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The Drive-Thru Diaries

Nov 16

Posted by: ACHA
11/16/2011 1:19 PM  RssIcon

By Stephie Goldfish

Making my way through the drive-thru of my favorite fast food restaurant just yesterday, everything I know and what’s being said about eating healthy and living right didn’t seem to matter. What with new mocha frappes this, and super combos that, one can easily forget.

Seriously, my age, my current weight and my bulging belly (and no, I’m not pregnant), not to mention my congenital heart disease, should all be enough to concern me about my eating and exercise habits.

Yes, I know, I can make healthier choices at some fast food chains, but it’s hard to do when you see all those “good” choices.

Today, we know that we can prevent some diseases, including acquired heart ailments. And, most of these illnesses can be prevented by our lifestyle and choices we make.

Recently, I watched a program on CNN about former President Bill Clinton’s heart disease (acquired). He is known for having frequented fast food restaurants on his morning jogs while in office.

The story highlighted his past heart surgeries and procedures. After speaking with a trusted doctor about his health and future, Bill Clinton decided to give up his old habits, and he made his decision to eat a vegan diet. He has since shed about 20 pounds and says he feels great.

I have CHD—heart disease that I was born with and that I could not have prevented—yet, the program made me think about my heart, how hard it has to work, and how I’m treating it. After all, don’t we still have to watch out for the same acquired problems not to develop?

Having CHD makes me more aware of how I feel when I do eat right and exercise often. And each time I fall for the quick and dirty fast food choices, I become sluggish and sometimes taste the food for two days.

My idea of eating healthy is really not through the drive-thru. I would much rather have more whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables, such as raw walnuts, avocados, blueberries, apples and salads. A vegan diet, like former President Bill Clinton is following, is a goal of mine.

Given the seriousness of how ill my heart is, I am going to do my best to keep my heart healthy and functioning at its highest potential. I see ways where I can prevent myself from getting any sicker than I already am through proper diet, exercise and rest.

So, this month, I’m getting back on track.

One of the main things that my doctors say will help me is using my oxygen. And I also know that our hearts work better if they don’t have all these other problems going against them.

When I do follow these choices, I feel I can breathe better, I have more stamina, and my weight usually goes down.

As a CHD patient, I am grateful to be alive. Following any healthy diet will never close the one inch diameter hole in my heart, but not following any healthy routine will cause more problems with my heart, and this choice is in my control.

Are there other ways in which you work hard in order to help give your unique heart a fighting chance?

Stephie Goldfish, aka Stephanie Hodgson, was born with a large ventricular septal defect, but it wasn’t diagnosed until age 17. Since her defect went unrepaired, this resulted in Eisenmenger’s physiology, and she has developed severe secondary pulmonary hypertension. Stephie is an artist who graduated at the top of her class from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh; she is currently pursuing her love of writing, and writes short stories and poetry, as well as nonfiction. Learn more at her website and personal blog.

Location: Blogs Parent Separator ACHA Blog

4 comment(s) so far...


Re: The Drive-Thru Diaries

Hey Stephanie,
My name is Krystal, and I was born with Complete Transposition of the Great Vessels, in 1976. I had a surgery called a Mustard Procedure done in 1977 to correct the defect. I just wanted to get in touch with you, and others out there, who can share in the wonderful, if sometimes crazy-scary, paths that our lives have taken us. I have had two successful pregnancies, and I wondered if ther was a website, or blog, to contact just to share encouragement and help each other out. Thanks!!

By Krystal Baker on   11/18/2011 1:08 PM

Re: The Drive-Thru Diaries

Eating is my one downfall! I have a drink maybe once a year, don't smoke and have never tried a drug of of any kind (not even pot). Food, however, is my weakness. I find when I'm depressed, I fill the void with bad food. I love being in shape and extra weight (even 5 lbs) does take it's toll on my physically. If I could only give it up completely! :)

By Lena on   11/19/2011 12:26 AM

Re: The Drive-Thru Diaries

Hello Krystal, Thanks for leaving a comment on this post. There is a community forum on this ACHA website that would definitely be of support and encouragement for you. It is for members and families of ACHA, and you have to sign in to use the forum. Let me know if you have trouble signing up. Also, if you are on Facebook, you can go to Adult Congenital Heart Association's page, and "like" the page, and there is always some encouraging information that is posted most every day. Also, ACHA has a conference every year and special events that you might be interested in attending. I hope that this helps. ~Stephie

By Stephie on   11/20/2011 7:39 PM

Re: The Drive-Thru Diaries

Hi Krystal, I just wanted to follow up on a few things Stephanie mentioned (thanks Steph!). If you are not already a member, you simply need to sign up to be able to access the forum. It's FREE! Here's the direct link: Also, here's the link to our Facebook page: Finally, our conferences occur every few years. We just had one this year, so as soon as we have info about our next one, we'll announce it on our website, Facebook, etc. Thanks!

By Terri Schaefer, ACHA Communications Manager on   11/21/2011 12:17 PM

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