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Elizabeth Wesley’s Story

Cardiac Arrest Survivor, Age 49, Aurora, IL

Gives and receives support


Elizabeth's Story

On December 24, 2013 I suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 49.  I had no symptoms, little family history, and my only risk factor was I was overweight.  My daughter and I were busy preparing for our Christmas meal.  I sat down on my couch and told my husband I didn’t feel good.  I decided to go upstairs and lay down for a little bit.  By the time I got upstairs, I began throwing up, sweating profusely, and feeling a weight in my chest.  At first, my husband asked if I wanted him to take me to the hospital, and I agreed.  Less than a minute later, I told him to call 911.  The paramedics arrived quickly and stabilized me.  At first, they felt I was having an issue with my blood sugar, but as we pulled into the hospital, the EKG showed other problems.  I don’t remember another thing until I woke up in ICU 4 days later.  In the interim, I was shocked 41 times and given CPR for 1 hour.  Those very same paramedics were the ones who kept the compression going.  I had a blocked left anterior descending artery, “the widow maker”.  My wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Mamata Alwarshetty, took me into the cath lab with the tiniest pulse, performed a balloon angioplasty and placed a stent in my artery.   I am told with lifestyle changes, I will live a long and healthy life.

I am encouraging all of my friends to have their heart health checked along with their mammograms and pap smears.  I never even thought that heart disease was something I should be worried about.   We are so concerned with taking care of everyone else, that we neglect our own bodies and the signals they are sending us.   I am expected to make a full recovery, but I know many women who will not.  Everyone in my family is also going to learn CPR.  If not for the paramedics continuing the compression, I would have either died or possibly had brain damage.

I will happily wear red on February 7, 2014 to remind everyone that heart disease is the #1 killer of women.  Don’t become a statistic – become heart healthy!

Give and Receive support from Elizabeth

Elizabeth 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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