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Straight talk about heart disease from real women

Learn from their experience and protect your own health
Tracy Bawtinheimer wears a purple jacket surrounded by trees

Tracy Bawtinheimer is living with heart failure.

Be aware

Joannie Rochette: Lost her mother, Thérèse, to a heart attack.

"Women often don't put themselves first. My mom was definitely like that. After she passed away we found a piece of paper in her wallet that outlined some of the symptoms she was experiencing. She had never talked to us about them. She had pain in her left shoulder, numbness in her hands, blurry vision and she was tired all the time.

If I can help one other woman who is having similar symptoms or who is forgetting her own health, I feel like I will have done something for my mom. She was 55 years old. Heart disease can happen at any age."

Tracy Bawtinheimer: Living with heart failure

"I had a lack of true understanding of what chronic meant and what heart failure was, and what all these things would mean to me eventually. In my head I believed that I would just get back to work and back to life and everything would be fine."

<p>Annie Richard is living with heart disease</p>

Annie Richard is living with heart disease

Listen to your body

Nancy Bradley:  Was sent home from hospital after reporting heart attack symptoms 

"I would recommend that women be persistent. You know your own body; a person needs to follow their own gut feeling. Looking back, maybe I should have insisted more to the ER doctor the first time I went. I knew there was something wrong with my heart. I just knew it."

Annie Richard: Living with heart disease

"After I woke up sweating and nauseated, with pain in my back, neck, arm and jaw, I rationalized my symptoms. I didn’t want to wake up my family. I took more Aspirin, went back to bed and waited for the pain to pass. At 39, you’re not prepared for a heart attack. Unfortunately, heart disease can strike anyone, anytime."

Reach out to other women

Patti Mersereau-Leblanc: Had a heart attack

"It’s incredible how much healing happens when you hear other people’s stories."

Suzanne Arnold: Living with heart failure

"I was surprised how much I got out of cardiac rehabilitation. I was scared and depressed and I feel better now. I feel more empowered."

<p>Beth Luhowy attended cardiac rehabilitation while recovering from a heart attack</p>

Beth Luhowy attended cardiac rehabilitation while recovering from a heart attack

Take time to care for yourself

Beth Luhowy: Attended cardiac rehabilitation while recovering from a heart attack

"I felt very selfish doing something strictly for me. It was only going through the cardiac rehabilitation program that I realized I would be more selfish if I didn’t do this. I’m not going to be good for anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself."

Esther Sanderson: Received a heart transplant

"Living a healthy lifestyle depends upon living life in a wholistic manner, taking care of the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional parts of oneself."

Annie Richard: Living with heart disease

"The illness has given me the ability to assess my life and set my boundaries. I feel good; I am very happy. The disease will always be there, but I'm learning to live with it. Contrary to what many believe, including at first myself, there is life after a heart attack."