The Triad Red Dress Diaries

Empowering Heart Health in Triad Women

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Springtime

"Spring has sprung the grass has riz; I wonder where the flowers iz," my Mother would say when I was a little girl. She shared this with me each time spring was headed our way. Well, spring has not officially gotten here, but we have had some spring-like weather recently and noticed flowers and trees blooming and robins hopping here and flying there. On my run route this morning, I noticed nature and its glory.

With warmer weather headed our way, this leaves us no excuse to lounge on the sofa for times on end. Instead, get on out there and enjoy a walk or run or anything to get those heart juices flowin’! It is good for our heart health to ‘get moving’ in whatever capacity. I certainly know this as I have been given a second chance.

My heart transplant and its success 29 months ago still leaves me stunned that I feel so great physically. And I do not want to squander my gift by just hanging out on the sofa on such a beautiful day. I spent way too many days doing that prior to my surgery. I may not be a very fast runner, by I am out there trying. And that is what is important.

So take advantage of the nice weather. Maybe I will see you out there. (don’t forget to drink plenty of water.)

Take care of that heart of yours, ALWAYS!

 

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Heart Month is also Love Month! (I think)

Okay, okay. Every DAY of your life should involve ‘love’ in some capacity whether you are the ‘giver to’ or the ‘recipient of.’ At any rate, this ‘heart health month’ makes me aware (at least) to LOVE MYSELF! We cannot love others truly if we do not love ourselves, so with that in mind, love yourself enough to put YOU as your number one priority. And ALLOW yourself to be treated to the simple, free pleasures in life that we all may take for granted. Take a ‘time out’ to walk in nature, read a good book, take a nice long bath, meditate, enjoy fellowship, whatever helps de-stress or de-clutter your daily life, even only for a brief moment. By taking care of yourself, you are your best YOU to take care of others. And don’t we as women like doing that? :-)

Remember, take care of that heart of yours-

Anne Howell

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Anne Howell - All is right with the world at this instant!

Hi there! How are ya? 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the ability to just hop on my bike and ride, ride, ride in this gorgeous weather. The sun still beams down on my back but now there is a crispness in the air, reminding me that there may not be too many days to enjoy my passion of riding on a trail in nature for much longer. The cold weather eventually will settle in. Now what am I going to do for exercise? Well, I will surely think of something.

Two years ago when I had just received my heart transplant, I remember those early days of recovery. I was instructed to “get moving,” in which case I did. I walked around my block and then my neighborhood the more strength I acquired. It was frigid out there. I am talking like 35 degrees F. My family was saying, “Anne it is too cold to get out there.” I responded, “I have felt trapped for years unable to ‘get out there’ and move. I want to go and, besides, those were my instructions!” I just bundled up and you could barely recognize who I was. I wore a hoodie, a larger coat, sweat pants, sunglasses, a hat, scarf and gloves.

Maybe that is what I will look like on my bike. Hope to see you out there!

Seriously though there ARE ways to keep moving in cold weather, albeit indoors or outdoors. Just keep moving, just keep moving. That heart of yours likes for you to M-O-V-E. In turn it will take care of you!

Remember, always, take care of that heart of yours!

Fondly,

Anne Howell

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Joy, joy, joy - Happy Heart Month!

Hello All,

February 1st, begins “Heart Month,” my favorite month of the year! I love that just the name ‘Heart Month’ brings awareness to everyone about their heart and health! And, well, also, my 1st birthday is in this month!

"Your 1st birthday?" you say. Yes! I received a heart transplant October 8, 2009, and I consider that date as my ‘2nd’ birthday. (not many people have the honor to claim ‘two birth dates’ in their life. I feel very blessed!)

Anyway, this Friday, February 3rd, is National Wear Red day. Every year prior I would wear red on this day, but in a subtle way, as I always felt “red” was not my color. (I thought I didn’t look good in red; how vain. That is ridiculous and selfish) NOW it is my FAVORITE color and it should be yours, too, as we unite in red in honor of women - friends, family members, and strangers who deal or who have dealt with a heart issue or have even lost their life to heart disease.

We owe it to them to do our best to live a heart healthy life and spread awareness about prevention and heart disease in women.

WEAR YOUR RED PROUDLY! Tell people you encounter ’why’ you are wearing red. You might just change a life! 

Take good care of that heart of yours!

And thank you, MY DONOR!!!!

Fondly,

Anne Howell

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Anne Howell’s 2nd “2nd” birthday!

Hi all! Hope everyone has taken advantage of this incredible weather today (10/08/11)! I enjoyed nature on my hour long bike ride. Inhaling the fresh air as I pedaled, thinking and reflecting on the past two years of my life, gave me such a sense of peace. It was wonderful. I cried and also laughed out loud during my ride!

Let me explain. I received a miracle two years ago today. My heart transplant donor lost his/her life and I gained mine with this gift. I call my donor Sydney, as it is a unisex name. I am trying to make an athlete out of Sydney because I am enjoying physical activity more so than ever! We are a team now and I wish to honor him/her by taking great care of myself. I want to make my donor family proud whether we ever meet or not. 

The past two years have been fantastic and very eventful! Because, well, I would not be here typing this to you had it not been for Sydney. I weep for Sydney and his/her family, especially today. I feel sad for my donor family, but then at the same time, I feel the most incredible joy. This is hard to deal with at times, but I know I am here for a reason. (even though I do not know the reason yet at this time) Sydney’s life and my life crossed paths. No words or expression of thanks will ever, EVER be able to express my gratitude to Sydney and his/her family. I am so blessed to be here!

I have come a long way since October 8, 2009. I am stronger physically and able to enjoy exercise on a consistent basis. Taking deep breaths feels wonderful. Stop and pause and take one for yourself right now as you read this. Doesn’t that feel awesome! It sure does to me. :-)

I am gaining a sense of self after defining myself for so long with my heart sickness. I was unproductive or felt lazy for way too long. Now I am coming back and making goals again. It is truly a very exciting time and I remain so very thankful for each day. So far so good.

We owe it to ourselves to take care the best way we know how. And if you don’t know how, gain knowledge and reach out for heart education. It is out there! And it is available on the American Heart Association’s website and the Triad Go Red Facebook page. (right here. tee hee hee) There is all kinds of information for you. 

I would not trade my life and journey for anything in the world. It has been a tough road, but my family, friends and people I have met along the way have enriched my life that much more. I get to enjoy watching my 15 and 16 year old sons continue to mature into young men. I am thankful most of all for that!

Remember always, take care of that heart of yours!

Fondly,

Anne Howell

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Show Your RED at the Heart & Stroke Walk!

Want to join a team for the 2011 Tanglewood Heart & Stroke Walk?  Come Join Forsyth Medical Center’s Go Red For Women Walk Teamand Receive a Team T-Shirt !!!

 

When:  October 15, 2011

Where:  Tanglewood Park

Instructions to Join the Forsyth Medical Center Team

 Click on the link

Select Particpant Registration under Get Started Now

Select Join A Team

Select Novant Health as the Company

Select FMC General as the Team

 

Help us show a sea of RED and step out with us for better heart health for women in Forsyth County!

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Terry’s Autumn Garden

The cool weather has begun.  To celebrate the wonderful weather, I made our first batch of vegetable soup.  Most of the ingredients came from my garden.  I started with a base of roasted red tomato sauce with onions, garlic and peppers.  We like the health benefits of grass feed beef, so used some beef in the soup.  I added some mixed vegetables that we froze during the summer.  And lastly, some potatoes from the garden.  It was yummy!  To top it off we had some delicious whole wheat bread with walnuts.  This was a wonderful way to celebrate the passing of summer and the arrival of fall.

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Yeah!!! I did it! Here is the picture of my and my kids after crossing the finish line at Ramblin’ Rose in Winston-Salem!  It was such a thrill and an accomplishment to have participated and finished:-) I will definitely be setting another goal soon to keep up the training.  I am also really thrilled that my kids and my husband were there to give me “high fives” as I ran across the finish. Through the ups and downs, it was great to be there with my training buddy, Kirsten, and to accomplish our goal together! We really can do anything if we set our minds to it and it definitely helps if we can work train for it together!!! Look out for next year!
Sarah Fedele - American Heart Association

Yeah!!! I did it! Here is the picture of my and my kids after crossing the finish line at Ramblin’ Rose in Winston-Salem!  It was such a thrill and an accomplishment to have participated and finished:-) I will definitely be setting another goal soon to keep up the training.  I am also really thrilled that my kids and my husband were there to give me “high fives” as I ran across the finish. Through the ups and downs, it was great to be there with my training buddy, Kirsten, and to accomplish our goal together! We really can do anything if we set our minds to it and it definitely helps if we can work train for it together!!! Look out for next year!

Sarah Fedele - American Heart Association

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Anne Howell - Well, I DID do it!

Hi there,

Hope this finds everyone happy and enjoying the cooler weather!

Well, I made it! I crossed the finish line of the Ramblin’ Rose triathlon in W-S this past Sunday and it felt wonderful! My goal WAS to finish WITH dignity, and I did just that. I will admit, though, at the start of the run portion, I ran but then had to walk about 1/3 of the way up the hill. At the turnaround point, I ran downhill the rest of the way. It was exhilarating! The volunteers and spectators were tremendous at their jobs. Everyone was so encouraging and supportive. They “willed” me up the hills of the bike portion with cowbells, clapping and shouting words of encouragement - “you are almost up this hill, come on, just a little further. YOU CAN DO IT!!!” The enthusiasm of the crowd was contagious. I reckon everyone was so proud of that ‘special woman’ in their lives.

I plan on doing this again next year, God willing. Maybe you will join me, perhaps! All you can ask of yourself is to try. Take a risk and go outside of your comfort zone. It’s all in the name of good heart health!

Take care and always remember, take care of that heart of yours!

 

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Anne Howell - my sentiments exactly, Sarah, regarding Ramblin’ Rose!

Hello there! I just wish to reinforce what Sarah Fedele mentioned in her most recent post regarding her Ramblin’ Rose training!

And again, I want to thank HER for getting me out there and ‘going for it!’ Had it not been for her and the ‘Go Red for Women’ campaign, I truly would not have given this triathlon a thought. It would have been out of my reach at this time. (or shall I say, my ‘pre-training self’) 

Like Sarah, I too feel empowered and am reaching goals I never thought were possible for me. Throughout my training, I learned, just like the website for Ramblin’ Rose posts, “I CAN do this!” Although the first hill of the bike portion is still a ‘doozy’ for me, it is a little more manageable now knowing what I know. That know-how came from training and becoming more familiar with my newfound ability. My sick heart had put so many restrictions on my physical ability, as well as my life in general. Through this training I have been more trusting of what I am capable of now.  I listen to my body better than ever. If it is tired, I rest. If I can do just one more lap, I go for it. If I can’t, oh well, no biggie. I can pysche myself out and be intimidated, but only if I allow myself to think in that manner. Attitude is EVERYTHING! So my game face will be on this Sunday! Hallelujah! I am my only competitor. (I just hope I do not get run over by 631+ other women! tee hee)

This Ramblin’ Rose represents more to me than just a race. It is a goal I have worked on for quite a while, to test my new abilities and take pride in working towards this goal. My goal is to finish this race with dignity, and like Sarah, if I can’t make it all the way, that does not mean I haven’t already won in my own eyes and in my own heart. This process has made me realize I am worthy of achievement and success, and to be the best ME I can be! I can guarantee, I will give it everything I got!

Come on out this Sunday and visit us at the ‘Go Red for Women’ booth. We would love to see you!

Thanks and always, take care of that heart of yours!

Anne