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Share Your Story: Jodi Jackson

by Christy D. on Monday, January 6, 2014

Jodi Jackson Kansas

I suffered a massive heart attack on October 13, 2011 at the age of 42. This came as a complete surprise. Although I knew I wasn't the healthiest person, I didn't think that I was that unhealthy. I had just had a full physical, my total cholesterol was only 134 and I had no family history of heart disease. That day, I started feeling bad on the way home from work. By the time I got home, I knew that I was really sick and needed to call an ambulance. I had a bad heaviness in my chest, a searing pain in my entire lower jaw that felt like my teeth would rattle out of my mouth and a horrible headache.

An ambulance took me to the ER and when we arrived, there was a fabulous cardiac team waiting on me. I never saw the ER staff. The doc took one look at the heart monitor and said "This is the real McCoy. You are having a heart attack and we are going to surgery right now."

Once in the cath lab, they discovered I had a complete occlusion of my LAD. They placed three drug eluting stents. I had a very good cardiologist, the hospital was fabulous and the surgery was a success. I later came to find out that this type of heart attack is known as the widow maker and only 20% of women that suffer this kind of heart attack survive. For the other 80%, the first noticeable sign is death. My cardiologist told me that I was only alive because I did everything right starting with calling an ambulance very soon after the onset of my symptoms. The time between my onset of symptoms and having stents placed in the cath lab was about 60 minutes. This resulted in very little permanent heart damage. He told me that if I had lain down to see if I felt better, I would have died in my sleep.

I did well until May of 2012 when I began having chest pain when I exercised. A trip to the cardiologist and subsequent nuclear medicine stress test revealed that I was suffering from restenosis. I had additional blockage caused by scar tissue build up from the original stent placement. This required the placement of an additional two drug eluting stents inside the original three stents.

I am so very fortunate to have survived my heart attack and am doing very well today. My last trip to the cardiologist in December of 2013 showed a normal EKG and sonogram. My blood work all came back excellent and I don’t have to go back to see her for another year. I now volunteer with a fabulous group of ladies as a Go Red Ambassador with the Kansas City chapter of the American Heart Association. I am also an advocate for heart healthy legislation through the "You’re the Cure" community. It is my mission to help educate other women about heart disease so that they know the dangers of the number one killer of women.