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Kim Del’s Story

Heart Attack Survivor, Age 53, St Petersburg, FL

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Kim's Story

I was healthy as a horse my whole life, never got the flu, rarely missed work or school until age 46 when I was at the veterinarian’s office to say goodbye to my 15 yr old dog. I was distraught, crying uncontrollably for a half hour until I didn’t feel well. I sat down. Then I had to lay down on the cool tile floor. The vet called the paramedics and my chest felt like a freezer was on top of me. My right arm hurt so bad I wanted them to cut it off. They took me to the hospital and it was unusual for the right arm to hurt–they were confused. 3 days later and 7 tests, it took a cardiac cath for them to see the clot in a tiny artery in the back of my heart. They said there was nothing they could do, it was too small to stent. I was in ICU for a week and went home feeling like I couldn’t get my breath and I was so tired. A month later I flew to the Cleveland Clinic where they put in 2 stents and I was ready to jump off the table I felt so good! I started on meds and went to cardio rehab, I exercised, I lost weight, I felt great. Then a year and a half later, with cholesterol numbers under 130, hdl around 50, I was laid off of the job I had gone to school for 12 years and worked for 30 years to get to. 4 days later I had another heart attack–but this time they stented the artery (same one) 4 hours later. It’s been over a year and a half since then and I have never felt better, but I know now the key to my heart is not meds, weight or exercise. It’s stress. Stress kills. life is shorter than we think. I have stopped trying to live to please others and I’ve taken my life back into my own hands. I have never been happier and if I have a fatal heart attack tomorrow I know that I have lived. I plan on smiling through stress, hugging my enemies and squeezing my loved ones until they say uncle! I got another dog and I’ll get another after her because I love dogs. Do what you love and enjoy life, love those around you and enjoy every minute. I love life more than food this time and that is different for me this time. Eat healthy, exercise (I am losing weight again, 1 lb a week this time and I’m never going back up) but most of all do what makes you happy. We only get one chance, make it worthwhile.

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