Monthly Archives: February 2014

Too Busy For A Heart Attack

Written by Jacki Wood in the Nodaway News Leader for Heart Health Month

More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Unfortunately, this killer isn’t as easy to see. Heart disease is often silent, hidden and misunderstood – American Heart Association

The signs had been there but they were slight, hidden even. And then there were the risk factors.

But Maryville resident Jill Hardin was too busy for a stroke, too busy for a heart attack.

“Even me, who had a father who had a stroke, sat in my kitchen and said, well, gee, I can’t go to the hospital today because I’ve got to do this, this and this.”

It was two weeks before Christmas and the 66-year-old single mother of an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old was too busy to realize what was wrong until it was almost too late.

It was Saturday and she hadn’t done the laundry yet. She’d planned on going Christmas shopping later that day. And then there was the wrapping to do and Christmas cookies she had promised to make with the girls.

“I’m thinking of all of this stuff,” she said. “And I’m trying to tell myself that even though my right hand didn’t have any feeling, even though I couldn’t see, even though I couldn’t talk, that I was fine.

“I was going to be fine. Just give me a few minutes and I’ll rally”

~

At 66, Hardin stays very active. She plants trees, flowers and bushes, mends fences and does other outside work. She refinishes floors and paints walls, ceilings and trim.

“I’m kind of a jack-of-all trades,” she said. “And I’ve just always been very active.”

She had a few underlying health problems, but they hadn’t been enough to slow her down any or make her feel like she should.

High cholesterol that she was told to watch several years ago. But nobody had said anything about it recently.

An ocular migraine she was diagnosed with a couple of years ago. No pain, just a kaleidoscope effect she would have once in a while, but nothing really to worry about.

A pain that went from her left shoulder across her chest and to her right shoulder after carrying a heavy box a couple of years ago. She thought she had just pulled something. When the pains starting happening more frequently. she was diagnosed with acid reflux.

Chest pain this winter that she noticed only when she went out to chore on a really cold morning, but went away quickly after going back inside.

And she was tired.

She told her doctor this. But she didn’t have trouble climbing stairs and she wasn’t short of breath, so the doctor said, maybe at 66, she might consider slowing down.

“I felt good so I didn’t see any reason to slow down,” she said. “I had things to do. And I’ve never been to a doctor who was concerned about anything, and when I had a complaint, there was always some other reason.”

~

That Saturday morning, December 14, 2013, she had been busy doing her regular morning activities when she suddenly experienced one of those ocular migraines.

“I couldn’t see clearly. I tried to talk, I tried to continue to communicate, but I couldn’t.”

Thankfully, a friend was at the house.

“He kept saying he couldn’t understand me. I was fighting to see and I was trying to talk and then I gave up.”

She grabbed a bottle of aspirin, and when she went to get the pill out of her palm, she noticed her right hand didn’t have any feeling in it.

“We debated for a while whether to take me to the hospital or not,” she said. “I’m saying to myself, come on, there’s nothing wrong with me.”

~

Hardin said she wants to share her story to help other women.

“Just because you’re healthy doesn’t mean you’re healthy,” she said.

There were warning signs. One of the most important symptoms for women is exhaustion, she said.

“But how many women aren’t exhausted?”

She said a woman today generally has a job, but she also usually has most of the responsibilities in the home including meals  and laundry and running the kids to activities.

“She’s tired,” Hardin said. “And she doesn’t know when she’s really tired.”

~

On that Saturday morning, after some convincing from her friend, she finally agreed to go to the hospital.

“The doctor there saw a woman who was healthy having a few problems with her speech but not a lot,” she said.

He said she was probably having a TIA, or transient ischemic attack, which is when the blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief period of time. He told her she might have them from time to time or not at all, but he wanted her to stay overnight.

Then he called a doctor in neurology, who said she needed to be transferred to a stroke center right away.

She traveled to St. Luke’s by ambulance – after being convinced driving herself in her pick-up was not a good idea – and was swarmed with doctors who asked lots of questions about her previous diagnoses, her symptoms and her family history.

After days of testing, a double bypass heart surgery, a carotid endarterectomy (a surgery used to prevent strokes in those who have carotid artery disease) and nine days at St. Luke’s, Hardin was finally able to come home two days before Christmas.

~

“I was very lucky. I’m very fortunate. I think the thing that saved me was that I have always been very active.”

Looking back, Hardin realizes the signs were there.

“It was different this year,” she said. “I was slower to rally. And my enthusiasm was down.”

But being a single parent, if she didn’t do the things that needed to be done, no one else was going to, she said. So she made herself do them.

“I was tired, though, exhausted,” she said. “And I knew it was different.”

~

She’s now undergoing cardiac rehab through St. Francis Hospital in Maryville and realizes some changes need to be made.

But she really wants other women to learn from her story.

“I’m just glad I’m here,” she said. “And I hope I can wake up some other women because this is important. I want them to think, wow, maybe I ought to think about me for a change.”

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Football teams exemplify more than perfect record

By Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader’s special Title Town keepsake edition

Perfection. The highest degree of proficiency, skill or excellence.

While every moment, play or game might not have been perfect throughout the Maryville Middle School, Maryville High School and Northwest football season, the 60-0 perfect record stands out among all teams across the state and even the country.

But what if the season was more than the 60-0 perfect record?

Northwest Missouri Fellowship of Christian Athletes Area Representative Trevor Nashleanas, who works with many of the Northwest and Maryville coaches and athletes, said having a perfect record at all levels of football was a tremendous joy for him.

But, he said, the season was more than the wins.

“In light of Coach T’s retirement, Coach Bostwick’s death and the legal turmoil concerning a former Spoofhound athlete, these teams have truly stuck together,” Nashleanas said. “They’ve weathered the storms, fought for one another and matured as young men in the process. I know God has used it to bring people to Jesus, which is the biggest win of all.”

The Coaches

Nashleanas said his one focus is to help coaches and student-athletes recognize their need for the Lord, believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ and live for God.

“The focus of the (FCA) ministry has shifted from the athletes to the coach,” he said. “Our philosophy is to ‘impact the world for Jesus Christ by ministering to and through coaches.’ World famous evangelist Billy Graham once said that ‘one coach will influence more people in one year than most will in a lifetime.’”

For that reason, Nashleanas said, they now focus on 3-D or 3-Dimensional Coaching which includes physical, psychological and spiritual aspects.

“The goal is to help coaches identify a God-given reason for coaching beyond just wins and losses,” he said.

Maryville High School Head Coach Matt Webb and Northwest Missouri State Wide Receivers Coach Joel Osborn have been instrumental in helping to share FCA’s vision.

“Coach Webb and Coach Osborn are both outstanding men,” he said. “They lead with integrity, care with sincerity and coach with character. Both are very supportive of what the Lord is doing through FCA and both do their part to help players grow into men who will live and lead well. They, as well as other members of the Bearcat and Spoofhound coaching staffs, have a tremendously positive and lifelong influence on the men they coach, myself included.”

The Players

Nashleanas said the coaches have established player’s counsels for accountability and character development among their senior leaders or captains and some require players to read books about team unity, sportsmanship and character.

“This is important because a student is an athlete for a few years at most, but he or she is a citizen for a lifetime,” he said. “It teaches coaches to treat players with dignity and prepares athletes for success in life.”

The Spoofhounds have had an FCA Impact Program for the last two years, which the athletes lead for spiritual and character development through peer-to-peer relationships.

“It’s a volunteer program and most of the team participates,” he said. “I’d imagine that it’s a big part of the team’s success.”

He said he’s also seen significant changes in recent years among the Bearcat football players who are involved with FCA including a significant drop in off-the-field issues with alcohol and misbehavior, an increase in sportsmanship on the field, more team unity and a more intentional focus on what God wants them to do to contribute to the community during their time at Northwest and when they graduate.

“By God’s grace, they’ve turned to the Lord,” he said. “And with the help of FCA, (they) have become godly men who are serving the church and the city well.”

Perfection

Nashleanas said the perfect 60-0 season is a fun rarity in sports that should be enjoyed and celebrated. But unfortunately, it can leave some with the expectation that perfection is something that can also be achieved in life.

“This only leads to pride and anxiety for those who momentarily achieve it but can’t ever keep it,” he said. “Or despair and shame for those who know they’ve already fallen short and don’t even want to try.

“God’s good news is that our ‘standing’ in his sight is not dependent on our performance or our perfection. Thanks to Jesus, we don’t have to beat ourselves up when our performance fails to meet God’s standards, because he already took a beating for us (the cross) to make up for our failures, shortcomings and disappointments.”

He said the athletes who believe this truth ultimately perform better because the pressure is off them.

“Jesus carried the weight of missed passes, fumbled footballs and impossible standards when he died on the cross,” he said. “On the field, perfection is achieved with a perfect record. In life, it is received by faith in what Jesus has done to give us his perfect record.

“A perfect record is a momentary pleasure worth celebrating until next season. A perfect record received in Christ is an eternal joy worth celebrating in God’s presence forever.”