So sorry I am behind on these blogs you guys! Catching up soon. My little guy, Wes has strep throat so between emergency visits at 4:30am and snuggles in bed watching TV taking care of him… I have neglected all things work. But he’s feeling better, and I’m catching up! Thanks for patience- so many more stories to share for Heart Month. I am so grateful so many brave & beautiful women came forward to talk about this. It’s so eye opening and I hope it’s making people realize how prevalent heart issues are in women, and how different our symptoms and signs can be from what we normally would think.
Sandy is an amazing woman with a pretty crazy story. Thank you so much, Sandy for opening up and sharing your life with us. You are such a beautiful, positive, uplifting woman and I’m so glad I got to know you. So glad you’ve made it through so much and are here to tell us all about it!
Here is Sandy’s story:
- Have you ever lost anyone due to a heart related health issue?
- If you answered yes to the previous question and you’re comfortable answering- what happened? And to whom? My Mother dealt with heart issue all her life, Tachycardia then later in her 60’s had two surgeries for bypasses, and needed a third but wasn’t a good candidate due to health and age Two grandparents died from massive heart attacks. My son had open heart surgery to replace a micro value along with Tachycardia
- Why do you want to be a part of this project?
To help others be aware of their heart health. I had a stroke, 6 TIA, and now have heart failure. I want women to be aware that we worry about our families, but sometimes forget to worry about ourselves.
- How have you been affected by Heart Health?
Yes, I have heart failure of the right side. It’s changed how I eat, how I make sure I sleep, and I’m aware of how I feel. In 2002, I had a stroke and wasted precious time thinking it was nothing. I felt like my left side was just heavy, it was 6am… I called my mother. She said go to the hospital. So, I got dressed, my husband woke up and said where are you going? “The hospital.” He made me put an aspirin under my tongue. We drove to the hospital and I walked in all brave and later realized, stupid… The nurse wouldn’t let me move. I was blessed to have 20 minutes of the golden time left to receive the medicine that is scary but stopped the stroke. Then in the 2015, I was having trouble with swelling in my legs, my stomach felt bloated all the time. My general doctor put me on a mild water pill. Didn’t seem to work so in spring of 2016 I went for my 6 months check, legs and stomach worse than before. She recommend I see my heart doctor. At my appointment, the heart doctor walked in, looked at my legs and stomach, said “I’m going to call the Heart Failure team”. Let me think about this for a minute, I’ll come back to you in a bit. WOW! “Wait a minute?! Heart failure!?!?! What in the world do you mean?” I said. By then the team was there whisked me off to their area, and explained it all to me. I was treated right then and there, I gave up salt… and that wasn’t easy, but necessary. No processed foods, fast food, etc. I listen to my body very carefully now.
- What do you want people to know?
Be aware of your body, list to signs of something wrong, and ask the Doctor. If you have swelling, that’s not normal. See the doctor… be proactive for yourself. Know your family history. My family history is not a good heart one, so I want to be sure my children and grandchildren know about their heart.
- How has this all changed your life?
Being aware I could die from immediate massive heart failure makes me aware of what’s important. Also controlling my A FIB which years later, they found had made me have the stroke. To also show people that it isn’t the end of the world, but means you will simply have to be aware and take the medicine to help your heart.
- What’s the most important thing in the world to you?
My family, watching my children grow up and being part of the fun.
- If this was your last week on earth, how would you live it?
I’d spend every minute with my children and grandchildren letting them know how much I love them all. We’d go to the mountains, summer or winter and be in our happy place.
- What are you passionate about?
That people I meet feel like I make their lives better because I walked with them in their life path. To find the positive in everyone….. it’s there, you just need to look harder for some. My goal is to leave the world a more positive place.
- What do you love about yourself?
I see the good in people and love them for who they are. I wake up every morning excited to see what adventure today will bring. And who can I take with me on the adventure.
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Being with me during the death of my husband of 50+ years. My family and friends watched over me like hawks fearing my heart would misbehave. I appreciated their love and concern for me.
- Anything else you want to add?
Love your body and take care of yourself so you can give the world the best of yourself. Unplug more often to just appreciate the world and those around you. Embrace quiet time to listen to your gut feelings. They are seldom wrong. If you feel something is wrong, get it checked out. Don’t wait. Oh… and as the nurse that took care of me during my stroke said (at the end of my bed as the medicine to save me was going in), “911” don’t waste a minute.
Thank you SO much Sandy for sharing your story. You have been through so much and are such a fighter. You’ve made such a positive impact on me and I only got to see you for 30 minutes… I’m pretty sure you accomplish your goal of making the world more positive every single day. Thank you for that. You’re quite an amazing woman.