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Carol Philip’s Story

Other Survivor, Age 43, Sacramento, CA

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Cap City Classic 10 miler 2013

Carol's Story

In 2007 I was having chest pains while training for my first marathon.  I decided to go to an urgent care facility. While there, they took an x-ray, diagnosed pleurisy and said to take advil and it would get better.  I was also told that I was too young and active to have “heart issues” and sent me on my way (can you believe that one?)  The following day, I received a call from a radiologist that looked at my x-ray further.  He told that I needed to see a cardiologist immediately - something showed up on the aorta area of the xray.  Needless to say, I freaked out!  It took a little time to get all the testing done, but within two months, I was on the way to open heart surgery.  I was diagnosed with an ascending aortic aneurysm that was more than double the normal size.  I was told I needed surgery sooner rather than later and to get things in order.  I had the aortic root replacement/repair surgery (homograph) and after three months of recuperating and cardiac rehab, I was back to work and limited with exercise.  I was told that I shouldn’t run distances and that maybe I should try cycling.  I gave that a try in 2008 and enjoyed that for a couple years, but was still wanting to someday run again.  I didn’t want to believe that I couldn’t so I switched my cardiologist to one that believed that I should not give up being active and to keep going. That I did!!  In 2011, I joined a fitness group and started running shortly thereafter   With the support of the group and my family, I ran my first 10 k that March.  Since then I have completed 4 more 10 ks, six half marathons, and two triathlons.  I am thankful for all the information available to women regarding “heart issues,” otherwise I might have given up and believed that I couldn’t do it!  My motto now “Just do it!”

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Carol is interested in giving support to other women with heart disease. Contact her if you'd like to receive support.

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