I’m Francine Bednar, I’m 38-years-old and this is my story. Heart disease came my way in February 2008. My arm started going numb. I couldn’t hold a paper steady. I couldn’t catch my breath. I took Ibuprofen and went to lie down in bed, but by the time I got there I could barely talk and breathe.
My husband called 9-1-1. The rescue squad started oxygen. After 15 minutes I could sit up and talk, but we went to the ER. I almost didn’t go; most of the acute symptoms had gone away.
The cardiac team got me lined up for a cath. I had a heart attack caused by a spontaneous coronary artery dissection. After the procedure, the first question I asked my cardiologist was whether I could ever ride roller coasters again. He just smiled, and said not anytime soon.
I was treated with medical management, and a second cardiac catheterization showed that the dissection had healed, with only a small hypo kinetic area.
My experience has made a great impact on my life. I eat healthier, keep my spirits up, and stay on my medicines. I have also been surprised how emotional an event like this is. I have funny things happen all the time that only other survivors would understand.
Each time one of my kids passes a milestone, I tear up and say a silent prayer of gratitude that I am able to see my children grow. Although I will never be able to go on big roller coasters again, I love that my life has been full of exciting ups and downs, twists and turns, and my ride of life is still going.
To you, I would say learn the symptoms of heart attack and stroke—it may save your life. Talk to people—for us as women it really helps, strengthens, and comforts. And love your life, live it to the fullest, and be grateful for ladybugs and sunsets, and all that makes you smile.
That’s my story of survival, and this is how I speak up to save lives.