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Michaela Gagne: A Heart Health Approach - Putting Your Life in Perspective

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I know it’s hard. That ice cream sundae looks like a creamy boat of deliciousness. And, man, that pizza seems like it could be the best thing in your life since Velcro.
To top it off, your gym card has been lost in the war zone of your pocketbook, and that has been holding up as a worthy excuse to miss your morning work-outs…and let’s not even talk about your stress at work.

Here’s the deal, though. No one truly feels all warm and fuzzy, deep down inside, about making unhealthy decisions for herself.

It’s hard. We all have our choices to make, and sometimes they seem beyond impossible. I’ll throw an idea out there for some personal heart health motivation. Maybe, just maybe, this can be made easier by trying to put a new perspective on our lives.

Here is mine.

Three years ago I traveled to the Bukoba region of Tanzania. With the group Jambo Tanzania, I helped set up a medical clinic out of an abandoned shack. For most residents of the local villages, this is the only medical care they ever receive. Many do not survive in between the two year visits. When I watched children dying of malnutrition, dehydration, and other ailments to which I rarely gave a second thought, I realized I am a lucky lady.

Having been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition at 17, I recognize that had I lived in certain other places in this world I probably would never have been diagnosed, and I certainly could not have been treated. As I held a little girl dying from malaria in my arms, this fact slapped me right in the face.

Luckily, we were able to save that little girl, and the trip was an eye-opening experience to me. Don’t get me wrong, though…it wasn’t all stress. The native dancing and singing were beautiful, the late night festivities were a blast, and the artwork was fascinating. One of the most memorable moments, however, was meeting a 70-year-old man we were treating for an STD. He had fathered over 60 children in the local villages and was asking if we had brought any of our American Viagra for him. It was interesting to try to explain to him the various reasons that we thought he should stop procreating.

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