Lynn Dittrich had become keenly aware and a little concerned about a shortness of breath and pain in the left side of her chest. Yet even more acute was her commitment to take her 14-year-old granddaughter on a two-week trip to Egypt for the holidays, and make it a memorable experience.
She didn’t want the memory to be that “Grandma had a heart attack in Egypt,” so she vowed to be careful. She attributed her discomfort to an earlier case of anemia and to stress. She felt neither of those needed to affect her vacation. Except the more walking she did in Egypt, the worse her symptoms became. She returned and made an appointment with her doctor.
“The doctor thought I had fluid in my lungs and noticed my swollen ankles, so he put me on Lasix® for the water retention,” says Dittrich, 65. “I had no symptoms for the next couple of days, but that Saturday night, I was out with friends and passed out. I ended up in the ER, where they did an EKG, which led them to schedule an angiogram and perhaps an angioplasty. They found so much blockage — 90 percent in one artery — that they skipped the angioplasty and scheduled triple bypass surgery.”
After the surgery, Dittrich committed to her recovery. She began Community Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program and shifted to a healthier diet.
“I should have made these lifestyle changes a long time ago,” she says. “I’ve lost 28 pounds and I feel great. I just graduated from the Cardiac Rehabilitation program. It was wonderful; everyone was so supportive and encouraging. I didn’t have a heart attack, but I could have. And now I’m making sure I won’t.”