Heart And Soul

                                                                                             

BNM Interview

With Contributing Staff Writer Marilyn Pierce RN BSN

And  Kimberly Goodloe

  American Heart Association Valve Replacement Ambassador

                                              The article  was published during American Heart Month ( February 2017)

                                                      Special Recognition:  Marilyn Pierce, Mluv Wall and Junia Gurganious

                                                                             Thanks for supporting the fight against heart disease

                                                                          

BNM:

Thank you for joining us today Kimberley, I have been looking forward to meeting with you and getting to know more about your journey.

 

Kimberly:

Thank you, I’m glad to be here too. 

 

BNM:

I see that you have listed yourself as a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a patient advocate, and of course you are an American Heart Association Ambassador for Valve Replacement.  You are volunteering for so many roles how do you get it all done?  How do you juggle so many priorities and what keeps you going?   

 

Kimberly:

I do it by getting plenty of rest, eating right, exercising and just praying for strength. Along with the strength I receive that God gives me every day, it’s also important to have my husband by my side, supporting me and my projects 100%.  This keeps me going as well.

 

BNM:

How long have you been married and what is your husband’s name?

 

Kimberly:

My husband’s name is Victor.  We are high school sweethearts, and we will be married 24 years in June of this year. 

 

BNM:

Congratulations!  That’s wonderful.

 

Kimberly:

Thank you. He’s been by my side all the way, that’s the only way I can describe it.  He’s there for me emotionally, spiritually, he’s my rock, he keeps me going, supports my projects, he makes sure I get enough rest, that I don’t over work myself, and he supports my Heart Awareness campaign 100%.

 

BNM:

There is really no way to do all of the activities you are doing without support.   Twenty-four years is quite an accomplishment, especially considering you met in High School.  Good for you.

 

Kimberly:

Thank you so much.  He was a football player and I was a cheerleader.

 

BNM:

That is so romantic.  What a great love story.  Thank you for sharing it.

 

Kimberly:

You’re welcome.

 

BNM:

I wanted to ask you about two roles that you have.  You say on your website that you are here to Educate and Empower.  Those are great words.  How do you educate and empower and what are the most important messages that you give to others?

 

Kimberly:

I empower by sharing my story of survival from the surgery and post surgery complications and by being an example to the community for how to overcome obstacles.   I work with patients to educate them and empower them to have hope.  Some of the ways I do this is through social media.  I provide healthy heart resources throughout the year.  Another way I educate is when I attend an AHA event either locally or nationally, I will use those resources that I collect and share with the community, at the hospitals, at networking events, health fairs, and in the school systems to educate the community and help families remain healthy.

 

BNM:

You bring up a good point.  There is health care available, but there can never be enough education.  You supplement and continue the education.  I also love that you are an example of overpowering obstacles.

 

Kimberly:

When I visit the heart patients at the local hospitals and I walk in to their rooms, I want them to see me as evidence that life does go on; it’s a process.  By maintaining a positive attitude, you can move forward and life goes on.  That is the message, life goes on.

 

BNM:

It sounds so hopeful and so positive.  I wanted to mention howI am intrigued by these pictures I saw on line about the collage of hearts.  Please tell me about this project you have.

 

Kimberly:

In December 2013 I had a dream about hearts. God placed the desire in my heart to create another platform to raise awareness, to educate the community and to celebrate my story of survival.  So I decided to create the collage.  The purpose is to use the collage as another way to raise awareness and I use it at events. The collage attracts attention at my booth or table and people ask me about it and conversations start to give me an opportunity to give them information, promote heart health, and tell them about my survival story.  It also helps me in the community for I bring these paper hearts to schools and the young children decorate them and are learning about heart health.  I am able to provide the teachers and the school librarians with more information.  While they color the hearts they are also learning. 

 

BNM:

Where do all of these hearts come from and how do you get people to add more hearts to the collage?

 

Kimberly:

Volunteers cut the hearts out for me.  Whenever I attend a networking event or go to a school, I bring a picture of the collage.  I provide art supplies and the opportunity for people and children to color and create a heart and add to the collage. 

I do have an event at Chick Filet coming up in February, during heart month to support the collage project.  I’m very excited about that.  It’s called Create A Heart, Empowering the Community and it’s at the Chick Filet in Gwinnett at Sugarloaf and Hwy 316.  It takes place on Tuesday February 21st from 6pm-8pm.  This is my second year with Chick-fil-a and I appreciate the support they have provided. 

 

BNM:

It’s a wonderful project.  I love that each heart decorated means something. Someone, a child or an adult, put their energy in to decorating the heart and learning about heart health. 

 

Kimberly:

Thank you, this is my passion project.  I especially love when the children are coloring the hearts and learning about heart health.  I hope some day to find a way to display all the collages somehow somewhere.

 

BNM:

Let’s talk a little bit about your story.  It was 2009 you had open heart surgery to replace your aortic valve.  Soon after that you had an arrhythmia and they had to give you a pacemaker.  There was a problem with the pacemaker and you needed to have a revision done, and then you’ve also had the batteries replaced since then.  There was much going on with the surgery and follow up and there were many reasons to get discouraged.  What kept you going even though things seemed to be going in the wrong direction?

 

Kimberly:

I relied on my faith that is what got me through this.  I prayed, stayed positive, and asked God to help me and to give the doctors wisdom.  It is my faith that continues to give me strength to continue on.

 

BNM:

When you walk in to those hospital rooms and see the patients there, you know how those people feel.  What do you do to encourage and give them faith to move on as you did?

 

Kimberly:

I usually visit people after they have had the surgery.  They have questions about what its like when they go home and the recovery time.  I share my experience and the transitional period after surgery.  This is what worked for me and this is what I share with them.  I tell them to take one day at a time, to not rush the recovery, and to listen and do everything that the doctors say to do.  Do not miss appointments. 

Also, build a support team.

 

BNM:

What does a support team look like? 

 

Kimberly:

I can describe my support team; my husband, my son and daughter, my family, my neighbors and my community, my church family, and my medical team.  Keep everyone you know updated with information about how you are feeling and progressing.  Communication is key.  A support team includes everyone I know and love.  I keep everyone updated about how I am doing; sharing my highs and lows, reaching out, and I do not suffer in silence.

 

BNM: 

It helps people to be supportive if they know how to help.  People all want to help and I love that you created a team of support.

 

Kimberly:

It helps to let people know how to help too.  For instance I may ask one group to pray for me or another group to bring a dinner dish one night.  One thing that I did the night before my surgery was I created a Calling Post account.  Victor used this to keep everyone updated by leaving a message that all could listen to and know how I was doing.  This was really helpful for Victor who was in charge of keeping everyone informed, and my out of state friends loved it.  I created it the night before the surgery and it helped out tremendously.  Victor had so much to take care of for my daughter was 6 years old and my son was 9 years old.  He had to keep the house going and I did anything possible to support him.  We originally thought I would go in and have the surgery and come home in a few days.  I ended up being in the hospital for 11 days because of the complications that happened.  So it was a really supportive to have the quick and easy way for him to keep everyone updated.

 

BNM:

Your children were so young at the time of your surgery. 

 

Kimberly:

Yes, my daughter Mariah is 14 now, and my son Anthony turns 18 this year.  They were both in elementary school at the time.  It was very hard on my family so I created a support team for them as well.  Before surgery I had already reached out to my church and the school counselors and the children stayed in school.  There was a counselor there with them on the day of my surgery.  Everyone was informed.  Then after I was discharged I could not drive for a month and my support network helped me to keep a normal life for my children.  There were trips to the mall and trips to the movies and the children continued to enjoy their lives and they enjoyed the attention.  To this day my children are honor role students and I credit the counselors and the teachers for their support.  I tell everyone and that is why my children are successful today.

 

BNM:

That is a remarkable skill you have to create support networks.  I’m not sure how you know what to do but you are a networker.

 

Kimberly:

I continue to depend on my support teams.  I credit my church family as well for they were right there when I was hospitalized; they continue to pray for me and my recovery.  It takes a whole village and New Mercies Christian Church Family was there for my family and me.  We continue to receive support and I’m so grateful.

 

BNM:

Yes, people say it takes a village but in your case I think you took the whole city, and you are statewide at this point too.

 

Kimberly:

The moment that I was told about results from the heart catheterization test and the need for surgery I went straight to church.  I was totally in shock, and I did not know what else to do.  It was a weekday when I got this news.  I got off the phone and I took the children and said we’re going to church for prayer and support.

 

BNM:

Do you think that because you started your journey that way that it led to this wonderful journey and how it is turning out?

 

Kimberley:

I do believe that is true.  That was the beginning point.

 

BNM:

So now you are the Georgia State American Heart Association Heart Valve Ambassador.  Where can people to find out more information or if they are struggling and need more support?

 

Kimberly:

The American Heart Association Support Network is the resource to find.  You can visit the Support Network at supportnetwork.heart.org/heartvalvedisease.  This site also provides support not only to the patients but also to their caregivers. It’s free to all.

 

BNM: 

This is a personal question.  I noticed that you turned 50 last year.  Congratulations!

 

Kimberly:

Yes I did.  We had a great party and a great celebration.

 

BNM:

Yes, that is a wonderful reason to celebrate.  Many people turn 50 and they look back on their life and see how they feel.  When you look back at your life, what did you feel like, and how do you feel looking forward at 50?

 

Kimberly:

On the day of my birthday all my friends were there. I looked around at all the different faces and families.  I focused on the past 8 years of my life since I became a heart patient.  I feel more motivated now that I am 50 and know in my heart there is more work to do.  When my friend asked me what we should pray for, I said we should pray for strength to continue the journey.  So moving forward, heart disease is the number one killer of women and I am committed to share my journey and share my experience and empower heart patients to maintain a positive outlook on life.  I want to encourage people to be proactive and take ownership of their health.  I will continue my campaign to raise awareness throughout the community and move forward.

 

BNM:

To have purpose and create things keeps us moving forward, and obviously you are moving forward.

I was looking at your photos on line and I see that you attended an exciting conference called Scientific Sessions.  Tell us what this is about.

 

Kimberly:

In November 2016 I attended the annual Scientific Session, which took place in New Orleans on my birthday weekend, which worked out great for me.  All the Heart Valve Ambassadors around the country met for training and we also had a booth at the conference.  We shared reports from our home states and learned a great deal at the conference.  We also were treated to attending the Presidents Ball with the leaders of the National American Heart Association.   I’m just so honored to be a part of the team.

 

BNM:

You’ve done quite a bit of traveling as a result of this position.  Do you enjoy it and where have you been?

 

Kimberly:

I started in April 2013 at the American Heart Association’s Lobby day in Washington DC.  I was a “You’re the Cure” Advocate representing Georgia. I then traveled to Dallas in 2015, which was a trip that changed everything.  It was there that I was inaugurated as one of the newly established Heart Valve Ambassadors.  During this Dallas trip I met the CEO of the American Heart Association Nancy Brown.  In April 2016, I traveled to Chicago to the American Heart Associations Annual Scientific Sessions Conference.   And then in November of 2016 I was present in New Orleans for phase 2 of Ambassador Training.  This was also my birthday week so it worked out well for me.

 

I love to travel and when I do I have specific instructions from my physician.  I was advised on my first trip to tell the airline flight crew that I am a heart patient and to sit in an aisle seat.  When I arrive I always need to recover from the trip first before attending any of the events.  I go straight to the hotel to rest and then I can participate safely.  I need to follow these doctors’ orders in order to travel safely.

 

BNM:

I don’t think people realize what it takes to travel for you must make yourself a priority and rest before jumping in to all of the activities.

 

Kimberly:

Yes, and I do that.

 

BNM:

You are doing so many things for the AHA, you have a blog, you are traveling to other cities, you are attending events, visiting patients, doing the collage, and other activities.  How does all of this work and activity benefit you in your health and recovery?

 

Kimberly:

It helps me because there were so many people who helped me during my darkest and lowest moments in the hospital.  So now that God has given me a second chance I take advantage of every opportunity to serve others when I can.  Someone helped me when I needed it and now I return the favor and I use this service to give back.  That’s the best way I can sum it up.

 

BNM:

Thank you for your service.  I have a fun question for you.  What do you do to keep strong?  What do you eat, how and when do you exercise, and what else do you do to stay healthy?

 

Kimberly:

I keep all of my doctor appointments and follow through with my doctor if I have any concerns.  My diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I am sure to drink plenty of water, especially in the summer months when I am training. I get plenty of sleep.  I have a goal to walk two miles every day.  For the heart walk, 2017 will be my 8th year, I begin to train in the spring.  I work really hard during the summer and I post pictures on social media so everyone can see that I’m committed to walking the heart walk. I am serious about the heart walk and it is crucial that heart patients stay healthy.

 

BNM:

Here is another fun question. You are dressed in red for so many pictures.  You must have a closet full of red clothes.  Is this true? 

 

Kimberly:

Yes, my closet is red, and I have more to buy because I have a lot of AHA activities next month during February.   American Heart month is known nationwide and Friday February 3rd is national wear red day.  This is a campaign to promote awareness and to encourage everyone to stand up and join the fight against heart disease.  I hope everyone wears red that day to honor everyone who has been affected by heart disease.  There will be plenty of events during this month to raise awareness, celebrate survivors, and also educate the community about heart and stroke disease.  February is also very special to me because this year it will be the 8th year anniversary of my heart valve surgery.

 

BNM:

Wow, 8 years, that’s so wonderful.   Congratulations!  What a life-changing event for you.

 

Kimberly:

Thank you.  What I share with my audience is that I was told I would be in the hospital for a couple of days and it turned out to be 11 days because of the pacemaker.  I was in complete denial.  I had to pray to God to help me get past the negative.  I was not accepting that I received a valve in my heart and a pacemaker.  I asked God to please help me to push through that.  That is why I am so proactive today because I was in a very dark place and I came out of that to become the ambassador I am today.  I thank God for helping me and for providing a spouse who was at my side.  I did not like how I was feeling so that’s why I am so just passionate about what I do now, because I know where I started from and I where I am now.  It was a process, a total process.

BNM:

This is such a wonderful story of someone taking something tragic and making it something beautiful.  You’ve had such a change in your life and helped so many others.  Thank you for the example you set and for all your efforts, work, and time.

Kimberly:

You’re welcome.  I’m ready for Heart Month. 

BNM:

We appreciate all that you do to raise awareness and to educate so many people about heart disease.

Kimberly:

Thank you.  I would love to leave you with these words of encouragement.  My message to anyone struggling with any health issue is to pray daily, develop a good relationship with your doctor, communicate with your family and friends – especially on the days when you are not feeling well, focus on the positive, and never never NEVER lose hope.  That is my message.

Staying Connected with Kimberly:

“Heart & Soul” http://kagoodloe.wix.com/heartandsoul

(For more information about heart valve disease, please visit the American Heart Association’s Heart Valve Disease Education Center at www.heart.org/heartvalves.

To connect with Kimberly or another heart valve ambassador, visit the Support Network at supportnetwork.heart.org/heartvalvedisease or www.heart.org/heartvalves.

BNM would like to thank MLuv for connecting Kimberly to the BNM Team

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beautifulnursesmagazine@gmail.com

http://www.beautifulnursesmagazine.com/

 

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Promoting awareness with  Radio Personality, Mluv Wall and Contributing Staff Writer Marilyn Pierce RN BSN

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pompom pillow

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The Metro Atlanta Heart Walk will take place on Saturday, September 23, 2017 .

Registration is Free.  All ages are welcome to participate.

To receive additional information re; making a donation and registering for the event; visit my team page:

  Empowering The Community:

http://www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=2411&pg=personal&px=2046637

 

Your donation will support medical research and help save more lives.

 

Thanks for supporting the fight against heart disease.

***********************************************************************************************************************

If you  are unable to attend the heart walk,  feel free to mail in donation to the American Heart Association’s office ( see address below)   or  donate on-line ( my team page)

Empowering The Community:   Team Goodloe: http://www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=2411&pg=personal&px=2046637

Please make check payable to the American Heart Association:

American Heart Association

Attn: Atlanta Heart Walk

Ref: Team Kimberly Goodloe

1101 Northchase Pkwy, Suite 1

Marietta, GA 30067

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2 thoughts on “Heart And Soul

  1. I am one of Kimberley’s team mates. I am a Heart Valve Ambassador, in Traverse City, Mi.
    This young lady, Kimberley, has been and continues to be a super role model for the other nine members of this Ambassador team. She didn’t mention the fact that her son is an all state track star and has recently won a scholarship at an outstanding college – not far from home. Kimberley is the finest representative that the American Heart Association could have, talking with the folks that are about to follow the path that she has taken, or recovering from a procedure.

    We, fellow Heart Valve Ambassadors, are proud to stand with this lady!

    Bernie Oakes

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