February is Heart Month 2012

Comments 44 by Rebecca Bollwitt

February is the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada‘s “Heart Month” and while they emailed me weeks ago, I haven’t been able to compose myself enough to write about the topic until now.

Chinatown - Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Photo credit: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee on Flickr – Submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

It’s been exactly a year since my Oma was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack. I met my family in her room at the hospital and didn’t know what to expect. My Oma was indestructible, at least I always thought so. At 89 she would be out in her garden pulling up weeds with her knuckles, making jams and jellies in her kitchen, and keeping up around the house with her great-grandchildren. That day she looked weak and worried. They had to move her to another hospital for a procedure and given a few other conditions, and her current state, we had no idea what to expect. She had another heart attack that sent her into a coma.

We spent days in shifts, rotating in and out of the ICU. I held her hand and listened to the chilling amplified sounds of the device that was helping her heart beat. I’ll never forget that sound as every time I heard one beat, I held my breath until I heard another. I counted dozens of wires attached to devices and pouches at her bedside, her hand and arm swollen from the needles. She had never been admitted to a hospital in her life.

Eventually she was moved out of the ICU and woken up. She enjoyed bragging to us about how she pulled through and how much better she was feeling each day. She had inside jokes with nurses, told them about all of her kids, and watched vases and baskets of flowers light up her window sill. We all knew the much-needed emotional lift wouldn’t last as she had a complication that meant she was never going to get better.

I can’t tell you how much time had passed until she started a steady decline. We suspect she had another stroke. My mother and aunt were constantly at her side and when my sister, cousin, brother, or I would visit we’d take her hand in ours. It would be warm from the previous child’s touch. She passed away in April.

knitted heart
Photo credit: mararie on Flickr

Someone in Canada has a heart attack every 7 minutes. Strokes happen every 10 minutes. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in Canada and the cause of 1 in every 3 deaths.

This month, if you haven’t already, please take some time to look through the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s online resources. You can take a risk assessment test on the website or through the My Heart & Stroke Health mobile app. You can volunteer, donate, learn to smart tips for eating right, or perform a healthy action.

To promote Heart Month and all of the actions you can take, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is offering up a prize pack valued at $150. This includes a live or virtual nutrition counseling session with a HSF registered dietitian, a heart-healthy cookbook, pedometer, measuring spoons, water bottle, and reusable HSF bag. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a #MakeDeathWait Heart Month prize pack from @TheHSF & @Miss604 http://ow.ly/8Xb2T

I will draw one winner at 10:00am next Tuesday, February 14, 2012. Update The winner is DB!

44 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JamesWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 11:28am PST

    Yea First!!

  2. Roxane BrownWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 11:28am PST

    I used to work in Cardiothoracic ICU and took care of many people post open heart surgery. Both young and old. Heart disease is something that everyone should be aware of and be conscious about.

  3. SamanthaWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 11:33am PST

    Make Death Wait – great campaign by the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

  4. Carlie WeltersWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 11:38am PST

    Great post 🙂

  5. ColinWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 11:43am PST

    Everyone should take the risk assessment test!

  6. RaiaWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 12:07pm PST

    A very good post,sorry for your loss. For every person that takes the Risk Assessment test Desjarding Financial will donate $1 to Heart and Stroke. It took less than 5 minutes, and I thought it had some good advice.

  7. DanielWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 12:28pm PST

    Awesome campaign.

  8. Stuart DesBrisayWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 12:32pm PST

    Very sorry for your loss, and it is not easy to express what we experience at such times. Thank you for sharing your story, and for the health info – I use the health services app now thanks to you! Keep up the great work!

  9. KristyWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 12:43pm PST

    I am so sorry for your loss, Thanks for bring attention to this important cause amnd sharing your personal story. I think women especially do not realize how much this problem can effect them even if they are living healthy. Take care. Kristy

  10. C WilsonWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 1:20pm PST

    Thanks for helping to bring more awareness to Heart month…I’m so sorry for the loss of your Oma

  11. MarkWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 1:30pm PST

    Heart and Stroke Foundation price pack! I could use some help with my eating habbits!;)

  12. ishaWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 1:40pm PST

    my mom had a heart attack almost exactly two years ago and she is doing really well now so grateful to heart and stroke Foundation

  13. MandyWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 2:02pm PST

    If I am fortunate enough to win this package, it will go to my mother, who is a wonderful woman but doesn’t know where to begin in leading a healthy lifestyle. I want to keep her around as long as possible!

  14. Katie PWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 2:04pm PST

    Great article!

  15. Laura sWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 2:55pm PST

    Great post…a really important campaign

  16. MaryWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 2:59pm PST

    My father suffered a cardiac arrest in March! Great awareness piece.

  17. donna chongWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 4:11pm PST

    always use some good info on eating heartfully

  18. Rosemary Breschuk-ChiuWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 4:25pm PST

    A vital campaign

  19. SitaWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 4:26pm PST

    So sorry for your loss, this is a great cause to get behind.

  20. KatieWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 8:29pm PST

    So important to remind ourselves of the importance of being heart-healthy!

  21. Teresa KWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 9:12pm PST


  22. Cyndi TWednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 9:37pm PST

    This could help me (sigh) get back on track with my New Year’s resolutions!

  23. MarianneThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 12:24am PST

    Count my heart in!

  24. VanessaThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 8:54am PST

    Thank you for the story, it’s clear you loved your Oma a lot

  25. DotThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 9:07am PST

    Touching story and a great prize pack!

  26. BelindaThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 9:44am PST

    It makes me realize that I need to heart my heart more.

  27. TiffanyThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 9:48am PST

    I desperately need an eating makeover with the HSF dietician!

  28. Ruby BThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 10:52am PST

    Nice prize, nice story. I realize I should take care of my heart more.

  29. RoThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 1:13pm PST

    I’d love to win this for my dad.

  30. harjitThursday, February 9th, 2012 — 7:18pm PST

    This message is a good reminder to be kind to our hearts. Losing my Mom to heart disease was and always will be one of the greatest pains in my heart.

  31. TracyFriday, February 10th, 2012 — 12:43am PST

    Sorry about your loss. Thanks for bringing awareness to this disease.

  32. CassieFriday, February 10th, 2012 — 9:25am PST

    What a heartfelt post. Heart attacks and strokes have affected my family too. Thank you for bringing more awareness.

  33. TylerIngramFriday, February 10th, 2012 — 9:35am PST

    My dad recently had a heart attack and is now recovering from a 6-bypass heart surgery. Even though he had such an evasive surgery he feels better than he has in years.

  34. BurcuFriday, February 10th, 2012 — 10:16am PST

    I like their commercials

  35. dbFriday, February 10th, 2012 — 1:01pm PST

    Our young daughter raised $85 doing Jump Tope for Heart – she is ( and we are) so proud of her acheivement!

  36. Raul Pacheco (@hummingbird604)Friday, February 10th, 2012 — 2:48pm PST

    * not entering the contest *

    Beautiful post, Rebecca. And so important. I always love the posts where you talk about your Oma.

    My family also has a history of cardiac disease and I myself should be more careful (one of the reasons why I go to the gym every day and why I play volleyball is because of my family’s cardiovascular history).

  37. kelseyFriday, February 10th, 2012 — 7:02pm PST

    nice prize!

  38. RebeccaSunday, February 12th, 2012 — 1:07am PST

    I would really appreciate some guidance about health and nutrition. So sorry for your loss. I lost my grandma to a stroke and I still think about her almost every day.

  39. LindaSunday, February 12th, 2012 — 7:43pm PST

    I am sorry for your loss. A wonderful article.

  40. RandyMonday, February 13th, 2012 — 9:00am PST

    Guidance and smart tips for eating right and promoting healthy action so important and reinforcement to help those to still don’t get it.. I like it.. very good cause. The give away would be very beneficial. Thanks for caring. Sorry for your loss.

  41. LeslieMonday, February 13th, 2012 — 10:30am PST

    We need to promote more heart-healthy action

  42. GinaMonday, February 13th, 2012 — 11:02am PST

    It’s never too late to start being heart healthy!

  43. laurelMonday, February 13th, 2012 — 8:26pm PST

    I am 51 and could use a bit more help with some health tips and info thanks https://twitter.com/#!/tomgirlbc/status/169276028064247808 tweeted and shared and googled

  44. AnnieTuesday, February 14th, 2012 — 5:57pm PST

    sorry for your loss. lost my father when i was 10 due to heart disease.

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