Heart to Heart: Women's Voices For Change

Kakiheadshot by Katharine Johnson

At 35 years old, I wasn’t expecting a heart attack. Afterward, I had a friend tell me, "If I had to make a list of 10 people least likely to have a heart attack, you would have been at the top of the list.” I certainly never thought I'd have two, so quietly that they almost missed it.

I was an active, outwardly healthy mother of three young boys, with a full load of responsibilities. I ran three miles a day, ate a very healthy diet and weighed 110 pounds. I drank only occasionally and never smoked.

But in the early morning of July 9, 1995, I knew something was seriously wrong. I felt short of breath, my heart was racing, and I had an aching pain running down the inside of my left arm.

Being a doctor’s daughter, I knew enough to know that there it was serious. I was afraid. I phoned the doctor and spoke to a nurse. After describing my symptoms, I proclaimed, “I know you’re going to think this is crazy, but I feel like it’s my heart.”

She agreed and told me to come in that morning. For four days prior to this event, I had experienced an aching, constant pain down the inside of my left arm. At first, I thought I had strained the muscles or damaged a nerve. But after three days, I couldn’t understand why the ache was so constant. Something was very wrong.

Continue reading at Women's Voices For Change.

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