Matters of the Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I hope all of you are having a great day and have some fun plans, whatever they may be.



My Valentine’s Day this year is dedicated to my mom, my Pampaw, and Bob, my father in law (of Bob’s Breakfast fame, in case you were wondering).



I haven’t really talked about this on here yet, but I thought the one year anniversary of my mom’s exciting day would be the perfect time. Plus, it’s all about the heart.


On this day last year, my mom had a heart attack. For a few months before hand, she had these strange times when her blood pressure would just go crazy for no reason, but they could never really figure out exactly what was going on. Eventually, I think they said she had an infection in her kidney that was causing the blood pressure issues, and since the weirdness stopped, they assumed everything was fine. And it was.

Until February.

I’m not sure exactly what happened on the 12th or 13th, but she ended up going to the hospital because of some chest pain and her blood pressure again. She had had one stent put in on the 13th after they did a heart cath and she stayed  in the hospital that night. Valentine’s Day morning, I got a call from my dad saying that her doctor called him, that something bad had happened, and he was on his way to the hospital. Nick and I turned around, went back home and packed, and left.

She said she woke up with this pain in her left shoulder/upper chest and she thought it was just some indigestion since she hadn’t really eaten much over the last day. She called the nurse for a coke, and then a few minutes later, that little discomfort turned into a stabbing pain. Before she could call the nurse again, one was already coming into the room – thank goodness she was still in ICU!

She is now the proud owner of 4 stents and had 2 blood tranfustions done, but she  is doing amazing and is back to normal  :)  and I’m so thankful.


The scary thing?  My mom does not fit any of the characteristics you hear of or the ones that doctors look for in “heart attack patients”.


In fact, none of my examples today fit them.



Just over a year ago, my Pampaw died from a massive heart attack and he had no history of heart problems. This was so unexpected and sudden…it’s still hard to go home because I know I won’t see him.

I mean, less than a year before his heart attack, he bought a motorcycle!




He passed away 4 days before Christmass 2007, and I can honestly say I don’t remember much about the week I was home. Everything was and is still just a blur of being in the hospital, sitting by his bedside and reading verses to him, just hoping he could hear me. I know these things happen, but when it happens and you’re not expecting it at all…it just makes it a bit harder. I know he’s fine and healthy where he is, but I still just miss him so much.



Bob, who also didn’t fit any of the “heart attack patient” characteristics, had emergency open heart surgery 2 days before the VT shooting in April 2007. What another crazy week that was! I can’t say I was happy that he had emergency surgery, but I am happy that it got us away from campus that week considering what happened 2 days later. I can’t believe this April will be his new heart’s 2nd birthday!



He and Nick’s mom had started working out regularly a few months prior and I guess he was having some blood pressure issues after working out so he went to see the doctor. They found that he had a pretty big blockage and scheduled open heart surgery for Wednesday the 18th. My parents had come to our house for the weekend and we got a phone call from Nick’s mom at 5 am on Saturday the 14th saying that Bob had gone to the hospital and she thought he was having a heart attack. We all got up, got packed as fast as we could, and drove to the hospital where they were taking him. He went into surgery that afternoon, and is doing awesome. It was a long recovery, but having a new puppy helped, I think.  

He also has a motorcycle (like my dad and Nick!), and is still working out consistently. In fact, he ran his first 5K with us since his surgery last October  – he and I ran together for most of the race, but then he smoked me at the end  :)




I know Valentine’s Day is usually all mushy love stuff, but it’s still about the heart. And I have a lot to be thankful for after the last couple of years.


These things are a big reason for the changes I’ve made in the past year and a half. They are why I’m so passionate about my health now, and the health of others.

Heart attacks don’t only happen to overweight men over the age of 50.


Heart disease is now the #1 killer of women in U.S.


Since today is Valentine’s Day, tell someone you love them. It doesn’t just have to be your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Tell your Dad. and your Mom. and your siblings. and anyone else you care about.

Life doesn’t always give you second chances to say I love you, or even to say goodbye the way you’d like.


Take advantage of all the lovey, mushy, cuddly stuff today  :) 

Let people know that you care about them.

And take care of your ticker! It’s worth it.


  1. Such a beautiful, touching tribute.

  2. Thanks for sharing those stories. Heart disease is such a scary thing and makes maintaining a healthy lifestyle even more critical. I agree with you that one of the best ways to show someone you love them is to be concerned about their health and well being. We can’t control everything, but concentrating on our health is a good start!

  3. What a wonderful post, and a great reminder to keep our hearts healthy :)
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Thanks for this post – heart disease is the #1 killer and can strike anyone at any time.

    Sorry about your Pawpaw – he looked like a fun guy!

  5. Brandi, thanks for the post–this is what Valentine’s Day is all about.

    I see that you’re a VT Hokie–I’m an NIU Huskie, and as you might imagine I’ve been struggling a bit as today approached. But your reminder that there are many ways to protect the ones you love (including yourself) is timely and useful for me.

    Thank you.

    • Fifi: Thanks for posting! I remember seeing when everything happened at NIU, and it brought back all the feelings I had when it happened here. I’m glad you posted! It’s nice to know other people that have dealt and are dealing with the same things, even in different places.

  6. Wow, you have some tough hearts in your family! Thanks for sharing these stories. I’ll think of your pawpaw today, and enjoy your time with the in-laws!

  7. What a lovely post, you rock Brandi!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  8. hii!! I just found your awesome blog and I’m so excited to read more!! You really are someone who writes from the heart, AND your food picks all look so tasty! :) Happy Valentines Day to you!!

  9. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder to focus on our health (and hearts, physically as well as emotionally!) on this holiday.

  10. Oh my gosh, thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post with us all!

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  12. Hi Brandi,

    I work with your Mom and I am so glad to have such a wonderful new friend! I just love her and we have so much in common. I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your site. I love to cook and I am trying to eat better!!! I did get my makeup messed up reading this beautiful post. Your Mom is soooo proud of you.

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