My story began when I was 56, March 7 2011 @ 3:30am to be exact.
Up until that fateful day I felt I was doing enough to stay healthy. Although I lost my Dad to a heart attack and my mom to cancer I was physically active running and cycling and really wasn't a junk food addict. Oh, I always carried 20 or 30 extra pounds which despite my efforts I just couldn’t get rid of it at least for very long. There was a period of my life I was at a healthy weight but you just can't exercise your way into good health. But all in all I felt I was doing the right things to prevent heart disease.
Anyway, back to March 7th. At that time was a flight attendant flying with United Express out of Dulles International in Washington DC. I had only been flying for maybe six weeks and this particular weekend was the first time I had three days off. So I decided to take advantage of my flying privileges and go visit my brother in Phoenix. Isn’t it funny and interesting how the little things turn out to be pivotal junctures in our lives?
I arrived in Phoenix on a Sunday afternoon and felt pretty good. Oh I was stressed from a wacky flight schedule, sleeping on the floor and sharing a 1 bedroom with 3 other flight attendants. But other than that I physically felt fine. That evening I had nice dinner with my brother and his family and went to bed no worse for wear. Actually I was glad I flew across the country even if was only going to be 1 full day off before I headed back to the line.
Wham, 3:30am awake with a burning in my stomach. I thought it was a little odd even though I had been struggling with Acid Reflux for over a year, this was different. I got up and took some antacids along with two aspirin(remember the little things) got on my laptop to ride it out whatever “it” was. As time passed I started to feel better, than worse and back to better. This process lasted a couple of hours until worse got to be very bad with becoming nauseas and pain in both arms as well as my chest.
I remember thinking that if I was on a layover with a flight crew I would have probably blown it off because it wasn’t unbearable. But I was with family I felt comfortable enough to wake my brother and ask him to take me to the hospital, which happened to be a Heart Institute just a couple miles down the road. At the very least if it wasn’t a heart attack I would only have my brother to tease me about it. Being teased by my brother wouldn’t be new but canceling and replacing a flight crew would be; especially if it was Acid reflux.
To make a long story short, I was having a heart attack. After looking at my EKG they quickly rushed me to the Cath-lab where they put 3 stints in the artery they call the widow maker. The doctor told me if I waited much longer we wouldn’t have been talking. Thank God for the little things is life.
Since that time I have fully recovered, gotten my weight and health under control and now I’m in the process of learning how to live a heart healthy life.
I hope to have many more productive days but regardless of the number I know I have today. So I live to make each day the best it can be and help others achieve the same.
That’s my heart story, what’s yours?