Edie Weinstein doesn't take any day for granted.
Not since she had a heart attack on June 12, 2014. Having recently celebrated her fifth "cardioversary," Edie continues to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle and reflect upon how her life has changed since that summer day five years ago.
"The hospital saved my life."
Edie clearly remembers the day she had her heart attack. She was 55 years old, experiencing jaw pain and tightness, torrential sweats, searing heartburn pain, and nausea. She thought it was menopause. But it was a heart attack.
Edie received a stent in the cath lab at Doylestown Hospital. She completed all four phases of Doylestown Health's cardiac rehabilitation program following her heart attack as prescribed.
"Everyone from Dr. McGarvey, Jr. who put the stent in all the way through cardiac rehab – I credit all of them with helping me be alive," says Edie, who recently stopped in to cardiac rehab and thanked her caregiver team. "Being back there reminded me of what a good team the hospital has."
Edie also continues annual follow-up visits her cardiologist, Eric Gejer, MD.
"Even as a cardiac patient, you can still have a full, active life," she says, "as long as you adhere to recommendations."
Changing to live
Edie was – and still is – determined not to let this "wake up call" go to waste. Before her heart attack, she had been working 12 hours a day and getting five or six hours of sleep a night. She was always on the go, always taking care of other people. She brushed aside the fatigue, lightheadedness and palpitations she felt.
"I was not listening to my body," she recalls. "That lifestyle was killing me."
The day of her heart attack marked a change in body and mind for Edie. She continues to exercise three to four times a week at the gym. She has cut back on work. She continues to eat healthy. She takes naps.
"I could have died that day," she says. "The woman I was died that day to give birth to a new woman."
This new woman pays attention to what her "emotional and physical heart" is telling her. "Women are more inclined to be caregivers and to take care of others, often neglecting their own well-being."
Edie tells her friends the importance of taking care of themselves, watching their cholesterol and blood pressure, getting enough sleep, and paying attention to their own needs. Edie has learned the importance of leaning on other people when she needs to.
"I can't be all things to all people," she says. "I ask myself, ‘What do I need today?' You're worthy of the kind of care you give to other people. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion."
A holistic approach
Edie considers more than the physical side of health, approaching it as a matter of body, mind and spirit. She tries to spread a message of joy along with a cautionary tale, organizing "hug strolls" in downtown Doylestown, giving hugs to all those who accept the friendly gesture.
Last year, Edie "hugged her way" through Ireland. "Connecting heart to heart with people brings people together. We help heal each other's hearts," she says.
Humor helps with her outlook on life, too. And having support. Edie credits her medical team and her family and friends with keeping her not just healthy, but happy.
"I am a thriver, not just a survivor," Edie says. "It feels good to be alive. I'm here for a purpose."
About Doylestown Health's Heart & Vascular Services
Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. Doylestown Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center is fully prepared to treat cardiac emergencies around the clock, focusing on rapid diagnosis and effective treatment. The multidisciplinary team at the Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.