‘I was so afraid to feel my heartbeat. Little by little, he inspired me to feel it again.’
“I had shortness of breath, fatigue, and couldn’t walk and talk at the same time. For nine weeks, I continued to get worse. I went to sleep on a Friday night, and I was woken up at 1:45 thanks to my puppy Ananda who sensed I was having a heart attack. I said, ‘Ananda, I think I’m having a heart attack.’ Then I considered the fact that I was 45, healthy, only ate organic, had already lost 100 pounds, and was on cholesterol medication because my father had a heart attack almost 20 years ago, and I inherited his high cholesterol. I thought, what else could this be? I was frozen in bed for about an hour. My chest felt as if someone was trying to beat me up. Finally, I was able to walk to take Aleve. I went to sleep, which is the worst thing you could do when you’re having a heart attack. I spent the next week dealing with the same symptoms. Thursday morning came, and I got on the treadmill to do a 5k, and I couldn’t do it.
Widow-maker heart attacks have an 11% survival rate outside of the hospital. I survived two, but not everyone is that lucky.
“I went to the doctor and did an EKG, and they sent me right away to the ER. When I got there, they told me I had 100% blockage. They put a stent in, and I was told I had a widow-maker heart attack the Saturday before and a second heart attack that morning on the treadmill. A week later, I went for a walk and got halfway around the block before I started to feel wrist, elbow, chest, and back pain and sweating. The next morning, I had my third heart attack in 12 days. They found that one of the smaller arteries was blocked.
“For 18 months after, I had to navigate the PTSD of almost dying on a treadmill before I was lucky enough to encounter an online fitness coach who motivated me. One day, I was so engrossed in his humor that I started jogging. Now here I am, sprinting. I was so afraid to feel my heartbeat. Little by little, he inspired me to feel it again.
“I applied to be a Go Red for Women Real Women Class of 2023 ambassador because women need to know that the symptoms of heart attacks for women are different from what you see on TV. If I knew that night one, I would not have had to go through two more heart attacks. Widow-maker heart attacks have an 11% survival rate outside of the hospital. I survived two, but not everyone is that lucky.”