Daunting task, indeed. Thankfully, we aren’t alone. There are several organizations dedicated to the advancement of research and to the dissemination of knowledge on heart disease. There are scores of professionals whose experience and recommendations can be found easily online. There is even a month dedicated to bringing awareness home.
Here’s my question; heart disease is just that… a disease. How do we fight a disease? Better yet, how do I fight a disease?
When It’s Personal
Problems take on a whole new meaning when you are the owner. Empathy and a sense of urgency, perhaps missing before, come into sharp focus when you or a loved one is affected. Suddenly all my friends and acquaintances that had joined a cause of their own now come to mind. An acquaintance whose 20 year old daughter died of ovarian cancer; she is now involved with the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California . My son’s 7th grade teacher who trains for months in advance to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Race for the Cure. These are but two examples of excellent women sharing their time, energy and resources to get the word out.
And yet, with all of this awareness, specific answers to some very frightening questions still go unanswered. As an example, say you are experiencing some strange symptoms. You decide to go online to see if what you are experiencing could mean heart trouble. If your search returned any of the results mine did, you’d be very disappointed. Why? Because with all the nuance that is heart disease, symptoms and diagnosis vary. That combined with rather vague, generalized descriptions of what may be wrong do nothing but freak the reader out.
An Individual Battle
I admire the self-sacrificing spirit of those who give of themselves to further a cause. Not all can be Susan G. Komen, however. Most of us, myself included, fit comfortably in the background quietly coping with our condition the best we can.
And yet we fight nonetheless. Every time we decide we deserve a better doctor, we win. Each day we make sure to exercise, we win. When we share what we know about heart disease, we win.
Don’t underestimate the power of your victories. Winning the fight against heart disease begins with the individual.