"I now realize how fragile life is"
Between teaching 22 adult school classes per week and being a full-time mother, wife and homemaker, the last thing 41-year-old Lynnette had time for was a heart attack. So when she began to feel heaviness and squeezing in her chest while pushing her grocery cart, she prayed it would go away.
But her symptoms persisted, as did the little voice inside that was telling her something was wrong. So Lynnette's husband rushed her to the hospital where multiple tests confirmed there was damage to her heart muscle. Still, Lynnette didn't appreciate the severity of her condition. "In the back of my mind, I still believed they were going to release me and just have me follow up with a cardiologist," Lynnette said.
Instead she was admitted to the hospital where she underwent cardiac bypass surgery to fix a 90 percent blockage in her main coronary artery. "We tend to think of heart disease as an 'older person's disease,'" Lynnette explains, "I never thought it would happen to me, especially not at age 41."
Despite having a family history of heart disease, a total cholesterol level of 303, and a high level of stress, Lynnette – like many women – was too busy caring for everyone else to worry about her own health.
But open heart surgery has forced her to reevaluate her priorities. Thanks to the support of her family, friends and cardiac rehabilitation nurses at Saint Agnes, Lynnette now exercises regularly, eats healthier, and – perhaps most importantly – focuses on finding balance in her life.
"Life is just a bunch of moments strung together," Lynnette says. "You have to make them count." And that's exactly what she plans to do.
For more information about Saint Agnes Heart & Vascular Services, click here.
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