Welcome to NABBW member, and champion survivor Lois Trader. Lois is a two-time survivor of life-threatening disease, and a woman who has lived through bankruptcy-not only financially but physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
As she puts it, “I know what it is to be bankrupt in every way. I have risen above these circumstances; my passion now is to give other women the courage to do the same.” Lois knows so much about survival she has written a book on it, titled, appropriately, Surviving.
The book, she says, acknowledges broken hearts. “There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t have a part of her mending. It’s instinctive. But we must start with ourselves and work out from there to reach others. We must survive.”
Lois created a fascinating video trailer for her book, which features an original song by Michele Macias, and these days she spends her time speaking to audiences about survival, the importance of taking care of yourself and her non-profit organization, the Los Angeles Center for the Broken.
Below, she took time from her busy schedule to answer our favorite questions for us:
Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?
I will disclose up front that I am a guilt-ridden, recovering altruistic, need a ‘purpose-driven-life’, unrelenting on myself, superbly gifted denial queen. I am very deliberative and I do not believe in the “Secret”. I know that my attitude can affect others around me. I believe myself to be an entertaining kind of gal, enjoying making others laugh. Sometimes I am the only one laughing, which in turn makes others laugh. I spent too many years not laughing. Those years are but a freckle compared to the joy my life holds now and forever.
Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.
- Married 34 years!
- 3 daughters, 3 son-in-laws, and 4 grandchildren.
- My dad died at age 57. (Long hard road after his first massive coronary at age 37)
- My mom remarried after and my step dad and mom have been married 25 years. They are both 82.
What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?
Eating when ever and not worrying about the calories or cholesterol in the food.
What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?
Passion about the prevention and control of women’s number one killer Heart Disease with the ability to relate because of many experiences that broke my heart before the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
What inspires you?
First and foremost my family – girls and grandkids. I am also very inspired by the hope that my life can make a big difference in other women’s lives.
What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?
The permission I’ve given myself to simply hang out. I watch TV without guilt. I rarely make my bed, knowing that with all probability, no one is going to see my bed unmade, and if so, they’d understand. Being thrilled that my husband and I made decisions to stay together. Without a doubt, being part of my grandchildren’s lives and seeing my girls each become a beautiful adult.
Do you have any interesting hobbies?
I love to write articles. I love to play racquetball. I also like Thai Kickboxing. A new hobby I have is my pedometer. New hobby is working on 10,000 steps daily, not easy.
Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.
Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?
My husband and really do not travel much. Our dream is to be able to have all three daughters and their family together in Hawaii (on us).
Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.
Yes, yes and yes. I am 100% aware of what I eat. I do not always choose the right food, but I know how important nutrition is for continued health. I take supplements for my health. I drink a fantastic shake every morning packed with everything I could need. I exercise, because exercise is the one thing that helps every area of our body, mind and spirit.
What do you stress about?
I have a prescription for Xanax. I’m thrilled that wine is good for the heart. I exercise. I make sure that I share my emotions. I check myself before I allow something to upset me. Moreover, if something does upset me, I’ll do something nice for myself. I believe retail therapy. I believe in a delicious meal.
Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?
Yes, it is very important to me. My message is about heart disease and that young women are just as likely to have it. I was 46 years old when I had my heart attack. I am now 55 years old. I won’t go to any extreme measure because I am unique looking and if you do too much you wind up looking like everyone else. But, I have a great skincare regimen. I do my best to hide from the sun and I have never smoked. When I was young, someone told me it causes wrinkles and that was enough for me to abstain.
Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?
Oh dear Lord, yes. I was addicted to volunteering. It wiped out our finances more than once. I was addicted to believing I had to earn my love. I was not very good at standing up for myself.
That has all changed. I have been re-invented – more than once. I plan to re-invent again.
Do you plan to retire?
From a conventional day job yes.
Are you doing anything to GO Green?
We use brown paper grocery bags for trash bags, instead of plastic trash bags. And we reuse them. We reuse all of our plastic bags we must use. I am conscious of going green we continually learn more how we can do more.
Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?
Two chronic illnesses – that will change a person.
Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?
Oh yes. I just published my third book about women’s heart disease and my own personal story. It’s called SURVIVING. I dream (by working very hard) that this book will allow me many speaking engagements and I will be able to support my part of our family’s income with my speaking and writing.
How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?
I write, speak, share, talk, live heart health.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
My husband. He is a constant reminder of God’s grace to me.
If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.
My non-profit’s Mission Statement – Dedicated to all the women who are not able to be here because heart disease didn’t just interrupt their lives, as it did Lois Trader’s. Heart disease took their lives.