This year marks my 11th anniversary of the 2nd time my life was saved (my count is up to five currently). On this day, it was discovered that the main artery going to my heart was blocked 90%. This situation is commonly referred to as a “widowmaker”, and for good reason. If the major heart attack happens at that time, you are not likely to survive it.
I am always especially concerned for friends and family when I hear of someone mentioning even the slightest symptom concerning the heart. There are all kinds of warning signs. But unless you have had a prior incident, you most likely consider yourself a healthy person, and do not think anything else other than a minor inconvenience or discomfort.
But just as in my case, the more time that is wasted acknowledging the symptoms, the more serious the problem becomes, until one day it is too late. Hence, “the silent killer” label. The important thing to remember is that symptoms are often different between men and women. But there are symptoms, and they should not be ignored. By all rights, according to my original cardiologist, I should have died. It was not a question of “if”, but “when.” The fact is, looking back in retrospect, I had experienced high blood pressure for years. But it was a chest tightness, that I could only recall having awareness, for at least 4 months. Keep in mind, that artery was blocked 90%. The slightest stressor should have killed me. I am certain that during that 4 months, the blockage was not much less than the 90%. Yet, because I did not acknowledge any ill health on my part, I ignored it. And it could have, and should have, killed me.
I am more aware these days of my heart (as well as other health issues). I have to be. The treatments used to cure my cancer 30 years ago, are the causes of all my health issues.
But the truth is, because of my experience, I now know so many, inside the cancer world, and those not having had the cancer experience, who have dealt with cardiac issues, or are currently dealing with cardiac issues. And they will all tell you the same about me. If you are feeling anything other than normal, you need to be seen. You are lucky enough that your body is giving you a warning. My body tried to warn me for 4 months and I ignored it. There are those who show no symptoms, and still end up fighting for their lives.
Please, for the sakes of your loved ones, and your friends. Take care of yourselves. Do not ignore the warning signs. They are there, and they really are a big deal. I am lucky enough to be here to tell you that.