Cardiovascular diseases and stroke are the No. 1 cause of death in Maine, according to the Maine chapter of the American Heart Association. And yes, stroke is a cardiovascular disease. The saddest truth about all of this is that we, as individuals, can prevent most cardiovascular disease by understanding our family history, eating conscientiously and exercising. You can learn more and make a plan to get heart healthy on the American Heart Association’s website, heart.org.
In this month’s “Heart Matters” issue, you’ll meet Catherine Santorelli, who had a heart attack at age 62—the same age that her mother had a heart attack years earlier. Despite being very physically active and in overall good health, Santorelli ignored some of the warning signs and found herself in the ER one holiday season. “Like so many women, I thought I was invincible,” Santorelli says. “I should’ve been listening more to my body, but I didn’t.” The whole experience taught Santorelli the valuable lesson of listening to her body, and the next time she was feeling off, a trip to her doctor revealed thyroid cancer. Read her story on page 14.
Our “On the Go” columnist Clarke Canfield writes his first-person account of becoming a member of the “zipper club” when he was just 46. Canfield had a condition that required open-heart surgery or he’d risk potential cardiac failure. He chose the surgery and is thankfully with us and sharing his experience on page 22.
If you are looking for ways to stay active during the winter months—sometimes a daunting task—check out our feature story on the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) on page 10. Nicky Pizzo, AMC program manager and senior naturalist, explains how AMC programs are a great way to re-introduce your child-self to the reasons why you enjoyed playing outside with your friends. My husband always tells me that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices. After owning a cabin in the Maine mountains for many years, I am here to say he is right. Getting outside to enjoy winter is easy to do, so long as you are dressed for it. And you don’t have to be a person who has the “need-for-speed” disposition of a downhill skier, ice hockey player or snowmobile rider—you can enjoy an easy hike, a few hours of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing or an afternoon of trail riding on a fat-tire bike.
In addition to our hearts being the core of our physical being, we often think of the emotional side of our hearts: love. Who doesn’t love to be in love, feel love, give love and witness love? Sometimes finding new love after the loss of a partner can be difficult; sometimes, well, it can be funny. Read Kathy Eliscu’s tale of bravery and humor in her “Lightly Roasted” column this month on page 26. And, if you are in the mood for a heartwarming story, check out our love story feature on page 12. Here you will meet two ordinary men who made international history when they became the first gay couple to be legally married in Maine.
Happy New Year and we wish you a warm and active heart in 2018. Thanks for reading My Generation, and please check in with us online at mygenerationmaine.com and follow us on Facebook.