2017 Bismarck Go Red For Women Survivor Nancy Spilde

5 days ago
Be inspired by our 2017 Bismarck Go Red For Women Featured Survivor, Nancy Spilde.

English subtitle

I shouldn't have had a heart attack.
I have no family history.
I belong to the gym and
exercise three days a week.
I walked, I'm a kayaker, we
do snowshoeing in the winter.
I'm really active and play
with the kids, you know,
just a very active person.
Eat well, not, you know, you
could always lose 10 pounds,
but I don't have a huge
amount of weight to lose.
So I had ovarian cancer
when I was 43 years old,
and went through chemo and
big surgery and all that,
and recovered completely from that,
and I thought if something happens to me,
that would probably be
what was gonna happen.
So, I don't, it wasn't on
my radar screen at all.
I got up and my habit is
to do a little reading
in the morning, so I was in my robe,
drinking a cup of coffee and reading,
and I started getting a pressure achiness
between my shoulder blades,
and I had a history of back issues,
so I thought, "Oh, it's probably
just the way I'm sitting,"
so you know, got up and
moved around a little bit,
and it didn't help.
And then, I got a pain between my breasts,
and it wasn't around my whole chest.
It was between my shoulder
blades and between the breasts
and it was this heaviness,
this pressure feeling,
and so then I thought,
"Oh, this is weird,"
so I got up and moved around again,
and then I started getting nauseated.
Good grief, what is going on?
So laid down on the
couch, didn't help at all,
and then I got kind of
anxious, a little diaphoretic,
you know, sweaty, hot and cold,
and I was in the nursing
field for 40 years,
and I figured something is
wrong here and I had my iPad,
and I looked up symptoms for
a heart attack in a woman,
and well, doggone it if most
of them weren't on there.
So, I got Steven and I said,
"You know, I might be
having a heart attack."
Just one look at her, I could tell
that she obviously was not feeling well,
so it was, it wasn't a
hard sell to be, you know,
we need to go to the ER
and get this checked out.
Being a nurse, I should know
you take some baby
aspirin when that happens.
Didn't even think about it.
So crazy when it's you, it's different.
So on the way in, I called the hospital
and told them we were coming,
and then we were talking and I said,
"You know, if this is nothing,
"we're not gonna tell
anybody that we went in,"
and I've been working
so long in, you know,
in OBGYN primarily, so women
came in in false labor.
They were always embarrassed
about it, so that's we thought.
"Well, we'll see what's going on
"before we let anybody know,"
and then we arrived at the emergency room.
And then they started, you
know, the EKG, the X-rays,
the lab work, the enzyme
tests to determine
if you had a heart attack
and all that kind of thing.
We were talking, we were nervous.
We were holding hands hoping
that everything would be okay
and wondering, "Should
we tell the kids or not?"
And then Tony, our son, called
while we were in the emergency
room and I picked it up,
and I don't know why, but I did,
and of course, hear his
voice and start to cry
and asks, "Mom, what's going on?"
And so I go, "Oh, I can't talk,"
so Steven was talking to him,
and our grandson happened
to be in the room
and he knew something was going on
and he heard that grandma was sick
and we're very close,
and he went into his room
and just, "Grandma can't be
sick, grandma can't be sick."
You know, it was just
heartbreaking to hear that.
Basically what she had
described her symptoms at
at that point was chest pain in her back
that kind of radiated
out into the shoulders.
She had some sweating, and
then she went on Google
and looked at her symptoms
and basically with that,
the first, the top hit that came back
was coronary artery disease,
and we find that a lot in women
where it's not always this
mid-sternal chest pain
that radiates into the
jaw and to the left arm.
Basically we drew enzymes on her and found
that she had an elevated troponin,
which is a very specific protein
that's released in the
heart when there's damage.
She also had a little big of EKG change,
but she was stable at the time also,
so she wasn't having any chest pain,
and then we basically took her
to the heart catheterization lab
and what we do is we
access the right wrist
or the right groin and slide
a tube up into the heart
and inject dye and we
look at it at that point
to see if there's any blockages.
She did have some blockage.
She had some unstable plaques,
and they were very distal,
meaning far down in the heart.
My son and his wife, Rachel
and Steven, were gone,
and the nurse came in and
said the enzyme levels showed
that I had had a heart attack,
and I was still thinking,
"Eh, this should be something
else," but no, it was,
and I kind of lost it for a minute there,
and she was wonderful.
She just sat with me and held my hand
and then, my family all
came in and I told them,
"I had a heart attack."
So, at that point we
recommended, you know,
medical management, and we
treat with statin therapy,
which is an anti-cholesterol
drug basically.
It works in the liver and when
we decrease the cholesterol,
then we decrease
inflammation in the artery,
and that would be from
an acute basis like hers,
and also just on an outpatient basis
we have people coming into the clinic
where that's what we're looking at doing
and we're trying to
stabilize plaques basically.
Well, I think everybody was in shock.
Well, it's not something
you expect to hear
as Nancy described her history.
About the last thing I'd think of
in terms of a medical issue for her,
and of course, when you hear heart attack,
it's, "Well, how is this
going to be playing out
"the rest of this minute,
this hour, this day,"
and you know, going forward,
but as time goes by,
you, you know, the news
was encouraging, you know,
right along, almost from the beginning.
With her, we sent her to cardiac rehab
and we do that to monitor her
going forward for the future
so we can monitor symptoms
and see how she does.
We wanna control the risk factors.
Like I said, you can't control your age,
you can't control your
gender or anything like that
or even your family history,
but we can control blood pressure,
we can control her cholesterol.
We can try to control her eating habits,
which are all things that contribute
to her specific lifestyle, basically.
I'm, I'm doin' real well, yes.
After I left the hospital
and I was cleared
to start cardiac rehab, I did that,
and then am back at my gym and doing that,
and then I developed this back problem,
so I really had to cut
down on my exercises,
but as soon as that's
resolved, I'll be back again.
I knew about Go Red for years just from,
again, being in the medical profession,
and I had my little red dress,
and we always were encouraged to make sure
women identified, you
know, heart problems,
but I was never involved in it at all,
and then when I had my heart attack,
I was asked to share my story,
and now, I am so, this group of people
that I have met are
absolutely outstanding.
Their enthusiasm and
dedication to get the word out
about heart health is just inspiring.
Number one, it can happen to anybody.
You don't have to have the big red flag
that you're at risk for heart disease
'cause it can happen to anybody,
and number two, listen to your body.
I've always believed that.
That's so important, and I
knew something wasn't right.
I could've ignored it
very easily, thinking,
"Oh, it's probably just this,"
and instead of having a mild attack,
I could've had a really big one next time,
so I think those are the main things.
Know what's going on in
your body and pay attention.
The afternoon that I had my heart attack
and had been admitted to the hospital
and was in the bed, the kids had called
and said, "We're gonna
come up and see you,"
and I thought, "Okay, what can I do
"so that grandma doesn't look so scary?"
I put on my sweats and my shirt
and I knew about when they were coming
so I walked down the hall
and I met them in the hall
and I tried to look normal,
and we were sitting on
the bed then in my room
and Will, William and
Genevieve were sitting there
and holding my hand, and
it was pretty precious,
and then, "How do you feel,
grandma, how do you feel?"
And I said, "You know,
I feel so much better
"when you're here holding my hand.
"You're making my heart happy."
And Will said, "Well, I'll
just sit here, grandma,
"as long as you want me to."
It was so precious, and Genevieve
is holding my other hand,
and she was six and she's
just, like, "What can I do?"
The number one thing in
my life is my family,
and I have, I had an
optimistic outlook on life.
That's just who I am, and I have a family
that really treasures me, and
I just want women to be aware,
there are people that
need you and love you
and you would be really
missed if you weren't there
and didn't take care of
yourself, so I think that's it.
I'm very optimistic about what lies ahead.
(uptempo music)