I want to write tonight and tell you the story of my friendship with my heart sister Julie.
In the spring of 2013, I attended the Go Red For Women luncheon put on by the American Heart Association in Kansas City. I was sitting at a table with new volunteers and I met Julie and her sister Jamie. After the luncheon, Julie wanted to know more about my story so we talked for sometime and I told her to read my blog. I asked her about her story and all she could say is she had an event. Of course, I am thinking to myself what the hell is an event? Being me, I asked outright if she had a heart attack. She hummed an hoed and said she had a stent. Still not having an answer to the heart attack question I said heart attack or no? She responded with a little heart attack. She also went on to explain that her heart attack was in 2010 and she had never told anyone outside of her immediate family. What? This was so foreign to me. We were so opposite. Me? I was posting to Facebook from the CCU the day after my STEMI. I couldn’t believe it and I guess I needed to know that other people couldn’t believe it either.
An odd pairing, Julie and I became fast friends. We did the Color Run that year:
We started being concert buddies and our first together was Styx and Foreigner at my favorite venue, Starlight:
We have done heart walks:
After this heart walk in 2014, I put together a video and I had to tag her as Heart Disease Survivor instead of Heart Attack Survivor. She still hadn’t told anyone! I didn’t say anything though, it wasn’t my place. I felt like she could do so much education if she would say heart attack in public. It wasn’t my decision though.
Then, all of a sudden the next fall, she was ready and in American Heart month 2015 she did live local TV! I cried when I watched her. The only other person that truly understood how far she had come was probably her sister. I went to Heart and Stroke Ball with the new-found heart attack survivor and then the 2015 Go Red For Women Luncheon:
Then, this last fall, she was named a National Spokeswoman for the American Heart Association! I was so proud of my friend! I knew if she would just say the words she would have so much to offer and could change the face of heart disease education. I was right!
Her AHA story here.
Tonight, another moment that made me so proud of my friend. She sent me a text this afternoon to tell me she would be on the NBC Nightly News (click for video.).
Oh my gosh! My friend that couldn’t say heart attack in April of 2013 was telling her story to the whole nation tonight! My heart bursts with happiness for her!
Julie and I were an unlikely pair in the beginning but we were more alike than we knew. I am forever thankful for my heart attack because it has brought me to women like Julie! Our friendship continues and we bond over other things like our love of 80’s music–in just a few short weeks we kick off the summer concert season at Starlight with Boston and Paul Simon in the same week! I know we will have a lifetime friendship and I look forward to it!
As stated on the NBC Nightly News story tonight, silent heart attacks are becoming not so out of the norm and they are deadly! Heart attack and stroke do not discriminate– please learn the symptoms and never, ever ignore them!
May is American Stroke month.
In an it’s a really small world news story this week, a post from Strike Out Stroke popped up in my Facebook news feed that proves that heart attacks and stroke do not discriminate. One of the doctors that worked with a practice I billed for in my former corporate life (My Decision to Leave) had a stroke. I tell you this because I preach it. Heart disease and stroke DO NOT discriminate. It affects nurses who are primary stroke coordinators (See Teri’s Story-Stroke in Her 40’s) and it happens to doctors who are usually the caregivers and not the sick ones in our minds. (See Survivor to throw out first pitch for Strike Out Stroke night at Reds game.) If it can happen to nurses and doctors in their 40’s, it can happen to any of you! As American Stroke Month winds down, know the signs and symptoms and know how to act F.A.S.T.