When the box says “Heart Healthy”, they don’t mean YOUR heart

“Blam-O Cereals are fortified with nutrients!”

“Every box of Blam-O Cereal is fired out of a cannon, to give you that extra POP in the morning!”

“Blam-O Cereals have been certified Heart Healthy!”

That’s one of the things that irritates me when I shop… the numerous labels that say their products are “heart healthy”. Because they aren’t.

They aren’t Heart Healthy for me. For someone who has suffered a heart attack or is trying to get his cholesterol down, they very well might be magic in a box. But not for me.

It’s a common problem for CHDer’s: A lot of times, the phrase “heart problems” bring to mind acquired heart problems. The problems you get naturally from age, or by “misbehaving”. That thought conficts with reality, as a lot of CHD patients are of below average height and weight, especially when they are young. I’ve actually been told “But you don’t look overweight!” The speaker should be glad that I was 14 at the time and was too shy and reserved to challenge them. If that happened today, they’d get an earful. Not only are they insulting me, they’re judging all of my friends who happen to not meet society’s artificial norms.

I’m sorry to shatter your assumptions, but I did not overeat, undereat, smoke, drink, or do anything else “wrong.” In fact, a CHDer’s heart usually makes them “be a good kid”. We look before we leap, think before we act, and because of dietary or physical restrictions, you’d probably think we’re a bit boring. Also, our minds work better than yours does. Can you keep track of ten (or twelve, or fifteen) different medications?

Didn’t think so.

Oh, by the way, it is not our mother’s fault that we have a Heart Defect. No one know why or how a heart defect occurs, but it happens early. By the time a woman looks her man in the eye and says “We’re going to have a baby!” the heart is already forming. So if you are dumb enough to think momma contributed to my problems, show some discretion and keep that opinion to yourself. Heart Moms are a special breed of woman, someone who was thrown for a loop during what should be the happiest time of her life. For the rest of her days she’s going to have an inner strength that the rest of us will envy… but she’ll live her life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My eight year old niece has the perfect advice: “If you’re waiting on the other shoe to drop, sell that shoe on eBay! You can sell anything there!”

The wisdom of children!


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8 Responses to “When the box says “Heart Healthy”, they don’t mean YOUR heart”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    You have me in tears. Thank you for your kind words about us heart moms. Thankfully no one has asked me yet if I did something wrong. But I know so many people who have been asked that and it’s just plain wrong.

    I agree about those heart healthy labeled foods. I don’t ever trust what a box says on it. I go straight for the nutrition facts on the box to find out what really is put in our foods.



  2. Steve Says:

    All I did was tell the truth! Heart Moms rise to the occasion! 🙂

  3. Michelle Says:

    As a heart mom, I was asked if I did anything to make my son have tetralogy of fallot. I answered with a LOUD no!!! I have recently discovered your blog and look forward to it everyday. My husband and I watched Something the Lord Made over the weekend, so I was thrilled to read your entry on Monday. Thank you for all of your wisdom.

  4. Steve Says:

    Thanks Michelle! I appreciate your reading Funky Heart, and I hope that I’m saying some things that you will find useful!

    Isn’t Something the Lord Made a great movie? Helen Taussig is my hero, so naturally I think she didn’t get featured enough… but after all, the movie *is* about Blalock and Thomas, so I guess she has to take a back seat!

  5. Katie Says:

    You hit the nail on the head…that’s exactly how it feels as a heart mom. I’ve been trying to find the right words and “waiting for the other shoe to drop” is perfect. Even with our daughter doing so well, we can never lose sight of how hard her heart has to work and that her heart does not and will never function in the manner that it was intended. It’s been difficult to accept at times, especially since she looks “normal” and acts like a typical baby her age. We thank our lucky stars everyday and with God’s grace, we’ll have many more days ahead with her. Thanks for posting this…made me cry too and validated the role as a heart mom!

  6. Steve Says:

    Hi, Katie!

    Thanks so much for reading Funky Heart! I hope I’ve been able to help you out in some little way, and feel free to come on back anytime!

    With *good* Cardiological care, your daughter can live a long and full life! I’m 42, with Tricuspid Atresia and I am doing pretty good… and things are looking even brighter for her! Keep her under the care of the best doctors you can find, and when she grows up, make sure that she sees a doctor who is familiar with Adult Congenital Heart Defects — NOT the usual Adult Cardiologist. Adult Cardiologists are great docs, but they are trained to deal with hearts that are suffering the effects of aging: Clogged Arteries, Plaque, need for a bypass, etc. They usually aren’t trained to deal with us.

    Within two years, the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is hoping to make Adult Congenital Cardiac Care a licensed, board certified medical specialty, so hopefully your daughter won’t have very much trouble finding an adult doctor!

  7. Jamie Says:

    Hi Steve,
    I just wanted to say thanks for standing up for all of us Heart Moms, we really appreciate it! What you said touched my heart also! I look forward to seeing the movie Something the Lord Made sometime soon.

  8. Steve Says:

    Jamie, thank you for reading! I’m not making it up; Heart Moms are tough ladies. You sort of expect it from Dad – after all, he’s the Protector and Defender, it’s in the contract – and sometimes we’re surprised by how stong the ladies can be.

    Heart Moms are awesome!

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