Last night, I was granted the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by Traci S. Campbell for her podcast. I was able to tell my story of surviving heart disease for the “Beauty is ALL Heart” initiative she began three years ago due to her role as a caregiver to a relative with heart challenges. I was honored and humbled to be able to participate in this interview…
February 3, 2018 marked my four year anniversary of surviving a heart attack. I am truly blessed to be able to still be here to see the beauty each new day brings. If I learned one thing, it is not to take one single moment for granted. Take note of all the little things and be happy for each and every moment you get to spend on this Earth.
In 2014, the morning after the Superbowl, I was not feeling well. Leading up to this day, I had been experiencing some fatigue and angina, but I was only 38-years-old. I didn’t take it seriously. I thought I was overly stressed and suffering from indigestion. I was WRONG!
I was on the phone with my sister, and I had some neck and jaw pain. It began radiating down my left arm. I remember telling her I would just lie down until I felt better, but she insisted I call someone. I called my husband. It never occurred to me to call 911. We rushed to the nearest hospital, which didn’t have a cardiac unit, but they were able to stabilize me. We live in a rural area, so I had to be transported to another hospital via ambulance for further care… And let me tell you! That’s NOT fun. I gotta give it to paramedics. If you can work in an ambulance, you’re talented, because riding in one is no joke!
But I digress…
I made it to the larger hospital, where I was taken to surgery as soon as possible. See, I was having a serious heart attack. When I say serious, I mean, my proximal LAD was blocked. Ninety-eight percent blocked. The proximal LAD is what is known as the “Widowmaker,” I was dying, people. I didn’t have a clue anything was leading up to this!
Now, why didn’t I have a clue? I had heart disease in my family. I should have known to get the check ups I needed. I smoked. I should have known I needed to quit. I didn’t fuel my body properly. I should have put that cheeseburger down. Am I right? Yeah, I am… BUT we don’t always think about those things when we are younger. We think, “That won’t happen to me!”
BUT IT CAN!!! It did! It happened to me. I was a football Mom. I stayed at home at the time to be with my son. I helped my husband run his business. I didn’t take my health seriously…
Now, after my heart attack, I fell into a deep depression, which I have since learned can be common. THEN, to make things even worse, just a few short months later, I lost a very close relative who had struggled with heart challenges all her life. I fell into darkness for a time. I didn’t think I would find my way back to into the light, but I did!
It didn’t happen over night. It has been a struggle. I have had to learn new ways of fueling my body. I have had to exercise on a regular basis, and have sustained a few injuries from exercising. I have gone to therapy to help with my mental health issues. Now, I am taking pride in my appearance and showing the world my love for beauty!
I am learning to enjoy life and doing my best to be positive each and every day. THERE is beauty in each day! I am blessed to be here to see it. I will cherish each moment that I have been given and hope to spread as much love and kindness as possible!
So, I urge you… Take care of yourselves. Educate yourselves about heart disease. Go for check ups regularly. Fuel your body properly and get some exercise! Life is beautiful and you want to be able to experience that beauty!