We did it! I’m so excited that we actually were able to produce and air 29 podcast episodes in 29 days — 28 for Heart Month and then another one on March 1st since it was a Tuesday and our regularly scheduled day to release an episode. Phew! I want to say “Thank You” to the many people who made this happen.
Allison Holmes offered to be the Sound Engineer and the Transcript Editor for Belen Blanton’s episode — the episode that started us off on our daily podcast journey. I need to thank all of the wonderful people who answered a Facebook poll I conducted asking what kind of topics they would like to listen to. I decided to do a Mental Health Wednesday program and it was so much fun for me to have a short podcast focusing on our mental health. All of the Tasty Thursday episodes were so much fun to record! My wonderful husband Frank Jaworski was by my side the entire time. He was the master chef helping me transform recipes from Amy M. Le’s cookbook, Snow’s Kitchen, into actual edible food. We created Spring Rolls, Yellow Curry Chicken, Boeuf Bourgignon, and Lemon Cheesecake. Amy M. Le joined us to talk with us about how we not only made the recipes but also strove to make them keto-friendly. Our Heart Warrior Alex and many friends also joined in tasting samples or in one case, sitting down at the table with us and enjoying a meal on the good china. It was so much fun!
Fridays were a different kind of fun. My husband is a trivia king. We love to go on cruises and whenever we do, we have to enter trivia contests. Frank was my Fun Fact Friday guy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an advanced practice care nurse who knows a lot and is a great researcher when he doesn’t know the answer to the question off the top of his head. He was able to talk to us about who the Father of Interventional Cardiology was (thanks, too, to my Medical Advisory Board Member, Fred Wu for help with that fun fact!), what arrhythmias are life-threatening, what prostaglandin E1 is and why it’s important, and why bicuspid aortic valves cause a lot of trouble for some people but not for others. These were shorter shows than typical “Heart to Heart with Anna” shows but they were fun and informative. What’s really cool is that I was even able to add a fun fact or two of my own and Frank added a bonus fun fact in some of the episodes.
I love Success Stories and apparently, my Listeners do, too! That was one of the top types of podcast episodes they like to hear. It was so much fun interviewing Jimmy Bachenheimer about his Fontan Revision, Michael McKelvey about accepting his CHD and thriving, and Dr. Terry King about the invention of the first successfully implanted umbrella device used to close ASDs in the 1970s. Medical Advisory Board Member, Roslyn Rivera, interviewed her dear friend Carrlee McGuire-Lim about going from being a Camp Del Corazon camper to a camp nurse. I loved hearing these two Heart Warriors share stories about the special heart camp where they met.
Sundays were special because Heart Dad Frank Jaworski decided he needed to interview other Heart Dads to get their stories out there. Thanks to Tony Cordaro we learned how the Adult Congenital Heart Association came to be, while our dear friend Rob Springham talked about raising an HLHS Heart Warrior with neurological problems to adulthood. Heart Dad Michael Liben shared his experiences with Frank about having a daughter with a critical congenital heart defect who also had autism and epilepsy and then we had a problem. The last guest had to cancel and I was not sure what to do. While at lunch with my Heart Warrior Alex Jaworski and Sound Engineer Stephanie Scherer and former HUG Volunteer Coordinator Janet Scherer, we decided that it would be a great idea to have Alex interview Frank about becoming a Heart Dad. I was the Producer for the show and was moved to tears more than once as the guys’ discussion took me back to a very scary and dark time in our lives.
Mondays were Medical Mondays and I had so much help with that day. I was delighted when my Medical Advisory Board Member, Dr. Brandon Lane Phillips, suggested I interview his colleague Dr. Terry King. Because of Dr. Phillips, we had a chance to hear Dr. King explain to us how the umbrella device worked to close ASDs on one of our Medical Mondays and he also talked to me for our Saturday Success Story. Medical Advisory Board Member, Roslyn Rivera, RN, invited two doctors she worked with to join us and she was even the Guest Host! She interviewed Dr. Daniel Levi about the Harmony™ Transcatheter Pulmonary valve and the Alterra Pre-stent one week and the next week she interviewed Dr. Gregory Perens about 3-D printed hearts. For our final Medical Monday program, Greg Hummer from Abbott talked to us about a variety of devices available to help people experiencing heart failure.
Tuesdays were our traditional “Heart to Heart with Anna” days and I’ve already said that Belen Blanton was a wonderful Guest and I loved hearing about her nonprofit organization. I also had the good fortune to interview Liz Zangara about how she’s living a life of healing. Another inspiring Heart Warrior was Tori Geiger. She taught us about Ebstein’s Anomaly and how she’s leading a victorious life as an entrepreneur, a speaker, and an author. Our final Heart Month regular episode was with Heart Mom Heidi Ingvaldson and is our #1 program in Norway! Heidi shared with us her son’s struggles with both plastic bronchitis and immune deficiency.
I owe a special debt of thanks to Stephanie Scherer for helping me with two Mental Health Wednesday programs. In addition to making a podcast for each of those days, I decided to have a video as well! Stephanie was my production manager and she made our video for Mental Health Wednesday: Share a Small Aspect of your Day with my dogs Buck and Chloe, and she also took the video of our Heart Warrior Guest and Patron, Alicia Lynch, guiding us in using stretching to improve our mental health and added music to it and gave it a professional-looking opening and closing.
Speaking of music — Tammy Oropesa wrote music for us to use especially for Heart Month. Tammy’s music was perfect for some of our Medical Monday programs and some of our Mental Health Wednesday programs, too. I also found a great site that shares free music for use on podcasts. Thanks to FreeMusicArchive, I found Christian H. Soetemann’s Asian Clothes (which was perfect for our Tasty Thursdays program), Scott Holmes’ song Summer Fun (which I used with some of our Fun Fact Friday episodes and the video featuring Buck and Chloe), and Siddhartha Corsus’ Oh Radiant One for our Mental Health Wednesday podcasts and the video featuring Alicia Lynch. Of course, we are forever grateful to Dr. Gil Wernovsky and the Baby Blue Sound Collective for letting HUG use their music for our regular “Heart to Heart with Anna” podcast.
In addition to all of the fantastic people I’ve mentioned above, there were scriptwriters — most notably Heart Warrior Megan Tones , and producers — Heart Warrior Ellen Banoub and one of our newest HUG Volunteers Spencer Stone. Thanks to our Sound Engineers — Allison Holmes, Michael Liben, and Stephanie Scherer. Our Social Media team helped us to get the word out about our programs — thanks especially to Ellen Banoub, Rita Scoggins, Chris Freeman, Saveeda Shaikh, Lisa Colvil, Jenny Muscatell, and everyone else who spread the word about our special programs. Thanks to the collective efforts of everyone involved, we spread awareness of congenital heart defects and had the most Listeners we’ve ever had in any given month — in fact, we had over twice as many Listeners as the best month we’ve had on record. Way to go, everyone! I think we can all pat ourselves on the back and say we accomplished our mission. Thank you one and all!
We’d love to hear what programs you enjoyed most! Send a message to me at Anna@hearttoheartwithanna.com or right here on this blog. Thanks for supporting us and helping us make this quite a memorable Heart Month.