jaqui-and-rena-small-2My mother Jacqueline (aka Jacky) is the epitome of a woman who has defied ageing. Born in 1928, she has never had any plastic surgery and her only vanity is to go to the hair dressers regularly. At 86 years of age she is going on 59 as far as her body is concerned, and 29 as far as her mind is concerned. Her short term and long term memory are both sharp and she is an avid reader.

Jacqueline has outlived her three husbands and 90% of her contemporary friends. She is the healthiest of all her existing contemporaries, except for one who is a woman in her 90s and gave up smoking way before my mother did. Jacky was never a heavy smoker and always said “if you have an addiction you must manage it, otherwise you have to give it up completely”. Her other saying was “half a loaf is better than none” and “little fish are sweet”. A lot of her sayings came from the war times and I always loved them. She was always full of gratitude to be alive!

Jacqueline was diagnosed (by me) with a very leaky mitral valve in the left side of her heart in June 2013. This was not causing any symptoms and she felt very well. I picked her leaky heart valve up on a routine ultrasound screening test of her heart. Well she did get a shock as she thought she was perfect!

The two heart doctors to whom I referred her, said “Madam you must have open heart surgery as soon as possible, otherwise within 3 to 6 months you will be in a wheel chair and gravely ill”.

We decided to wait as open heart surgery is very brutal for a woman in her 80s and the rehab process is painful and prolonged.

Jacky continue to take her supplements of magnesium, fish oil, vitamin C and selenium. She walks regularly and eats plentiful amounts of vegetables. I have been giving her sessions in the hyperbaric chamber in my Camden clinic.

How is Jacky in February 2014?

She is still fabulous and has not changed since June last year. She seems to defy ageing despite the grim prognosis from the top heart specialists. We will have the leaky valve repaired sometime this year by the new procedure available that is done via telescopic surgery through a blood vessel in the groin.

I suspect she has had a leaky valve for 40 years but it has never been diagnosed because it was not causing a detectable heart murmur or any symptoms. Jacky believes that she has stayed well primarily because she has taken magnesium for many years. There is a lot of research to show that supplemental magnesium can be helpful for a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Magnesium is needed by the heart muscle and the heart valves to function efficiently. Deficiencies can lead to palpitations, high blood pressure and reduced cardiac output due to weak or disordered muscle contractions. Jacky also found that daily fish oil prevented the painful bruises in her limbs caused by tiny blood clots in her veins. She did take 2 to 3 tablespoons a day- with food- so this was keeping her blood thinner. This reduced the stress on her heart.

So why is Jacky so remarkable?

Good genes always play a role, but she is far more robust than her parents were.

Her state of mind plays a huge role. She has so much wisdom that she does not worry excessively (apart from being a mother as all mothers have a maternal worry gene). She was a teacher of English literature and history and was very popular amongst her students.

She has great compassion for others so she is not focused excessively on her self

She has read many great writers, poets and philosophers and incorporates their bohemian spirit into her perspective on life.

Some of her great sayings are –

  • Stay positive – you never know what may turn up in life – as long as it is not your toes!
  • There is only one thing worse than being talked about – and that’s NOT being talked about! This comes from Oscar Wilde and I think it has helped me a lot to cope with critics of my work on the liver.
  • You are a long time looking at the lid (referring to the lid on your coffin)
  • Look at the big picture of life and do not sweat the small stuff – in other words will this be important in the end of your life?
  • Having children is not for the faint hearted
  • Don’t meet anger with anger – think before you speak
  • Yesterday’s history and tomorrows a mystery so live in the present – that’s why it’s a gift
  • Lie is so full of surprises, especially as the wheel turns
  • Try not to be too serious – you will bore yourself as well as others
  • Always mind your own business
  • Be kind to others – compassion is the greatest human attribute
  • If you have not been blessed with common sense work on it
  • The greatest thing you can have is understanding
  • It is better to be lucky than rich
  • If you are born both generous of pocket and spirit you are doubly blessed
  • Money is useless muck unless it is spread
  • Your good name is above great riches
  • Don’t walk around with your eyes closed – have situational awarene