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My son, home on leave!

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The princess and her grandma!

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Christmas at church!

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EFAKER is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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Anyone who reads this page needs to know that if I can do it, anyone can! I'm living proof (literally!) of the benefits of eating right and exercising. Now, my story doesn't feature phenomenal weight loss or the foutain of youth, I'm still a plumpish, middle-aged grandma, albeit with a twinkle in my eye... but here's the story... I was inches away from a major heart "event", diabetic, and unable to even spend 5 minutes on a treadmill beforeI had quintuple cardiac bypass surgery a little over two years ago.. That story follows. Sorry, it's a little long....

Two years ago, on my 54th birthday, I went in for a routine test after my healthy brother had a heart attack (he recovered well, with a stent) Since I'm diabetic and have a family history of heart disease, they ran more extensive tests on me and discovered that my main artery into the heart was 95% blocked. So, I ended up having a quintuple bypass to fix it... they "piggybacked" an extra graft to make sure it stays open, thus the five. At that stage of the game, I could barely do 5 minutes on the treadmill about a month after surgery, when I started cardiac rehab. Now I do 45-60 minutes of either the bike or treadmill every day. The bulk of this progress has come this year, through the motivation and encouragement of Sparkpeople. A little gym opened up down the street from me that you can use with a passcard, 24 hours a day. I don't think I'd have stayed with it, though, without that extra oomph from my sparkfriends, the logging in and seeing my fitness minutes mount, the occasional thrill of being a top five fitness minutes on some of my smaller teams. Now, due to the diabetes and the insulin, my weight loss has been slow, about 25-30 pounds for the year, but I've lost 2 whole sizes and had to replace all my pants, which is a huge thing for me.
The other great thing is that my blood sugar and cholesterol are normal for the first time in years and I'm taking no cholesterol medicine at all. My doctor and cardiologist literally had their mouths open at my last test results. I can't take statins anymore due to the muscle side effects, so they had pretty much written me off as a long-term, chronic heart disease patient. The cardiologist said that he tells patients about exercise, but they mostly don't do it, or don't do enough to make a difference. I'm living proof that anyone can make these kinds of lifestyle changes. I work a busy, full-time job, with lots of extra time spent as a special education facilitator, I teach a class at the community college one night a week, I have three grown children, all in town, currently (my youngest deploys to Iraq in May), and I have the primary care of my elderly parents (they remain very active, though!) who live with me. In addition, I'm very active in my church and try to do some community things, volunteering. So, to fit in the exercise has required that I put myself first, literally, and I get up at 4:15 every morning and am in the gym by 4:30... I get in an hour to hour and 15 minutes on work days, more on weekends and holidays.
I also wear a pedometer all the time and do everything I can at school to log in the extra steps, delivering notes to teachers in their classrooms rather than leaving them in their mailboxes, that sort of thing. I eat a heart-healthy, low fat, higher protein, only whole grain and veggies-for carbs diet, which keeps the diabetes at bay.

I'm sure not Wonderwoman, I get weary sometimes of the constant effort to stay healthy, but I'm active and vibrant and enjoy every minute of my life and am thankful and grateful for all the blessings I've got.

I hope anyone who takes the time to read this understands that my journey is not about illness and disease, but about how the human spirit and body can make the best of any situation. I get a little bemused sometimes at reading about cures and healing... I'm not cured or healed of the diabetes or the heart disease, but they are just part of who I am these days, not the definition of who I am.

So, take heart, if you are young and healthy, read this and be grateful and honor your health by taking care of the temple that is your body. If you're older and less healthy, know that you, too, can make changes one step at a time to regain your health.

So, Happy Easter, and may you all enjoy a blessed, beautiful spring!

Member Since: 1/1/2008

Fitness Minutes: 73,816

My Goals:
I'd like to lose 40 more pounds, lost **60** already.
The biggest factor, though is that I'd like to stay healthy so I can enjoy my retirement someday!

My Program:
The program updates...
September 10, 2010
Still doing an hour at the gym and walking on the treadmill and the bike, along with some strength stuff, and trying to add some long walks in the evening as it is finally cooler here.

Personal Information:
I'm in Central Texas, I'm on facebook,
Evelyn Aker.

Other Information:
I love books, just finishing "The Help", listening to
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Ray LaMontaigne....

And, of course there are my sweet angels, Emmylou Harris and Aaron Neville, who never fail to please!

Read More About EFAKER - Profile Information moved here. (Updated September 10)

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  • v JUNEGIRL25
    wow you are a true inspiration! in fact you gave me some uplifting words almost 5 years ago! I just rejoined spark people and was going through comments left for me and came across your story.! God bless you! emoticon
    2878 days ago
    "Beautiful Woman Award! Once you've been given this award, you have to paste it on the wall of 8 women who deserve it. If you receive more than 3, you know you're really beautiful! If you break the chain, nothing will happen, but it's always good to know someone thinks you're beautiful inside and out"

    3497 days ago
    Love your story. Mine is similar, though more recent: triple bypass a month ago. Now walking an hour each day, which I am able to do rather well as I was already exercising before the heart attack. I'm expecting a full recovery with time, God willing.
    3693 days ago
    You are highly inspirational. Thanks for sharing your journey.
    And hugs across the miles to you. emoticon
    3870 days ago
  • v no profile image BEESPARKLE
    Have a nice weak. Thought I would drop in.

    Your loved! emoticon

    From a Sparkler.
    3894 days ago
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