Archive for November, 2010

I Don’t Have Cancer!

I went in for a biopsy on my bladder on November 24.
A couple months prior, a lighted scope was done on my bladder and it showed an area that the doctor said needed to be biopsied. The biopsy had to be completed in a hospital.
When the doctor said that I needed a biopsy during this procedure I had a flashback to when the surgeon told me I needed open-heart surgery to save my life.
While lying there, I kind of had an anxiety attack as far as softly shaking and just feeling all-alone.  I’m OK today and have a positive attitude. I’m not sure where I’m getting the positive attitude from but I know it’s deep. I’ve been through a lot the past few years.
Very briefly, almost 2 years ago this Thanksgiving I was in San Francisco writing my book and had blood in my urine… I freaked out, flew the next plane back to Vegas to see my doctor and was OK.  Later it was determined (Cat Scan) I had a Kidney Stone but it was not blocking anything.
I had approx 10-12 occurrences of blood in my urine since then, mostly after a treadmill or heavy workout.  In June, I went to the ER for kidney pain.  A severe Kidney infection was diagnosed and treated.
To be on the safe side, my primary doctor sent me to an urologist who ran some tests.  All came back negative except for that Kidney Stone which was still there.  He didn’t want to stop there. I actually praise this doctor because he just wanted to rule everything out except for the kidney stone.  He wanted to be thorough and a scope was done on my bladder a few weeks later.  That was an experience in and of it self.  When he went in to look at my bladder, the doctor saw something on the monitor and immediately said that was where the bleeding was coming from and it needed to be biopsied and removed.  He, and I, saw the problem area on the monitor.  He made me look.
I just couldn’t figure out, why me… again? First my heart and now I had to think about the “C” word. Could I have bladder cancer? Perhaps I could handle it better than someone else. I’m thankful, however, that it was I, and none of my family or friends going through this.
I met with the surgeon today and the pathology reports came back negative.  I don’t have cancer.  I was diagnosed with cystitis glandularis.  I’ll be doing my research but this is great news compared to what I expected to hear.
My message today is to get regular checkups, don’t ignore your body when it’s trying to tell you something, eat heart healthy and get regular exercise and activity.
Healthy days ahead for us all, Keith

Thanksgiving’s a day to give thanks.
I give thanks for my continued health and that of my family and friends.
I’m thankful for having the most supportive family anyone could ever ask for.
I’m thankful for the paths I’ve traveled and the people I’ve met this year that have enriched my life.  I’ve met some very strong people.
I give thanks to the troops and veterans who serve and served unconditionally and without reservation.
I give thanks that I am who I am and I can be what I want to be.
I’m thankful for knowing that I have the strength to handle whatever challenges lie ahead.
I hope you each enjoy a day of reflection, health, and love with many more to come. – Keith

Name One Heart Healthy Food dish that will be on your Thanksgiving dinner menu.

We Can Handle It

Are you feeling a little stressed?
Are the upcoming holidays, family worries, or work piling up on with other obligations?
Managing and controlling stress is an important element in our overall health.
There’re many tips to relieve stress but, in my opinion, the top two are getting regular physical exercise and eating heart healthy.
Get up and take a walk. Climb some stairs. Take some deep breaths. Meditate for a few minutes. Add an extra serving of fruit and veggies to your plate. Eat several small meals instead of 3 large meals.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and drinking enough water to stay hydrated during the holidays.
When we don’t get enough sleep our bodies crave for more energy. Energy comes from the calories we consume. We fuel that energy by eating more when we’re stressed, tired or dehydrated. – Keith

I’ll be presenting and sharing my journey to the Las Vegas Chapter of Mended Hearts. This presentation will be at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas on Saturday, November 20, 2010.
I’m looking forward to presenting to other survivors and their families about healthy lifestyle changes while living with and surviving cardiovascular disease.
About Mended Hearts
Mended Hearts has been offering the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers for 60 years. Recognized for its role in facilitating a positive patient-care experience, Mended Hearts partners with 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics and offers services to heart patients through visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums. Our mission is to “inspire hope in heart disease patients and their families.” From
For more information on Mended Hearts, visit

MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY BY GENDER: Nearly all leading women’s health threats preventable – Health –

In this article Sharon shares many lifestyle change tips to prevent some of the most common diseases.  The article was geared towards women’s health but this article reaches far beyond gender.

Feel free to leave a comment:)

Heart Thoughts

Your Heart Is Working Hard

“Did you know that each day the average heart “beats” (expands and contracts) 100,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood?

It pumps blood through approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels and veins etc. That’s enough to circle the earth 2 times.

Now that’s reason enough to take care of your heart.” – Keith

Unwrap The Opportunity

“Remember the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? Each day he woke up and the day repeated itself.
He was given the opportunity to change anything he wanted–for better or for worse. We’re given the same opportunity.
Yesterday’s gone.
Today we can make a positive impact in our lives or someone else’s life regardless of what we did yesterday.
When your alarm clock goes off tomorrow, make it your day!
Consider each day ahead a gift waiting to be unwrapped.” – Keith

Describe your success and what factors led you to change your life?
HI…. My name is Amanda. I’m 30 years old and my success is surviving multiple heart conditions and many heart surgeries:( But I am here to tell u about it all:)
The factors that led me to change my life…. I have to keep myself heart healthy for my kids and my hubby…. It’s hard but I manage and I most of all do it for me:). It was either change how I live or die…not a hard decision. I suffer a lot and need to stay healthy:)
What was the journey like?
The journey has been a long one, almost 8 years of suffering and surgery after surgery. I started with A-fib at 23 when I was pregnant with my daughter and since than I have had A-flutter, A-Tachycardia, and scar tissue on my heart, Atrial myopathy and a pacemaker. I now suffer from congestive heart failure on top of everything else…WOW!!!!! I have had 6 Ablations, 3 cardio-versions and recently an open-heart surgery (Thoracotomy) to put my pacemaker. I deal with anxiety and post Thoracotomy syndrome, very painful and I have tachycardia arrhythmias daily.  Still keeping my head up though…. It could always be worse!!!!
How did you do it?
All in all I think of my hubby and kids, the most important people in my life and I stay positive. Heart disease is very hard to deal with, but I have an amazing support system…. Including u Keith:). Before every surgery I put it in my head that when I came out I would laugh instead of cry and I do that every time I wanna cry…. trust me it works:)
What are your top 3 tips for success?
3 tips for success…
#1. Positivity
#2. Put yourself before everyone else, U are the most important person in the world.
#3. When you have heart disease, take it seriously. Eat right, stay active and DO NOT smoke or do anything to hurt your body. You only have one body…take care of it.
What inspires or motivates you?
My family inspires me everyday. My hubby keeps me smiling and happy, so most of the time I don’t feel like I’m sick at all.
There are amazing people like Keith Ahrens that Inspire me with positivity…. Thank you Keith:)
My kids motivate me to stay healthy, happy and positive. I want to see them grow up, that’s enough motivation:)
How do you feel now and where are you going?
I am still suffering a lot, but I’m Happy and I have so much to live for, I will stick to my diet and do everything I can to be heart healthy so I can be around for a long, long time:)
I will keep moving in the right direction and I will always stay positive and keep my head up. I have more surgeries ahead of me and a lifetime of heart disease, but for now, I AM HAPPY and Thankful for all the blessings in my life.
If you have heart disease, stay positive and keep smiling. You can live your life and still stay heart healthy. Keep your head up, U are the most important person in the world, so love yourself and just believe that you will be just fine:) Give or take a few speed bumps in the road:)
Please feel free to post a comment about Amanda’s story below.

Calorie Lab releases its data for the most obese states. There are a few changes to the rankings but there’s no doubt an epidemic exists.

Mississippi and Colorado each hold one end of the belt stretching around these alarming statistics.

Click on the link to see where your state ranks.

“CalorieLab computed the fattest state rankings for this year based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rankings use a three-year average in order to smooth out statistical fluctuations.” –