So back in September, while talking to some co-workers, one of them noticed my hand handed turned blue. We laughed it off. I took a photo and I posted it on Instagram commenting that I was becoming a Smurf and then quickly forgot about it.
Last week during a meeting a partner suddenly said, “What’s wrong with your hand?” I looked down and it was blue, much bluer then the first time. It looked like it belonged to a cadaver. Everyone urged me to go to the doctor so I listened for once. The doctors had never seen a blue hand before. So I was sent to get a test at a cardiology vascular center.
What am I doing in a cardiology center?
I don’t smoke, rarely drink, exercise regularly and have been a vegetarian since I was 17 years old. Other than living in New York City, how could I have anything remotely associated with the need to go to a cardiology center? My blood pressure is great. My cholesterol is normal. But that’s the misperception so many of us make. Heart disease can happen at any age– in your 20s or even your 30s. I haven’t been diagnosed with anything yet so I’m not going to worry until I have to. I now have to go have an MRI. Up near my clavicle the blood wasn’t flowing perfectly and it was “rounded,” whatever that means. The doctor is calling my doctor to tell her.
Coincidently I just happened to be in the middle of reading Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s new book, which is set to come out this February. Thank goodness the blue hand came before I started reading the book or I would think I was being psychosomatic.
Did you know chronic stress is one of biggest heart disease risks?
What a strange coincidence. All I could think about as I lay at the doctor’s was Suzanne’s book. Rattling through my head were facts such as “Heart disease kills more women than all cancers, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s and accidents combined.” And as I went through the mental checklist of reasons I remembered chronic stress is one of biggest heart disease risks for women.
My life has always been stressful. I work in an industry notorious for it. I’ve worked with many a creative director who had nervous breakdowns. And then I remembered the new business pitch where my throat started to close down from stress. I didn’t even give it a second thought when I was reading Dr. Steinbaum’s book, but now that I have reason to think, it’s staring at me right at me.
My blue hand is my wake up call and yours.
So my blue hand may end up being nothing, but it’s a wake up call for you and for me. Get a checkup every year. Take the time to take care of yourself in the midst of taking care of your children, your job, and your life. I know I’m going to start by trying to see how I can eliminate some stress. Today is the day all of us can take some preventative action.