Most of us think, “It won’t happen to me.” I like to exercise, eat healthy foods. I don’t smoke. But I was no exception. I am Linda Poorman, a wellness associate/health coach/personal trainer. And I had a heart attack.
I was finally “fixed!” I had no thoughts that the surgery wouldn’t go well or that I may even die. I had complete faith in my surgeon and all of the other medical staff. I actually had a smile on my face from the time that I was readmitted until I went home.
I could now move toward healing and getting back into my routine of working out, running my household, and getting back to work. There was no need for negativity, only gratitude for everything.
I recovered at my parents’ house and started walking immediately after being released from the hospital. Of course, once a mother, always a mother — and my mother worried about me constantly. I had to convince her that the doctors encouraged this activity.
However, the more I’d walk, the more discomfort I had in my chest. I ran into a neighbor who asked me how I was feeling. I told him “great!” I was up to walking four miles about four to five times a week. I told him I was still experiencing pain, but I never had open heart surgery before — I thought it was normal.
Early one morning, I woke up having to go to the bathroom. As I was sitting there (sorry for the visual!), the pain became severe and I started sweating. Every time I took a breath, I felt a stabbing sensation under my breast bone. The doctors later called it a “rub.” That is when I called my son and asked him to take me to the ER.
The doctors at our local hospital thought it best to send me directly to Geisinger. It turned out I had developed acute pericarditis — the membrane around my heart became inflamed.
After another three days in the hospital, I was released with medication and instructions to take it easy. Taking it easy is not something that I really know how to do! I rested and started walking slowly. I went to cardiac rehabilitation for about four weeks. This was advised more for “peace of mind” — I’d know how hard I could eventually push myself and not be fearful that something was going to happen to me.
I feel that faith, support from family and friends, positive attitude and the care from all of the nurses brought me through all of this with flying colors.
After just four short months, I participated in a 5K walk/run for the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. I told myself that I would just walk, but I ended up jogging and came in second in my age group! My heart event had a happy ending.
On Sept. 28, I’ll be proudly walking (or maybe running!) in the Centre County Heart Walk in State College as one of the event’s Heart Heroes. For more information on how you can join the walk or make a contribution, look for my team, “Linda’s Heartthrobs,” at www.heart.org/centrewalk.
If you’re not already living a healthy lifestyle, start today. Start eating healthy, get up off the couch and start moving to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and lower your blood sugar. Because it can happen to you.