Posted in Inspiration, Life

Fearing the big 4-0!

It doesn’t seem possible – my 40th birthday is just around the corner! For years I had stressed about approaching this next decade, nervous that my mid 40’s would quickly draw near – an age that no one in the family who has had a heart condition similar to mine has lived past. It’s funny how a simple number can create so much stress and anxiety. To put it simply, I was completely freaked me out!! I felt like I was waiting for my expiration date to approach. But I didn’t want to be like that. Even though the fear of death in my 40’s still laid inside my head, I spent much of my 30’s bound determined to find ways to work through my condition so that I wouldn’t end up with the same fate. What can I say, I have been and always will be stubborn and will push myself to the limits rather than give up and throw the towel in. Regardless of what was going on in my head, I had to go above and beyond just to prove to myself and others that even though I was “sick”, I could still do everything a normal, healthy individual could do. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times of frustration, but I have always tried to remain optimistic. Wouldn’t you know, that stubborn attitude paid off! My health has improved slightly and the thought of an expiration date in my mid 40’s has subsided. The big 4-0…an age that I had been scared of has now become one that I am actually looking forward to. Through various types of therapy and the love and support of family and friends, I have cast my fears aside and I am ready to live life to the fullest; ready to live on through my 40’s, my 50’s and many years beyond. Age truly is a number. It’s time to forget those numbers and simply live. New opportunities await each one of us and new adventures are ready to be had. To my fellow friends and family also hitting a milestone this year – forgot those numbers. Set some new goals and dream some new dreams. One decade of your life may be ending, but a new one has just begun. Embrace it and enjoy it.

Happy Milestone Birthday to all those having one!!

It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Marcus Aurelius
Posted in Inspiration, Life

Beginning the next chapter


The alarm clock on my cell phone sounded.  As I reached to turn it off, I noticed it read 4:00 am.  For a moment, I couldn’t fathom why I had set the alarm so early.  Then it hit me.  Today was the day.  Today I was saying goodbye to my old defibrillator and hello to a new one.  I was the first scheduled surgery, but living an hours drive from the hospital meant an early rise and a long drive to get there.  Fortunately, my fiance, my father, and my step mother would be there with me to keep me company.

The car ride to the hospital was cold and quiet.  Thankfully, no snow was falling to make the drive difficult, but the temperatures were cold enough to chill you to the bone.  I hunkered down in the back seat of dads car, snuggled close to my fiance, and wrapped myself up with the blanket that I found in the back.  As we reached the hospital, the butterflies in my stomach began to flutter.  I was anticipating a long wait, but to my surprise, check-in, registration, and getting settled into my private room took no time at all.  Surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be.  Likely due to the fact I had been through this procedure before.  I already had an idea of what to expect.  Before long, a nurse came in to roll me on my way to the operating room.  A kiss from my fiance, a wave to my parents, and away I went.

As I lay on the operating table, the temperature in the room felt cool. Everyone in the room moved in a perfectly synchronized dance around me, ensuring to fulfill any requests to make me comfortable.  The one request I made was to see my old device.  Apparently this was an odd request and wasn’t something that patients typically asked for, but they were happy to oblige.  Medication was administered through my IV and within minutes, my entire body was relaxed.  A drape was then placed above my shoulders and around my head, creating a cozy little tent.  The next thing I felt was a cool liquid being wiped across the left side of my chest, followed by a sudden prick of a needle that administered Novocain to the area where the surgeon would cut.  It stung and felt warm – it was uncomfortable.  Once numb, the surgery would then proceeded.  It seemed like only minutes had passed before I felt a hand touch my right shoulder gently.  The doctor was holding a small metal object in his hand in front of me to see.  “We’re all done Ginny.  Here’s your old device!” I heard his voice say.  I couldn’t help but smile and feel incredibly blessed.  This small, rounded, metal box had given me a chance to live throughout the years without fear of dying.  This box was there in order to save my life and it had served its purpose.  I couldn’t help but look at it and whisper “Thank You”.

December 28, 2017 – the day I ended the chapter on the last decade of my life and began the next chapter with a new device.  For others in my family with heart disease, they weren’t fortunate enough to live past their first chapter.  They never had the chance to live past a decade of being a cardiac patient.  I, on the other hand, have been fortunate to continue on with hopefully many more chapters to come.

Life is a precious gift.  Cherish the chapters you are given for you never know when your book will end.

“Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a brand new chapter.”

Posted in Life

Getting back on track

As we all know, the older we get, the faster time flies by.  Life gets a bit more hectic and soon we find ourselves caught up with every day tasks and mundane routines that before you know it, you begin to loose sight of some of the goals and dreams you had set out to achieve. I am not the first person it has happened to, and certainly won’t be the last.  It has and will happen to all of us from time to time.train track words

Five years ago, I began this blog with the intentions to motivate, educate, and inspire others.  This past year and a half I got a bit off track.  I have been busy working, hitting the gym, working on big projects around the house, enjoying some of my other hobbies, working on my photography and of course, spending time with my family and friends.  I most certainly lost track of writing to all of you – my audience.  Does that mean I have given up on my goal and will give up on continuing on with my blog, settling on the fact that I failed at writing?!  Most certainly not!  Like many goals, obstacles may be faced and some adjustments to the original plan in achieving those original goals needs to be made.

So, here I am, starting once again.  Getting back on track to motivate you to aim for your goals and dreams, educate you on what I have learned over the years about heart health through my own experiences as a patient and caregiver, and to inspire you to keep going when you face those seemingly unbearable challenges.

Motivate!  Educate! Inspire!

Posted in Exercise, Inspiration

A moment to stop and say “Thank You!”


THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

“The aches, the pains, the muscle fatigue…no doubt I would end up sore.  Breathing heavy, buckets of sweat dripping from my body, can’t wait to go back for more.”

Training away on the elliptical machine the other day, it hit me – 6 months of working out with my trainer Matt at the gym and I’m still going strong.  Sure, there were a few hiccups along the way and a few fattening holiday meals to contend with, but overall, I am making progress as I continue to move forward, getting fit, loosing weight, and working towards a happier heart.

At the beginning, workouts were tough and I often wondered to myself how I was ever going to make it through a singe day, let alone multiple workouts in a single week.  Me89debb562f2b432eaa7d9cfca186999y body ached and my muscles were sore – Matt had me working out areas I had probably never worked out before.  As many other gym goers would likely agree, leg days were (and still are) the worst-especially the day or two following. Everyday tasks, like sitting down in a chair, walking down a flight of stairs – heck, even sitting down to go to the bathroom were a huge challenge – you literally want to laugh and cry at the same time!  What in the world was my trainer trying to do to me?!  Is the pain unbearable? No.  Uncomfortable? Heck yeah!  But the pain does pass and it’s back to the gym to do it all over again.

I could have easily thrown in the towel so many times and said “forget this!” when things
got a little hard.  But I didn’t, not this time.  There were days I was exhausted after work, but still, I showed up.  I’m sure there were plenty of times I grumbled and groaned, pissed and moaned, but with his upbeat and encouraging attitude, Matt kept me moving along. Then there were (and still are) those times I tend not to speak up, times when I may try to push myself a littlsistersinsneakers2e too hard…a sudden twinge of pain or discomfort and I probably should speak up, but I don’t.  Times when I say I’m fine, but I think Matt is beginning to learn when I’m full of it and calls my bluff.

So to Matt, my trainer, a huge thank you for getting me back on track and helping me to work towards a fitter lifestyle.  For being a great teacher and sharing your knowledge, even when you may think I might not be paying attention to what you are talking about.  Thank you for pushing me to work a little harder when I needed to and not so much during those times I shouldn’t. And most importantly, for keeping me motivated as I work towards better health.  Continue to be a positive influence to myself and others as you help us to achieve our personal goals.

“Push harder, push farther – push myself to the limit.  Get stronger, get fitter, create a better me!”








Posted in Family

Dates with Daddy

Please press play and listen as you read.

Did you ever notice, as a teen, we were eager to get away from our parents so that we could go out and spend more time having fun with our friends?  As young adults, we find that we couldn’t wait to move away so that we could venture out into the world on our own.  Eventually, we began to take on more responsibilities – college, careers, buying homes, and starting our own family.  We drifted away from mom and dad, only to realize that when we became parents ourselves that we wanted to go back and spend time with them once again.  It is at this point we realize how important every moment we get to spend with our parents truly is.   These moments we share with them, we begin to cherish more as they often become fewer and farther between.

“Love your Parents.  We are so busy growing up, we often forget that they are also growing old.” ~unknown

I am no different than anyone else; I followed that same path and have come to that same conclusion.  I often get busy living life day to day, being a mom, working, and taking care of my own responsibilities that I look forward to those few times just dad and I get to spend together.

As a cardiac patient, doctor and hospital visits are inevitable.  As annoying as they may be, often times sitting and waiting to see doctors or waiting to have tests performed, it is just one of those things that I understand will always be a part of my life.  Because of my condition, I visit a specific heart clinic, located in a larger hospital about an hours drive from my home.  These visits are probably the most important visits I have and often the most stressful and exhausting.  As you can imagine, these days can be long and tiresome.   I typically drive myself, but to these specific visits, my father drives instead.  It is a route he frequented on so many occasions, taking my mom to the same hospital and ironically to the same doctors as well.  Already a bundle of nerves before going, and being tired afterwards, to drive on a busy highway would certainly be a recipe for a disaster, therefore, it is dad who becomes my taxi.

Many may find these types of days as a disruption to their daily life, but ironically, even when I get not-so-good news from the doctors during these visits, these days are still my favorite – because these are the days my father and I have our daddy-daughter dates.  Just dad and I enjoying our time together – First, the trip to the hospital to see the doctors, followed by lunch and then a trip to Barnes and Nobel.  No doubt, there is plenty of time to talk during the long drives, while waiting in the waiting room, or while we eat lunch.  Since neither of us really spend a lot of time talking over the phone, these are definitely the perfect times for us to have our own heart-to-heart talks with each other.  We talk about so many things, but what i like most is that it is the one time he and I will talk about mom and in our own ways, I think it helps us to both deal with the situation I face with my own heart problems as well as dealing with the loss of her.  I think it also helps dad to still be able to take care of his “little girl” as he watches me face many of the same things that my mom did.  Although scary for him I’m sure, I think he feels better being with me during these important visits rather than hearing about them afterwards.

So to my dad on this Fathers Day I’d like to say Thank You for those special moments we have during our daddy-daughter dates and for always looking out for me – your little Squirt!!  I’m sure it can’t be easy to watch your little girl go through the same things mom did, but I am sure glad that I have a dad like you to be by my side as I face what has become my fate.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!!!  I Love You!!





Posted in Family, Life

Everything happens for a reason

10645158_750337425003352_862100971715368878_nIt goes without saying, when a young life has ended, a midst of the grieving, there is often a question of why that young life was cut short.  Whether it’s a child or even a young adult, it leaves us puzzled and wondering why these “bad things (death)” happen to such young/good people; as if death was a punishment that they didn’t deserve.

This year, towards the end of our family vacation, I received a rather unexpected message from my cousins girlfriend, Becca – news that certainly caught me off guard and shook me to the core.  My cousin Jason, who was just a year younger than I and suffering from the same heart condition as myself, had passed away in her arms just a few hours before.  I couldn’t believe it – I still can’t believe it.  His defibrillator, which was working correctly and trying desperately to restart his heart was unable to do so.  No doubt, this began a series of “What if’s?” which started to roll through my mind.  What if my defibrillator didn’t work properly?  What if my heart goes into a funny rhythm that the defibrillator can’t get me out of?  What if it didn’t work at all?  What if I fell asleep and never woke up?  Question upon question continued to roll through my mind.  These were soon replaced with, Why did Jason have to die so young?, How come I’m still alive and Jason isn’t?

Jason was an honest, generous, and very caring man who had very much the same positive attitude and IMG_5313outlook on life as I did.  When we were toddlers, we even looked so much alike, we probably could have passed as twins.  We were a couple of curly, blond-haired, blue-eyed cuties!  As adults, we shared nearly the same exact heart condition, going to doctors to have many of the same tests performed, taking the same medications, and even having the same type of implants put in to save our lives.  With the invention of social networking, we were able to keep in contact with one another even better, often discussing how our appointments went with our cardiologists and how our hearts were doing, perhaps hoping that we could make each others condition better in some sort of way.

Jason and Becca

During the funeral, my heart sank for Becca.  I could not even imagine what it would be like to lose the one you love, holding them tight as their life quickly slipped away.  No doubt that Becca was likely asking the same question, Why did Jason have to die?  Jason and Becca had not yet married but they shared their lives with one another and with God as well as with Beccas three children for over 7 years. So for all intent and purposes, the only thing that made them different from any married couple was essentially a piece of paper.  Jason was an incredible father figure, raising Becca’s kids as if they were his very own.  He had a big heart and the kids loved him.

With Jason’s passing, I was reminded how precious life is how we never truly know when “our time” is going to be, so we must cherish those special moment’s with those that we love, no matter how brief those moments may be.  A quick visit, a card, even a quick phone call just to say hello – its important to make time for those brief moments rather than allowing them to pass because we have convinced ourselves that we don’t have time to do them.

I think everything happens for a reason and there is a reason that Jason had to pass so young.  Perhaps God had a bigger plan for Jason up in heaven while he still has other plans for those of us still here on earth.  Some of us are destined to have health aliments, some of us are meant to be advocates and fight for cures and represent others facing the same fate.  Some of us are meant to motivate and encourage others to live a happier, healthier life.  Some of us are meant to fight the big fights to teach others what being strong truly means.  Some of us were meant to pass young to help others understand the meaning of love after a loss or to bring a troubled family closer together.  Regardless of the reasons, one thing is for sure…life is a gift so we should live life to the fullest, overcome the obstacles we may face, and never take the life we are given for granted because you never know when our time here on earth will be over.

10562943_10154540075350612_2894253566950992917_nMay you rest in peace, Jason!

Posted in Life

Bra shopping, what a pain!

cute-sports-brasRecently, while cleaning out my closet, I decided it was time to stop wearing the old frocks from my collection and shop for some new workout clothes to exercise and sweat in – and that included buying a few new sports bras as well.  It’s not like I hadn’t shopped for bras before; I had done it numerous times in the past.  How long could it possibly take to find the right sports bra?!  And so the hunt was on….and what a hunt it turned out to be!

Since having my defibrillator put in, bra shopping had become an even bigger pain – literally.  With it located under my collar bone and tucked in just above my left breast, finding a comfortable bra had become a huge challenge.  It never failed; some straps rubbed the scar the wrong way, lace made it itch.  In most cases, just moving the breast muscle around too much or having it push the defibrillator up against my skin would cause some serious discomfort.Moving-Comfort-Charity-36

One store, two stores, three stores, and more!! Exhaustion soon set in and frustration would ensue.  It’s no wonder husbands or significant others tend not to enjoy the “thrill” of bra shopping with the ones they love.  Amazing how difficult finding the best fitting sports bra was turning out to be.  Far too many to choose from!  You’ve got one’s with thin straps, ones with thick straps, one’s with fancy decorations, one’s without; under-wire, no wire, extra padding, no padding, push up, or flatten out – the choices seemed endless.  Not to mention the rainbow of colors and variety of patterns each style of bra came in.  Whatever happened to only having a few items to choose from?  I so longed for those days when you didn’t have an overwhelming array to choose from.

Try on, take off.  Try on, take off……the cycle continued on for what seemed like an eternity.  Twisting and contorting my arms to fasten the clasps in back.  Others were yanked and pulled and done up in front.  It didn’t take long for anxiety to creep up and the desire to yank the defibrillator from my chest to set in.  I was beginning to remember how much I disliked these sorts of shopping trips.  Flashbacks of past bra shopping experiences reminded me of all the times I had spent in stores, hunting and searching for the perfect one and how much discomfort I would be in after trying on so many.

Hours passed and I was at my wits end with no potential keepers in sight.  I was tired, sore, and not to mention, feeling a bit discouraged.  I wa36353_ms annoyed that I had this foreign object in my chest, making an already irritating shopping trip even worse.  Ready to give up and walk out of the store, something caught my eye.  Could it be?  Did I just find the perfect bra?  I decided to give the fitting room one last chance.  In I went, closing the door behind me and feeling a bit of hope begin to brighten my day.  I tried it on and it fit!  Perfectly!!  What a relief!!!  I ran back to the rack and found a few more in my size.  A smile began to stretch from ear to ear.

The anxiety quickly subsided as I walked to the register to pay for my purchases.  Waiting in line, I reminded myself that as painful and irritating of an experience bra shopping turned out to be, this defibrillator that I wanted so much to rip out of my chest had a purpose and was implanted to save my life.  Enduring some temporary discomfort was far better than the alternative of not being here at all.  As Lance Armstrong said, Pain is temporary to which I reply, feeling some pain is better than feeling no pain at all.






Posted in Life

School is out!!


It’s official!  With what seemed like an endless amount of essays, papers, and projects to write, hundreds of pages of textbooks to read, and discussion groups that seemed to go on forever – I am finally done!!  Ironically,  I was also looking at my calendar and realized exactly five years ago, I was laying on the operating table, having an ICD put in, not knowing where my life would be headed after.  Scared and unsure, I truly didn’t know what to expect at that time or have any idea whether my health would actually get better or continue to get worse.  Nor did I know what path I would continue on in life itself or expect to be going back to school to work towards another degree!  But here I am, closing yet another chapter of my life.  Once all the formalities are done over the next few weeks, I will have my Bachelors Degree in hand, along with a sense of accomplishment in achieving a goal I had set out to do just a few years ago.  Sure, there were some days I was completely exhausted, other days I struggled to keeps my eyes open.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed out sometimes – who wouldn’t be.  Trying to balance being a mom with working full time and going to school full time was a challenge.  Anxiety did mount and there were a few times I questioned whether I was putting myself under too much stress, stress that wasn’t good for my heart.

Know your limits, but never stop trying to exceed them. 

~Author Unknown

But I made it – and with great grades to boot!  I could have easily chosen not to go to school, or I could have chosen to quit when the road go tough…but I didn’t.  I had a wonderful family who supported my decision to go back, an incredible son and boyfriend who took care of things at home while I studied and concentrated on school, and incredibly understanding friends who understood my social life would have to be put on hold.  Now I can finally turn my attention to writing my blog and book in my spare time; setting out on yet another couple of goals I want to work towards to complete.  What a nice change of pace it will be to write what I want to write about rather than what I have to write about.

Posted in Inspiration

Start of a New Year

It doesn’t seem possible that yet another year has come and gone in what seems in a blink of an eye.  The world says good-bye to one year, while anxiously greeting the next.  I sit here while the sun shines through the window, a warm hello to 2013.  I relax and sit back while thinking over the year that has just passed; what things I have accomplished, what road I have been traveling, and where it has led me to today. Without a doubt, a series of ups and downs, at times stress and frustration, sharing laughter and cheer, hopes and dreams but overall a rather good year.  I set out last year beginning this blog and working on writing a book.  Needless to say, there has been slow progress.  I have to remind myself, there isn’t a deadline to reach and both are a labor of love so I can work on them as time permits.  Without a doubt, writing papers, critiques, working on projects, and writing what seems like an endless amount of essays for school has certainly taxed the brain, leaving me hitting a writers block as thick as a 12 inch concrete wall.  But 2013 is a new year, and with only a few more classes to go, I’ll have less time to think about meeting deadlines for school and can direct my focus towards my blog and book once again.  So thank you to those of you who have been following my blog…looking forward to continuing my goal to educate, motivate, and inspire.


Hannah Bowns quotes
Posted in Family, Friends, Life

Best friends by birth, Sisters for life

Looking back through old photographs, I have again realized how fortunate I have been to have crossed paths with so many really wonderful people throughout my life.  Nicki, my best friend….we have known each other for close to 25 years now.  It just doesn’t seem possible that so many years have passed.  It seems as though it was yesterday we were young girls in grade school, just sparking a new friendship.  We were a couple of blond haired cuties, looking so much alike, that we could have passed as sisters.  Riding bikes to the local corner store, going swimming on warm days, spending every Sunday morning going to church…just doing what little girls do – which is to have fun.

I spent countless weekends, even entire summers at her house, becoming the “adopted daughter” to her parents and younger “sister” to her siblings.  Nicki’s mom, Kathy, became a woman I admired and wished to become; a successful, independent business woman who balanced a full time career, college, and a family.  She took me under her wing, provided the support, faith and encouragement as a young girl that I needed to help create who I am today.

Now, here we are, Nicki and I,  women in our mid 30’s, keeping busy raising children of our own, balancing life with our adult responsibilities.  We can go days, weeks, even months without seeing each other, but yet when we get together, we pick up right where we left off.  We look back at our childhood, laughing and giggling at the things we used to do as children, and what lessons we learned throughout our years growing up.

To my best friend, my sister, my non-biological twin….Happy Birthday to you!  You are my dearest, closest friend….a woman to look to for support, guidance, and stability.  You are a wonderful mother, wife, and role model and thanks to the friendship we created when we were younger,  I was able to meet a wonderful family.  A family who has had a huge, positive influence on my life.  I Love You, Girl!!!

When we first talked to each other, I knew we would always be friends.

Our friendship has kept on growing, And I’ll be here for you to the end.

You listen when I have a problem, And help dry the tears from my face.

You take away my sorrow, And put happiness in its place.

We can’t forget the fun we’ve had, Laughing ’til our faces turn blue.

Talking of things only we find funny, People think we’re insane-If they only knew!

I guess this is my way of saying thanks, For catching me when I fall.

Thanks once again for being such a good friend, And being here with me through it all.