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Paula Stanley, Georgia

by Krystle N. on Friday, September 14, 2012

Paula Stanley, Georgia

I have worked as a nurse for 30 years.  In June 2009, I experienced a heart attack. 

Thankfully, I was at work in vascular surgery when this happened.  A heart catheterization revealed that I have intramyocardial mid lad, meaning that my left anterior descending artery is imbedded into my heart instead of laying on the surface.  The artery squeezed my heart, cutting off the oxygen flow to my heart, and caused me to have a heart attack. 

This diagnosis surprised me because of my good physical condition, running since age 17.  But come to find out, I have been experiencing symptoms since childhood, such as dizziness, chest pain, fainting, nausea and sweating.  I can’t believe I went undiagnosed all those years!  I really think my gender and physical shape played a role in me not being diagnosed sooner.  Fortunately, I have a wonderful cardiologist and nurse practioner who have been holding my hand through the entire experience.  I know not everyone is lucky to have such excellent medical support.  That’s why I want to educate the public and medical field about this condition.  After all, heart disease is the number one killer of women. 
Even after all this, I believe everything happens for a reason.  Today, my 20 year-old daughter is experiencing the same symptoms I once did.  This time, I knew what to look for.  My daughter had a CT scan of the arteries of the heart and everything looks good, but she started an aspirin regimen and is doing great.  I went through many years thinking I was crazy having the symptoms I did.  I am grateful I was able to run all those years, but this should have been diagnosed much sooner.  Because my life was saved, I just might be able to save hers.