After surviving a rare coronary artery dissection and massive heart attack while nine months pregnant, Nefertari has devoted her life to uplifting other heart patients and promoting heart health awareness.See all posts »
Edema Is No Match for My Pumps!
On a recent visit to my cardiologist, he informed me that I must cut down my fluid intake. I already take two diuretics per day. However, after experiencing two episodes of flash pulmonary edema (when your lungs suddenly fill up with fluid), I’m super obedient to my doctor’s advice.
Fluid retention is a common symptom for many of us heart patients. That means swollen feet may strike at any time. My feet seem to know when I’m trying to walk sleekly and confidently. For some reason (probably due to stress or excitement), they’ve decided to swell for the last few events I’ve been to—just before it was time for me to make an entrance.
However, I have outsmarted my poorly pumping heart. I have chosen to pack a second pair of one-size-larger, flatter shoes in my handbag for such an occasion. Instead of feeling defeated, I become the victor, swollen feet and all! The flat shoes may not be my first choice, but I’m thankful that I’m still able to make an appearance. If I must do so in a flat shoe with swollen feet, so be it!
For about a year after my heart attack, the mere mention of something so frivolous would have made me burst into tears. Sitting in a room with two women who were discussing their fashion woes would make me want to shake them and say, “Don't you know that women are dying of heart disease and you are worried about your shoes?!”
But today, nearly four years later, I've realized that the life that I fought so hard to keep is worth living to the fullest. I enjoy being a woman—fancy shoes and all. I can still indulge in life's simple pleasures and deliver my message of heart health all in one shot.
I believe that the desire to look and feel your best is a basic human right, so you should be allowed to care about your appearance whether you’re a heart attack survivor or in congestive heart failure. What seemed like a frivolous issue while I was fighting for my life in the coronary care unit (CCU) now gives me great joy. So I say go ahead—buy two pair of shoes in different sizes (one to wear before the swelling and one pair for after)—because edema is no match for your pumps!
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