Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Carrie Vincent is a wife, a mother and woman on a mission. On this day, she is holding her first "heartwarming party," telling a group of women the chilling details of the day she nearly lost her life. "I'm here today because 16 months ago today, I had a heart attack--a massive heart attack-- just five days after giving birth to her first child. My God, I was 31 years old. 31 year olds don't have heart attacks."
And most people don't think many women do either. Dr. Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic said, "It is the number one killer of women, but they don't know it, and their health care providers don't know it." Nearly a half million women die of heart disease every year. And Hayes says women and their doctors often miss the signs. So, the Mayo Clinic, and a group called Womenheart are training an army of messengers.
The women hold parties giving survivors a look at the medical equipment that saved their lives like pacemakers and tiny stents that now open their clogged arteries. These women are also learning to use the most powerful weapon they have against heart disease--their personal stories. "I was coughing and coughing." Rosalind Taylor's heart failure was repeatedly misdiagnosed. "When I think about it, I really get mad and I don't want this to happen to another woman."
Neither does Karla Goetting, who lost 150 pounds after her diagnosis--to reduce her risk. "I'm trying to live a different life. I'm trying not to repeat the mistakes I've seen lived out before me." Telling their stories, these women say--makes them feel less like victims. "I feel like a conqueror. I can talk about it and I might even save someone's life talking about it. "
That is what Carrie Vincent is trying to do as well-- one livingroom at a time.
Does anyone have heard disease in their family? I do. Yikes! Maybe I need to go to a class!