Life is Why! Join me in supporting the American Heart Association!
In 2006, I went into the hospital thinking I had bronchitis, I had been feeling run down, I hadn't been sleeping well for weeks and I had a non-productive cough that seemed to be more annoying when I was trying to sleep. I chalked it up to being a busy working mom and let it go. Then one night, after a few weeks of this, I woke myself up gasping for air. I woke my husband up to let him know that I was going to drive myself to the hospital to make sure it was nothing serious. Much to my surprise, and everyone else's, including the doctors... I did not have bronchitis, but actually was in congestive heart failure, at 35 years old with 3 & 5 year old sons at home.
I stayed in the hospital for a week and then had a visiting nurse who would come to check on me at home every other day. About a week later, she noticed that my pulse was weak, my blood pressure was low and my oxygen levels were low. She called my doctor who then told me that I didn't have time for an ambulance, that I needed to get the hospital right away because I was at risk of sudden death or a stroke.
After being re-admitted, I was also diagnosed with Lyme disease and back then, they didn't realize that Lyme could cause a heart problem. I spent another 3 weeks in the hospital. It was determined that the best way to keep me alive was to have an implanted cardiac defibrillator installed into my heart. It helps my heart to pace when my heart can't do it on it's own, but if my heart were to ever stop, it would send an electrical shock to my heart to restart it. The past 11+ years have not be easy, but I'm one of the lucky ones. My sister Joanne died unexpectedly at 50 years old from heart disease. We can not forget that not everyone is a survivor and cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of Americans and Mainers.
However, the life-saving advancements funded by the American Heart Association saves lives, because they saved my life and many more.
I am fortunate to now be the Heart Walk Director, where I can help raise more money and awareness and continue to give back to an organization that has done so much for me and my family. Imagine the impact if we reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020. Please help me reach this lifesaving goal by donating today. Together, we can make healthier, longer lives possible for everyone. Thank you for your support!