I almost called this post “Why National Go Red Day Makes Me Stabby”, but I thought, that’s not nice. Although, if there’s enough stabbing going on, eventually I would be blue. Regardless, it sounded wrong so this is what I ended up with.
Let’s preface this right now: I support Heart Health Awareness for Women… just not all parts of it.
Okay, now you can keep reading…
Friday was National Go Red for Heart Disease to kick off the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women, where all across America, people were donning their best red outfits to raise awareness for heart disease.
It’s a worthy cause and I get it. I definitely understand it. But I don’t necessarily like it.
For me, every day is Go Red Day. I live with congenital heart disease. For the longest time, I supported the effort of wearing red but anymore, I feel like it’s just lip service. Aside from the fun, awkward holidays like National Chocolate Day or Margarita Day, the awareness holidays are getting on my nerves.
For the people who live with invisible illnesses like heart disease, every day is awareness day.
I’ve been sick these last few weeks; bronchitis, upper respiratory infection, and a sinus infection. I went to ER and the doctor shrugged and said “viral”. Sent me home with a prescription for cough medicine. I gave him every bit of medical history I could, including my current ejection fraction for my heart. He admitted that he had an understanding of what I was talking about but the words were somewhat over his head. It’s okay, he’s not the first one to behave that way and I don’t fault him.
A follow-up appointment with one of the doctors at the medical center confirmed differently and I was put on antibiotics.
If you ask me, awareness for women with heart disease should start with the doctors like the one I saw (and have seen in the past) in emergency rooms everywhere.
Awareness for me isn’t about choosing one day to wear red because the truth is most people won’t notice. Ask yourself this, what did you hear more about last week, The Super Bowl or Heart Disease?
Awareness needs to come every day. It shouldn’t be limited to 28 days out of the year. (And why is it other awareness holidays get the full 30 or 31 but we only get 28?)
Only in recent years have awareness holidays started to get a backlash; October being breast cancer awareness month; The fall colors are popping in bright oranges, golds, and reds but everyone is throwing pink on everything. Dumb. Breast Cancer survivors are over it and I’m with them. Those left with the memories of their loved ones who lost the fight to breast cancer are over it too.
My irritation over Go Red for heart disease is a small drop in the bucket.
Black History month shouldn’t be confined to 28 days either. Our children should learn about black history every day. The same goes for women’s history month (and every other one I know I’m forgetting).
It’s getting to be ridiculous that we limit just a small amount of time out of 365 days to bring awareness to a cause or parts of our history or heritage.
And no one understands what it’s like to make people aware every day; my sister is one of those tireless souls. She’s raising her 16-year-old daughter who had a heart transplant at the age of six, our grandmother died of a massive heart attack, and she has me for a sister. You can’t find anyone who is more of an advocate of heart disease than she is. I know it exhausts and frustrates her so when she wears red, I know it’s to honor us and celebrate us but it’s also one day in the 365 days of advocating that she does.
But I can’t do it anymore. My “wear red” is in the scars that cover my body, in the finger sticks to make sure my blood isn’t too thick, putting me at greater risk for a stroke, and in the device checks, doctor visits, and surgeries I’ve had and will have to keep me alive.
Over the last year and a half, I have become more outspoken on the blog about what I deal with. I’ll continue to be that way until we stop using a month on the calendar to tell people how important something is.
Next Thursday kicks off CHD Awareness week (see what I mean, us congenital heart disease peeps only get a week) and you know I’ll be talking about it.
Come back next week, ask me anything, learn things, I’ll be wearing blue.
You know I’m excited for you educating us ❤️
LOL Thank you. I’m happy to educate whether anyone wants it or not! 😉