Blog Update …friends and family

Ok, so it’s been too long since I’ve updated my blog so I just wanted to pen a quick update …..

The last few months have been pretty bad to be honest. I completely underestimated my condition if truth be told and although my intentions of updating my blog and helping others was indeed best placed, I am not sure it was completely wise (or actually achievable)

I will still be running this blog, although in what form it will take place with I am not too sure.  I hope that it can still be useful – to others as well as myself. I think it’s all about setting realistic expectations and not putting myself under too much pressure to do things!

It’s a fine balance I suppose …

Thanks for listening, and for all your kinds words over the last 12 months …

Today is a gift …..

I can’t take the credit for this, someone forwarded it to me from Facebook.  It’s such a wonderful piece, however, that I simply had to share it.  It really does make you think ….

It will take just 60 seconds to read this and change your thinking..

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window.The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’

Ordinary World …

Sunset

Music, most specifically the lyrics, has always meant so much to me. I know I am not alone in this, as across the globe music speaks to all of us on a level that often nothing else can.  I feel there is something very spiritual about the way music, lyrics or poetry touches us in this way.

Anyway, one of my favourite lyrics is from the song Ordinary World, by Duran Duran.  Released in the mid 1990’s it was an instant hit with me and as time has gone by I’ve learnt to appreciate the lyrics so much more.

As I try to strive to build a life with Heart Disease, I am drawn to this song time and again.  The shredding off of  a past lifestyle and the building of something new can be summed up almost perfectly with the following lyrics;

“What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some are saying
Where is the life that I recognize?
Gone away …

But I won’t cry for yesterday;
There’s an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find!
And as I try to make my way;
To the ordinary world
I will learn to survive …”

The ambiguousness of the line “Left me in the vacuum of my heart” is also not lost on me! lol!

Pursuit of Happiness …

One of my favourites stories …..

Some time ago there was an experiment done on a group of people all attending a seminar.  Shortly after the seminar had begun, the speaker stopped and asked the delegates to accompany him to the adjacent room.  On entering the room the 50 delegates saw 50 red balloons at the far end of the hall.  They were each asked to go and pick a balloon and write their name on a small piece of card that was attached to it.

After a short while all the balloons had been written on, and everyone had completed the task.  The balloons were then placed, randomly, at the other end of the hall.

The speaker then asked everyone to go and find their balloon (the one they had written on)

As you can imagine, it was pandemonium!  People were pushing each other out of the way – all frantically trying to find their own balloon.  After 5 minutes the speaker stopped the delegates and asked them to come back to the far end of the hall.  When they had returned, the speaker asked them all to now go and pick any ballon – and then give it to the person who’s name was written on it.

Within the same 5 minute period everyone had picked a ballon and returned it to the person named on the card ….. Everyone had their balloon back.

The moral of this experiment – it’s really quite simple.

This is what we are all guilty of in our lives.  We are so frantically searching for our own happiness that we’ll never find it. Our happiness essentially lies in the happiness of other people.  If you give people happiness; then you’ll get your happiness back in return.

British Heart Foundation …

I just wanted to give a little shout out to the British Heart Foundation

Since being diagnosed with CHD, I have found them to be a truly excellent source of knowledge and assistance.  The fact that they are a charity and have been around for over 50 years is truly astonishing.

I’ve found their advice to always be top notch, and they do a simply amazing job.  Who knows, maybe in future I’ll be able to do some sort of charity / fundraising work to help them out in return.

Selfless Selfies …

The recent craze of women taking “Selfies” without any makeup on has flooded many Social Media networks over the past week or so. Well done to all those who took part!! It goes to show how far reaching Social Networking goes. It also reaffirms my faith in humanity and shows that actually, regardless of what one reads in the newspapers, as a species we are inherently good and want to help one another out. After all, biologically we are essentially nothing more than a sociable mammal, so when I see people raising money for good causes like this it does make me feel a real sense that all is not lost in this world of ours.

So, in closing, my hat’s off to you Ladies (and some gents, I believe!) who posted these images and raised money in the name of Cancer research.

A selfless act like this can be likened to dropping a pebble into a pond … Once the first ripple starts, it soon the spreads out across the entire surface. What a nice metaphor for being selfless and caring, something we can all surely learn from and strive for.

Stripped Away …

 

There are many fables and ancient sayings that concentrate on the rough principle that stripping away life’s inessentials is ultimately the key to health and happiness.

Like the sculptor who unveils a masterpiece out of a large piece of stone, revealing that actually the sculpture was always there – he mainly just chipped away the unwanted rock to reveal what was always actually  hidden away.

I think we all can take something from that …..

What are your life essentials?  After Food, Water and Shelter our next needs turn out to be companionship and love.  Everything else is merely overload ….

Now, I am not suggesting that we all go out and hug a tree, leaving all our worldly goods behind and living like a caveman or some sort of buddhist monk; but maybe we should all take heed of these early teachings and realise that potentially there is some truth there.

I certainly found that stripping away unhealthy aspects of my life, be that food/drink, Social Media overload or simply learning to appreciate what is really important in one’s life – this decluttering can be a real bonus.

There is still some way to go.  After all, like this blog title says “The Pursuit of Excellence is a Lifelong Endeavour”  However, carrying less baggage on any journey must surely be the right thing to do …..

A Cut Above …

I came across a cracking new musician recently – a chap called Will Pound.  Will was born with a heart defect and had to endure multiple operations as a youngster.  His father passed him a mouth organ and encouraged him to start playing in order to help his breathing and recovery etc.  He never looked back, and soon enough Will’s natural flair and talent was there to be seen (and enjoyed) by all.

Still a relatively young man in his 20’s, Will has already established himself as one of the best harmonica players of his generation.  His debut Solo Album “A Cut Above” is quite simply amazing, and I would implore you all to check it out.  “A Cut Above” is an eclectic mix of various musical styles, from Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, Blues & Jazz, and a wonderful listen.  Will can also be heard playing his harmonica on the “He Ain’t Heavy” Hillsborough charity single that topped the Christmas charts in 2012.

As a side to being an amazing musician, this young man is an example to us all about how one can turn to triumph from adversity.  Will certainly is “A Cut Above” and a shining example to us all, regardless of heart disease or otherwise.

What a breath of fresh air, and a truly inspirational man …

Welcome … Thanks for stopping by

Hi there. Welcome to my new blog.

Just Before Christmas in 2013 I was diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease ….. To say this came as a bit of a shock is somewhat of an understatement. I was immediately advised to make some serious lifestyle changes, was put on a number of medicines to help with my symptoms / keep my heart working as it should and also given a number of options regarding what surgery would be required.

Now, a few months later, I’ve settled on my daily medication (finally getting over some initial side effects) closed my photography business, cancelled my gym membership and started to simplify my life …..

I’ve decided to start this blog with a view of tracking my progress and hopefully help anyone else out there who is going through a similar scenario as I have found myself in. I am relatively young to be going through all this (35 years old when diagnosed) and after doing some research I have discovered that I am not alone in this as there are more and more younger folk being affected by such problems. The problem I found is that a lot of the advice out there for the older generation who are more likely to suffer from this disease ….. There is little content aimed at my age range and although the advice is simple enough and CHD takes no note of age, I feel it would be nice to have something available for younger people who get diagnosed and how they can deal with it all.

I hope you find the coming posts to be informative, educational, thought provoking and hopefully at sometimes maybe even slightly amusing. They do say that laughter is the best medicine (although with CHD I find daily doses of potassium channel activators, beta blockers and aspirin are probably more important!)

Thanks for stopping by …..

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