Get Your Red On and Get Recognized On the Wild Ride

my heartI had heart surgery. Yep. It will be three years ago this April. My heart condition was congenital. My father has congestive heart failure from contracting rheumatic fever while in the Air Force. We all know someone affected by heart disease.

On Friday, February 1st, the American Heart Association is asking everyone to wear red!

February is associated with hearts and flowers as Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, but it is also the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Month. They are working hard to spread awareness and raise money for the cause. It is difficult when competing against major corporations like the Komen Foundation.

I created a site where you can contribute any amount to the American Heart Association. Click here to view page. Email me at and I will add your link to the Go Red for Women Contributors blogroll for the month! 

Heart disease is women’s number one killer, but most think they are more likely to die of breast cancer which will kill 1 in every 31 women. Heart disease will kill 1 in 3!

More women will die from heart disease than men this year.

Only 20% of women are aware that heart disease is their greatest risk for death.

PLEASE watch this video. It is hilarious and you’ll learn something too!

My story: 

The first time my 13-year-old heart raced, I was vacationing with my family in Florida. I thought I was dying, but my mom assured me that the accelerated beat that didn’t last very long was normal. It was my first heart palpitation.

Many years later, I gave birth to my son Kelly. Four hours later, I woke up as my chest heaved and my heart rate slammed away at an alarming and rhythmic pace of over 200 beats per minute. This was not a simple heart palpitation. An elephant seemed to be sitting on my chest which rose and fell with each beat. My neck felt constricted. Doctors and nurses descended on me. They thought I was having a heart attack. After sliding me onto a gurney, they raced me from the comfort of the maternity ward up to the cardiac care unit. A shot of adenosine stopped my heart. I felt this lovely rush and relief when it resumed its normal quiet pace after a couple of seconds.

I hadn’t experienced a heart attack, but had my first PVST.  Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia. They sent me home with 6 months of pills to reduce my heart rate.

PVST’s sent me to the emergency room several times after my daughter Courtney was born. They began while I slept.

I gave up caffeine and chocolate. One ER doctor told me not to drink alcohol. For many years I stayed away from these triggers. As my kids grew older, they finally reduced to the small flutters I had on the beach while on vacation as a teen.

I could manage the heart palpitations by dropping my head between my legs, holding my breath while bearing down, and then pressing on my carotid arteries on either side of my neck. When whipping my head back up again, I could break the palpitation’s rhythm.

Three years ago, I woke up in Breckenridge with a nasty PVST once again. The technique didn’t work with this monster beat. While Danny worked on his computer, I felt like I was dying. I tried to get his attention, but thought I would pass out and went back to bed. After two hours, I felt nauseous. Fear of having a heart attack propelled me to walk the 50 feet to get Danny’s attention again.

He rushed me to Urgent Care. The ER doctor would not give me the adenosine even though I pleaded, assuring him it wouldn’t kill me. Instead he used the old-fashioned techniques along with placing my face in pan of snow. After 4 hours of my heart racing over 200 beats per minute, the rapid rhythm stopped.

“You know, you don’t have to live like this,” he said as I felt the relief of normal rhythm along with a very achy heart.

That got my attention. I learned that laser surgery could solve my problem. Later in the month, I’ll continue my story.

In the meantime, Get your RED ON!

The following information could be life saving.

Symptoms of a heart attack from the AMA:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Symptoms that you may be having a stroke from the AMA:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Sudden severe headache with no known cause

This is great way to check for signs of stroke:

Signs of Stroke:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Receiving medical attention in the first 3 hours of a stroke can reduce long-term disability.

Each year more women die from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks than men. It is still viewed at as a man’s disease. Women are ten times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks than breast cancer.

Click here to donate to Go Red For Women and I’ll add your link to my blogroll!

Now get your red on and spread the news!

Were you surprised by these facts?


142 thoughts on “Get Your Red On and Get Recognized On the Wild Ride

  1. Scary, Susie. I’m glad that you’re better now!

    My mom has CHF and AFib. She was on Coumadin for a while to minimize her risk of stroke, but she took herself off it because she couldn’t handle the side effects. There is a lot to be said for exercise and good nutrition as much as going to the doctor regularly and paying attention to what your body is telling you.


    • This is such great advice and I agree that diet and exercise plays an integral part of heart health. Many times doctors never mention the importance of them. Not sure why…
      I hope your mom finds another drug that works for her.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!


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  3. Hi Susie,
    I’m so very glad you had the surgery and are doing so well. Thanks for posting the video. It was educational and I definitely have my red on. In fact, you can put me on the rheumatic fever list, along with your Dad.


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  5. Reading about you almost not making it walking across the room sent chills up my spine. How incredibly scary! You’ve gone through so much. Thanks for posting all the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. I’m thinking of writing about my mom’s heart attack and congestive heart failure. Her symptoms weren’t the typical ones you’d think of.


    • It felt like a heart attack, but the ER doc never tested me.
      I think you should post it! We have to get the word out there any way that we can You never know how you may make a difference. The time it takes to react is sometimes critical. Most women don’t know anything about the signs…


  6. How scary, Susie. OMG, I can’t believe you went through all this. I’m so glad you had surgery and you’re all right. That was a good video – funny but gets the point across. And there are women who are having a heart attack but are worried about their messy house and try to straighten the place up before the paramedics arrive. Isn’t that insane?


  7. Darn, the screen froze up and I lost my comment. You’ve been through some scary experiences, Susie. I’m so glad you had surgery and are doing better. I know too many people with heart problems and too many who didn’t survive. Take care of yourself.


    • Thanks so much Lynn! I am great now, although I don’t like to think about scar tissue in my heart. So I try to eat well and exercise. I really wanted to get the word out since so many women have mammograms, but are not tested for heart disease.
      You take care of yourself too my friend!


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