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I am a 62-year-old woman who was diagnosed with heart disease just over 10 years ago. Although I complained continually about symptoms that seemed to point to heart disease, I was never sent for any cardiac tests, not even a stress test. I suffered for 2 years before my condition was diagnosed. Ten years ago, women were not generally tested for heart disease unless something happened — in my case, a heart attack. As of today, I have survived a heart attack, triple coronary bypass surgery, two totally occluded bypass grafts, 18 coronary stent implants, chronic angina, shortness of breath, fatigue, depression, and questions, questions, questions.

Despite all of this, heart disease has taught me to live life to the fullest and to enjoy every day. My family has suffered almost as much as I have between worrying and the endless hours spent in hospital waiting rooms. I know how hard it is to wait and worry because my sister and I went through this when our mother battled heart disease in the 1950s. When I’m feeling sorry for myself, I think of how my mother suffered. She endured three open heart operations and died at the age of 62. I’m sure I too would have died long ago, if not for all the advances in treatments and medications. For this, I am truly grateful. I will continue to fight this disease for as long as I can. I will try whatever treatments the doctors recommend and be thankful for their help. I will pray for further medical advances so that my children and grandchildren will live better, healthier lives, and I will live many more years to watch them.

Filed in One Woman's Story > One Woman's Story

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