Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 27, 2005 - A Passover Memory

As John Lennon beautifully sang, "Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans." I learned that lesson very well three years ago today.

Back in April 2005, I was working as a fundraiser and an event planner for a wonderful nonprofit that mentored teens from disadvantaged areas of the city. I was in charge of a major reception to honor this program which was set to occur inside the U.S. Capitol building on April 27. Needless to say, I was juggling quite a bit to make it a success. Typing emails at 2 am, sitting at a desk all day answering phones and faxing letters, barely eating, sleeping or exercising took a toll on me and I didn't acknowledge the fact that I wasn't feeling well for days. My body was sending me a lot of signals that I ignored - shortness of breath, pain in my leg and a burning sensation in my chest. What did I do? I tried to pretend it wasn't happening because I had the biggest event of my career to plan. I even made sure the catering services prepared kosher for Passover appetizers to serve the guests!

On the day of the event, I decided I couldn't ignore it any longer because I was in bad shape. I took a cab to the hospital (yes I went into work that day!) to just make sure everything was okay before I went to the Capitol. I was still answering my cell phone and giving parking information to guests when the nurses called me in. I was admitted immediately due to blood clots in my lungs that began as a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in my leg.

It's April 27, 2005. I am 30 years old and about to married in less than two weeks.

Obviously, I came through okay. More than just okay, actually. I spent a week in the hospital getting better. They found the cause of the clot was my use of the birth control pill. I had absolutely nothing else wrong with me. I walked out of that hospital and never looked back. What a crazy fluke. I'm one of the 1% that gets a clot on the pill! With those odds, I should have bought a lottery ticket, maybe?

What does all this have to do with my blog, you ask? Well, from that day forward I've been learning some very important lessons that I would like to share. Listen to your body and treat yourself really, really well. Be pro-active about your health & be your own advocate. Get eight hours of restorative sleep every night. Take a brisk walk everyday. Eat gorgeous vegetables with most meals. Enjoy dessert in moderation. Love yourself and act like you mean it. And don't believe that the world will come to a screeching halt if you do any of the above. You deserve to live happily and healthily.

To end this public service announcement, I'd like you to do me a favor. I feel I have a responsibility to share with you the causes and the symptoms of a DVT. Will you please go to, read about it, commit it to memory and then go on with your day? It's extremely treatable when caught - but you have to know when to act.

In Judaism, we have a toast. L'chaim. It means, "To Life."

Thanks again for reading today's memory and this week's Passover recipes. I hope you continue coming to my blog to learn about what's cooking in Test Drive Kitchen. Now raise your glass and join me in a toast.



Ricki said...

What a lovely, touching post. . . and so glad you came out okay! Thanks for the important reminders, so easy to forget.


Anonymous said...

L'chaim, that was a fantastic story! Thank you cutie for sharing that one with us. We would have missed our "big mouthed frog" had you not finally listened to your body=)

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Karen, I am really enjoying your Passover posts and this one (although not technically a Passover post!) was great. :)

Josie said...

Karen - another beautiful post! I so agree with your sentiments about taking care of yourself. I even have a little post-it note up on my mirror in my bathroom to remind me to do so. It is crazy how lost we can become in taking care of others and completely ignore ourselves. You are going to make an awesome mom. :)