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Deborah Doyle’s Story

Heart Attack Survivor, Age 48, Mitchell, IN

Gives and receives support

Deborah's Story

At a little after 7:00 am on a Saturday morning I woke my husband up, crying, saying “Something is wrong with me…” Although not wanting to believe the worst, I took an aspirin anyway and headed to the local ER. A few hours and a nitro drip later my pain was diagnosed as “Esophageal spasms” and I was sent home with SL nitro pills and instructions to call a GI doc on Monday. After suffering through the next several hours with breathtaking chest pains, I landed on my knees and face in the middle of my living room floor. My husband then said, “We are going to ____” (a hospital in the neighboring county). There I was given a “GI cocktail” with no effect and within minutes it was determined I was having a heart attack. I was taken to the cath lab where a stent was placed in my LAD for a 99% occlusion.

I am not an athlete, but neither am I a couch potato. I am overweight, but not carrying around a grossly obese body. My diet wasn’t the greatest, but I didn’t scarf down chips and sweets everyday of the week. I was your normal, average everyday 46 year old working woman. A woman whose 51 year old father and 38 year old brother had died from CVD, and whose mother had undergone quintuple by-pass surgery. A woman who, for years, had went to Drs, NPs, and Specialist asking “Why am I so tired?” “Why do I hurt all the time?” “What is this chest pain I’m feeling?” “Why is it when I try to do this ‘couch to 5K’ program, I can’t breath?” I was given everything emotional as a diagnosis…stress, depression, anxiety. Even the oft used “fibromyalgia” was thrown at me. All I could think was “There IS something wrong with me. I’m not crazy.” After my heart attack, my cardiologist verified that most of my symptoms were classic heart disease. I had undergone EKGs, stress tests and the like…but no one had ever thought to do a cath, just in case. I had never been referred to a cardiologist for treatment. When I asked him if I could have had this blockage for several years he responded with “Oh, my goodness, yes!”  I was also told by a NP during a follow-up that I was a “walking miracle” as most people who have an occluded LAD die without treatment. I went all day with severe chest pains, taking nitro and antacids. It was the hand of God that kept me alive, of that I have no doubt. Please listen to your body, regardless of what other may tell you. You know you better than anybody else….

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Deborah is interested in giving and receiving support from other women with heart disease. Contact her if you'd like to give and receive support.

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