It's been a summer of unexpected surprised for Rosie O'Donnell.
The 50-year-old comedian recently made headlines after publicly revealing that she had narrowly avoided a life-ending heart attack. Symptoms consistent with a myocardial infarction prompted her to see a physician, who discovered that her left anterior descending artery was 99 percent blocked (what is notoriously nicknamed a "Widow Maker" heart attack). She had a stent put in to open up the blocked artery.
In the days immediately following the incident, O'Donnell set out to reverse her heart disease and avoid a repeat scenario. I contacted her through the Ecorazzi twitter account asking her if she had seen the educational documentary "Forks Over Knives," and she immediately wrote back that, yes, she had. Furthermore, she had chatted with the esteemed Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
As those who have seen the doc know, Dr. Esselstyn is world-renowned for his work in showing that a vegan diet can have profound effects on reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease. His recommended lifestyle reboot, as detailed in the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” has been extremely popular – and is one of the sources former president Bill Clinton relied upon for his own health transformation.
“this crazy summer has taken me into uncharted territory,” O'Donnell wrote earlier this week on her blog. “into mornings that begin at 7. long walks and vegetables.”
Speaking of vegetables, it appears that Rosie's new lifestyle change is already working. She tweeted on August 25th that after only 10 days, she had already lost 10 pounds. As proof of her new eating shift, she's also started posted photos of her meals for others to become inspired by. In response to a tweet of congratulations by actress Kristin Chenoweth, O'Donnell wrote: "its not as bad at i thought - and hell - if life is the result - count me in #nomoreheartattacks"
In addition to her lifestyle change, Rosie also recently married her fianceé Michelle Rounds, who underwent surgery in June for Desmoid tumors. The rare disease, affecting only three in one million people, can cause life threatening problems or even death if allowed to grow unchecked near vital organs.
"Thankful for the love and support so many have given us during these trying times," she continues in the post. "Including all of u stranger-friends connected thru invisible strands of wi fi."
To support research for the disease, O'Donnell is auctioning her own original artwork to benefit the The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation. The couple has also pledged to match donations made through Rounds' FirstGiving 5K run page. So far, over $10,000 has been raised.