CLINTON — Shelly Field recently had passed a stress test when, on Sept. 22, 2016, she began having chest pain at work.
When she arrived at the emergency room, doctors told her she was having a heart attack and had a 90 percent blockage. They performed a stent procedure and Field began to make lifestyle changes to improve her health.
Field now shares her story with others, and will again at the Go Red For Women luncheon on Friday.
"Signs were there for over a year," Field said. "I had chest pain in March. I took a couple baby aspirin and it went away. I kind of blew it off because it went away, but it bothered me enough that I got a stress test."
Because Field passed her stress test, doctors recommended that she not have further tests. For several weeks after the stress test, Field did not have any chest pain. She did have dizziness, sweating and headaches that she blamed on menopause. Looking back, Field realizes those were heart attack warning signs.
As she underwent treatment, doctors discovered Field had three other blockages – at 30 percent, 40 percent and 50 percent. She went through three months of cardiac rehab.
"I'm so grateful I did that," Field said. "It helped change my lifestyle."
She added that eating healthier foods and walking are very important.
For several years before her heart attack, Field also had pain in one of her legs. In 2014, a doctor diagnosed her with bursitis. Two years later, when Field was undergoing the stent procedure, doctors discovered she had a 100 percent blockage in that same leg. She had lived with it for two years.
Field does not blame her primary care physician for the bursitis diagnosis. She says the symptoms are similar, and she should have insisted on further tests.
"You are your own best advocate," Field said. She added that she is grateful to all her doctors for the help they have provided.
Christine Taylor, youth market director with the American Heart Association, says the Go Red For Women Luncheon is a very popular and important event. Each year, it is attended locally by 100 to 150 people. She says Field will be among the scheduled speakers. The keynote speaker this year is Hy-Vee Dietitian Sarah Saionz. Much of the event will focus on lifestyle changes, because 80 percent of heart health problems are preventable.
Tickets for the event are $55 each or two for $100. Taylor says the money raised by the event goes to research and education related to heart disease treatment and prevention.
The Go Red For Women luncheon will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, July 21, at the Tuscany Special Events Center at Rastrelli's Restaurant in Clinton. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.heart.org/clintongored or call (309) 737-0339.