In 1993 I was on top of the world. My husband was in the USAF and we were stationed in Japan. My friend was getting married and I was asked to be in the wedding. I packed up the kids and came stateside 4 months before my husband so I could be there for my friend. While the wedding was fun and I had a blast coming home early also set the scene for a tremendous amount of stress. I had to move to Virginia, get the kids in school and be both father and mother to two rambunctious boys ages 9 and 5. One day I began experiencing vertigo out of the blue. I had been having sinus issues so I took some sinus medication and expected to feel better. I had on days and off days but managed to make the move from my parents where I was staying temporarily to Va. Once the move was made I began feeling much worse. I couldn’t drive, neon lights caused vertigo. I was a mess. I was given antibiotics,sinus med, setc. Nothing worked. Fast forward 7 long years. I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune illness caused Sjogren’s Syndrome. BLymphocytes invade the moisture producing glands causing them to eventually shut down. What does this have to do with Heart Disease you ask? There are 2 lab tests that have been elevated, 2 of many. The two tests I am talking about are the Sed Rate and my CReaactive Protein or CRP. These are lab tests that mark inflammation in the body. While mine are elevated because of an autoimmune disease the body doesn’t differentiate between AID or Heart Disease. To add to this I was terribly overweight due to being so ill and inactive and my mother was diagnoses with Breast cancer and Cariomyopathy which is an enlarged heart. I was petrified that I would have a heart attack.Once always active I did always have a few pounds to lose. Atthis point I was around 250 pounds. I was out of breath, I developed autoimmune hypothyroidism and I knew that as ill as I was I needed to get serious. One day I was watching an infomercial about a Walk At Home workout. It looked simple enough to do and it was touted as being perfect for out of shape people,older people and people who were in shape. The walks consisted of 4 easy moves and there was a 1 mile, 2 mile and 3 mile workout. Perfect I thought. I can do this. When I got Leslie Sansones Walk Away The Pounds With Weighted Balls I unwrapped it and put the one miler in. I could barely get through it. I was exhausted, I was huffing and Puffing and I was devastated. I used to do an hour on the stair stepper. I was at rock bottom but I kept putting the walk in and day after day I walked. I also made an effort to eat more healthfully. A few months after starting the walking program I went to W.W. I weighed in at 239.5 pounds. I still have that card. I vowed that would be the last time I saw that number and it was. I started this journey in 2002. I have had some ups and downs but I am down over 40 pounds. I have added weights and ab exercises. I can now do 5 miles with Leslie I am proud to say. I recently got her new Walk Yourself Thin series and even though it is more challenging than the other workouts I own I am able to get through them all. I have brought a lot of my labs into normal values but recently my Sed Rate was elevated again and my CRP was as well. I don’t doubt that I can bring it down again walking with Leslie and making sure I eat whole grains, veggies and lean protein. I am down over 40 pounds and have 40 more to go. I want to live a long life and I want to keep my heart healthy. I am going Red for a long life.Thank you for letting me share my story!