Friday, March 26, 2021

Motivate to Move - Podcast

I had the opportunity to be on a podcast with one of my marathon buddies who I met at the 2017 Ottawa Marathon.

We were both struggling and we both struck a conversation on that hot day and we commiserated about our experiences and both finished. Probably the worst marathon for us both, but needless to say we struck a friendship that took us to Twitter and Instagram.

Have a listen to see our conversations expand to running, training for my Ultra marathon, my AFib diagnosis, recovery, "Michelle", race weekend and supporting other runners. Oh and a new lease on life and getting back more time with my family and friends.

I'm sure either of the links work, but I gave a few options.


Listen Notes

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Episode 62 BEaTS Research Radio

 Patient Alumni

Since "graduating" from the Heart Institute this past July 2020 I have always ensured that I bring awareness about this world class facility.
I was contacted by Katya to see if I would be interested in doing this podcast to lead into the final week of Heart Month. I was more than happy to help bring a different perspective from research to a patient experience.

Here is that episode: Episode 62

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Ottawa Citizen Sponsored Ad

 My Heart Story

Well I meant to post this last week when it was published and it hit online first.

Then I received a few posts from people that it was also in the print media of the Ottawa Citizen so I went out and got a couple of copies. 
Then the following day The Sunday Sun carried the same sponsored full page ad.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Regional Contact

Revisit into the Afib Asian

I haven't used this spot in quite some time since 2020 was just a total write off. I had a lot of goals planned, but sadly 2020 was probably worse than 2019. So rather than dwell on the past it is time to move forward.

However I'm going to have to dwell a bit on the past since the name of this blog is the AfibAsian I have to retell my story, but this time I was asked to retell my story on camera with Joel Haslam of Regional Contact fame for CTV News Ottawa.  

I had heard that the University of Ottawa Hearth Institute was celebrating the 45th anniversary and they were looking for stories from Heart patients to celebrate February's Hearth Month. So of course I submitted my story. I heard back from Katya from the Heart Institute Foundation and she wanted me to be featured in a segment for the Hearth Institute. This was on the 15th of January so we setup a shooting date and that was today. 

We met at chez moi and Katya and I walked to the TCT trailhead and Joel went on ahead to get setup. Without giving too much away it was a lot of just questions on my journey and what I'm doing now to help support the Heart Institute. Joel did a lot of videos which hopefully there is some decent material that he has as if you've ever seen his stories the amount of content will be put into a segment that will air this weekend.

So for now you will just have to stay tuned and once I obtain the link I will share it. 

For now some behind the scenes photos.

Courtesy of the Heart Institute Foundation IG: @heartinstitutefoundation

Selfie not even running w/Joel and Katya for the next part of the shoot

Joel ready to "run" with his camera on the Gimbal

Joel wanted a potential shot of me walking Shade so she may make the cut.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

So long 2019; Hello 2020

2019 Year in Review

Well if you've been absent from my blog then you aren't the only one as I've been dwelling on things and also planning on all the things.
So let's see 2019
  • Fitness wasn't where it was pre-ablation, but definitely feeling better
  • Became a Team Awesome and Team Nuun Ambassador for 2019
  • I did some sporadic running and some HIIT workouts in the first three months, but really had to slow it down which is really hard.
  • Had a bit of a scare with Dr. Google after my 1st Holter post ablation turned out to be nothing, but a warning to slow the Frig down.
  • Ran my first 5K race at Hypothermic Half
  • Ran a MEC 10K Spring race to see if I could handle the distance 4 months post ablation.
  • Then did back to back races which I haven't done since the Voyageur Challenge in 2018. Fort Town Night Run then the Manotick Miler
  • Was given some new numbers from my latest ECG to be able to run my 10K at race weekend.
  • Ottawa Race Weekend and ran for Team Heart of the Heart Institute, Cardiac Athletes, Team Awesome and Xtra Mile Crew it was another back to back run and was slowly feeling like myself again.
  • Suffered a traumatic ankle sprain at the 1st trail race of the season and had my first DNF and then several DNS races.
  • Volunteered a lot. (What else is new?)
  • Met up with my cankle buddy along this journey who ironically I came across during our time at Xtra Mile Crew
  • 12 weeks of rehab and a lot of time to heal and reflect. Also to figure out what and how to cope. It was not easy.
  • Gave up bibs on Farm Run and Army, but volunteered instead at both.
  • A lot more family time, but a lot of time binging shows while being laid up.
  • Came back to running at the 2K Furry Fun Run and then the big test of doing a half marathon at 9 run run and I finished in a decent time given that I had next to no training.
  • Then we pulled the trigger and decided to book a destination vacation over the Christmas holidays.
  • Also I invested in an actual road bike and hoping to switch up my game in terms of finding fitness.
  • Oh and the biggest news was being selected from the lottery of the Chicago Marathon. First time entry and I was selected! 
Thanks for my run tribe and for those that stuck with me through this and I gained a new member of my tribe who is now an integral part of making sure I'm accountable and just gets me. Even if she scares me. 😁

2019 Christmas Vacation

So there was talk about a Christmas vacation to try and rid ourselves of the race to try and escape the stress that is called Christmas holidays.
It was definitely a different experience, but I'm going to share what I wrote to my travel agent who found this amazing resort. It was 4/5 stars for sure.

Here is my synopsis:

Resort was absolutely amazing. We definitely would go again. In general the food hygiene and cleanliness was top notch. The entertainment was quite good. Pools were amazing. Beach was pretty small in front of the resort compared to the Bavaro which was right beside it.

The room was kept clean and we did get a room on the ground floor and it was a handicapped room which had a shower chair if needed as well, but the only issue was that because three of us were not used to a lower shower head we used the wand and we ended up with water everywhere. It was still manageable and appreciated that we got that room.
Of course we tipped well, but not sure if that really matters so much. Also the snack bar by the beach was amazing that was our go to for almost everything. We almost enjoyed that more than the main buffet because we could take stuff back to the room or to the pool if we wanted to.

After the first couple of days it was a bit of a blur, but the first couple of days stuck to my mind.

Day 1/2:

I don't know if we'll ever travel so late as when we left Ottawa our flight was delayed due to a missing flight crew (stewardess) coming in from another flight that was delayed. We did arrive safely at the Punta Cana Airport, but since it was so late we followed the crowd, but we didn't realize we got sucked into a sales pitch from the local dealers as they tried to sell on excursions. It was so late that we were getting annoyed and finally this guy let us go. (Something to be aware of as you exit to get to the shuttles as I'm sure not everyone is familiar with this "diversion")

When we finally got to the gate area one lady told us we were the last to get on the shuttle so we hurried along as fast as we could, but there were no "seats" on the bus, but somehow magically some seats appeared (this bus somehow had fold down seats as part of the aisle). We had to visit 4-5 resorts before we got to ours (last one of course). By the time we arrived it was close to 10:30p so the main buffet was closed.
We finally got to our room, but it was quite the hike to building 4 for Kiera so we took it slow. Lia and I ended up going ahead to drop off our suitcases and then went back to get Kiera and Mei-Ling. By the time we got there ML was too tired to get anything, but she was quite "hangry" so we left her in the room to chill.
We ended up finding an all night eatery called Overtime which wasn't the greatest, but at that hour it was our only option.
So for future travellers to this resort going so late be prepared for very simple food like personal pizza, nacho chips w/cheese and salsa, wings and burgers and fries. and I think fish tacos. It was relatively quick and hit the spot when travelling all day/night
One thing the hotel didn't relay to us is we didn't realize the shuttle was running all night (until 2a) so we would have taken it Day 1 if we knew. But once we figured it out it was fine. As well it was really only a few minutes walk to the main buffet. 
Day 2, I got up early to meet with the Air Canada rep for 9a and that was fine and we got some great tips about that, but in future I think I need to book excursions before hand if we wanted to as we didn't realize the hard sell it was at the resort and of course at the airport. 

Day 3-7

We did find the a la carte restaurants very confusing. We were told we had to reserve in the Main buffet (El Carey), but of course the way the resort is situated you had two ways of getting in. We entered the side of the buffet closest access to our building (La Tortuga), but buildings on the other side had access to the same central buffet. I didn't really understand the difference, but we found it was nicer on the Tortuga side which may be for the privilege members.
Also we finally got "caught" in the hard sell for the Welcome package so when we arrived late we didn't have any sort of "Welcome" but the package really was a time share push. Which took up a lot of our time. Luckily the girls found Mike's coffee bar adequate to get drinks and pastries for breakfast as we missed out on Day 3 for breakfast after getting a full night's rest. We finally were released and were able to get something at the snack bar, but nothing substantial.
We spent 90% of the time by the pool and of course we had one pretty much outside the room which was very convenient.
Weather was amazing and the staff was always friendly.

Christmas Eve we had to make a reservation as the buffet wasn't "open" but it was a very special themed day with three seating's and access to a lot of extra local fair which was a huge seafood bar of oyster, lobster/crab, fish, etc.
They still had the usual buffet fair, but the staff were extremely joyful and cheery on Christmas Eve. It was a nice touch with them clapping and cheering.

Christmas Day we had Japanese. Of all the a la carte's this was the only one taking reservations. The other restaurants. Steakhouse, Route 66, Maserati (Italian), Margarita (Mexican), Blue Moon (French Formal) were all on a first come first serve basis so if you weren't in line right at 6p you weren't going to get in. As well, they rotated closures between the a la carte resto's and you never knew until the morning of.
The lobby and entertainment around the main area was amazing and very interactive. Lia and I took in the Michael Jackson live theatre performance and had a great time. The actors did a great tribute to his songs.
We took in some group fun at the bowling alley/Pool but we didn't realize we needed socks one night and ended up doing pool/snooker on Christmas Eve, but went back after Japanese and did bowling. All good fun for family entertainment.

Overall, we were all impressed with the resort. Many enjoyable moments. We found our building convenient to be centrally located and access to items very easy. I believe we all felt that now that we've tried it that we would do this again, but maybe in a few years.

2020 I'm ready for you!!

All Inclusive

1st drink

The Beach

Walkway to the Resort

Hello Ladies

Christmas in DR

Ocean Blue and Sand

Donut Bar


Along the Beach

Resort Selfie

Mom and Daughters

Yup we did this

The sand

Lobby Drinking


More Sunrise

Resort Shuttle


Barefoot Beach Running

Christmas Eve and the special buffet

Dessert was in the lobby instead of the buffet on Christmas Eve



Our only a la carte

Friday, December 6, 2019

Ablation Anniversary - One Year Ago


Exactly one year ago today my heart would be changed moving forward. After my diagnosis in June 2018 of having an arrhythmia issue I chose to have an invasive procedure done called the Ablation!
Most of you know my story by now but if you just stumbled across my blog you may want to read my very 1st post.
This past year has been quite the roller coaster ride of emotions and anxiety but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The tribe of family & friends that have been there for me I am truly grateful.
As I sport this 14 day Holter where I will post numerous pics of wearing these electrodes aka pasties as it monitors my heart.

As I reflect on the past 12 months I can summarize the following:

3 months - the toughest part of recovery for a cardiac athlete is actually letting your body heal. Having to slow down was extremely hard and I learned that Dr Google is the worst physician 🙄

6 months - learning from the previous 3 months it was nice to get back moving and running as if I was finding my fitness. It was an amazing lead up to race weekend and to represent the Ottawa Marathon as a Team Awesome ambassador and of course supporting other runners as Xtra Mile Crew.
So heart wise mine was quite full meeting team members and helping many friends cross that finish line or just running with them even if it was just a short distance.

9 months - this was the absolute toughest block. I shall dub these the Michelle months. If you’ve followed along my social feeds where I rolled my ankle and suffered the worst sprain ever without breaking a bone. It was traumatic to say the least. BUT heart wise it somewhat helped. Weight wise it did not as I sunk into food as my comfort to cope but couldn’t get out of that funk which lead into the next three months. But one salvation was meeting my cankle buddy that helped bring me some perspective and knowing that I wasn’t alone. She reached out when no one else did. Probably because she had just come off of her own debilitating injury. So it was Cankley meets Michelle IRL (In Real Life).

Year 1 - the only saving grace was accomplishing one goal I had set out which really wasn’t a goal but to have fun but along the way. However recovery wiser I managed in:
  1. Doing a furry fun run with my oldest & Shade.
  2. Seeing my youngest get her G1 and
  3. Completing one final run; one final race & one final way to redeem myself by doing the 1/2 marathon at 9 Run Run.

The last few weeks have been a mix of burnout and just general anxiety. I took a break of almost three weeks of any activity feeling sorry for myself but after talking to my tribe the problem wasn’t me and I had to move on and get over I did. I volunteered to do photos for ArboRace2 (some cool photos if I do say so) and then Santa photos at the Old Fashioned Christmas Fair. Then I went back to the gym and crushed a workout then started heading back with the trail running group. It was those feelings I was missing. Those calls I was making silently weren’t being heard and within me I snapped myself out of the fitness funk I was in. I think just getting back out with people that just get me and understood who I really am and what I needed. So to those that listened me in those chats thank you! You know who you are.
So as I celebrate the one year Ablation Anniversary my wisdom to you all is
  1. Stop chasing people! Cherish the tribe that want to talk to & hear you. Those are your people.
  2. If you’re in a fitness funk it’s OK. You’ll find your way back. Take a breath! Just read wisdom #1 above. Reach out to those people that know you.
Hopefully at my next update you may see me as a graduate from the Heart Institute ❤

Some photos from the last few months that depict the roller coaster ride that goes from heart condition to fitness funk to finding fitness and the tribe that just gets me!
Happy Holidays all.

It wouldn't be the same if I didn't add a Hamilton reference

one of my tribe posted this and it helped me refocus

During that 9 month point I had one goal which ended up being a support for these two lovely ladies

If you know me this is me volunteering and giving back

ArboRace2 - collision course/obstacles

Volunteer Crew for the Goulbourn Museum Old Fashioned Christmas Craft Fair

You'll find me here almost every Saturday

The main crew and the 💓 of my life

The U2 - UltraCliff and Unicorn Chaser

Ottawa Mother Runners

I may not be a "Mom" but this crew gets me also!