I want to start today’s post with an enormous THANK YOU for reading my story and even more, for the overwhelming love, support and encouragement I’ve received. I’m incredibly touched by every single email, conversation, comment, message and DM. I can’t express how much your kind words mean to me. I hope that somehow by telling this story I can not only bring awareness to heart health, but also encourage anyone who is going through a tough time, of any kind, to stay strong and positive.
I know I left the last chapter of my heart story off on a cliff hanger, and I’m sorry I haven’t published the next one yet. The next chapter will be three days of me in a coma, so again I have to rely on my family and friends’ memories of what happened during those days. I know many of you are waiting to read what happens next (and there’s so much more to tell!), I promise to post Part 3 soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d tell you a little about why I decided to tell my story and how it feels writing it all out.
A few months ago I met one of my sister’s friends, Marcella, for a drink. Monica had always said we’d get along, and she was right, we instantly hit it off. We sat in a hotel lounge for a few hours, sharing a flatbread and sipping rosé, catching each other up on our lives. We were talking about her new Life Coaching business and my blog. I told her about a CPR post I had recently put up on my stories and the response I had gotten from it. People who didn’t know me wanted to know why I had CPR, and I wasn’t sure if I should go into the whole thing.
“It’s mostly a fashion blog,” I explained. “And I feel like if I start talking about my heart stuff it will bum people out. I’ve never really talked about it on this blog.”
Nodding thoughtfully she asked, “Why do you blog?”
Right away I answered, “It’s fun, it makes me happy. Plus it makes me feel like I can reach people on some level, and maybe help them with their style choices or something.”
Then she looked me in the eye and said, “I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, but I don’t think you’re going to help that many people decide what to wear every morning. I think you have a better chance of helping people stay positive, helping them get through hardship by telling your story. And I have to say, that’s far more valuable than picking the right outfit.”
Throughout the years people have suggested I write about my heart. I never considered it because I didn’t want to be pitied for it. I didn’t want to come off as a victim. Not once throughout my life have I felt like one, and writing about my health, to me, sounded like asking for extra sympathy. But when my friend suggested the obvious – that I could actually help others by talking about my experience – my whole mentality shifted. It was like she turned on a lightbulb.
So I wrote an Introductory Post to give a little background and not surprise everyone by randomly posting a heart attack story. That intro post was easy to publish. It was vague and general and didn’t really get into any painful details. The second post, on the other hand, was a little more difficult. Writing it wasn’t the problem, it actually shocked me how easily I was able to write that First Heart Attack chapter. As soon as I started typing, it all came back to me, I could remember exact feelings and moments with a surprising amount of clarity. The hard part was clicking “PUBLISH.” I was really nervous to post it. I had no idea what to expect. I was worried I’d scare or upset or confuse people, or again, come off as wanting pity. The minute I posted it, I called my mom and asked her to read it, “Do you think it’s okay? Is it too intense? Should I take it down?” I still call her after I post a chapter to see what she thinks.
I’m so grateful to Marcella for finally motivating me to write out my story. It’s weird, but it has felt good to relive these moments. It’s been hard at times, remembering the scariest parts, especially when I think of what my family went through, but it’s all part of my life, and I’ll never forget it. And when I get messages sharing your own health struggles. Or saying what a helpful reminder it is to tell your doctors exactly what you feel. Or how smart Lizzie was to unlock the door before calling 9-1-1. Or how you’re happy to know you have a friend who also has heart issues… well, that’s what has made telling my story so rewarding.
With all that said, I’ll still be posting fashion and beauty and recipes to my blog (and Instagram), because I like it and it’s fun! But I’ll continue to share my health journey with you in the hopes that I can help, somehow, even if it’s in the tiniest way.