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Let's talk about matters of the heart

Since today is Valentine's Day, it's a good time to discuss matters of the heart. Likewise, February is American Heart Month, which promotes good heart health and heart disease prevention and awareness.

Because I am a cardiac arrest survivor, heart awareness is kind of what I do now.

My limited knowledge on the topic of heart health may or may not be helpful. Cardiac arrest is quite different from a heart attack in that it is an electrical problem, as opposed to a blockage that is possibly caused by diet and other factors. But there is no disputing the fact that a healthy lifestyle goes a long way in preventing problems down the road, especially with the heart.

My vices have dropped off over the years  in the past I was a smoker and a heavy drinker and made other various poor choices that would make my mother uncomfortable if I elaborated here. One of my first doctors flatly stated early on that I was responsible for my cardiac arrest, a theory that has been widely disclaimed by other doctors since then. After that encounter, I immediately fired that one for his condescending attitude and horrible bedside manner.

So that's something that's important when dealing with your or a loved one's health care  get a doctor that you can communicate with because it will likely be a long-term relationship. It's not that I searched other doctors because I didn't like what he said, it's because he shut me down and didn't offer much hope.

When you have a life-threatening illness or condition, hope is very, very important.

I believe that, just like your hairstylist, sometimes that doctor-patient relationship can hit a wall and it's time to move on. I had a perfectly good doctor at another medical facility, but he was telling me that, after trying various medications that were causing adverse effects, there were really very few options. So I found another doctor who could think of more options.

Good health care is a journey, and you are in charge of it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Not smoking, an active lifestyle combined with healthy eating and not drinking to excess are some of the best things you can do for you and for your loved ones who want you to be around to see those milestones in life.

Think about it. We do everything for our kids. Shouldn't we do what we can to stick around as long as we can ... for them as well as for us?

I'm a big believer in the benefits of yoga and meditation, as well. I am firmly convicted that a regular practice of those doctrines will change one's life dramatically over time. Seeking a deeper spiritual path has been one of the greatest benefits for me.

On that, I must give God the glory. When I had cardiac arrest, I literally died and came back, thanks in part to my daughter and her friend who (miraculously) were by my side when I dropped.

So happy Valentine's Day. Take care of that heart, will ya? You'll be glad you did.

The Lawton Constitution

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