind, something loving, within me…within my family…within my neighborhood…within my community and perhaps, just perhaps, some day, within my world.

I’m the first to say I still don’t see outward signs of transformation. Most of the changes are only ones God and I notice. That’s why the journals are so important. When I’m feeling depressed about my walk with the Lord, I reread my first journal and realize I have, indeed, come a long way.

Here’s just a few things I’ve noticed about my life before and after these conversations with God:

  1. I used to love the latest and greatest Bible study on the shelves at Lifeway. Beth Moore was my girl! Now I’m looking for texts written by 11th century monks.
  2. I never understood the Scripture, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Now I do.
  3. I used to think there were only 4 kinds of prayer at most. Now, I know there at least 50 ways to pray to God and a pile of variations for each of them.
  4. I used to have an opinion about everything and was very judgmental. Now, I prefer to wait and hear the other side of the story and suspend judgment. I try to simply accept people as they are now.
  5. I used to think I was not a great Christian if I wasn’t constantly doing something for His kingdom. Now, I prefer to just imagine myself sitting with the Lord.
  6. I used to play the loudest music on the planet and like contemporary music in worship. The louder the better. Now I prefer silence.
  7. I used to prefer praying “off the cuff.” I still do this a lot, but I now understand all too well the value of the prayers of others, written down and published.
  8. I no longer worry who will read my blog and often don’t write a thing there.
  9. 20 minutes of silent prayer once a week seemed like an eternity two years ago. Now, I may spend 5 times that amount in one day and it flies by.


It has been an adventure. God surprises me often with what He wants me to know. Here are a few snippets of what He has taught me:

  1. He has a sense of humor. One sleepy morning I was definitely having trouble focusing on Him. I asked, “Jesus? Did you ever wrestle with distractions? The reply? “Are you kidding? I had 12 and I handpicked each one.”
  2. I don’t fully trust Him. I don’t fully trust Him because I don’t fully trust people. People have hurt me. People have rejected me. They are human, after all, and make mistakes, like I do. I’m trying to overcome such fear, but it’s not easy.
  3. God accepts me as I am. In the words of William Paul Young, “He’s rather fond of me”.
  4. He tells us things in bite-sized pieces as we’re ready to hear the things He wants to tell us. He does this to prevent us from being overly frightened by the future. I could never have shared this story with you 2 short years ago. But, I’m here now!
  5. Nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God. It may look senseless, foolish and wasted to us, but God is still using it to bring light and love into us and into the world.
  6. God’s love and even correction is gentle, calm, peaceful, the joy of all joys, kind, and well-timed.
  7. When he speaks, I often cry. And I consider myself a rather stoic person. I’ve learned to keep a box of Kleenex and a large wastebasket nearby when praying.
  8. God speaks simply. He is often brief.
  9. What he repeats is what is important.


Perhaps you are wondering what God might say to us, as a church? So, I asked Him. And this is what I wrote in my journal as His response:

“I have much to tell them. Tell them I love them. Tell them I miss them. I am waiting for them. I will answer, if they pray. I am more than a church service on Sunday morning. I am more than a sermon and a prayer. I am a way of life. I am the way of life. I want to be an intimate part of everything they do. That is why they are created in my image, so we can be together for all eternity. I am waiting for them. I have much to tell them.”

So, how to hear what He has to tell you if you have never done this before? There are many ways, but let me suggest that you consider the following:

Give God 20 minutes of today.

Away from all of the noise.

Away from other people.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and open your Bible.

Find a scripture. Read it slowly. Let it wash over you.

Then, ask yourself: What word or phrase is jumping out at me? Ask yourself: What does God want me to know about this Scripture?

Then, be silent. Be still.

If it’s helpful, write this question in a journal and then write the first thing that comes to mind.

Trust that what you write is God speaking. Even if it isn’t, God still knows that your intention is to find Him. And He will, one day, somehow, honor that intention.

Keep writing, even if you don’t know what to write. Draw a picture if that makes more sense to you. Doodle, if like me, you’re not a great artist.

Silence the critic within you and wait for God. He is waiting for you.


Word of the Day: Red

open hands

Beginning when I was 39 years old and had a 4 year old, 9 year old and 13 year old, I had two back-to-back heart attacks even though I was perfectly healthy. When this occurred in 1999, WebMD didn’t even list my heart condition as a possibility for such human beings. Fortunately, that has changed.

But, there is still much to be done for Prinzmetal Angina, which affects 139,000 Americans. Prinzmetal (named after the researcher who discovered the phenomenon) has a 50% death rate and when diagnosed (only by the divine intervention of God), I was told I could have a heart attack every 10 to 15 years from that point forward. We still don’t know much about why my coronary arteries like to spasm out of the blue and cause blood clots and their resulting heart attacks.

I seem to like to have my heart attacks in pairs and I hate being late, so a little over 14 years later, I had heart attacks # 3 and # 4.


What My Purse Says About Me…


Warning: You might want two of your favorite beverages. 

Around the time we were down to just needing a diaper change when in transit with the eldest son, I concluded that my late 20s and 30s were going to be without the “cute purse.” In fact I would wager that I could tell you what age bracket a woman is in just by looking at her purse. If she has the small, cute purse or no purse at all, she’s probably in her teens or 20s. If she has the large, non-sectioned purse, she’s probably in her 20s and 30s. If she has the large, sectioned purse, she’s probably in her 40s or 50s. If she has a mid-sized sectioned purse, she’s probably in her 60s or 70s and I’ll lay odds that purse is beige or black.

About the time that I thought I could return to the “cute purse” phase of my life, something else happened to forever end that phase of my life: the heart attacks. The heart attacks require that I keep my heart meds with me at all times. And I take more than just a few heart pills, sadly. But that’s not where the traveling meds end: I also have major allergies and chronic migraines. Thus, I usually travel with a wide assortment of allergy and pain reliever pills. Just to make life interesting, I also carry an epi-pen and nitroglycerine just so TSA can have some major fun with a graying, Anglo-Saxon middle-classed mom whenever I fly anywhere. The meds will be in an ancient ziploc bag. I learned to put them in there and zip it up, because one bottle will inexplicably lose its lid (even if tightened enough to keep an Ebola virus out) and spill all over the bottom of my purse, which I refer to as The Abyss. The Abyss is remarkably similar to a black hole.

Because of heart attacks 3 and 4, I now carry a very large pill bottle that gives my medical history. This is in case I’m in an accident or one of my crazy conditions causes me to be unconscious somewhere publicly. (Such a nice, pleasant, relaxing thought, right?) So, a major part of my purse is dedicated to keeping my crazy body running while en route to do local errands or to survive transcontinental travel, so much so that the daughter has proclaimed my purse “the walking pharmacy.” It’s not that far from the truth.

Then there are the inevitable, multiple packs of tissue for when my nose decides to go bonkers even if I have taken the allergy meds and had an allergy shot recently. My body, on all counts, is very unpredictable, so I have to come equipped for all contingencies.

I also suffer from chronic bad breath. Trust me–I’ve tried multiple ways to keep my breath reasonable, but to no avail. Therefore, I usually have multiple packs of Orbit gum circulating throughout the deep recesses of my purse. Why multiple packs? Because my hubby invariably wants 2 pieces every time we are together and I think it’s kind of tacky not to offer gum to those in close proximity. One can buy a “3-pack” of the stuff, so I just unwrap the 3 pack and throw all 3 in my purse. That usually guarantees that I can find at least 1 pack no matter what. Of course, it’s usually the pack with only 1 stick of gum left and of course, that usually goes to the hubby. My mother-in-law refers to such preparedness as “social security.” Probably far more reliable than me counting on the governmental version.

Next are the indicators of my advanced age (as if all of the above weren’t enough evidence of that). I usually carry two pairs of sunglasses and two pairs of reading glasses. Why? Because I usually can’t find one pair of either when suffering from Pre-heimers or Half-heimers. I can almost guarantee that all 4 pairs will have terrible scratches and be dirty. Why? Because I buy cheap pairs of both and because I’m too lazy to put them in their accompanying case. Heck, I usually can’t even find the case. Why would I be able to find the case if I can’t find the glasses that are supposed to go in the case??? And they’re always dirty because I forget to put the cleaning solution wipes in my purse. *Sigh*

The outside pocket will no doubt carry my ever-growing key ring. I suppose it could be worse–I could have a pile of key cards instead. You can tell whether I’m wearing the trendy jeans or the grandma jeans by where my phone is located. If in the pocket with the pile of keys, I’m wearing the trendy jeans with pockets not large enough to satisfy an ant. If it’s missing from the purse key pocket, that means it’s in my left back pocket of my jeans (I seldom hear my phone on time–another sign of aging–so having it on Vibrate is almost essential.), so that I can know when the sucker is vibrating from a call or notification.

In the abyss part of my purse will be the following: the glasses I can’t find; the cases for the glasses, crunched-up, gross-looking pills that magically escaped the med ziploc bag, a few stray bottle lids, 4 receipts I forgot to put into my wallet (They will be faded and crumpled, guaranteed.), 18 pens (I always have this paranoid feeling that I’m not going to have a pen when needed.), one leaking pen, one non-working pen, two shopping lists from the World War II era and a partridge in a pear tree. The latter will mean that there is bird seed dust in the abyss as well. The bird seed dust was probably purchased for a partridge that died 26 years ago.

Last but not least will be my bulging wallet. It’s also the large, economy-sized version and it’s filled with checks yet to be deposited from 4 years ago, ancient IDs that expired years ago, but are the only cute pictures of me anywhere, 4 coupons that have expired, a plethora of non-used gift cards, and 2 debit cards and 2 credit cards. Also mixed in are ancient pics of my kids and the adopteds as well as an assortment of ancient buyer cards that seldom get used as planned.

And because I’m so forgetful, the checkbooks usually reside there as well, not to mention some other items I won’t divulge here just in case I ever get ripped off! Now, I will say that both the wallet and the purse come from Charming Charlie’s, so they are as in fashion as a big purse and a big wallet are going to get.

The lady readers are all thinking, “What do you do for an evening out when you’re dressed up?” First, I live in Texas, so dressing up is a relative term, even for funerals and weddings. At first this irritated my Yankee sensibilities and then I spent a summer here and understood why! Even when I do dress up, about 1/2 the time I bring the voluminous purse, despite the fact that it shouts, “This woman will NEVER be featured in Vogue or In Style.”

The other 1/2 of the time I ditch the wallet, only bringing the essential ID and putting in enough pills in 1 small bottle to cover the evening. But even then, my voluminous sunglasses, reading glasses, car keys and tiny bit of makeup will push the limits of even the largest evening bag ever devised by man or woman. And despite trying to “downsize,” I will probably be without something I actually wind up needing for the evening, meaning that my poor, abused hubby will have to take me home from the soiree early. I’m such a fun date.

Starting to feel sorry for me? Please don’t. My purse, with all its lack of organization, has come in handy. It has kept countless migraines at bay; it has rescued many from allergies, headaches and body aches; and it has kept me out of the ER more times than I care to count. My ability to produce an umbrella, a band-aid or a ponytail holder on a moment’s notice often makes me the most popular mom at drill team competitions, recitals and soccer games.

The next time you ridicule the woman with the unmatched, unfashionable, ridiculously large purse, remember that that nasty thing just might make your life much more bearable one day. And mine keeps me blogging this kind of nonsense. 😉

Friday’s Post: My Favorite Ways to Annoy a Teenager

You Might Also Like: The Odd Days of August; Lessons Learned from Buying 3 Homes; and Lessons Learned from a Colorado Family Reunion Vacation


The New Anniversaries…


Warning: Get a beverage first.

Most anniversaries are happy events. I felt this way for many, many years. But as I age, I am learning, all too painfully, that there will be more and more anniversaries that will be sad and yes, painful. As I write this, a year, to the day, has passed since the onset of heart attack # 3 for me. This day marked the beginning of what turned into a painful year. Here’s why:

June 10th – My valiant attempts to ward off another heart attack are in vain and I find myself, in the middle of the night, on an emergency helicopter flight to a Fort Worth hospital.

June 17th – After being home only a few days from my Fort Worth hospital stay, heart attack # 4 rears its ugly head and I, once again, can’t stave it off with aspirin and nitroglycerin. Another helicopter flight and another stay in the hospital. This heart attack was different in a multitude of ways and the first one where I really thought I wouldn’t survive.

June 27th – My youngest son’s last birthday as a teenager. While a joyous time, it was difficult because even a brief time outside in the Texas heat worked on my heart in a negative way.

July 2nd – My brother’s birthday and the anniversary of my mother’s death. Since the latter occurred on my brother’s birthday, we, as a family, have always sought to make it less somber by going to watch the Rangers play baseball. I still wasn’t sure if I could handle the heat, but with the help of my family, I made it. It’s my brother’s last birthday celebration.

August 2013 – The youngest leaves for college; the middle child starts her last year of grad school; the oldest is promoted and moves to a new home; the latter’s dog comes to visit for an extended period of time and I find out, quite surprisingly, that I will be giving myself stomach shots twice a day every day and that I have a blood clot in my heart, putting me at risk for a stroke. I have to eat a very strange diet during this time.

September 2013 – Partially to keep myself from going insane and partially because I believe in keeping my promises to God, I arranged for 10 of my friends and I to attend Women of Faith. It was a tearful event, basically because I couldn’t believe I was still alive.

October 2013 – Two of my friends are diagnosed with breast cancer and unfortunately, neither one of them were diagnosed as Stage 1. But the best news is that they seem to be doing fine and hanging in there just as I knew they would.

November 2013 – My last Thanksgiving with my brothers together in my home. We knew my brother was having to really slow down while eating, but he had been checked out earlier and the fall and the doctor had pronounced him healthy.

December 2013 – My brother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Christmas was poignant to say the least and my research told me he was fighting an uphill battle at best. He arrived at my house with his head shaved and hat on, feeling it would be easier to take baldness if he had some control over it in the beginning. Again, without knowing it, it was my last Christmas with him.

January 2014 – My brother is in and out of the hospital repeatedly with complications, despite trying to be meticulous in following his doctors’ instructions.

February 2014 – My brother makes the decision to “pull the plug.” He moves to hospice care.

February 27th – My other brother and I tell my brother it’s okay for him to go. His breathing grows farther and farther apart. It’s my last time to see him.

February 28th – My brother dies.

March 8th – My brother’s memorial service. It’s a time of laughter and fond remembrance, but it is still difficult for all those who attended.

March 9th – May 5th – My other brother and I clean out my brother’s home and say goodbye to “the House of Tears” as my other brother calls it.

May 9th, 10th and 11th – My daughter graduates with her master’s degree and those festivities are quickly followed by Mother’s Day. While I am so, so grateful to see her graduate with all of her friends, the brother who always celebrated those graduations with us and often celebrated Mother’s Day with us, is painfully absent.

While I’m grateful to still be walking and talking, I am squelching tears as I write this. I know, all too well, from having grieved other family and friends who have already gone on to Heaven, that this coming year will be difficult for me simply because I have a few more “anniversaries” to get through. And I also know that more and more things of this nature will probably continue to take place. At my age the passing of friends and family is simply inevitable. It will happen with more and more frequency and more and more depth of pain.

With this reality ever present now, I do my best to remind myself that I am one blessed woman. Grief and tears are actually a blessing. They are an indication that we love a lot and have been loved. It’s an acknowledgement that my joy will never be complete until it’s my turn to journey to Heaven. And I am blessed to be an American, live in a nice home, in a nice town, with plenty of comfort. I’m blessed to still be surrounded by a wonderful husband, wonderful children and a wonderful extended family and great friends.

Even so, if I don’t smile as much this year, if I don’t crack jokes as much on MIP this year, if I seem a little preoccupied this year, you’ll have to forgive me–I don’t do grief well.

I know I have much to learn in this phase of my life and probably the most significant thing to learn is to still smile, to still celebrate, and to still cherish those whose presence I’m still privileged to enjoy. Thank you all for giving me a reason to smile, to celebrate and to cherish.

Friday’s Post: God’s Sick Reading List…

You Might Also Like: So, Where Are My Posts?; Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4; and Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower




The 12 Days of MIP: 2 & 1…


Book Club Members: Did Santa bring you Killing JesusI sure hope so, because we will start off the New Year next week with reading the latest from Bill O’Reilly.

WOW Lovers: Next Monday’s WOW will be a listing of words that Merriam-Webster Online is contemplating adding to its next edition. It’s currently listed as slang by that austere organization. Do you know the definitions for these words? I sure don’t!

Well, boys and girls (that seemed right simply because it’s Christmas Day), we’re finally at the end of the 12 Days of MIP. Today I give you a little insight into the two highest reader-viewed posts that I also like. If I were to arrange them in the order in which I liked them, the order would be somewhat different. In fact I think I would have listed # 2 as my top choice, but you, dear readers, chose differently for your top choice. Thus, in your order and in your honor:

Number 2:

Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4…

This post was one of the first to hit the MIP blog after my 2 heart attacks this past summer. The posts prior to this and some that came immediately after this post were largely serious and factual, but this one I reserved for just venting my complete and total frustration with the medical world–a world that is an all too familiar part of my life. While I understand that I’m definitely not a cardiologist or nurse and that their jobs are made especially tough by cases like mine that probably would be right up House’s alley, there are times when I wonder why these folks were given an RN or MD after their names. Click here to see what I mean.

Number 1: (Drum roll, please!)

It’s All About the Splash…

To be honest I wasn’t sure if this post would even warrant a glance from anyone. For one thing…it’s remarkably brief, which probably causes most of my readers to confuse it with a WOW post. But sometimes, when I’m brief, I’m at my best and this one may qualify in that category. Also, it’s sometimes difficult to get my thoughts onto paper or screen clearly and my fear, with this post, was that it wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than me. Thankfully, my dear readers “got it.” Click here to enter the “Splash Zone.”

Friday’s Post: The 12 Days AFTER Christmas…

You might also like: The 12 Days of MIP: 4 & 3; The 12 Days of MIP: 6 & 5; The 12 Days of MIP: 8 & 7; The 12 Days of MIP: 10 & 9; and The 12 Days of MIP: 12 & 11


The 12 Days of MIP: 4 & 3…

blood pressure

Book Club Members: Please send me any questions you’d like to ask Jane Christmas. I need to send them to her now. Go here to submit them to me.

It’s time to reveal two more of my favorite posts from 2013. While they may not be your favorites, read on for why they are on my list:

Number 4:

Think You Don’t Have What It Takes to Change the World? Think Again…

If I didn’t have two supportive families in my corner, there are a group of friends from my Virginia days who I think of as family. Being half the country away from them just physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually hurts. These folks love me as I truly am…warts and all and they didn’t have to. They get why I’m so serious about my faith; they laugh at the same inane stuff that I laugh at; they care about the things I care about. Occasionally, we get a chance to fly back to the east coast and spend some time with them. The visits, even if I feel like I’m wearing out my welcome with invading their homes for so long, seem far too short. There is just something special about a group of friends who have a lot of history together. We have some wild stories to tell about how God has worked in each of our lives and in how He’s worked with us, together as a group.  I’m sure that if we were to share these wild stories with those outside our group, there would be a great deal of skepticism. But, there’s one thing you can’t argue about–we have been servants for God, each in our own way…just doing what God asked each of us to do. And in the process of just simply answering the “call,” lives have been changed all over the globe. The bottom line? You don’t have to be anything special or unusual to change the world…you just have to go do it. Click here to see what I mean.

Number 3:

So, Where Are My Posts?

This is not my writing at my finest, honestly. Why? Well, it’s just a newsy post about what happened to me last summer when my Prinzmetal Angina condition decided to rear its ugly head for the first time in 14 years back in June. It’s the one time I wasn’t able to keep to my regular blog schedule this past year. This was my “I’m Still Standin'” post, even though 2 heart attacks almost ended my life. It was the easiest way to update everyone on what happened to me without having to recount the details a ridiculous number of times. And it was, for quite some time, the most viewed post on MIP. It spiked my readership pretty considerably, so I guess if I want more exposure for my blog, I need to have a few more heart attacks. Relax. Just kidding! So, if you want to read the account one more time about my brush with death, click here.

Friday’s Post: An Interview with Jane Christmas!

You might also like: The 12 days of MIP: 6 & 5; The 12 Days of MIP: 8 & 7; The 12 Days of MIP: 10 & 9; and The 12 Days of MIP: 12 & 11


Lessons Learned from 7 Years on Facebook…

Warning: War and Peace was shorter. If you’re looking for the blog pic, now you know why it’s missing.

I can see where FB will come in handy for my Alzheimer’s years. Several times I have wondered how long I’ve been on FB…tomorrow it will have been 7 years. I originally wrote the first 38 “lessons” 2 years ago.  In only 2 short years I’ve “learned” nearly 20 new lessons. But you may want to read the first 38 again, because there are updates! For those of you who joined FB right after Zuckerberg, I’m sure 7 years seems like a very ho-hum fact.  But, for moms, it’s rather monumental. Because in 2006 I only knew one other mom who stalked her kids’ pages on FB. And she stalked long before we called it stalking.

I was getting concerned about what the daughter was spending so much time doing on this thing called Facebook.  And so I took my lunch hour to create an account to check privacy issues, etc.  My naive thinking was: “I’ll create the account, check on her and then delete the account.” WRONG!  Here’s why:

1. If you create your account right now, the daughter will post to your wall 5 seconds later.  And this was before smart phones.  And she was at school at the time.  Ahem.

2. Just when you think you’re irrelevant to the next generation, 8 teens will comment on your status statements and/or obnoxious note postings. Don’t know what a Facebook note is? It’s what we did to entertain ourselves on FB before games, apps and sharing.

3. You can write 536 pages of FB notes in 6 years while mothering, working, going to grad school, dealing with migraines, planning a wedding, planning graduation celebrations, dealing with your demented dad (literally), planning family funerals, going on date nights and vacations with the hubby, training for the 3 Day, fundraising for the 3 Day, walking the 3 Day and renovating your bathroom.

4.  If you insert the phrase, “and a partridge in a pear tree” into your next note on FB, it will instantly get a comment. I haven’t figured out why this is true yet.

5. Just when you thought you could get away with posting something truly devious on FB, your entire family (including your in-laws), your boss, your minister, your kids’ teachers and your dog will all join FB. I haven’t noticed much action on the dog’s page. What is she hiding? Dog bones, most likely.

6. The best way to know who my son is dating is to look for recent comments on his wall. Bwahahahaha. (Unfortunately, he’s now on to me.) But it was handy for his formative years.

7. If the girlfriend requests you as a friend, it’s serious!

8. If the boyfriend requests you as a friend, it’s really serious!

9. If the boyfriend starts asking you questions about your daughter on FB, start recording “Say Yes to the Dress” on your DVR. I love you, DSL. 🙂

10.  If you write 536 pages of notes on FB in 6 years, you will start getting the following ads on your feed: self-publishing companies, writing workshops, and “How would you like to pilot the next web site by FB? We will feature writers prominently.”  Even I still don’t completely consider myself a writer. Writers have published books.

11. When you tell 50 college students that you have 400 friends and have been on FB for 7 years, they will laugh in your face. And yes, I know for you massively popular folks out there with over 1000+ friends, 400 is a drop in the bucket, but here’s a little factoid to ponder…I rarely, if ever, send a friend request.  If you get one from me, consider yourself at the top of my A List.

12. Just when you set your privacy settings to prevent weirdos from seeing your stuff, 5 strangers will request you. Supposedly to read your 536 pages of notes.  Yeah, okay. Right. Either they don’t have a life, or they are…friends of your kids. What?!? See # 2.

13. Want to have fun on FB sometime?  Write 536 pages of notes and then post one asking for suggestions on what to name your future book…oh, my.  Let’s just say that the next generation is far more literate than we give them credit for and they know me way too well.

14. Etsy is a site where people make a lot of things and then sell them. You name it…it’s sold there. The scary part is that I didn’t know I needed this stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell…partridges in a pear tree…and the bird seed to feed them. See # 4.

15. When you get bored with FB, start a Pinterest account.  The number of people following me on Pinterest scares me, quite frankly.  It’s the Like feature on FB with pictures…and it’s dangerous…to my wallet and my waistline. But oh, so handy, when helping the daughter plan a wedding.

16. Just when I get used to where everything is on my feed, profile and note-writing interface, FB will move it.  This will tick me off for about 2 weeks, until I find some feature I can’t live without. That Mark Zuckerberg is such a clever guy. Hmmm…

17. Everyone else will be ticked off for the same two weeks.

18.  For my middle-aged and more senior friends, I have somehow now become the “Supreme Overlord Potentate” of how to navigate FB successfully as a newbie.  And that leads me to # 19….

19.  The Tribe is not a group of Native Americans. And they have a language all their own.  If you hang with them long enough, they may translate for you, but don’t count on it.

20. You can say really interesting things about your husband because he is foolish enough to stay off FB….bwahahahaha. Unfortunately, all my FB friends will tell him about it.

21. Because you entered that you were married to your husband in 2007, FB assumes that you have only been married for 6 years. This is news to my grown-up children who all claim him as Dad. They even have the birth certificates to prove it.

22. When you announce to the FB world that you have attended your first grad school class, FB will start sending you ads about considering various online grad schools for your degree. Zuckerberg:  Timing is everything. You should understand that concept.

23. The most original, funny, thought-provoking status statements will come from people who no longer have an account on FB. Grr. Fortunately, peer pressure will usually intervene and they’ll be back on FB when they realize that Twitter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

24. When you are deep in thought trying to write something pithy on FB, that’s when your teenage son will decide, for once, to tell you all the details of his life. Yes, youngest child, that one was for you.  But, that’s okay…that’s what Moms are for. I’m not complaining, just noting.

25. When you brag about how you really care about the correct spelling of all words on FB, that’s when you will post a note with 5 typos. Double Grr. I probably have 5 here already. And let’s not even talk about my creative use of grammar…as in this very sentence.

26. FB knows how to stab you right in the heart when it asks you to reconnect with someone you haven’t heard from in a while on FB. If FB figures out how to friend my “heavenly friends,” I’m theirs for life….even if they move my stuff around again. (Thankfully, Zuckerberg figured out that some profiles are kept “active” for memorial purposes and this “feature” has now been deleted. I like to think it’s because of this note. I enjoy living in Fantasyland.)

27. My friends are diverse on FB. Keeping up with that diversity is what has made me an insomniac for 7 years.  Prior to that I was just a sleep-deprived mother.

28. I do not like ads for sites where I have to give them email addresses in order to see the site.  Hear that, FB??? (Apparently, they are not listening, because Zuckerberg is now trying to make money off of FB. As if his fortune wasn’t already big enough.)

29. I do not like apps that ask me to fill out a ridiculous survey in order to tell me what my Star Trek name is, etc. (This does now seem fairly diminished in popularity, probably because all of them asked for your email address and Zuckerberg wasn’t making enough money off of them. See # 28.)

30.  Perhaps the best function of FB is to allow people to say they’re having a rough time.  When it’s your turn to express such thoughts, expect to instantly get at least a handful of comments from your friends telling you it’s going to be okay.  Many of us will be blessed to have even more. Some friends will even make a date with you to cheer you up.

31. Forgetful about birthdays? Be on FB! And for the record, I don’t supply my birthday upon request…it’s already on  the feed! And no, I don’t put down the year for my b-day. Deal with it.

32. Feeling like Molly Ringwald on your birthday? Join FB. What’s even more impressive is that each wish comes with a specific inside joke between you and that friend. And if you have no idea why I referred to Molly Ringwald, it’s an inside joke for those of us who appreciate John Hughes and Easy A.

33. In 2005 I thought the words friend and message were nouns. Today I think otherwise.  They are some of the most “active” words in my vocabulary now.

34. I am not a Tweeter. Watch. Tomorrow I will subscribe to Twitter. (I now have 143 Twitter followers. Tomorrow it will probably be 2 and then on Friday it will probably be 150. Conclusion? Twitter folks are really fickle.  #feelingfickleaboutTwitter.)

35. My FB notes were often longer than my grad school papers. This is because I was writing FB notes to avoid writing grad school papers.

36. Never friend your professors. Oops. Too late. Hi, Dr. A. Hi, Dr. L. Yes, the paper was turned in on time. No guarantees on typos or proper grammar, though.

37.  What is myspace?

38. The last person to comment on your wall, 7 years later, will be…your now married daughter..while she’s in school. There’s goes Mother of the Year again. Can I at least blame her smart phone now???

39. FB notes were very convenient for the thoughts racing through my head at 1 am until I decided to start this blog and move them to MIP. That only took two months of non-stop work.

40. After writing FB notes for 6 years, you will have enough fodder for your blog for the next 3 years.

41. When you don’t think keeping up with a Twitter following, your personal FB page and your blog is enough, start a professional page on FB. And the people who like my page are not fickle. See # 34.

42. Book agents will not look at your stuff until you have 1000 for both # 34 and # 41. Guess that means I’m self-publishing my books. That’s okay–I really don’t like query letters, book outlines and giving a random critic 15% of my income anyway.

43. Your best source for writing feedback? The hubby who’s still never been on FB.

44. If your writing is getting a little stagnant, go to Alaska for 12 days and then write about it afterwards. I think I should get a commission from for all the subsequent business I’ve now sent their way. They apparently listen just as well as Zuckerberg. See # 28.

45. Heart attacks are a great way to drive readership on FB, Twitter and your blog. Thus, I plan on scheduling 1 health crisis per year. This shouldn’t be too difficult since I only have about 5 conditions that are all potentially-life threatening. The tricky part will be to figure out how to have them without spending $ 139,000. Does that mean a book agent has to pay 15% of that cost? If so, then I retract # 42.

46. I can now tell FB how much I hate their ads. However, Zuckerberg still isn’t listening. See # 28.

47. I have learned to hate Candy Crush Saga and I’ve never played a single game of it. I learned not to play FB after watching perfectly sane people lose it over their cows in Farmville. The counselor in me is thinking of starting a support group for people addicted to FB games. I think I could make some money off of this. Of course the book agent and Zuckerberg will probably want 15% each. But, I think I’m okay with this. Move over, Warren Buffett…another gazillionaire is born.

48. I now know the latest info on every ball team in the nation, the latest in the news, and what twerking is without ever having to visit other web sites. I think I could have lived without knowing the latter.

49. Never, ever begin a discussion on politics on FB.

50. The only caveat to # 49 is saying that you’re ready to throw every last member of Congress out of office in 2013. That’s good for about 15,000 likes.

51. Where is the “Dislike” button? When trying to comfort someone, “liking” their statement just seems flat wrong. How about a “I care about you” button??? Oh, my bad. Zuckerberg isn’t listening. See # 28.

52. The amount of “stuff” on my feed has exponentially increased since 2006. I’m thinking of creating a “Where’s Waldo?” app for FB. Yessss…another gazillionaire idea. Of course, you can only play it if you request that all of your friends play it and you ask for their email addresses. See # 28 and # 47.

53. Never, ever ask FB to give you updates on your phone unless you enjoy plugging in your phone.

54. I used to read my church’s newsletter to know what’s going on at my church. Now, I just go to my church’s page. Madalyn Murray O’Hair just rolled over in her grave and 5 blog readers just googled her.

55. Sharing used to involve giving something to another person that originally belonged to you. Now it means taking someone’s else’s stuff and claiming it as your own brilliance. Guilty as charged.

56. I rarely leave my home thanks to the 5 life-threatening health conditions and yet I know more about my neighbors than I did when I actually walked my entire neighborhood daily. This. Is. Scary. And the last sentence is also an FB innovation. Period. Exclamation. Point.

57. In 2006 I was too scared to write publicly. And writing a book was even more scary. Now, I’m writing 2 books and a blog. That is all due to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and my faithful family and friends who interact with me there daily. You have my profound thanks for turning me into a raving lunatic writer.

Maybe in 7 more years I’ll understand Twitter. #hopeless

Friday’s Post: The very first MIP Book Club Day! Be there!

You might also like: Lessons Learned from the 2009 Dallas Breast Cancer 3 Day, Lessons Learned from Facebook Page Insights, & Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4


Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower…


In the never ending theme of my life, “God has a sick sense of humor,” the hubby and I went off to the big city for an echocardiogram yesterday. Since I have been feeling better and better, I thought this would just be a part of the routine follow-up care one must endure after a heart attack. But, that would be oh, too simple for MaryAnn. Since I have had “echos” before, I knew this one was taking way too long. I could also see the screen this time and even my untrained eye didn’t like what I was seeing. And I was, once again, reading the body language of my echo technician. And it wasn’t good.

Apparently, the echo showed abnormalities. However, I was not scheduled to see the doctor on this visit–just to get the echo. So, after checking with a physician (My doctor wasn’t in the office, of course.), they sent us on our way and said there were no changes to my recuperative care.

While on the way home, we stopped for gas. While my hubby pumped the gas, my cell phone rang. It was my doctor’s nurse. My doctor had reviewed the echo and wanted several changes. First, stop taking the new drug I had just started 2 months ago. Also stop taking aspirin. These meds are usually considered vital in keeping me alive. The reason for stopping these meds? To take Warfarin instead. What?! Apparently, I have a blood clot at the base of my heart. The clot puts me at risk now for a stroke. Joy.

But that wasn’t the worst part. I also needed to start another drug right away, preferably by the end of the afternoon and the orders were to take it twice a day. Guess how you take this med. You self-inject it.

I’m pretty much a human pin cushion from countless allergy shots, hospital IVs, blood draws, etc., but all of those were administered by a medical professional. I’ve never, ever had to inject myself. And since I nearly passed out in 9th grade Biology when we had to prick our fingers to put blood on a microscope slide (I finally had to have my lab partner do it), this is enough to send ol’ MaryAnn to the psych ward for about 2 years.

This could not have happened at a worse time. Normally, I would probably have my son learn how to give me the injections, but he is moving to college this weekend. (He has a new reason to leave home!) Normally, my husband would rearrange his business schedule to help me out, but he is moving both of our sons this weekend. Normally, I know a pile of nursing students from our local university, but all of those have recently graduated and found positions in other communities. Normally, my daughter, who doesn’t live too far away, would probably meet me somewhere and help her poor mother out (even though I’m sure she’d rather go back to grad school!). She’s on a much needed vacation in Colorado with her new husband right now.

I got off the phone and the hubby could tell I was visibly shaken. I repeated what the nurse told me and we drove down the road silently for the next 10 minutes. Silence in the family car usually means something is drastically wrong. Then I received a series of additional phone calls from the same nurse with the following newsflashes: They don’t have the injectable stuff at my normal pharmacy that already understands how much garbage I endure because of my medical adventures, so I had to go through all the insurance garbage at another pharmacy. My primary care physican’s staff would not be able to give me the injections this coming weekend when they were closed. Pharmacies can’t give me the shots, either. I can’t have any alcohol whatsoever. (And after the first phone call, I was thinking inebriation might be the only way I could persuade myself to inject myself two times a day!) I can’t take any pain relievers except Tylenol and I can’t exceed 2000 mg of Tylenol per day (A mere pittance when I’m having a migraine and stress brings on my migraines.) I can’t be on antibiotics while on Warfarin. However, since my doctor won’t allow allergy shots right now, I’m coughing more which generally brings on bronchitis which is usually treated by antibiotics. I have to maintain a healthy diet, but no salad greens of any kind. No broccoli, either (A lot of my Lean Cuisines have broccoli in them.) I take cranberry pills to prevent yeast infections and you can’t take cranberry products when on Warfarin. (Read above to remind yourself about the old antibiotic thing!) Vitamin C and Vitamin K can be an issue, too. And both are in my multi-vitamin, of course.

Oh, and here are the kickers: I have to inject the shots into my stomach; I have to get blood drawn at least every week (maybe 3 times per week); and I’m not allowed to do anything in which I could injure myself (I walk into walls on a good day.) and I’m not supposed to gain any weight. So, how did mature MaryAnn respond? I burst into tears and I have only stopped long enough to consume lots of chocolate and other assorted junk food. I slept a total of 2 hours last night and my heart condition is stress-induced. Guess where my blood pressure was this morning? Right back where it was when I left the hospital in June…and that is NOT good. (It was fine yesterday morning before the appointment.)

So, for the last 18 hours I’ve been trying to do cognitive therapy on myself (There are some perks to having that master’s.) and I do have a contingency plan in effect until I can get my mind around this new little reality. The shots may continue for up to 4 weeks.

While I have a feeling I will have more “lessons to learn” as this progresses, here are the lessons learned (and a bunch of questions) so far from being a big, fat wimp:

1. Is this penance for actually owning Barry Manilow albums in the 70s and singing along to them???

2. Obviously, I’ve gone back to the 1970s, because I am now reverting to the “sailor language” of my college days. (My children do not believe I ever swore…my college homies would vehemently disagree.)

3. I can talk a brave game until I see the actual needle.

4. I have to shoot this stuff into my belly fat. Thanks, doc, for giving me twice daily reminders that I still have belly fat. Do not expect a Christmas present from me this year.

5. It will be easier to shoot this stuff into my belly fat, thanks to all the chocolate I plan to eat for the next 4 weeks….at least.

6. Open heart surgery now sounds so much more appealing.

7. Brain surgery now sounds so much more appealing and that may be what is needed in order for MaryAnn to stick herself on purpose.

8. When I was trying to opt out of this injection nonsense, Jesus chose that precise moment to remind me that he had nails pounded into his feet and hands. Yeah, Jesus. But you didn’t have to pound the nails in yourself.

9. Where is whale blubber when you need it?

10. Can I practice giving injections on my doctor first? (He has no stomach fat, and I’ve decided that’s my Christmas gift to him this year.)

11. Why is the practice needle about 1/3 the size of the one I’m supposed to really use???

12. I’m now beginning to understand why Jesus got perturbed with the disciples for not praying with him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

13. Where is Jeremy Renner when I need him? Or Dr. Marta Schering??? Can I viral my way out of this??? Where are the frickin’ blue and green pills??? I guess I dropped them while jumping from one mountain top to another.

14. If this is what is required of me in my 50s, what will be required of me in my 70s??? Water boarding comes to mind.

15. I’m now reviewing the part of my counseling textbooks on systematic desensitization. My counseling homies just laughed their heads off.

16. I can watch the headlines on the Today show 5 times and still not comprehend what Lauer and Guthrie are still discussing. Savannah did get a new haircut.

17. Sudoku Kingdom is now my favorite new web site….especially at 3 am.

18. Solving world hunger sounds like a much easier problem to tackle today.

19. This pretty much effectively ends the internal discussion I’ve been having with myself (Yes, I’m now hearing voices in my head…not a positive sign for mental stability.) about whether I can continue to organize our church’s little venture to Women of Faith. Right now…I don’t think I effectively fit the description for a Woman of Faith.

20. Maybe coaching others through the stressors in their lives is not a good idea right now…unless misery loves company.

21. The novel was progressing pretty slowly as of late. Warp speed now.

22. Where is my “Get Out of Jail Free” card?

23. When you bawl like a hysterical little 3 year old, your husband will suddenly be willing to give you “the moon.”  And that’s where I’d like to be right now. Last time I checked there were no mean doctors or syringes anywhere on the surface of the moon.

24. When I bawl like a baby, my husband starts bribing random nurses with homemade ice cream. I hope he leaves some for me.

25. I thought masochism was a bad thing.

26. When you get a shot as a kid, the doctor gives you stickers or a lollipop. I better get an All Day Sucker for this venture…each…and every time.

27. As of today, I have a new prescription for Xanax.

28. Looking up the cost of sharps containers online can lead to some interesting pop-up ads. But, I still got the gratuitous Netflix ad.

29. I’m thinking of taking up sword-swallowing as my next hobby.

30. We may need to move up the Hawaii vacation planned for 2017 to…like…tomorrow.

31. It should be easy to get IN to Mexico, right??? If a drug lord points a gun in my face, I’m going to tell him he can have it all, but he has to inject me with 2 syringes a day for the next 10 days. That’s in his job description, isn’t it???

32. The first song on 70s on the 7 this morning was very helpful–“Taking Care of Business.” The second one–not so much: “Freddy’s Dead.”

33. I must have pissed off a gypsy in a former life.

34. Maybe reading a book entitled “Heaven” right now is not such a hot idea.

35. Makeup doesn’t hide the “shopping bags” under my eyes very well. Need to get another vat of concealer the next time I’m at Wally World. Maybe I can pick that up with the sharps container, the Xanax, and the swords. Do you need a license to carry a concealed sword?

36. Even waterproof mascara is pointless at this point…and I don’t really want to talk about points right now…not even Weight Watcher Points. However, I may need Jennifer Hudson to sing to me while I inject myself.

37. Amazon will deliver a semi-load of Godiva chocolates to my house for free by tomorrow morning if I subscribe to Amazon prime.

38. I don’t qualify for home health to help me with the injections because I drive  my own car. So, if I itch my foot, does that mean it rains in Jamaica? Remind me to make sure I have my driver’s license with me when I shoot up.

39. Where is a heroin addict when I need one? He can give me injections and I can give him substance abuse counseling…it’s a win-win, right?

40. I’m looking for a cave to crawl into and if I see any Al Qaeda members there, I’ll let you know.

41. Is this because I had 3 pieces of butterfinger pie last weekend?

42. TSA now has a new reason to completely obliterate any semblance of suitcase organization I might attempt (as if carrying nitro pills weren’t enough).

43. I used to have a phobia about mice.

44. My self esteem went on my Hawaiian vacation without me. It had better take good pics of the volcano.  Of course, TSA could confiscate its camera.

45. I have the greatest friends and family. Thanks for all of the prayers. Please pray that these meds work fast and I can get back to the usual stupid stuff of my life….like facing an empty nest.

You might also like: MaryAnn’s Hospital Survey, Lessons Learned from Completing a Hospital Survey, and This I Just Can’t Resist




The New Information On Prinzmetal Angina…


For the last 2 days I have sarcastically witted on about my last 2 heart attacks. But, it’s time to get serious. In 1999 I tried and could not find very much information about Prinzmetal Angina. I had to rely upon the information coming from my cardiologist and personal doctor. Here is what I was told:

  1. Prinzmetal Angina occurs when coronary arteries spasm. If they spasm hard enough, they create a blood clot which then prevents blood flow to the heart. This creates a heart attack.
  2. You can have Prinzmetal Angina without any of the “traditional” heart attack risk factors. This was, and is, oh, so true of me.
  3. In 1999 1 out of every 2 Prinzmetal Angina heart attack victims died.
  4. Negative stress is related to this condition.
  5. Eating right and exercising regularly will not change my risk of having a heart attack.
  6. An EKG and a stress test will often not show a Prinzmetal attack. This is also true of me.
  7. A Prinzmetal patient can expect to have a heart attack every 10 to 15 years. My 3rd and 4th attacks (I actually suspect I may have had a 5th attack that went undiagnosed, based on my symptoms.) came just a little over 14 years after the 1999 attacks.
  8. Prinzmetal attacks often occur when a person is at rest. Three of mine occurred this way.
  9. No one knows why Prinzmetal Angina occurs. You can’t even do an autopsy on a deceased Prinzmetal Angina patient to gain insights.


Here’s the good news: Largely thanks to the Internet, I can now find droves of information on this topic! So, here is the new information I am learning:

  1. Cocaine use is a causal agent of this. (That should be easy to stop.) 🙂
  2. They often occur like “clockwork” between the hours of midnight and 8 am. (The last 2 heart attacks occurred almost exactly a week apart right around midnight.)
  3. Beta blockers, commonly used for treating heart patients, are often “bad news” for Prinzmetal Angina patients. I was on a beta blocker when # 3 and # 4 occurred. Because of this new finding, I am now off this med and have been switched to a newer med.
  4. Exposure to the cold can bring on an attack. This is not good news for my migraines, where colder “climates” often help!
  5. 50% of Prinzmetal Angina patients have no conventional risk factors. Thus, you can be a professional athlete in perfect shape and die from this.
  6. Angiography can be used post mortem to examine the spasmed coronary arteries of Prinzmetal Angina victims. This means the medical community might be able to actually make some progress in figuring out what is causing this condition!
  7. When this occurred in 1999, my mother told me that her grandmother (my great-grandmother) died very suddenly at a young age. She wondered if her grandmother could have had Prinzmetal’s and it just had not been a diagnosed condition in “her day.” Now, there seems to be evidence that there could be a genetic component to this condition. In other words, Mom may be right. In fact my mom was always right, so let’s just go with what she said to save time.
  8. Conservative estimates suggest that 140,000 people have Prinzmetal Angina and most are younger heart attack patients than regular heart disease/heart attack patients.
  9. My new cardiologist has another Prinzmetal Angina patient. She also suffers from migraines. Migraine is a known risk factor for stroke. Migraines are caused by constriction of the vascular system of the brain. Strokes, of course, are related to heart attacks. Thus, there may be some connection here that warrants further study.
  10. The American Prinzmetal Angina Association has been formed in order to educate, support research grants and connect doctors who know things about Prinzmetal Angina!


Tomorrow’s Post: How MaryAnn Survived 4 Prinzmetal Angina Heart Attacks….

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Recuperating, Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4, Thank You, SCC, So, Where Are My Posts?, 2 Heart Attacks Too Soon, Part 1





Lessons Learned from Recuperating…

blood pressure

Warning: You may need two beverages first.

You might reason, “If you had 2 heart attacks in 1999, surely there are no new lessons to be learned from recuperating from 2 more.” Well, that would be true if 14 years hadn’t transpired in between and I hadn’t been on morphine drips both then and now. It’s starting to come back to me now, but apparently, going through this in your 50s is not like going through it in your 30s. I wonder how bad it would have been if I hadn’t exercised my butt off and tried to eat reasonably for most of that 14 years??? Oh. The list would have been even longer? A reason to be thankful that I exercised, hunh?

  1. It may not be such a hot idea to have a blood pressure cuff. Seeing my current blood pressure readings….well, raises my blood pressure readings. I sense a vicious circle here.
  2. Even on Xanax I can hear the youngest’s alarm clock from across the house, through 2 closed doors. He, on the other hand, won’t hear it for another 15 minutes…after I go and throw a cup of ice water on his head.
  3. Pouring a cup of ice water on the youngest’s head raises my blood pressure.
  4. The hubby doesn’t understand portion control or the elements of a heart healthy diet. I’m not sure I care.
  5. I can drop 6 lbs. in 4 days…while on a morphine drip. Remind me to attach a morphine drip next to my treadmill when I’m cleared to exercise.
  6. I’m supposed to rest during the day. I don’t think the doc has ever been to my house in the daytime. A war zone is probably quieter.
  7. Hockey games put me to sleep. See # 6.
  8. Basketball games raise my blood pressure. Once a Hoosier, always a Hoosier.
  9. I will do just about anything to avoid helping someone move.
  10. I will do just about anything to avoid another Texas Tech orientation.
  11. If you travel extensively for a living for 30 years, your wife will make you pay for this by taking the youngest to Texas Tech orientation…without a referee or a face mask or a baseball bat.
  12. To prepare your hubby to take your youngest to orientation, he will need a folder full of documents, 16 Internet links in an email, and the rest of your prescription for Xanax.
  13. I have good gift elves—they not only shop for me, but they get it on sale and wrap it. That gift elf needs a breakfast at IHOP on me. Now, if I could only get an IHOP in our town. For that, I think I’m going to need bigger elves.
  14. I asked God to get my mind off the heart attack concerns so I could sleep one night and the next thought that popped into my head? Toilet plungers. God is efficient.
  15. # 14 would be the epitome of “Be careful what you ask for…”?
  16. People still doubt that God has a sense of humor. See # 14.
  17. I no longer care about IRS scandals, surveillance of my cell phone, and Oklahoma tornados. But, I do care deeply about getting a Twinkie on 7/15 and seeing the minions again. I have a Master’s, right?
  18. A good day prior to 6/6 was to spend 4 hours writing and maintaining my web site, spend 4 hours doing housework or running errands, mentoring the 18 year old, studying my Bible, sorting the mail, reading 1/7 of a book, watering the plants, and helping some charitable endeavor.
  19. I now view having a good day as putting on mascara. Just so I don’t scare people in public.
  20. We need a new thermostat at our house. One moment it’s too hot in the house and the next moment it’s too cold. Are heart attack survivors required to go through menopause again? Probably really interesting for the male heart attack survivors.
  21. My blood pressure graph resembles the side view of the Titan roller-coaster at Six Flags. And I didn’t even get on the Titan to do that.
  22. I have about as much luck avoiding heart attacks as Marco has at winning IRL races with an excellent car. Maybe he and I need to start a support group for people cursed by gypsies?
  23. Eating dinner with your family, watching TV, and writing in your journal trying to de-stress…causes heart attacks. So, if I breathe deeply, I’m back in the hospital, hunh? Where is that oxygen tank?
  24. My arms and hands now make me look Iike I’m a heroin addict. I don’t remember getting the high from that addiction. Of course, that may be due to the morphine.
  25. I did have plans for the youngest’s last birthday at home before college. Think we can make it up to him by giving him a new car? Oh. Wait. Hospital bills. Never mind. Maybe he wants a Twinkie for his birthday?
  26. My brother informed me they don’t give frequent flyer mileage for Careflites. Dang. I wanted to go to Tahiti this year. Oh. Wait. Hospital bills. Never mind. Texas looks like Tahiti, right?? Maybe I can wire some coconuts to the cacti??? Mai-tai’s look like margaritas if you stick an umbrella in them?
  27. Readership of my blog goes up when I tweet from a hospital bed. I’ve ordered a hospital bed for my office.
  28. When I have heart pain, I develop Internal Tourette’s Syndrome (ITS?). The risk of “oral leakage” at these moments increases my blood pressure.
  29. The hospital chaplain assures me that Jesus has heard cuss words before. Probably because people generally use His name as a cuss word. And that was your sermon for today.
  30. If you go to and tell their calculator that you’ve had 4 heart attacks in 14 years, it computes your “real age” as “corpse.” It computes your life expectancy as -2. This explains the pale face and dark eye circles that now greet me in the mirror on a regular basis.
  31. Based on # 30, I now qualify to be in the next zombie movie. No makeup required. Apocalypse optional.
  32. When you start posting about heart attacks on Facebook, your banner ads are for comfortable walking shoes, selling your home, eye glasses, and auction houses. Refer to # 30.
  33. My “co-mom”, who helps me parent the “adopteds” said she can’t parent all these kids on her own. Note to self: Need to designate a successor “adopted mom” for her. Perhaps the successor will be more successful at getting IHOP to my little town. And can we get my “co-mom” a prescription for Xanax and energy formula multi-vitamins for women 50+?
  34. I think I have Recuperative Stress Syndrome, or RSS. I knew they weren’t giving me the straight scoop about what that RSS thing meant.
  35. Never watch “Puss in Boots” while on Xanax. ‘Nuf said.
  36. I no longer care about ironing. (My children are doing cartwheels in celebration.) Unless I can figure out a way to iron out the flabby skin I have from 6 lbs. of weight loss in less than a week.
  37. I am constantly hungry. And yet I weigh less than I have since the first child was born. Does this mean I’m pregnant? If so…need…more…Xanax. Oh. Wait. You can’t take Xanax while pregnant. Where is my box of chocolates??? Oh. I ate them already.
  38. To get a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist 6 weeks from now, I guess I have to practically die. Oh. Guess that won’t work, either. Not even if you do it twice in 1 week.
  39. While trying to get the follow-up appointment, I was admonished to not leave multiple messages. Kinda hard to do, since they keep leaving me multiple messages about how the dates I’m available are all booked and they never actually answer their extension when I call back. My solution? Leave one long “filibustery” message giving them my attorney’s contact information.
  40. For the record, my attorney’s name is Mr. Pitbull. He probably won’t answer his phone, either, because he likes to go “hunting” pretty often. He also seems to have an anger management issue, too. Sooo thankful he chose to go to a different counselor for that.
  41. I opened my underwear drawer and the Spanx apparently have amnesia—they don’t recognize me now that I’m a skeleton. Maybe they’re on Xanax, too?
  42. I am now required to find an allergist. Since we don’t have those in our little town, this IS an excuse to go shopping for skeleton-sized clothes, right? (I plan to shop in the “Pre-Anorexic” department of Macy’s.)
  43. My new allergist is conveniently located next to my favorite heart-healthy restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory.
  44. Wheelchairs sound so much more appealing now. My mom-in-law named hers, “Sally.” I think I will call mine, “Roy.” I always wanted a family member named after Bruce Willis.
  45. Twisted humor lowers my blood pressure. Not sure what it does to yours. But, I have a blood pressure cuff you can borrow.  I’ve quit using it. See # 1.


Tomorrow’s Post: Some actual useful information…

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4, Lessons Learned from a Routine Examination, and Lessons Learned from My Dentist.