Heart attack inspires local community leader’s journey toward good health
It all started in the summer of 2016 when Stacey Rice thought she had a horrible case of indigestion. Two days went by and the indigestion seemed to be subsiding but she was feeling increasingly tired. After explaining how she had been feeling to her colleagues at the Q Center, they cautioned her to go to the doctor.
“I went to urgent care and they immediately sent me to the emergency room. After explaining my symptoms, ER physicians saw me immediately and after undergoing some tests, explained that I had a heart attack,” recalled Rice. “I was shocked because my symptoms were not what you normally hear about. I had been tired for so long that I had gotten used to it. I didn’t realize it was my heart trying to tell me something.”
Rice had an angioplasty and the doctor found that that one of her arteries was so obstructed that miraculously, her heart had grown new blood vessels around itself. Rice had double bypass surgery and while recovering at home, she received a call from Legacy Good Samaritan's Cardiac Rehabilitation
informing her that she has access to the program.
“From that point on, I never looked back. At my final follow up appointment with my heart surgeon I promised him that he would not be seeing me again because I was going to finally get into cardiovascular shape,” Rice explained.
Five months after making that promise, Rice is down 30 pounds and feels like she did 20 years ago.
In addition to her own hard work and dedication, she credits Legacy Good Samaritan Cardiac Rehabilitation’s program, which safely and effectively improved her cardiovascular fitness, reduced her risk factors, helped her return to work as executive co-director of the Q Center and also adjust physically and mentally to life after a heart attack.
“I was never much of a gym person but cardiac rehab’s team of therapists, nurses and dietician gave me the energy, enthusiasm and education I needed to get back into the shape I was in 20 years ago,” said Rice. “They saved my life on a major level.”
To raise awareness about the symptoms of heart disease and the importance of heart health, Rice will cross the finish line at Legacy Health’s Walk Around the Clock event on February 2, 2017.
This year’s event will be the fourth time Legacy’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has hosted the event in celebration of staying active to prevent heart disease and also to raise funds for Legacy’s cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.