Angie MacCaull never expected to experience heart disease: she is active, not overweight, not a smoker and is only 45. In fact, she has no risk factors.
Her on-again/off-again symptoms were at first thought to be her gallbladder. Then she was diagnosed with acid reflux within days of embarking on a cruise out of Miami, and was cleared by the attending physician to travel. But when she got to Miami, Angie began experiencing frightening symptoms. She felt severe pain and heaviness in her chest, shortness of breath, and aching in both of her arms. This prompted her husband to insist they return home to Summerside, PEI.
Back in PEI, Angie underwent stress tests and a dye test that revealed eight blockages in her coronary arteries. She subsequently underwent triple bypass surgery and the replacement of her aortic root. The surgery didn’t totally resolve the cardiac issues; she still has some partial blockages.
Angie’s experience highlights the importance of understanding and recognizing the symptoms of heart disease in women. When it comes to heart disease and stroke, too many women are under-diagnosed — a problem highlighted by the Heart & Stroke #TimeToSeeRed campaign.
Angie MacCaull and her husband, Mike.
Fortunately Angie has been making a good recovery. She has participated in cardiac rehabilitation and is doing everything she can to ensure a return to good health – and to work. Ironically, she works with Health PEI in Occupational Health and Safety; her job is primarily to help people return to work after an illness or injury. “I never thought I’d be working on getting myself back to work!”