Our two stories are freakishly the same in so many ways:
♥ In 58-year old Nancy Bradley’s story, she went to the Emergency Department at the Royal Inland Hospital near her home in Kamloops as soon as she felt alarming symptoms she knew might be heart-related: dizziness, sweating, shortness of breath and “an elephant sitting on my chest” feeling. (In my story, I was 58 as well, and I went to Emergency at the Royal Jubilee Hospital near my home in Victoria as soon as my own alarming heart attack symptoms started).
♥ All of Nancy’s cardiac diagnostic tests seemed to be “normal”. (All of my diagnostic tests seemed to be “normal”, too).
Shortly after my heart attack, while I was lying around at home on the big red chair wondering when I was ever going to feel like my old self, my real self, my fun self again, I went online to seek help from a cardiac support group I’d just discovered (the WomenHeart online community at Inspire). All I had to do was type in the question “Does anybody else out there experience this?” and I knew that many of the 32,000+ other women members living with heart disease would have an answer, a handy tip or just some virtual understanding for me.
What was happening to me? I had turned into a person I no longer recognized. That person I used to be – the one who was the last to leave any party, the one everybody else could count on, the one who thrived on juggling multiple deadlines with ease – seemed to have disappeared. How could I get her back? Ongoing cardiac symptoms and an as-yet-undiagnosed coronary microvascular disorder meant a much slower pace that I did not like one bit. What should I be doing to speed up this annoyingly slow recovery business? I posed these questions to my online group, and among many replies, this one arrived from an anonymous sisterly soul who, like me, had been going through much the same awkward transition. A self-described recovering Type A personality, she wrote me the following: Continue reading “Life after heart attack if you’re a Type A”→
“The doctor showed me an x-ray of my brain. He pointed to a small spot and told me, ‘That’s where the blood vessel burst in your brain!’ It was surreal.”
My heart sister Dina Piersawl (affectionately known to some of us as Dee Mad Scientist) had just celebrated her 41st birthday when she survived an ischemic stroke. A professional scientist – and a former athlete and personal trainer in Chicago who describes herself as “never been sick in my life” – Dina sure didn’t look or feel like any stereotypical stroke patient you might imagine. Continue reading ““Never been sick in my life” – so how could she have a stroke?”→
We all know someone who has had a stroke. For many, it’s a friend. For some, a relative. A spouse? A partner? A parent? Maybe even a child.
Stroke is one of those events that most people fear – and rightly so. Maybe it’s because so many times, it seems to come out of nowhere. It strikes a person down without warning. And, once it makes an appearance, stroke shows no mercy. It leaves much in its ruin. It changes people. It changes lives forever – and that’s even in the best case scenario. Continue reading “Cathy’s stroke: “Nobody noticed my husband””→
If you were suddenly diagnosed with heart failure, you would first of all be utterly horrified by hearing those words “heart failure” – which brings me to the eternal question: when are cardiologists going to come up with a better name for this common condition in which a person’s heart has trouble pumping blood as well as it should? (See also: “When Doctors Use Words That Hurt“)
I hope that the second thing that happens after you hear those dreadful words is that somebody will immediately show you this beautiful photo (above) of twin sisters Shaun Rivers andKim Ketter, both nurses from Richmond, Virginia. They were each diagnosed with heart failure during the same week in 2009 when the twins were just 40 years of age.
February is Heart Month. It’s the perfect time to commit to doing something good for your heart this year. A recent Heart and Stroke Foundation survey reveals that we are not making time for healthy choices, which is contributing to the grim reality that cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women, and the cause of one in three deathshere in Canada.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is urging us to make time now, so we can have time later.