February 21, 2020
Emily and Megan – Survivor Stories

Emily and Megan – Survivor Stories


(gentle piano music) – So it started out
just like any other day where I was backin’ out and
takin’ the kids to school. And then I was planning on going to work and had my day kinda lined up. I think really the most beautiful detail of that day that stands out to me is that when I was backing
out of our driveway to take the kids to school,
my gaslight came on. So I drove about two miles to their school and dropped them off, and
then went around the block. And I was feeling kinda anxious. So I was breathing deep, but
I pulled into the gas station, put it in park, and then
completely blacked out. – I woke up a little bit
before my alarm went off. That side was numb, like my arm was numb. So I was like, “Well,
probably just fell asleep.” So I got outta bed and
went to the bathroom. I started kind of like dry heaving. I was like, “That’s kind
of weird, but whatever.” So I went to the room and started getting dressed and ready for the day. I ended up falling down onto the ground. And I was kind of like laying there, like “Laura,” my roommate Laura, “please don’t wake up right now.” Like this is gonna be so embarrassing. So I’m laying on the floor,
still trying to get dressed, because my brain’s thinking, “I have things I have to do today.” – The SCAD, the type
of heart attack I had, your arteries are like pages in a book. And one of my pages pulled away, which caused a tear in a flap. And platelets in the
blood got in behind there, and the blood clot is
what completely blocked my LAD or widow-maker artery. I didn’t know that there was
any other kind of heart attack besides the plaque that
you always hear about. And this kind of heart
attack most often occurs in young, otherwise healthy women. And I have read a lot of things online, other women who maybe went to a doctor and they were told that they
were just having anxiety. Feeling anxious is actually
a sign that women experience when they’re having a heart attack. A feeling that is unsettling
and something’s not right. And there is no amount of
chest pain that is ever normal. You should absolutely get it checked out, even if you think you’re overreacting. – I feel as if I could have
avoided the whole situation if I hadn’t of ignored my headaches. ‘Cause I ignored them for
quite a long time at first. And then I talked to my mom about it, and she goes, “Well, do you
wanna get it checked out?” And I said, “No, no, it’s fine. “It’s not that big of a deal.” So she ended up asking me
a couple different times, like, “Are you sure you don’t
wanna get this checked out?” And I was like, “Oh, I’m fine, I’m fine.” So if I would have gone
in before the blood clots had gotten that large, then
I could have possibly avoided having a stroke at all. But I would just suggest that everyone familiarize themselves
with the signs of stroke and just with what a stroke is, ’cause I didn’t know what it was. So that’s important. – I absolutely think we need more funding for women’s research in this field. It’s not that it’s happening more, we’re just becoming more aware of it. The American Heart Association
published their first paper on this kind of heart attack this year. And Mayo Clinic, I believe, is doing their first study and
trial on it right now. So it’s been happening, but
they’re now really trying to figure out why this
occurs in young women. So yeah, more dollars to
understand and to educate doctors to know what they’re looking for. Because our symptoms are
different than men’s. – I think that people should support the American Heart Association just because you guys are sending out so much information about this. Like, I had no idea of what a stroke was. And I had no idea it had
anything to do with the heart. And so it’s very important
that people know these things and know the signs because
it can happen to anyone. Like, no one would’ve
expected it to happen to me because I was an athlete, and I was 18, and I was perfectly healthy. But it still happened to me. And so if Laura hadn’t known
the little bit about it that she did, then I probably
wouldn’t be here today, or at least not in the same way that I am.

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