I’ve always been strong and never considered I would have an ongoinghealth concern. I’ve been active — I went to Curves for 11 years — ate really welland read the labels when I shopped. But at my age, 54, you just don’t know: lastyear, I became a heart patient and I’ll be a heart patient for the rest of my life.
In April 2010, I had a burning, tight feeling in my chest and pain in my left arm that kept gettingworse. My local doctor, Dr. Joachim Neffgen, sent me to Calgary and it turned out I had a 70-per-cent blockage in the main artery of my heart. The next day, I had an angioplasty, a stent inserted inthe artery.
I quit smoking right away. I’d been cutting back for a long time and found it easier than I thoughtto give up altogether. By June, Dr. Neffgen said I could go back to brisk walking and cycling. I wasalready exercising at the Drumheller Health Centre’s cardiac rehabilitation program. The programwas excellent, and we’re very fortunate to have it, but one day I just couldn’t do it. An overgrowthof tissue had almost blocked both ends of the stent.
A different stent was inserted and, if it blocks again, I’ll have to have bypass surgery. It’s been anemotional, stress-filled year. I’ve always been a bit of perfectionist and an Energizer bunny kind ofperson, but at the hair salon I own, I’ve cut back an hour a day and try not to worry if somethinggoes wrong. I’ve learned to chill out — sit down with a book and leave dusting and laundry foranother day. I’ve accepted I’m not Supermom.
My head is not quite around the fact that I’m a heart patient, but I have learned to
give in to being tired and rest my body. I’ve always looked after people, but realize now
is a time to let people, in health care and my family, look after me. — As;told;to;Terry;Bullick