Are You Listening?

 

It was May of 2017; I took a new job and moved out of the area to work for a resort in another part of the state. Shortly after my move, I published a blog post titled “A Rite of Passage.”  The blog post was about my limiting beliefs and how I moved through them to stand up to my fears and the changes I’d made.

Although there were many good reasons why I had been looking for a new job within my career field as a health and fitness professional, those reasons didn’t withstand the test of time or the instincts that told me not to take the job in the first place.

Accepting the position and realigning my career path brought excitement about the job offer and all that it entailed. However, my thinking brain took over, and I rationalized all the so-called “good” reasons. My heart told me otherwise and was not in alignment with my brain’s way of thinking.

From the words of the British Poet Lord Byron, “There is no instinct like that of the heart.”

The good news, I tested the waters, dealt with my fears, and gave it my all, my heart was ready to bale on the resort and head back home. I had trodden the murky waters, faced the unknown, dealt with my fears, learned a great deal about myself, so it was not all a loss, and I even found some peace along the way.

Bottom line, the job wasn’t anything that I thought it was going to be, and I found myself realigning my goals once again and preparing for another marathon of changes.

So, after what felt like an eternity, I moved back to my hometown of Vancouver, WA, to another new apartment, another job (not in my field), and, most importantly, to my family.

What was it finally that helped me to recognize my heart’s instincts and not just stay stuck in my brain’s overwhelming power or sense of control?

  1. I dove deeper into my heart
  2. I listened to what it was asking. Not allowing my emotions or thoughts (brain) to override my intuitive senses.
  3. I checked in with values. Were my values in alignment with this job?
  4. Was the job meeting my temperament type?

I was already on my way to making the best decision I could make for myself when I came back home for a quick visit, notice the word “home.” I could never think of my new place as home. The visit was just after the shootings in Vegas. When I arrived for my visit, my granddaughter ran and jumped into my arms, wrapped her arms and legs around me, placed her head on my shoulder, and said, I missed you, Nana.”

Sold – My family was more important than any job I could take anywhere.

That act of love gave me the kick I needed to change gears and head back to where I belonged.

It was not about feelings or emotions; it was about instinct and the perfect timing of love showing me my path had taken a detour, and I could get it back on track.

  1. What holds you back or keeps you from moving forward?
  2. What do you instinctively know to be true, and yet, you struggle to trust your instincts to guide you?

What I am asking is: Are you listening?

If you would like to explore this idea of trusting your heart’s instincts, you can reach out to me, and I would be happy to assist in listening to your HEART!

During my training to become an Equine Gestalt Coach (Life Coach), I worked on my values and what I believed to be true about them. Those beliefs drove my decision making, my behaviors, and judgments of people and events that I held to be most important in life.

Although I knew what most inspired me, I did not know what my values were until I began the process of looking at them and understanding the meaning behind them. It was an eye-opening experience, and I found I could use my values to help shape my future. To use them as a guide to steer me in directions that will be most beneficial versus detrimental to what I want to accomplish.
Here’s what I knew about myself before the sleuthing process began.

  1. I work best for myself or in institutions where I have the freedom to act and make decisions that I know will benefit the majority of the business. Working for other people who want to undermine or control my decision-making process and keep tabs on me puts me in a frame of “hell no.”
  2. The health and fitness industry played and still does a significant career role in my life.
  3. Teaching, guiding, leading, and influencing became my life’s work. I then transferred what I learned from my previous career in the fitness field to coaching people in a whole different and dynamic way.

I recognized education/teaching were in my top five values, and this is where the fourth-grade teacher comes in.

There I was, in front of the class, erasing the board and clearing it for me to teach. Palms sweaty with chalk in hand, I addressed the class. The feeling of nervousness and excitement are physiologically the same. I was both. My belly churning, my thoughts racing, a desire to run for the door, and yet, I stood there and started to speak. The words were shaky and then got more relaxed as I felt myself move into the topic. I felt scared and on top of the world all at the same time. Thus it began, I wanted to teach, to educate, to be at the head of the class as a leader.

When I started my career as a fitness professional, I once again stood at the head of the class.

What an amazing career! The best part of the many years of teaching were the students. I was witness to the transformations that took place not only in their physical appearance but in their emotional state.

So, how do Gestalt Therapy and Horses help transform learning about ourselves?

As prey animals, horses are highly intuitive to their surroundings. They are intuitive to our thoughts and energy. They can read our body language, sense our energy, and practically read us like an open book. They know when we are not speaking our truth inside or outside of ourselves. They are natural healers. Horses allow us to be “In the Moment.” We can be a human being versus a human doing. Being in the moment can help unlock buried emotions, states of being, and bring us back to a place of healing. We can find clarity, self-empowerment, and move towards action.

Take action and join Cody and Me! Saturday, May 19, for the workshop – Please Understand Me. I would love to have you.

For more information, contact Vonie at 360-904-7867 or vonie@atailofnewbeginnings.com

There came a time recently where I had to put on my “Big Girl Panties” and toughen myself up to what was. To remember this place and time is “For Now.” It is not permanent. My situation will improve. I had to put on my riding boots and dig in deep into the emotions that fueled my pain while I slid into the saddle and hung on for a wild ride. That “Wild Ride” was around the recent changes I had made in my life. Not just any little change, like the color of my nail polish, but significant change that brought me to a place of liminality. That place where the waters are dark and murky and the unknown is looming around the corner. That place where the uncertainty lies. That place where courage is needed to survive the transition. It was also important to remind myself that it is okay to cry, to stomp my feet, to scream at the heavens, “what did I do to myself.”

I also knew I needed to ask myself better questions. Questions like, how can I make this better? What am I grateful for at this moment in time, for today? What can I do now to relieve the pain? What actions can I take to move myself to a place of feeling like I belong? I also knew time would ease the pain, would take away the uncertainty, and my ability to manifest what I wanted was strong. I just had to tap into that and trust the process. It was not the first time I had moved and made a career change within my field. It was not the first time I felt the loneliness, the sadness, the longing for family, friends, and all things familiar. All those people and places that brought certainty to my life were in another part of the state. I was in the process of shedding the old and trying on the new.

Boy, was I trying on the new! I dove in deep into the new job, so much so that I worked endlessly. It was easy to do because I had no one to go home with or for. I did not want to go home and sit all alone and feel my pain. The busier I stayed, the more present I was while at work, the less I felt uncertainty.

I have completed my seventh week on this journey, and thankfully, I have great friends that have been helping me find my courage when I could not muster the strength to do so myself. They held me up. My friends and mom reminded me of why I chose the decisions I made and let me cry when I felt the need. It was not their job to fix it for me, to make it better, but to support the pain, the process of moving through the murky waters that were laid out before me. They bolstered me and helped me travel through those murky waters and come out feeling better on the other side.

I liken all of this transition much to running a marathon. You start out running three miles, then five, and before you know it, you are running ten miles. Ten miles that you never dreamed you could do, and those miles become part of your weekly routine. Next thing you know, you are running the following most robust distance of fifteen and then eighteen. The final training run is twenty-one miles; the cut off just before the race. Then race day comes, and you push through those last 5.2 miles. Victory, you cross the finish line with arms extended to the sky, a smile on your face, an announcer calling out your bib number and name, and the greeter on the other side of the finish line telling you, great job, you did it, you are all done. It is a sweet feeling of accomplishment. A job well done. All that hard work paid off; you made it. Next, come recovery and the setting of yet another goal. What race will I run next? What dream will I realize? What do I want next in life? Knowing what our outcome is will lead us to the next victory!

Running a marathon is a “Rite of Passage.” It is a place where transformation happens. You relinquish control and run through murky waters, uncertain if you can achieve the final victory but holding a belief that you can execute the race. It is where you have to put on the game face and tough it out, knowing the only thing you can control is putting in the training miles.

Preparing for a marathon is a time where you must stick with the program, run the training miles, gather a tribe of like-minded people around you, and persevere. The transition from being a novice runner to joining the ranks of those that have gone before requires your dedication and strength to make it across the finish line.

So, seven weeks into this transformational time, I am the one who sets the pace and holds the key to victory. It is not always easy to let go of control, to trust the process, to trust in God, the Universe, to believe that God has my back and that I will make it across the finish line. There is no promise that it will not hurt that I will not suffer some along the way; there is no promise that tomorrow will be even better. However, there is the promise that each day I find something to be grateful for, it will make it that much easier to cross the finish line; I will have been victorious in accomplishing what I set out to do.

Boy, was I trying on the new! I dove in deep into the new job, so much so that I worked endlessly. It was easy to do because I had no one to go home with or for. I did not want to go home and sit all alone and feel my pain. The busier I stayed, the more present I was while at work, the less I felt uncertainty.

I have completed my seventh week on this journey, and thankfully, I have great friends that have been helping me find my courage when I could not muster the strength to do so myself. They held me up. My friends and mom reminded me of why I chose the decisions I made and let me cry when I felt the need. It was not their job to fix it for me, to make it better, but to support the pain, the process of moving through the murky waters that were laid out before me. They bolstered me and helped me travel through those murky waters and come out feeling better on the other side.

I liken all of this transition much to running a marathon. You start out running three miles, then five, and before you know it, you are running ten miles. Ten miles that you never dreamed you could do, and those miles become part of your weekly routine. Next thing you know, you are running the following most robust distance of fifteen and then eighteen. The final training run is twenty-one miles; the cut off just before the race. Then race day comes, and you push through those last 5.2 miles. Victory, you cross the finish line with arms extended to the sky, a smile on your face, an announcer calling out your bib number and name, and the greeter on the other side of the finish line telling you, great job, you did it, you are all done. It is a sweet feeling of accomplishment. A job well was done. All that hard work paid off; you made it. Next, come recovery and the setting of yet another goal. What race will I run next? What dream will I realize? What do I want next in life? Knowing what our outcome will lead us to the next victory!

Running a marathon is a “Right of Passage.” It is a place where transformation happens. You relinquish control and run through murky waters, uncertain if you can achieve the final victory but holding a belief that you can execute the race. It is where you have to put on the game face and tough it out, knowing the only thing you can control is putting in the training miles.

Preparing for a marathon is a time where you must stick with the program, run the training miles, gather a tribe of like-minded people around you, and persevere. The transition from being a novice runner to joining the ranks of those that have gone before requires your dedication and strength to make it across the finish line.

So, seven weeks into this transformational time, I am the one who sets the pace and holds the key to victory. It is not always easy to let go of control, to trust the process, to trust in God, the Universe, to believe that God has my back and that I will make it across the finish line. There is no promise that it will not hurt that I will not suffer some along the way; there is no promise that tomorrow will be even better. However, there is the promise that each day I find something to be grateful for, and I will make it across that finish line; I will have been victorious in accomplishing what I set out to do.

Like most New Year’s, 2017 was about overcoming obstacles, making a fresh start and filled with optimism and a sense of organization. Then a cold blast of winter hit our area leaving the city shut down. Cars were abandoned along the roads and highways, stuck in their driveways, and parking garages were leaving many people feeling like a hostage and some happy to have the excuse to stay home. I drive a 4×4 truck that could handle just about anything, and it did, except for the hill outside the apartment complex that had turned into a sheet of ice. As I slid down the hill, I eased the nose end of my truck toward the curb where the deep snow remained. The deep snow helped me to gain the traction I needed and safely approach the stop sign.

Overcoming obstacles became the theme as the cold weather continued for days here in the Pacific Northwest, and finally, relief came in the form of rain, and more rain. Temperatures increased, and the snow has melted from the streets.

What happened to me during this time was a feeling of dis-ease. I felt a sense of loss, fatigue, and some old fears surfaced. I found myself wanting to hibernate and eat more carb-loaded foods that are laden with the white powdery stuff of sugar, creating a host of opportunities in overcoming obstacles. Egad! I longed for warmer weather, the sunshine, and some peace of mind.

Although I started out not being in the best of mind frames, I decided it was a perfect time to take advantage of being at home. I cleared out some old papers, did some more work on my website, and a few other things for my coaching business that kept me busy. I gave myself permission, and that was tough; to relax and enjoy some television, read a book that was just for fun, and sleep in a bit longer.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that obstacles can and do get in the way of our optimism, our dreams, our goals, and desires and it’s what we do with these barriers that will make or break us. Life is full of temporary setbacks. It’s just a given.

What can or will you do to get through the obstacles?

Here are FIVE actions that helped me overcome some obstacles during a recent arctic adventure we had here in the Pacific Northwest.

Breathe – Take the time to think about the situation and then figure out what you can take control of and then act on it. Movement is essential! If we find ourselves stuck and frozen, the obstacle will eventually just feel bigger and possibly overwhelm us even more. So, get moving, even if it’s only to clean out a drawer.

Options –What are your options? List them all. Check the ones that seem achievable and cross off the ones that aren’t. Opening our minds up to the possibilities can bring mental clarity and a fresh perspective along with new ideas on how to overcome an obstacle. The more options you can give yourself, the quicker you’ll overcome the obstacle.

Acceptance – Wishing for things to be different can only take you so far. Denying that the problem exists can worsen the problem. Possible solutions, answers, and opportunities for growth are left unexplored. Truly, the best option is to acknowledge the circumstances and accept them as they are and allow that state-of-mind to assist in opening the windows and doors of solutions. Once you’ve made your list of options, you can take small steps towards achievement of the goal. Doing so will help keep you moving forward and can take away that sense of overwhelming circumstances. Think bite-sized pieces of a project, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals, as the bit sized pieces become bigger and bigger chunks accomplished. Leaving you feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the
consequences of any misfortune – William James

Small steps – Once you’ve made your list of possible solutions, you can take small steps towards achievement of the goal. Doing so will help keep you moving forward and can take away that sense of overwhelming circumstances.  Think bite-sized pieces of a project, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals, as the bit sized pieces become bigger and bigger chunks accomplished. Leaving you feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Don’t Quit – Lastly, don’t quit! Throwing in the towel too soon will never bring the rewards of accomplishing the goal. Massive action is what it takes to overcome the greatest obstacles of life! Be persistent, persevere in the wake of fear and make a commitment to our self to stay consistent with what you desire. As the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It”!

If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up
 against the odds – Jesse Jackson

Ultimately, obstacles are life’s lessons thrown at us. Lessons teach us about ourselves. They can strengthen our resolve, boost us up for the life long journey ahead and help us to achieve success in anything we set our sights on having.

Solutions, answers, and opportunities for growth are left unexplored. Truly, the best option is to acknowledge the circumstances and accept them as they are and allow that state-of-mind to assist in opening the doors and windows toward change.

After many wonderful years in the fitness industry, I decided to become a “Heart Health Coach” and embark upon a career path that would add greater value to my current career and give me the opportunity to grow, refine and advanced my skills towards connection with my students and clients.

Consulting with a friend of mine, who’d been attending a life coaching program, I made the decision that a life coaching career seemed like the next best course. So, it began. July 1, 2014, I was officially a student in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method (EGCM).

The EGCM program is equivalent to a master’s degree program with the educational components completed within a 24-month time frame. There are eight intensive hands-on CORE Workshops, where we do our personal work and learn a variety of coaching techniques, from the least complex to the very dramatically graded coaching work. We are also required to complete 48 private coaching sessions with one of the program’s coaches. Once all the academics, cores, and private coaching sessions completed, I sat for a comprehensive written exam. The exam takes four to five hours to complete, and each year we are required to complete continuing education credits each year to maintain certification.

There were many times, in the earlier parts of my training, that I felt some self-doubt and wondered, “Did I make the right choice in doing this program?” As I progressed through the program, my confidence grew, and I knew that I made the right choice. The EGCM program gave me tools I can use for anything I ever want to do in life; both personally and professionally. No regrets!

While in the program, I determined that my educational background and skill set to be perfect for the niche markets I wanted to provide coaching. Also, the greatest part of becoming a life coach is that I get to help people to achieve a different level of success and fulfillment in their lives in and out of the fitness industry. Heart health coaching being just one of the many things I can help people explore.

So, now when someone asks me what I do for a living I tell them that I am a heart health coach and fitness professional. I am a coach that provides an opportunity for a different kind of healing of the heart. Moreover, it all starts with an examination of the heart’s journey – bringing closure to the past and releasing that which holds the heart hostage. A healing through forgiveness of self and others, discovering ways to live a better life NOW and envisioning brighter tomorrows.

I would also tell you that I am a writer, a horsewoman and dedicated to helping women to achieve their greatest health and well-being.

If you or someone you know has survived the nightmare of a heart attack or lives in fear of the possibility of having another heart attack, please reach out to me and let’s head down the path of new beginnings and bring about the healing the hearts desires.

Water the “Life Force” of our bodies. We can survive without food for sustained periods of time. Without water, we will perish quickly!

Some Facts –

Our bodies are made up of 50-78% water depending on your age and sex. Infants, percentage wise, are made up of more water than an adult. Women have less water, percentage wise, than men.

According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, our heart and brain are composed of 75% water, while our lungs are about 83% water. The skin is 64% water, our muscles and kidneys make up 79% and our bones contain 31% of water. (1)

What water does for us –

  • Aids in digestion (saliva) & converts our food into necessary components
  • Mucousal membranes are moistened
  • Cell growth and reproduction
  • Flushes out body waste (if not enough water the body will extract it from our poo – leaving our bodies to use poopy water)
  • Keeps joints lubricated
  • Body temperature regulation (sweating and respiration)
  • Delivers oxygen to the entire body
  • It is the major component to the body parts listed above and more
  • Utilized by the brain to manufacture appropriate hormones and neurotransmitters

What if we don’t get enough water? –

According to Randall K. Packer, a professor of biology at George Washington University there are many variable factors to determine a person’s survival time.

“For example, a child left in a hot car or an athlete exercising hard in hot weather can dehydrate, overheat and die in a period of a few hours.” (2)

Other factors, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and diminished sweat production are also dangerous. Sweating too much reduces the blood volume quickly contributing to severe dehydration or death.

If not faced with extreme conditions likelihood of survival without water is on average 3-days.

Signs of Dehydration –

Mild dehydration:

  • Saliva decreases
  • Decreased urine amount
  • Urine color darkens
  • Urine develops a strong odor
  • Impairs cognitive function

Moderate dehydration:

  • Mouth becomes dry
  • Urine decreases even more
  • Eyes become very dry
  • Rapid heartbeat

Severe dehydration:

  • No urine
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (which further accelerates dehydration)
  • Lethargy
  • Skin becomes blue-gray and cold to the touch

Shock is the final stage of dehydration. The blood pressure drops and death soon follows.

How much water should you drink & when to drink it? –

According to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D, “To better determine how much water you need each day, divide your body weight in half. The answer is the approximate number of water ounces you should drink daily. You should drink half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces’ water (3.13 quarts, 2.98 liters or about 10-12 cups of water a day). If you weigh closer to 100 pounds you will need only about 50 ounces of water or about four 12-ounce glasses daily.

Individuals who are physically active or live in hot climates may needs to drink more.” (3)

Tips for drinking more water –

  • Add fruit/vegetables/herbs to a water container (glass preferable). Experiment and find the flavors you like the best.
  • Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning (before the coffee)
  • Drink a large glass of water about 15 to 30 minutes before every meal.
  • There are apps for your phone now that can help you keep track of your water intake. Just google water intake apps and you’ll find one for your phone type.
  • Keep a gallon jug (glass preferred) with you while you are at work.
  • Take water breaks whenever you can
  • Drink from a water bottle that indicates how many ounces there are.
  • Add a filter system to your tap water.

Can you over hydrate? –

The average person will more than likely not over hydrate themselves. However, the kidneys cannot excrete excess water during intense exercise. The excess water then moves into the cells; including the brain. The results could be fatal.

According to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D, “It is very important you balance your sodium intake with your water consumption. Take 1/4 teaspoon of salt per quart of water – every 4-5 glasses of water. Be sure to get sea salt. The best is Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt, both of which are readily available at any health food store.” (4)

The bottom line is –

We cannot live without water. We do not function well without adequate amounts of water in our daily living. Staying hydrated is very healing and can prevent a lot of medical issues, such as headaches and joint pain.

For more information on the “Life Force” and the “Healing Benefits” of water. I recommend reading Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, “The Water Cure”.

http://www.watercure.com/index.html

  1. “The chemical composition of the adult human body and its bearing on the biochemistry” last modified May 1, 1945 http://www.jbc.org/content/158/3/625.full.pdf+html
  2. “How long can a personal survive without having water”, last modified December 9, 2002 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-can-the-average/
  3. “The water cure – frequently asked questions, last modified 2008 http://www.watercure.com/faq.html#howmuch
  4. “The water cure – frequently asked questions, last modified 2008 http://www.watercure.com/faq.html#howmuch

Perhaps pre-menopausal symptoms will pass you by or maybe the symptoms will come in small poofs of spontaneous combustion, leaving you perspiring, but not in a way to truly disrupt your life OR it perhaps it will hit you all at once, leaving you to wonder if you are a candidate for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Night Sweats & Hot Flashes

My early premenopausal years were nights of… “Oh, dear God, not again”! I would crawl out of bed and head to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. Often times, despite the cool temperatures in the house, I would stand in front of a fan while awaiting the internal fire to stop and the shivering to begin.

DURING THE WORST of the pre-menopausal monster, I would repeat the process every 90 minutes…sleep was not easy with the roller coaster of night sweats! Not getting sleep was making me grumpy, unforgiving of myself and others, and sex…what is that?

During the day time, spontaneous combustion episodes were my constant companion, leaving me to expose myself while stripping clothing off; no matter where I might be. When you see a woman, quickly disrobing in public, her face turning red and beads of perspiration forming on her entire body; it is a sure bet she is having her own personal summer.

Regardless of which road your body takes through the pre-menopausal years, it is not a medical condition or a disease to be treated; it is a naturally occurring phase of a healthy woman’s life — even if it feels like a monster looming over you. Keep the mantra, “this too shall pass”.

No pills and years of embracing my fitness journey were going to be the ticket to smooth sailing through the murky seas of perimenopause. Was I wrong!

AFTER, what seemed a lifetime of symptoms, I relented and headed to the doctor throwing away the idea of going through this stage of my life “the natural way.”

Pre-menopausal Symptoms

·        Dry Skin ·        Forgetfulness
·        Backache ·        Problems Sleeping
·        Lower sex drive ·        Lack of energy
·        Headaches ·        Hot flashes
·        Nervous tension ·        Night sweats
·        Fatigue ·        Dizziness
·        Insomnia ·        Vertigo
·        Palpitations ·        Weight GAIN
·        Constipation ·        Muscle weakness
·        Mood swings ·        Anxiety
·        Memory Loss ·        Vaginal dryness
·        Breast tenderness ·        Aching or stiff joints
·        Irregular periods ·        Discomfort during sex
·        Urine leakage ·        Urinary urgency

KEEP IN MIND that this is just a list of possibilities. Not all of these symptoms will occur and they are normal part of transitioning into menopause. The length of time a woman passes through the per-menopausal phase of life could be as little as a few shorts months. However, the average is 4 years and it could be as long as 10 years.

See your doctor to determine if you are indeed navigating through the pre-menopausal years.

The light at the end of the tunnel! Once you’ve completed 12 months without a menstrual cycle you will have moved to the stage of menopause and onto another phase of life.

How to combat the symptoms and find some comfort?

For a short period of time, as an alternative to HRT’s, taking a low dose birth control pill or other birth control methods can reduce symptoms associated with pre-menopausal symptoms. Check with your doctor to determine if this is the right treatment for you.

You may also find some relief with…

  • A regular exercise routine
  • Routine sleep cycles
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Making sure your calcium levels are adequate
  • If you smoke – QUIT
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Mind/Body relaxation (Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Meditation, etc.)
  • Limit sugar (simple carbs)

Each of us will experience a different journey through the pre-menopausal years. Some will choose HRT’s, other might find relief with over the counter remedies (talk with your doctor — there are plenty of them), and/or changes in diet and exercise. Educate yourself on treatment options. Experiment and find what works for you. Be patient with yourself and ask those important people in your life to be patient as well. There is a light at the end of the journey and the menopausal years can be glorious.

My doctor, a woman, encouraged me to meet with an OB/GYN and consider Hormone Replacement Therapy. I did and that didn’t last for long! What evolved is another story in itself! See my blog on heart disease.

 

It was a cold, and dark Monday morning in February. I stepped off the front porch to drive to work and as I did, I stumbled backwards as if I’d just been kicked in the chest. Horrible pain! I thought, “Am I having a heart attack”?! No, I wasn’t, but what was it?

  • Angina (Stable or Unstable)
  • Psychological Disorders That Can Cause Chest Pain
  • Esophageal Spasms, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Broken Heart Syndrome (Takotsubo Syndrome)
  • Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot in the lung)
  • Aortic Dissection (tear in the wall of the aorta)
  • Musculoskeletal Pain (1)

Read about each one of the above conditions here.

Once the initial pain subsided, I walked to my vehicle denying that I could be having a heart attack.

The pain was still present when I arrived at work. Now I’m thinking, “if I pass out or have a heart attack, someone can call 911”, so I went up to the secretary’s office. She was out. As I made my way to the classroom, the pain subsided. I made it through the Pilates class, so I was good, right? Next on the agenda – teach a cardio class. I’m in the warm-up phase and start to get right shoulder and chest pain. If I slowed down, the pain went away. I did that three times and I made it through the class. Later that day, my doctor ordered an EKG and told me all was fine. She suggested I see an OBGYN.

Delay in Treatment –

Why do so many women delay seeking treatment? Why did I?

Heart and Stroke Foundation lists the following reasons for delay in seeking treatment: (2)

  • A period of uncertainty (patient attributes their symptoms to another health condition)
  • Denial or dismissal of symptoms
  • Seeking assistance/second opinion of someone such as a friend or family member
  • Recognition of severity of symptoms with feelings of defeat
  • Seeking medical attention, then
  • Acceptance

The truth? The longer you delay in seeking treatment, the closer you are to death from a heart attack. Author and blogger for My Heart Sister’s, Carolyn Thomas wrote. “Treatment delay is the period of time between the onset of symptoms and actively getting appropriate help, and it can be divided into these three phases:

  1. decision time– the period from the onset of acute symptoms to the decision to seek care (for example, calling 911)
  2. transport time– the period from the decision to seek care to arrival at the Emergency Department
  3. therapy time– the period from arrival at the Emergency Department to the start of medical treatment

Only the first phase is the one YOU have complete control over. Don’t blow it.(3)

 Why did I delay in seeking treatment? Denial was first on my list. Second, a classroom of students counting on me. Third, I’d been teaching fitness for 20 plus years and didn’t have any risk factors. My BP was great; my cholesterol was 136. What was wrong?

Heart Attack Signs & Symptoms in Women

The American Heart Association says:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom ischest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away. (4)

More on My Story! –

I was having all the signs and symptoms of heart disease but I was pronounced okay! Tired of feeling awful; I gave in to my doctor, went to an OBGYN and started HRT’s.

Within a few days of the initial pain episode, I still had exercise induced chest pain. I was tired, had a constant uneasy feeling, shortness of breath and mood swings.

I sought more medical help. The doctor that saw me was an older and wiser gentleman. His words, that day, are still with me. “My dear, I think you are having Angina”. He ordered a chest x-ray and EKG. I waited in the exam room for the results. They weren’t good, I was ordered to go directly to the hospital.

In the ER, they ran blood work. No heart attack…what was wrong with me? They didn’t know. I was admitted to the hospital!

The next morning, I failed a stress test, miserably. I was taken to the Cardiac Cath Lab where a stent was placed in my left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD). I had gone from a blip on the EKG (which wasn’t detected) to a full 90% blockage in six weeks’ time.

One week after my surgery I was back to running and teaching. I could breathe. It felt good to be alive and free of pain. Why did this happen? What did I do wrong? How could my doctor, despite my telling her for six months that something is wrong, ignore me?

Heart Disease Prevention –

  • Quit Smoking
  • Exercise Regularly – 30 to 60 minutes all or most days of the week is recommended.
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce & Manage Stress
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Increase HDL Cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
  • Eat Healthy – more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts and low-fat dairy. (Vegan is also a great option)
  • Avoid red meat
  • Avoid sugar and processed foods
  • Avoid foods high in sodium (no more than 2,400 mgs of sodium a day is recommended)

Heart disease, the NUMBER ONE killer of women! Individually, we can change our own daily habits in the prevention of heart disease. Collectively, we can reach a broader audience. Join me in the fight against Heart Disease and reach out to your local AHA.

Watch this video on “Just a Little Heart Attack!”

  1. “SecondsCount.org”, last modified January 27, 2015 http://www.secondscount.org/heart-condition-centers/info-detail-2/nonheart-attack-sources-of-chest-pain#.VrBAwLIrJD9
  2. “Women play dangerous waiting game with heart symptoms,” Heart & Stroke Foundation, last modified October 28, 2014 http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ikIQLcMWJtE&b=9319861&ct=14291405&printmode=1
  3. “6 reasons women delay seeking medical help – even in mid-heart attack,” Carolyn Thomas, HeartSisters, last modified December 20, 2015 http://myheartsisters.org/2015/12/20/6-ways-women-delay-seeking-help-yes-even-in-mid-heart-attack/#more-32310
  4. “Heart Attack Signs in Women,” American Heart Association, last modified October 19, 2015

As long as I could remember, I had wanted a horse and much to my surprise (I am no longer surprised at what the Universe does for us) in November 2004, I became a horse owner for the first time. How this all came about was interesting and is another story in itself. At the time I purchased my first horse, Royal, the only thing I knew is that I loved horses. I also did not have any knowledge about the care and feeding of horses. So, Kim, Royal’s previous owner taught me and, in the process, she became my best friend. As I learned and grew in my horsemanship skills, Royal and I became a TEAM! Riding him, caring for him, learning from him, and about myself through my horse experiences created a completely new world for me. Little did I know that this new world of horsemanship was just the beginning of what was brewing for my future?

Royal has since passed but not before he led me towards a new life…He was the catalyst that brought me to “A Tail of New Beginnings.” Prior to his departure from this world, I added another member to our team, Cody. Cody was three at the time of his arrival into our small herd of two. Cody was a rescue horse from “Serenity Equine Rescue” in Kent, WA. Lorrin, Cody’s foster mom, became another one of my dearest friends. Meeting Lorrin and purchasing Cody created yet another, new beginning, leading me towards the “Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.” EGCM is a coaching method that sometimes incorporates my horse(s) in the coaching process.

In November 2012, I left my husband and moved from Washington State to Utah where I ultimately found myself unemployed and unable to find a job in my career field. After several months of loss, loneliness, fears, disappointment, and situational depression, I moved to Colorado for a job. The job– though in my career field–was, by no means, the job I wanted to be doing. I found myself even more uncertain as to my future. I continued to look for work that would bring a sense of wholeness, a feeling of worth, a job that would satisfy my need to help others, a job that I would love doing, and have recognition for my contributions. At that time in my life, I often described it as being in a toilet bowl that would not stop flushing. I am happy to report that is no longer the case!

In June of 2014, my friend Lorrin had also moved, and was living in New Mexico. She was often traveling up to Longmont, Colorado for workshops in a Life Coaching program that she had entered into. Often times she would stop and visit me, Royal and Cody. When Royal passed, Lorrin was the healing hand to assist me with his passing. On one particular visit, over dinner, Lorrin and I were discussing the program she had been studying. I was fascinated and asked many questions about it. She encouraged me to look further into the program and to consider submitting an application. I explored and felt that it was what I had been looking for. Let the journey begin anew again! I decided.

Fast forward to July 2015, I have completed one year of the training to be a Life Coach through “Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.” I have another year of work to do to complete the program and become certified but each day is one-step closer to “A Tail of New Beginnings,” the name my Life Coaching business will bear when I finally reach my graduation and can say that I am certified.

Today marks another day of new beginnings as I open this Word Press account and launch myself into blogging.

Why start blogging? Well, I entered into a Life Coaching training program a year ago in July. The program is “Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.” Yes, a program that utilizes the beauty and healing nature of horses to assist the clientele towards wholeness.

Once I have completed the program I will be launching my new business “A Tail of New Beginnings.” In the meantime, I will keep those who are interested in the loop with posting of my website completion and how I am progressing along in my training.

If I start blogging now I hope to gain a good-sized audience to read my blogs and help spread the word of my new business. However, more importantly, I do hope that people who read my blog posts will find inspiration, hope, love, authenticity, community, and a general feeling of well-being when they read the blogs.

So, for now, here is to yet another new beginning in my life!

Cheers, Vonie