Two Cy-Fairians with heart disease remind females of the risks and symptoms
Written by Gail G. Collins | Select photography by Sara Isola
Cypress, TX News – Veronica Sanchez didn’t know she had a problem until she was admitted to the hospital with a heart attack. The 51-year-old had recently passed her annual check-up, when she woke in the night with chest pressure and nausea. She crawled to the bathroom, and then, watched some television, hoping to feel better. When Sanchez’s left arm went numb, she alerted her husband, who took her to the emergency room. There, she learned that most women don’t wake up during such an episode, and this saved her life.
Sanchez and Sowa encourage other women to make their annual heart check-ups a priority
In 2010, Pam Sowa had an accident that required rotator cuff surgery. This revived some unresolved heart history. Nearly 60 years old by then, she’d received conflicting information for decades from doctors about how to handle a congenital heart problem – bicuspid aortic valve. She had only two, instead of the usual three valves. That diagnosis came during her fourth pregnancy, after she had been treated for a viral infection.
Over the years, Sowa was on and off medication, suffering episodes of plummeting blood pressure and struggling to catch her breath. Eventually, tests concluded she had developed valvular heart disease and congestive heart failure. Her health failed so rapidly, Sowa was added to the heart transplant list.
As a bridge in 2011, she had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted, which assured a regular heartbeat with resuscitation, if required. Sowa surprised everyone however. She improved quickly, and now often spends time playing with her grandchild. She is thankful for every day. (more…)