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Kathy Jackson, Heart Patient

"I should have listened to the signs"

Denial almost got the best of Kathy. Kathy knew that heart disease ran in the family. She even had a heart scare of her own more than 15 years ago when she noticed pain down her arms, shoulders and back, which was the result of a clogged artery. Thankfully caught in time, doctors were able to perform an angioplasty to remove the blockage.

Grateful for a second chance, Kathy made strides to improve her health, but these good habits eventually took a back seat to the business of life. "After a few years, I stopped getting regular checkups and eating healthy," Kathy says. "I guess you could say I fell off the bandwagon."

Eventually, Kathy started to struggle with shortness of breath. Even walking from the parking lot to her favorite stores had become a chore. But she dismissed her symptoms since they weren't the same as with her first heart scare.

Then one morning Kathy was overcome by chest pain, nausea and clamminess. After resting for 30 minutes, she headed into the office, determined to treat this day like any other.

Kathy's manager took one look at her and urged her to get to the hospital. "I still thought nothing was wrong with me," Kathy says.

Reluctantly, Kathy agreed to go. An angiogram revealed four blocked arteries, prompting a quadruple bypass surgery.

"I cried. I was saddened and angry at myself," Kathy says. "I should have listened to the signs."

Kathy has made a successful recovery and is adamant about keeping her health in check. And she wants others to learn from her health scare. "Listen to your body," Kathy says. "Don't ignore the warning signs."

For more information about Saint Agnes Heart & Vascular Services, click here.

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