February is American Heart Month, a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke.
YORK, Pa. — February is American Heart Month.
It’s a time to focus on bringing awareness to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in our country. It’s also the main reason a York County woman wanted to share her story of heart attack survival.
“The back of my arms were just aching… just aching and aching,” Connie said. It was the first clue she got that something wasn’t right on Nov. 8, 2020.
However, the 61-year-old and avid cyclist quickly chalked it up to being sore from a 2.5 hour bike ride earlier in the day.
“Biking was our way of trying to get outside and stay a little bit sane,” Connie said. But then, she got a burning sensation in her throat and felt nauseous.
Her husband of 36 years, John, remembers them both thinking it could be from stress, so they both decided she didn’t need to go to an urgent care facility. When she didn’t feel better the following morning, she went to see her doctor.
It wasn’t until they took an EKG and compared it to a previous one that she found out what was really going on. The doctor told her that she had had a heart attack and they needed to get her to an emergency room immediately.
The heart attack occurred on Sunday evening. On Monday, she went to the hospital, and Tuesday morning they implanted two stents in an artery that was 100% blocked, Connie remembered.
The news came as a shock to the otherwise healthy couple.
“Connie has been very active all her life,” John said. “She’s exercised since the day I met her, always ate well and she ended up with a heart attack.”
Connie didn’t think she was at risk of having a heart attack because she didn’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol, never smoked, and wasn’t overweight. The couple had not, however, taken Connie’s genetics into consideration.
“Unfortunately, I got my daddy’s heart, the good and the bad I guess, and he was in his mid 60s when he had his first heart attack,” Connie said.
After recovering, she worked with specialists to further improve her diet, adding in fish twice a week and more vegetables.
She hopes her story can be a wake up call to anyone who may need it.
“I was chalking it up to maybe a panic attack, so my advice would be to listen to your body, and act,” Connie said.
She also said the best thing that came from her journey was being able to warn other family members and have them get their heart health checked out, as a precaution.
For more information on the American Heart Association’s monthly Heart Health campaign or to find out how you can get involved, click here.