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Advocate Spotlight: Cathy Seitz, Pennsylvania

by Melissa B. on Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cathy Seitz Pennsylvania

On January ‎4‎th, ‎1994‎, I suffered from a heart attack‎. ‎I was only ‎33 ‎years old‎. ‎My youngest child was born three months earlier‎. ‎I was holding him ‎and feeding him a bottle when I felt shortness of breath and a little chest discomfort‎. ‎Then my arm started to ache. I thought he was getting ‎heavy, so I finished feeding him and laid him down‎.  ‎And that is how my story begins‎.

I thought I had a toothache, I thought I was having an ‎anxiety attack, I thought I was going to get sick, I thought of everything except a heart attack‎. ‎My mom called, I told her that I wasn't feeling right. She said to call the ER and to call her right back‎. ‎The ER said that it sounded like angina and that I should come over to get checked‎. ‎Till this ‎day, I think my mom saved my life‎. ‎I would not have gone to the hospital--in fact, I thought it was pretty ridiculous‎.

When I arrived at the ER, they took me right back and started hooking me up to IV, blood test, etc‎. ‎I kept thinking that I was just having an ‎anxiety attack and couldn't get it under control‎. I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about and it was making me nervous. Then a cardiologist came in to talk to me, he said that I was having a heart attack. He gave me ‎nitroglycerin and a shot of TPA‎. ‎I laid there thinking, am I going to die here in the ER‎? ‎I knew nothing about heart attacks except what you see on ‎TV: man grabs his chest, falls to the floor, the end‎. ‎He tried to reassure me that I was going to be just fine, but ‎I didn't believe him‎. ‎He is still ‎my cardiologist today, ‎19 ‎years later‎.

The sad part is that until last May, I didn't know what to ‎believe. Because of the so called ‎"‎rare‎" ‎heart disease, Spontaneous Coronary Artery Disection ‎(‎SCAD‎)‎, that I was diagnosed with was never researched. I was told that ‎most people do not survive a SCAD‎. ‎I didn't know anything and couldn't find any information about SCAD‎. ‎My doctors explained that ‎it is very rare and believe it is caused by hormones during pregnancy and suggested that if I didn't get  pregnant again, SCAD would not ‎happen again‎.

18 ‎years later, I decided to check for information again and I found it‎! ‎I found a SCAD Survivor Group on Facebook‎. ‎I learned so much this past year ‎about SCAD I feel like I woke up from a bad dream‎. ‎The group consists of approximately ‎300 ‎people world-wide, mostly young, healthy women, Not all ‎due to pregnancy.

‎I am on a mission to spread awareness‎. ‎Research at the Mayo Clinic is underway and has begun to unravel ‎the mystery of SCAD‎. ‎To learn more about SCAD, go to www‎.‎scadresearch‎.‎org‎. ‎I believe this research will prove that this is not as rare as ‎previously believed to be and will help save many lives in the future‎. ‎This is just the beginning‎. ‎Thanks for reading my story and Bless Your ‎Heart‎!