Day 133: A Killer of American Women

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Day 133:  A Killer of American Women

Day 133.  I wake with a start.  It’s 12:39am.  I fell asleep just two short hours ago, exhausted from the intense week.  I’m drenched in sweat.  The urge to vomit is strong.  I stumble to the toilet ready to retch.  Nothing comes out.  I peel off my pajamas, pee, sip some water, crawl back in bed.  I toss and turn trying to get cool and comfortable.  I have no idea when I finally fall back asleep.  When I wake up again, it’s 5:30am, I’m not hot anymore but I’m still queasy.  WTF?  I grab my iPhone and Google “waking up nauseous and sweating.”  Apparently, I either had food poisoning, a perimenopausal episode, or a heart attack.  At least I have options.  After sipping some more water, I start to feel better.  I’m meeting a friend for coffee at 7:30am so I decide to go ahead and jump in the shower to rinse off the wonky-ness.  But I can’t resist taking another peek at the heart attack results first.  Google “search results” are the ultimate rabbit hole to go down—totally crazy making.  I find a website dedicated to women on the younger side who have had heart attacks.  33 years old?  Are you kidding me?  41?  47?  55?  43?  Jeeeesus.  After I thoroughly freak myself out, I suddenly remember watching the film short Joie de vivre produced last year, Just a Little Heart Attack.  I thought it was great at the time but didn’t really pay that much attention to its subject matter and message or how it might relate to me—until now.  Re-watching it immediately.

The purpose of the film is to bring awareness around women and heart disease.  It’s done in a relatable and humorous way, not to make light of the subject but to point out that women often ignore the symptoms, that women’s symptoms are often not the classic symptoms that men have, and that it’s not just a man’s health issue.  Go Red For Women’s site says about the symptoms of a heart attack, “As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest 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.”  And, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills more American women than all forms of cancer combined.  Wow.  Who knew?  Not me.  Sheesh.

No, I don’t think I was really having a heart attack last night—at least I hope I wasn’t—but I’ll certainly put more awareness around the symptoms from now on.

“Just a Little Heart Attack”
Directed by and starring Elizabeth Banks
Produced by Leslie Ann Owen (AKA Joie de vivre)

Until tomorrow, create from what you have…awareness.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.

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