Heart Attack Survivor

Ann HutchinsonAnn Heart Survivor

Ann first discovered she had heart disease around the age of 53 when she was running in the Governor's Cup Race.  Suddenly, her hands were like ice and she couldn't lift her knees. She finished the race walking and running.  About three weeks later, she went to see her physician. She was sent to a cardiologist and diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and was treated accordingly.
 
Ten years later, she was again competing in a race when she experienced her second episode of heart attack.  This time she was competing in England's Coast to Coast walk and nearly passed out.  She felt like she was sinking and knew something was wrong.  Upon her return, she visited her doctor and was then diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation.  An ultrasound revealed that this was an ongoing worsening condition. 

Afraid of losing her ability to run and stay active, she agreed to a valve replacement.  She also was treated with ablation and cardioversion procedures which deliver an electric shock to a part of the heart that has an irregularly fast heart beat, a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia.
 
Today, at the age of 72 when many people chose to slow down, Ann is back in the race living a full and active lifestyle.  Instead of running, she now takes long walks, and is more conscientious about her diet, eating fewer sweet foods.  Ann attributes much of her recovery success to staying positive about the surgery and treatment plans.  She is also very grateful for the medical knowledge and skills we have today to diagnose and treat heart conditions.  She is appreciative that people of all ages can stay active and alive, despite having heart disorders which used to be fatal much more often. 
 
To Ann, having a positive attitude, gratitude for the medical knowledge we have today and competent nurses and doctors is critical to staying healthy and enjoying life.  Ann encourages everyone to stay active instead of letting inactivity debilitate you, and to look forward to doing the activities you enjoy.  Her commitment to staying active at age 72 is an inspiration to all.

Patient written permission obtained prior to the posting of this story.