While attending a party celebrating the birthday of one of my closest friends, my life came to a screeching halt. As dinner was taking place, I started to feel ill and headed for the ladies room. Fortunately for me, my friend Brenda found me in the restroom where I had become violently ill. I felt as though I were speaking to her in a tunnel. She seemed far away and I let her know something was not right. I heard her call the ambulance and that is the last memory I have.
I had suffered a heart attack. Outside in the ambulance Brenda’s son witnessed what was my first sudden cardiac arrest and went to bring the news to Brenda that I was receiving CPR. On route to the hospital, I had my second cardiac arrest and was rerouted to a closer ER where they stabilized me, introduced the hypothermia protocol, and sent me to Brigham & Women’s cath lab. I received a stent placement, and 11 days later underwent coronary bypass graft surgery.
I am a survivor! I am truly blessed to have had everyone in the right place at the right time. My new and improved heart has given me a new lease on life. I am no longer a smoker. As I write this, I am 1 year, 17 weeks, 5 days, 15 hours and 37 minutes free of cigarettes. My “Since I Quit” app tracks that info for me as a reminder to stay healthy. Intense fear grips you after a life and death experience and for me, cardiac rehab was the place that helped me work through those fears and rebuild my physical strength. Without the staff of the cardiac rehab program at Newport Hospital, I would have never had the courage to return to my passion of teaching ballroom & Latin dance. It was a difficult road back to the dance floor, but today that’s where you will find me enjoying each and every moment with my students.
Life is a dance…..where will the rhythm take you?