National Wear Red Heart awareness

My sister called and told me she had some symptoms that felt like a heart attack. “What are you feeling?” I asked her. “I don’t’ know,” she said. “Something doesn’t feel right. I feel anxious, and my jaw is aching a little.” I suggested she go to the emergency room. She argued, “But I don’t’ feel any chest pain. I just wanted to talk to you about it.”

My sister called and told me she had some symptoms that felt like a heart attack.

“Sis, please trust me. Go to the hospital. We can talk after you get checked out,” I pleaded. She said OK, and a few hours later, my niece called to tell the doctor had taken her into emergency surgery. She had three arteries with more than 70 percent blockages.

Two years ago, I experienced the same feeling of denial when my husband urged me to see a doctor about my increased anxiety. The silent fear I felt culminated in things weighing heavy on my heart.

I assured him I was fine and would make an appointment if it got worse. After he left to run some errands, I suddenly felt overwhelmed and couldn’t’ stop crying.

I began to feel an increasing heaviness in the middle of my chest, and without a doubt, I knew my heart was in distress. Then a slow ache crept into my left shoulder and my lower jaw.

The first thing I did was take one of my husband’s nitroglycerin tablets. Unfortunately, it didn’t’ provide any relief. I suddenly felt an urgency inside that moved me forward to get my keys, purse, and phone and get in the car.

I know what you are thinking, and you are right; I should have called 911!

As I drove through town, I saw my husband’s truck at Hardee’s, but I knew I couldn’t take the chance to stop and tell him what was going on.

Besides, I was still in denial. “I’ll’ tell him about it later after I get checked out,” I thought.

When I walked into the emergency room, I stated my name age and said, “I have some chest pains.” Then, of course, everyone went into action, and before I knew it, I was in a gown on a stretcher while one nurse was starting an IV, and another placed EKG leads on my body.

I tried to tell them where my husband was, but the medical staff told me first they had to take care of me. Then, after they completed the EKG, they would try to get word to my husband. It will be alright, I assured myself, as they lowered the lights and said they would be back soon.

Suddenly, within minutes, a group of medical staff, including an emergency medical technician (EMT), came rushing into the room. They told me I had already had a heart attack, and they needed to transport me to a larger hospital immediately.

In the ambulance, the EMT assured me they had reached my husband and that he would meet us at the hospital. While I was lying inside the ambulance, I was stunned, but I knew God was with me, whatever happened.

When we arrived at the hospital, I was transported from the ambulance directly into the cath lab with everyone already clad in surgical attire.

When I awoke, my husband was there beside me. The doctor explained that I had experienced stress cardiomyopathy, which mimics the symptoms of a heart attack. It is a condition in which intense emotional or physical stress causes rapid and severe heart muscle weakness, leading to congestive heart failure and potentially life-threatening.

I was not surprised that my sister had a heart attack. She was a stressed-out single mom who was also a lifetime smoker. She didn’t’ have time to take care of herself because she was overworked and raising her seven children alone.

In my immediate family medical history, we have a higher-than-usual chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes?five heart attacks and four strokes, to be exact.

I was surprised that I had a heart attack. I assumed that I was safe because I lived a healthy life and had not experienced any major health issues.

Denial is a deadly condition in many areas of our lives, especially when dealing with the heart. For my sister, it was, “This can’t’ be a heart attack. I’m’ just feeling a little pain.” For me, it was, “This can’t’ happen to me. I am a healthy person.”

Remember: The five most dangerous words associated with chest pain are: “Maybe it will go away!”

If you feel something in your back, chest, jaw, or tooth that you haven’t felt before, or you feel the slightest chance your symptoms mean a cardiac event is imminent, call 911 and take one full-strength aspirin immediately.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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