11/28/2012 10:33 AM
By Meghann Ackerman
Mid-November through the beginning of the new year is a time of decadence. Starting with the oversized bird, peaking with the spending on holiday gifts and ending with too many flutes of champagne, this is the time of year when we let moderation slip to the side and indulge some of our favorite vices.
During the rest of the year, we all still indulge from time to time and sometimes feel a pang of guilt for our unhealthy ways. But when it comes to having a congenital heart defect, where is the line between indulgence and leading a normal life?
A few years ago Victor got a call from his cardiologist asking him to come in as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the doctor did not let us know this was not a life-threatening emergency, so we spent the next few days imagining all the worst case scenarios. Victor was so freaked out that he stopped smoking cold turkey and embarked on an intensely heart healthy diet.
We were very happy to find out the next week that the cardiologist had needlessly alarmed us and only had a minor concern about pressure on an artery going into Victor’s lungs. The silver lining to the whole thing was that Victor finally gave up his regular smoking habit and, for a while, stuck to a really healthy diet.
Outside of his birthday or a raucous party, Victor doesn’t smoke anymore. But over time artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising foods have worked their way back into his diet. As much as I want to push him to be healthy, I can’t blame Victor for these indulgences.
Aortic stenosis has had a big impact on Victor’s life and will continue to do so. This isn’t something he’ll outgrow or recover from, but something he’ll need to manage and monitor his whole life. While keeping healthy will help him to have a longer life, what kind of life would it be without cheeseburgers?
So, during the season of indulgence, I’m wondering what other congenital heart defect folks just can’t give up.
Meghann Ackerman is a writer, cook, cat fancier, crafter and zombie enthusiast living in Boston. In 2011, she married Victor Morse, a graphic/web designer, video gamer, comic book reader and punster who has aortic stenosis. Armed with a poor understanding of science, Meghann is learning all she can about congenital heart defects and how they may affect her family.
Copyright ©2012 ACHA
1 comment(s) so far...
By Gizzy on
11/28/2012 2:19 PM
Re: ‘Tis the Season to Indulge
Not eating cheeseburgers will help almost *anyone* live longer!
I find that it's all about balance. Abstaining from anything is quite challenging. Knowing what and how much is healthy, choosing that more times than not, enjoying my occasionally indulgences and recognizing them as indulgences seems to be the key for me.
I gave up caffeine after my Cardiologist at the time told me it might help my PVCs and PACs (mild arrhythmias) not progress to anything more serious. Drinking more than occasionally and moderately just isn't worth it for me and as I've gotten old it's been easier to find friends who think similarly and/or are comfortable with my not drinking as much as they do.
I don't change anything that I do around the holiday time really. To maintain what I usually do though, I do tend to have to think about eating healthy just a bit more. That's it really.