Name: Dee Garrison
Hometown: Bairoil, Wyoming
Dee traveled to Cheyenne in February to attend the American Heart Association Advocating for Heart Day and to share her story with Wyoming lawmakers about making the fight against heart disease - the #1 killer of women - a priority in Wyoming. If you would like to share your story with lawmakers and make a difference in our great state please contact Kristen at [email protected] to find out about advocacy opportunities coming up!
"For many years as a child I was always tired and would suffer from shortness of breath and as I grew older I thought perhaps I had asthma. All the times I was taken to a doctor, no one found anything wrong with my heart. It was not until my later years that what was thought to just be a heart murmur was found.
In January of 2007 I had my first heart attack. I has been having a lot of stress and as I worked in Corrections, I was working twelve hour shifts and doing many steps, walking, and running throughout a shift. This day I was having small chest pains and problems breathing. I thought it was just stress because I had gone to see my physician two weeks prior and the E.K.G. showed nothing. I left work and when I got home, I just could not get comfortable. I finally called 9-1-1 as I knew I was having a heart attack. This blood clot brought me my first two stints with six trips to the hospital for angina.
In November of 2012 I suffered another heart attack. This brought me to four more stints. With both of these heart attacks, my heart stopped beating and thanks to CPR and good medical, I survived them both. I had to retire as I continued to have chest pains and was constantly on nitroglycerin pills. I also suffered from depression fearing the next attack which did come in January 2014.
By this time I was frank with my doctors after convincing myself I was not paranoid and had a CATH (Cardiac Catheterization). This showed that I was among 5% of heart patients whose heart does not respond well to stints. It also showed the heart murmur was actually a birth defect, a hole in my heart. During my bi-pass the surgeon also repaired the hole in my heart. I am recovering now and actually feeling better than I have ever felt in my life. It has been a long journey, but I have survived because of advances in medical care and the grace of God."
To join the You're The Cure advocacy network CLICK HERE.