"I love the small-town feel that everybody knows everybody and cares about everybody." Dee and her husband, Bob, have lived in Jamestown for over 40 years. As a bank teller in Jamestown at State Bank of Lizton, she cherishes the warm interactions she has with her customers around the community—so when she spotted one of them on a TV commercial last year, she definitely paid attention.
Dee watched as John, a fellow Jamestown resident, told his heart scan story. John had a long family history of heart disease and became increasingly short of breath during everyday activities. His son took notice and gave him a heart scan gift card for Christmas. That scan saved John's life.
The commercial hit close to home for Dee because she, too, had a long family history of heart disease. After seeing the commercial a few more times and talking it over with her coworkers at the bank, Dee and her husband scheduled a heart and lung scan at Hendricks Regional Health. "A lot of people went for the test because of John. I saw the commercial and Bob did, too. It was very informative and we really took it to heart."
Dee's scan, followed by a heart catheterization, revealed a 99 percent blockage in one of her arteries and minor blockages in two others. With the dedication of her heart doctor and healthcare team, the proper medication and lifestyle choices, and the loving support of her husband, Dee now lives each day with a happy, healthy heart.
Linking heart disease to personal risk.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, causing one in three deaths each year. 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, and both the risk of heart disease and risk factors are strongly linked to family history. Dee is no stranger to the impact heart disease can have on the women in her family—her grandmother passed away from it and her mother underwent triple bypass surgery.
When Dee made the decision to schedule a heart scan, she had other factors that put her at risk as well. Both she and her husband were former smokers, and though they quit a decade and a half ago, and did not have any symptoms, she had a lingering feeling that the lung scan would be beneficial for them, too. "We were just going to do the heart scan. But as former smokers I told my husband we should get the lung scan, too. He agreed."
Discovering the power of a simple scan.
In April of 2016, Dee and her husband went to their heart and lung scan together at Hendricks Regional Health. "We always go to Hendricks. It's just our go-to place," she says. The scan was quick and easy, taking just about 15 minutes. "The tests were a lot easier than I initially thought!"
After the scan, Dee and her husband met with their family physicians, Drs. Neil Zlatniski and Jason Cooper of Brownsburg North Family Medicine, to discuss their results. Dee wasn't surprised by her results due to her family history. "They told me that I should contact a heart doctor to look into the heart condition. But they told Bob that they found a mass in his lung."
It was Bob's lung cancer diagnosis that surprised Dee the most: "I was so thankful because he had no symptoms whatsoever. And if we wouldn't have done this scan it could have been something that snuck up on him and it would have been too late."
Making changes towards a healthier future.
Dee's doctor referred her to a heart specialist, who performed a cardiac catheterization. A cardiac or heart cath is a procedure that examines the heart by placing a thin, hollow tube into a large blood vessel that leads into the heart.
The procedure found that one of Dee's arteries was 99 percent closed but had made its own bypass. It also revealed two other minor blockages that could be treated with cholesterol medication and a commitment to making healthier choices. "I didn't know there was anything wrong to begin with. Now I know I need to do some exercising and eat healthier."
Dee joined a membership at Exercise Inc in Brownsburg, where she works one-on-one with a personal trainer to stay moving and keep on track: "My trainer gives me so many good hints, especially drinking water. Before I was not drinking much water, and now I know I need water. I was surprised to find I really did like exercising, and I like the routine that I do. It makes me feel better. I'm slowly building up more and more strength."
Living each day with a grateful heart.
As for her husband Bob, he had surgery to remove the mass in his lung and is currently cancer-free. Dee and Bob will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this September, and Dee is a firm believer that their heart and lung scans are to thank for that. "I would highly recommend having this screening. I actually believe it saved my husband's life. It's such an inexpensive convenience to go and have the test done."
For Dee, the scan prevented anything from happening further. "Neither of us had obvious symptoms that made us say, ‘Oh, we need to check into this.' There are a lot of former smokers out there that think they're okay, but that doesn't always mean you are," Dee says. "And if you have heart disease in your family, it would be good to go and have the scan."
These days, when Dee's not exercising, caring for her two dogs, Zoey and Sophie, or busy being a grandmother of six, she enjoys getting a massage or her nails done on her days off from the bank. She is grateful for a healthy future and the time she gets to spend with her coworkers, her friends, her family and of course, Bob.
"Please don't hesitate to get the scan. It's simple, it's easy, and you won't regret it."
Dee and Bob took action towards a healthier future, and you can, too. Join our challenge to reach 20,000 scans by 2020 and schedule a heart and lung scan today.
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