One out of three women will die of heart disease. One out of five women will be impacted by heart disease in their lifetimes. If you ask me one, is one woman to many. Many believe that heart disease and stroke only affect the elderly, sadly this isn’t the case. The thing about Storkes is this: “they are a thing, they have no idea how old you are, or the color of your skin or your weight, they strike when you least expect it.” Stroke is not an elderly thing, it’s an every woman thing and they are 80% preventable.
My stroke was the direct result of a hormonal contraceptive. I had gone to my annual exam and displayed all the signs and symptoms of a blood clot and my doctor ignored me…….. Yes you read that right, she ignored the signs and told me to drink some water and walk more. Her medical advice seemed half hearted and rushed. Something in my gut told me to get a second opinion, I never sought that second opinion, instead one week to the day I drove myself to the ER.
I drove myself through rush hour traffic to the ER and that is where my second story began. I was fighting for every breath I could muster and fading fast. The CT scan revealed a clot the size of a 10cent gumball blocking the main valve that connects the left lung to my heart. Blood was barely getting past the clot, my heart was in sinus tachycardia, and my blood pressure was rising, all ingredients for a perfect storm. A storm that lead me to have a stroke right in the ER, clot busters were given to me and blood thinners were started, and I walked out of the hospital four days later.
I survived the unthinkable, only 1 out of 5 survive a pulmonary embolism and walking away unscathed from a stroke is a miracle in itself. What hurts the most is that all of this could have been prevented, there was no need for me to die almost five days before my 27th birthday. My pulmonary embolism and stroke were 100% preventable. All the doctor had to do that day was listen to me, a simple test called d-dimer could have identified the clot before it reached my lungs and my stroke would never have happened. Yet, I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, in a moment of disaster my purpose was born.
I fight for all of the women who were asked to leave the table. For those women who never got a chance to say I do. For those women who never got to watch their children grow up. For those women who never got to become mothers and for the survivors who will never hold a baby of their own. For those who never got to hold their nieces and nephews.
Thousands of women’s lives are being cut to short. Thousands of children are being cheated out of there mothers, aunties and grandmas. Not to mention think of all the men who never got a chance to meet their soulmate. We can change this! You and I can change this, by simply going Red. When we go Red we raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women. When we go red we raise funds for life saving research. Mostly when we go red we save lives. Life is why and no woman deserves to fight alone.
If you need proof that “Go Red” matters, look at Sophia and Jack, they will tell you “it matters.” My family will tell you “it matters!” My story could have ended diffrently, Sharon would have picked out an urn instead of a 27th themed Halloween birthday cake for her daughter. Jammie’s children would be learning about their auntie through photographs and stories. Because of the American Heart Association’s life saving mission I got that 27th themed birthday cake and I get to be Super Auntie!
So yes Go Red does matter and it does make a difference! Please join us and go red for the women in your lives on Friday February 5, 2016.
Being an Auntie is Why I Go Red