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Linda Gonzales, Heart Patient

"Now I've learned to be involved and interested in my care."

On any other day, Linda may have overlooked the ever-so-slight pain that started in her chest, jaw and neck. It wasn't her nature to visit the doctor for mild aches and pains. "It wasn't a bad pain, but it was enough to think, "What is that?'" Linda says. And fresh in her mind was a major heart attack that had struck a younger family member just two weeks earlier.

Linda was quick to see her physician. Results from her EKG and treadmill test prompted her physician to schedule an angiogram at Saint Agnes Medical Center. That's when Linda heard the startling news: two major blockages – one in the artery infamously known as the Widow Maker. "Without surgery, I was told I had about one year to live," she says.

The next day, Linda underwent cardiac bypass surgery. And from the get-go during her recovery, she began putting even greater stock into becoming her own health advocate. "For years I had high blood pressure, but I never thought to find out exactly what that meant," she says. "As long as they weren't calling me to do something, I thought I was OK. Now I've learned to be involved and interested in my care."

Linda has also made other lifestyle changes – like regular exercise. "I used to think exercise was just something for people who like to do it. I didn't see the true value of it in my health." Now, daily exercise is a given for Linda. And even more certain is her new perspective on life.

"I can't believe how much better I feel from a year ago," Linda says. "I'm just grateful to be able to keep on living."

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

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Saint Agnes Medical Center | 1303 E. Herndon Ave. Fresno, CA 93720 | 559-450-3000