My Story

I hope you will read it, remember it and help spread the word: April 14, 2003 I was 39 years old and in what appeared to be good health, 5'7, 143 pounds. I was physically active, swimming 3 miles a week. Suddenly one morning after swimming I was walking out the door for work when I had a terrible pain in my stomach, became nausiated and broke out in a sweat. I felt like I had been hit by a truck! I called in sick to work (for the first time in 4 years) and slept all day. The next morning I was up and back at work. I didn't feel great but I felt a lot better than I did the previous day. However, by mid-day I was wiped out. I went home and went back to bed. That evening I developed a pain between my shoulder blades. It was like a charlie horse and I kept trying to work it out. Then the nausea and sweating began again. The pain between my shoulders was horrible but I didn't understand what was going on until suddenly my left arm started aching and tingling. I knew I was in trouble. I called out for my husband and told him to get me to the hospital (very dumb, you should always call an ambulance). He drove me to the hospital and ran into the emergency room and the nurse ran out to get me. She didn't hesitate and told me to get my shirt off for an EKG. The next thing I know they told me they were going to life-flight me to The Mid-America Heart Institute. Upon arrival I was taken to the ER where I had a chance to see my family (except for my husband who was still enroute) then to the cath lab where an angioplasty was performed and two stents were implanted in my heart. Once I was in my room I told everyone how wonderful I felt and I didn't realize how poorly I had felt the last couple weeks. I spent 5 nights in the cardiac unit. I am one of the lucky ones. By the way, I NEVER had any chest pain. It is so important to learn the warning signs and to listen to your body. 4 1/2 years after my heart attack I had some dizziness while sitting at my desk. Because I had learned the warning signs I called my doctor. They got me right in and sent me over to the hospital for another cardiac cath where they found a 75% blockage. A stent was implanted and I went home the very next day. It is so much better when you understand what your body is trying to tell you. Please, learn the signs and listen to your body.


Alice Brewer 8 years, 4 months ago

Michelle, thanks so much for telling your story. I love your final words too, "listen to your body". I think as women we often sweep things under the run when they are not clearly defined. Your story shows how untypical the symptoms can be! Listen to your body and your gut, if it doesn't feel right, it's not! Alice

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