From the Heart

Photograph by Luke Severson

I will never forget the day my doctor told me I was having a heart attack. I’d been in the middle of a four-mile run, something I did several times a week, when I started to get a heartburn sensation. I’d always believed a heart attack would bring you to your knees, so I was fairly certain I was fine and could make it the rest of the way home. And I did. But once I was home, I decided to have it checked out. I was met with an urgent, quick reaction and the surprising words: heart attack. It took less than ten minutes for a stent to open the blocked artery. I felt a weight lifted—and relief! It is so easy to be wrong. I have heart disease in my family—my mother had heart bypass surgery—but because I believed I was in good shape, I didn’t think it would happen to me. I was running and bicycling, and I didn’t have high blood pressure. Now, people I know call my heart attack their own eye-opener. They’re reviewing their habits and getting physicals. My sons are too, despite the similar belief we shared: We all exercise, so why would any of us have a heart attack? Today, just months later, I truly feel I’m healthier than I was even fifteen years ago. Doctors saved much of my heart muscle with little to no damage. And if I can learn anything from my mother’s experience, it’s that time is also on my family’s side. She continues to do well twenty years after her bypass. And I’m looking forward to a long, heart-healthy life!

Watch Uhlmann’s story on News 3 at 9’s “Healthwatch” segment on June 17th as part of National Men’s Health Week.

Teri Barr is anchor for “News 3 at 9” on TVW MyMadisonTV and co-anchors “News 3 at 10” on WISC-TV.

Madison Magazine - June 2009
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