On August 17, 2008, as the maternity nurses were preparing me for the emergency c-section and in an abundance of caution before the anesthesiologist came in to give me the spinal block, a nurse decided to weigh me.  I weighed in at 372lbs.  35 weeks and 6 days pregnant and weighing 372 and beginning the fight for my life!

My blood pressure was extremely high, due to Severe Preeclampsia.  At one point, I remember seeing 174/112.  (In case you don’t already know, 120/80 is normal.)  I am sure that wasn’t the highest reading during my 6 days in ICU, but it was the highest that I had seen.  I would learn, after the c-section and after claiming my corner room in the ICU, that my heart was very weak or as my cardiologist put it, “well below normal functioning.”  I was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy

This would begin a doctor/patient relationship with a very nice cardiologist from South Africa, Dr. Searle Videlefsky with Gwinnett Consultants in Cardiology.  I had never had to see a cardiologist before or any other specialist, except for the occasional visit to an orthopedic, since I always seemed to dislocate a shoulder or injure my knee.  Despite my large size, other than the occasional accidents, I had no medical problems before my 5th month of pregnancy when my blood pressure began to creep up.

While I was in the ICU, my blood pressure and heart function were constantly monitored and a plethora of medications were given intravenously to keep my heart pumping and try to reduce my blood pressure.  Additionally, due to Pulmonary Edema, my body was full of fluid.  I was given a diuretic constantly to help drain the fluid build-up.  Six days later, after going into respiratory distress and spending 3 days on a ventilator, when I was ready to leave the ICU for a room on the maternity floor, I was weighed again and I had lost 42lbs!  That put me below my pre-pregnancy weight of 335. 

Upon my discharge from the hospital on August 23, 2008, I was given a prescription for a blood pressure medication and a medication designed to slow my heart function to allow it to heal itself.  I also had an appointment to meet with Dr. V at his office in a couple of days. 

When I went to the cardiologist office, Dr. V instructed me to continue taking my medications and purchase a blood pressure machine to use regularly at home to continue to monitor my blood pressure and so that I could immediately identify and report back to him any problems or changes in my blood pressure.  My first home blood pressure reading was 148/97.  Over the next few months, my blood pressure fluxuated between 135/93 and 162/108.  Over the next year, my medications were adjusted and readjusted, but my blood pressure remained between 126/92 and 147/90.  I also gain 5lbs, putting me back at 335lbs.

By July 1, 2010, just two months after beginning my healthy eating and physical fitness lifestyle transformation, my blood pressure was ranging between 110/72 and 126/88.  Finally, almost two years later, and while on medication to regulate my blood pressure, I was FINALLY within the normal blood pressure range.  Additionally, an echocardiogram showed that my heart had returned to normal functioning and was, in fact, at HIGHER than normal functioning!  As I continued to lose weight, my blood pressure continued to stabilize. 

In October 2010, my cardiologist took me off of the blood pressure medication.  He believed that my blood pressure was now being maintained by my body at the lower weight and I no longer needed the medication.  My blood pressure rose slightly after being taken off of the medication, but my cardiologist said that I should not worry about it and since I was continuing to lose weight, the blood pressure readings would continue to fall as time went on. 

In February 2011, my heart medication dosage was cut in half and my blood pressure continued to remain within normal levels. 

Yesterday (July 9, 2011), I took my blood pressure for the first time in almost three months.  It was 106/75!  I also received a card from my cardiologist to call and schedule an appointment, which SHOULD be the last appointment with him!  I am hoping to be taken off of the heart medication entirely and released from the care of the cardiologist.  My current weight is 194lbs!

Someone at the cardiologist office told me about a year and a half ago that she was happy to finally meet me.  I asked why and she said that I am famous there.  I was their most severe preeclampsia  patient to date and they did not expect me to survive.  She said that the whole practice (in three different locations) knew my name because my case was discussed very frequently.  I thought about that after I left and I must say that I was very happy to be alive to meet her, too!

Dr. V told me at my last appointment that Cardiomyopathy works on the Rule of 1/3’s- 1/3 of the patients never recover and end up needing a heart transplants or dying, 1/3 of the patients can be maintained on medications or through a pacemaker for the remainder of their life, and 1/3 recover and have no lasting effects.  As far as he can tell, I have recovered and, in fact, strengthened my heart beyond what is considered normal functioning.   He tells me every time he sees me that he is AMAZED!  He even said that I am “the best patient EVER!” 

Going from deaths door in August 2008 to running (something I have NEVER done) in June 2011, has been a feat of strength.  While my physical strength has increased throughout the last three years, my spiritual strength and my determination remain as strong as ever!  I asked God when I went into respiratory distress and I was being intubated and hooked to the ventilator to please let me live to see and raise my son.  When I woke up the next day hooked to every tube and wire in the ICU, I knew God had answered my prayer and it was up to me to fight my way out of there.  I did!  I continue to fight every day.  I will not give up this fight and I will not return to my old unhealthy ways.  This life is way too precious and way too fragile for me not to work as hard as I can and in every way that I can to make it the absolute best life.

I know you guys are probably tired of my pleadings to transform your life into the best life that it can be.  I need to tell you that I will continue to do what I am doing and I will continue to try to help and influence others to take control of themselves and their lives and make whatever changes they need to make.  I think each and every life is worth my time and effort.  I hope each of you also believe that your life is worth the time and effort.  Please learn my lesson from me and do not wait until you are lying in an operating room or in the ICU on the brink of death to make that decision.  Start today!  I am here to help and guide you, if you need it.  Just ask!

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4 Responses to A Feat of Strength

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    How are you I really enjoy your blog. I linked to your site on my website about the PSP 3000 so my followers will visit your articles too.

  2. Carol and Dave says:

    We are so proud of you, very impressed also thankful of your determination to have a heathly life. GOD answers prayer.

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