Editor Brenda Poe

Editor Brenda Poe

This past month has been a journey that I feared for over 20 years. I suffered a heart attack on Feb. 6 while at work. The day seemed like any other, as I was up early and enjoyed a double shot mocha to get my day started.

But my day didn’t go normally as I started feeling tightness in my chest, experienced severe nausea and hot flashes. I just knew that coffee had been too much and I was having a caffeine overload.

My symptoms continued for almost two hours before my hands started tingling and going numb. That is when I asked for help. 

I was taken immediately by a friend to St. Luke’s Emergency Room in Huntsville where I was in a patient bed within minutes and diagnosed with the heart attack. Things happened so quickly that it seems a blur now. But I remember the care I was given by the local staff and their urgency to get me taken care of. For that, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my sore, achy heart.

I was transported immediately after being given life saving medicine and do not remember much until I woke up hours later. 

In the weeks following, I was instructed to rest and recuperate. I did just that and received a cleaner bill of health to return to work. 

The reason I dreaded 45 for so long is because my mother, may she rest in peace, died suddenly of a coronary at the age of 45. I was 20 years old at the time and it devastated me. I was a young mother. I needed my mom! 

And as I got older, I told anyone who would listen that turning 45 scared me, because I didn’t want to die at 45. I wanted to live to see my children grow up - and now my grandchildren!

That thing I feared the most at 45 happened and just a few months shy of my 46th birthday. 

And let me tell my story - I didn’t have a heart attack because of the stress of my job or life. 

I had a heart attack because as much as I spoke my desire to do better, my health hasn’t been a priority for some time. I knew what I was doing and I know what I have to do to not ever get there again.

So I am thankful to have woken up at all from my emergency medical procedure. I am thoughtful of the actions I have to take to be better to my body. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I have received from my family and friends that I moved home to be around. 

As I learn to make better choices with nutrition, exercise, lifestyle - I do find myself questioning why it took this kind of scare to get me to commit to the changes? Do I really want to be taking 9 medications? What is my end goal? I think a lot of people struggle with these kind of questions. But I am committed to myself at this point to do better and be better - so I can keep living my best life for my family and community.

The phrase #HomeSweetHuntsville has more meaning to me today than it did even a month ago. 

And it goes without saying, but here it is … Thank you, Huntsville! Thank you for always showing your heart, taking care of those in need and making sure that I was still around to help you “Tell the Story!”

Brenda Poe is the Editor of the Huntsville Item. She can be reached at editor@itemonline.com

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