Monday, September 27, 2010

Did the AHA Heart Walk Yesterday

Did the AHA's Heart Walk today with my friend Christine and with fellow heart-sister Tesca and her family--thanks again for walking with me, everyone!

We got to the site a little after 1pm and walked around, checking out all the booths. I still had my red "survivor" cap from last year so I didn't get another one but did get a 2010 Heart Walk pin.

There were around 15,000 people at the event (WRAL says 20,000), and a fair few peeled off after the one-mile walk, while we die-hards did the whole (almost) three miles.

At the last turn before crossing the finish line, the people who'd already finished kind of clustered up and were cheering on the people still walking. As I neared the finish line, an older gentleman also wearing a "survivor" hat came up and shook my hand and congratulated me.

I have to remember not to pair up these particular socks with my running shoes again; I'm getting a big blister on the outside of my right foot between my ankle and heel.

One thing that stood out was the lack of water stations along the course. I did the one-mile walk last year and there was no water on the course, but I thought surely they'd have it for the three-mile walk. They had water beforehand, and apples. Afterward, there were Subway sandwiches, apples, and Diet Pepsi, but Chris and I both said, "Eeew no," to the Diet Pepsi. Note to self: if walking next year, grab all the water bottles I can carry before the walk starts.

One cool thing was that they had Duke's mobile cath lab there, so I went in and looked around and listened while they talked about what happens during a heart cath. It was nice to see all the equipment and such from an upright position, as opposed to laying down and drugged. It was a little freaky, but my feeling is that exposure will help.

Last year, in preparation for the WomenHeart Symposium at the Mayo Clinic, they'd sent us a textbook and one of the chapters we had to read was on heart procedures. I thought I was doing fine and I actually had sat down to eat supper while reading about heart caths.

I got a few paragraphs in and looked at the detailed illustrations, and had a panic attack. I started getting lightheaded and short of breath and my vision was starting to tunnel. I had to get my husband to come help me upstairs so I could lay down for a little while and wait for the feelings to subside.

While at Mayo, we had a chance to tour a cath lab, and I did it. I was worried some about having another panic attack, but again, seeing everything while standing up seemed to make a difference, and it was good to see actual examples of stents. They're really small, about the size of the spring from a ballpoint pen.

As for this year's Heart Walk, the weirdest giveaway goes to UNC Cardiovascular--most booths had something at least vaguely heart-related, you know, healthy recipe cards, water bottles, etc. UNC has now ensured that whenever Paul and I need it, we have MORE COWBELL. That's right, they were giving away cowbells. :)

Thanks again to everyone who came out and walked with me, and who sent donations.

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