Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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February 7, 2014

Wake-up Call: Hall knows now heart disease nothing to ignore

February is American Heart Month

(Continued)

Corsicana —

•••

Did you know?

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association (heart.org, goredforwomen.org). February is Heart Month, and Friday is Go Red for Women Day.

•••

She was stabilized, flown to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, and after tests learned one of her arteries was 100 percent blocked. She had another 90 percent, and yet another 80 percent. But she didn’t feel bad, she insisted. She didn’t have the elephant-on-the-chest symptoms at any time, just some difficulty breathing. In the ICU at Baylor, nurses were amazed she was “cutting up” with family members.

Daughter Chelsea Nowell said the family knew “it” could happen.

“We had been expecting it,” Chelsea said. “When her chest had hurt a little bit the day before, my dad kind of knew. We just had to get her to quit being so stubborn. We weren’t surprised, but we were scared.”

A stent was placed in the fully blocked artery, and her surgeon said they would let her recover from that, then do open heart surgery in a few weeks. Rebecca, a rambunctious soul, could appreciate his humor.

“He said they had three (arteries) they wanted to do surgery on, but since I was in really good health, and he was already in there, ‘Let’s fix all five,’” she said. “He was a jokester. It wasn’t funny, but it was. He said, ‘For the money ... let’s go ahead an roto-root them all.’”

She agreed. On June 26, she underwent a quintuple bypass.

With a month to think about, she had plenty of time to reconsider. “Had it been one, or two ...,” she said. “But I knew it had to be done.”

Today, Rebecca says she feels fine. The three months of cardiac rehabilitation were critical to her recovery, she said. And she was able to do it in town, at Navarro Regional.

“I don’t think I’d be where I am today without it,” she said.

Post-open heart surgery, so much gets thrown your way. Diet. Exercise. Dos. Don’ts. It’s a lot to take in, she said.

Rebecca took on a little at a time, and still does almost a year later. She tries to live a healthier life. So do her daughters.

After Rebecca’s surgery, another sister became sibling No. 9 to have heart issues.

“I worry about (heart disease) all the time,” said Chelsea, who is 25 with a daughter almost 4. “I try to watch what I eat. I’m not the healthiest person, but I’m trying to get on that path,”

One thing Rebecca will not do is look at what happened early last summer as a bad thing.

“People have said, ‘That’s so terrible, so horrible,’” she said. “... I see the other side of it. This was a positive. I’m here. I’m not going to waste time looking at it as a negative.”

Rebecca hopes her experience helps other women out there.

“The one big thing is I hope women are taking care of themselves,” she said. “Make yourself a priority, especially if you have a family history.”

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On the Net:

www.heart.org

www.goredforwomen.org

www.navarrohospital.com

www.baylorhealth.com

—————

Raymond Linex II is the publisher of the Corsicana Daily Sun. He may be reached by email at rlinex@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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