When she was 52 years old, Beverlee George-Lamswood experienced some chest pain, mostly while at work.
After three incidents of particularly strong chest pain (while shoveling, laying in bed, and vacuuming), she decided to go to the hospital. Her doctor told her that “it looked like I had three minor heart attacks in the last week and a half.” A dye test showed that one of her arteries was 100% blocked and she underwent a procedure to have a stent inserted into this blocked blood vessel.
Beverlee has a family history of heart disease and was therefore considered to be at high risk for a heart attack. Despite her family history, she explained that “everybody I know was shocked” because she wasn’t overweight, ate healthy most of the time and was fairly physically active.
Since her heart attacks, Beverlee is “even more strict and careful now with my diet and trying to get the proper amount of exercise.” Although she always generally ate healthy, she says she would have “informed myself a little bit more” about things such as reading food labels and finding heart healthy recipes.
I just want to be there for them, I want to be healthy for them.
Today, Beverlee encourages her whole family to make heart healthy lifestyle choices now rather than being forced to make them later by an experience such as a heart attack. She is also making an effort to slow down her lifestyle, taking control of the stressors in her life and not allowing herself to feel rushed. Beverlee also participated in the cardio rehabilitation program and encourages other women with heart conditions to do the same; as she put it, “just being with other people who have had similar experiences is a big encouragement.”
Beverlee’s faith motivates her to live a healthy life; as she put it, she wants to “be the best and do my very best for God, for my family, for my fellow man, and for myself.” She also tries to lead by example for her family, including her grandchildren; as Beverlee explained, “I just want to be there for them, I want to be healthy for them.” She fondly remembers being close with her own grandmother and would love for her own 13 month old granddaughter Aravis to say “I’m going over to mamie’s, I love spending time with her” when she’s a teenager.
Beverlee also wants to feel better for herself, believing that she can only take care of others if she can care for herself first.
Beverlee encourages all women to educate themselves about the importance of reducing stress, eating healthy, and exercising regularly to their heart health. As a heart attack survivor herself, she offers her encouragement to other women who are living with a heart condition. She wants these women to know that “they can have a healthier life. We're not going to live forever on this earth, but yet we can live a life that's enjoyable, happy and not controlled by stress.” She encourages women to stick to the heart healthy lifestyle choices that they make “for their own health, for their own family, and for the people that they love.”
Although Beverlee had a bit of a hard time accepting her heart condition, she “turned it around into a positive thing.” She explained that “I’ve got so much to be thankful for and I feel so blessed.”