Nearing the one-year anniversary of her heart attack, Edie Weinstein reflects on the changes she's made in her life and lifestyle. She is determined now more than ever to be healthy in body, spirit and mind.
Edie Weinstein calls it her "cardio-versary." She had a heart attack on June 12, 2014 and received a stent in the cath lab at Doylestown Health's Heart Institute.
"It was a huge wake-up call," says Edie, 56, on a recent day in late May. "And I'm still of the mindset that I don't want to let it go to waste."
Last Thanksgiving Edie shared her story and told of the hectic life she'd been living. Working too much, not eating right and not getting enough rest took its toll. Forced to slow down, Edie took a discerning look at her life.
"I sleepwalked through life," she says. "The heart attack helped me realize I did not have to continue living like I did."
Her life in the last year has been not so much what she's had to take away or modify, but rather what she has added to enrich her life.
"I realized life can be even better than it was before. It's all about choices. I've always been compassionate to other people. Now I'm more compassionate to myself."
She describes the new mindset she's developed over the last few months. "I now ask myself, 'How can I live the fullest, richest life I can with this heart condition?'"
Armed with a new attitude, Edie is determined to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
She completed all four phases of Doylestown Health's cardiac rehabilitation program following her heart attack as prescribed. She continues to exercise three or four times a week. Her pedometer tells her how many steps she takes each day.
Edie is more conscious about what she eats today. "In the beginning I was scared and thought, 'If I eat this I'm going to have another heart attack.' I realized that if I live in fear, that's going to contribute to poor health."
She eats plenty of fruits and vegetables and is mindful of how everything she eats and drinks will affect her heart.
Edie follows up regularly with her cardiologist, Eric Gejer, DO. "The after-care I've received has been stellar," she says. During a recent visit she learned her cholesterol was normal and she can stop taking one of the medications she's been on for the last year.
Edie was afraid to travel after the heart attack, but has learned the benefits a well-spent vacation offers to her body and mind. She also takes naps. "I'm doing everything I can to be as healthy as I can be," she says.
Edie has adapted to the physical changes brought on by her heart attack. She soon discovered the hardest changes would be mental.
"I used to think it was my job to keep everybody happy," says Edie. "I had to be all things to all people. Now I'm taking time for myself. I decide how I want to invest my time."
A licensed social worker, Edie continues writing web content for a behavioral health site and writes occasionally for the Huffington Post. She hosts a weekly radio show about relationships. She officiates weddings, including her niece's recent wedding in California. Edie is still busy, but at her own pace and with permission to ask for help.
"People are learning that I've changed," says Edie. "My friends are glad I'm letting them help me."
In turn Edie is trying to use her story to help other women, writing and doing presentations about her experience. "I tell women to really listen to what they hear about women and heart attack. And I tell them to listen to their bodies."
Edie is trying to spread a message of joy along with a cautionary tale. Last Valentine's Day she and some friends organized a "hug stroll" in downtown Doylestown, giving hugs to all those who accepted the friendly gesture.
Edie and her friends are planning another hug stroll for Friday, June 12 starting at 7 pm at State and Main streets. That's how she plans to celebrate her "cardio-versary."
"I'm happier than I've ever been," says Edie.
Photo credit: Terree O'Neill Yeagle
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