Janine Krolikowski Michigan
As an Echocardiographer, I knew all about the heart and heart disease.
I knew all about the heart and heart disease. I worked as an Echocardiographer (heart ultrasound technician) for many years and I lost both of my parents to heart disease at a young age. Despite my knowledge and family history, I shrugged off my own symptoms. One week prior to my heart attack, I felt pain between my shoulder blades. I told myself I must have pulled a muscle when I was doing yard work. Even as the pain began to worsen, the denial grew. But when the pain wrapped all the way around my chest and I became clammy, sweaty and started vomiting, I finally admitted something serious was happening. Even then, instead of immediately going to the hospital, or calling 911, I took an aspirin and slowly began getting ready for the day.
After I took the aspirin, my symptoms subsided enough that I took a shower, did my makeup. Did my hair and got ready to go to the doctor. I called and made an appointment, which was a few hours later. My doctor sent me to the emergency room at our local hospital. Once there, an abnormal blood test led to an ultrasound of my heart, using the same type of machine I had used at this same hospital for many years. That’s when I knew, the minute the technician came in and put the probe down on my chest, I knew immediately that I had had a heart attack.
I received a stent in a main coronary artery, which was found to be 98% blocked. The healing process that began after my heart attack was a bit more difficult than I had thought. I found myself emotionally drained and the realization of what had happened to me, hit home. I was afraid that I was following in my parent’s footsteps. I was basically in the same position they were in and I didn’t think I would make it. Could this the end for me?
Fortunately, I found the spirit to take my life in a different direction. I decided I would take control, exercise and do what the doctors said because I was going to be a survivor. I believe my life took a huge turn after my heart attack. I work daily to make good heart healthy dietary choices, exercise, and reduce stresses. As women, we try to control everything. We often live in the future, worrying about tomorrow, and in the past, second-guessing our choices. We need to stop, focus on today, live in the moment and capture and enjoy what is happening right now. We need to trust ourselves and tap into our instincts, by doing this we can reduce our daily stress, which I believe is one of our major risk factors for disease. I Go Red for all of you lovely ladies out there, my two daughters, husband and my parents!