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Share Your Story: Velda McMorris

by Christy D. on Monday, January 6, 2014

Velda McMorris Missouri

I was 44 when I had a heart attack. At work on a Friday, I began experiencing pain in both arms. After a couple of hours, I called my primary care physician's office and asked to speak to a nurse. When I told her I was having severe arm pain and I thought it might be my heart, she told me that I was too young for a heart attack. I jokingly said, "You know I am very overweight and have high blood pressure?" She made an appointment for the following Monday. I wanted to believe it was not heart related so I went home to rest. As my symptoms kept getting worse, my husband ended up driving me to the local ER the next day. I was seen immediately and received excellent care. Angioplasty was performed to clear blockages and I was hospitalized for a few days.

After leaving the hospital, I enrolled in cardiac rehab. It ended up saving my life. I was the youngest person there by at least a decade, or more, and only one other woman in the group. Because of the encouragement of the nurses, I hung in there and continued to go routinely. The rehabilitation helped me to form habits of healthy eating and exercise that I continue to this day, almost 10 years later. Since my heart attack, I have lost close to 100 pounds, exercise daily, eat healthy foods and advocate for other women.

I am a Go Red Ambassador for the American Heart Association in Kansas City along with a Women Heart Champion. I also advocate for heart healthy legislation through the "You’re the Cure" network community. As a volunteer, I enjoy speaking to groups about women and heart health. I also visit female cardiac patients to provide them with encouragement and support.