Gingers Bio

• When did you first suspect something was wrong with your heart?

I initially had the virus in 1993 but didn't begin to experience symtoms until after the birth of my youngest son which was a year later. During aerobics I would begin to have chest pain and have to stop. The pain would then go away.

• Why did you have trouble getting doctors to understand?

The doctors taking care of me at that time easily dismissed my concern that something was wrong with my heart. They told me I was too young to have heart disease and I had no history of heart problems. My symtoms were attributed to a thyroid disorder called Hashimoto's disease. I felt like they just weren't listening to me. I kept an ongoing list of symtoms and continued to search for a doctor that would not only listen but hear what I was saying. I live with my body everyday, I know when something is wrong.


• What lessons should women and men learn from your experience?

I want men and women to live longer and healthier lives. Through prevention and early detection this can be achieved! Educate yourself, listen to your body, don't ignore symtoms and put off going to your doctor. Learn to comunicate with your physician effectively, it's a two way street! If you still feel a doctor isn't listening to you, find another. Take charge of your health! Most of all, don't take it for granted! When you have your health, you can do anything! Life is a gift and I want people to remember that always!

• How do you manage to stay so positive, upbeat and healthy?

The answer is, I love life! No matter how tough it can get, it's still worth it! It does however, take some work, you have to accept responsibility for your health by making healthy choices. Eating right, getting some form of exercise is essential, learning to listen to your body and getting regular check ups is very important. I want it to become natural to you, I don't want health problems to be your life, I want your life to be healthy!

• What do you do specifically to stay healthy?

I eat mostly organic and local foods. My diet consists of fruit, vegetables, whole grains,fish, chicken and lots of water! I am not a fan of fad diets. I believe that if you eat well balanced meals, in small amounts and exercise, you will lose weight and be able to keep it off. However, I splurge sometimes too and have to get back on track! I also watch my sodium intake very closely, a low sodium diet is critical for my health. I am compliant with my medications, no one likes to take medication but to maintain your health and in my case keep me alive, it's essential to be consistant. Talk with your doctor before making any changes. I walk, hike and I work out with small weights. I love my exercise ball! I also meditate in the morning before I do anything! It helps me become centered and prepared for the day. I am very intuned with my body, that has been crucial to maintaining my health!

You have done remarkable things and I am pleased that you are handeling all of the stresses of life so well.
I thought the article was very well written and certainly hope that it and your other endevors help to trigger more interest in transplantation.
-Henry C. Patrick, M.D., F.A.C.C.
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"Your particular presentation was rated very highly by my students. Without your input my students and I would have missed out on critical learning and personal growth opportunities. Thank you so much for your participation."
-Peter B. Anderson
PhD Professor, Human Performance and
Health Promotion University of New Orleans
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