What was your reaction when you learned that you had heart disease?
I actually learned after everything was all said and done. I woke up from an induced coma in the hospital and learned little by little what had happened. I couldn’t believe it.
How did your heart condition affect your pregnancy and/or the birth of your son?
My heart condition affected my pregnancy quite a bit. What should have been an enjoyable time was horribly uncomfortable. I ended up having a seizure because of the stress on my body, and the infection moved from my heart to my brain. I don’t remember my son’s birth because of the stroke. Despite my loss of appetite and debilitating headaches during the pregnancy, my son, Liam was born healthy and strong.
How have your eating and exercise habits changed since you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease?
My habits have pretty much stayed the same. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater and very active. I walked every day before being diagnosed. I hope to get to the gym and work on my endurance and stamina.
How has your diagnosis affected your outlook on parenting?
Motherhood has made me want to watch my health more closely. I want to be here for my son and live a long and prosperous life. I also want to be a great example for him.
What are some misconceptions people hold about different body types and heart disease?
I believe most people think that smaller body types don’t have to look out for or worry about heart disease. Some people think smaller means healthier. This, however, is not always true.
How do people react when you tell them that you have heart disease?
I definitely don’t look like what I’ve been through. To some, my story is unbelievable, and that’s why I have a passion to tell it wherever I go. I want to educate others about heart recovery and the Impella heart pump that I received because my hospital did not even have it available when I was there; they had to call it for an emergency. Had they not gotten it, I might not be here today.