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metroWELLNESS: Doing it by the Numbers


(page 4 of 7)


ONE LOOK AT ME and you’d never suspect I’m living with coronary artery disease. You’d never believe that I actually had a heart attack. On the evening of January 3, 2008, my world was turned upside down when I had a rare type of heart attack called a spontaneous dissection. What makes it even more rare is that I was only 32 years old at the time, and I’ve never smoked or been overweight. I’ve always been rather thin and eaten fairly healthy.

When out of the blue I started having ‘classic’ heart attack signs, I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I only had a few minutes warning as my throat started closing, a horrible tingling feeling traveled down to my shoulders, and my left arm went numb. I fell to the ground. I WAS DYING ON MY KITCHEN FLOOR.

I had an 80-day-old newborn son and 3-year-old daughter whose mommy was in and out of consciousness with excruciating chest pains! In the ambulance and ER, I heard whispers of possible acid reflux, a stroke, or some sort of seizure. Finally an EKG revealed that I was, in fact, having a heart attack! I was immediately wheeled to the cath lab where they inserted three stents– one in an artery that was 100 percent blocked from plaque build-up from high cholesterol– a complete shock to discover! Pregnancy is hard enough on HEALTHY hearts but my arteries had been working overtime to compensate for this one that had apparently been blocked for a long time. I WAS A WALKING TIME BOMB.

With the help of my cardiologist, the American Heart Association, friends and family, I am able to say this happened to me for a reason. I have a platform to speak up for young women and heart disease. Know your numbers! I will probably be on medication to control my hereditarily high cholesterol for the rest of my life, but that is ok. I know I am doing everything I possibly can to keep my heart healthy and spreading lifesaving knowledge as I go.

-Jenny Petz




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