On a cold and rainy day exactly two years ago...

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO 2004008944

...I made a decision that saved my life. After trying to talk myself out of it (or maybe into it) all day, I had gone to the emergency room the night before for the fifth time in five years. This time I calmly said, "I think it's my heart."  Before my husband had the car parked, I was hooked up to an EKG.  This time they admitted me for overnight observation. This time they found what had been missed for five years: serious heart disease.

On October 8, I had the quadruple (plus) surgery that ended up being the only treatment for blockages as serious as mine. Detailing all of that, though, is not my goal today. Today, as on other anniversary dates, I want to make others aware. My story has already saved the life of another woman, so here I go again!

Here's what I did NOT have:

  • Pain in my chest...I had no chest pain at all
  • Crushing pressure in my chest
  • Pain in my left arm
  • Profuse sweating...though I did have a "dewy" type of sweat
  • Vomiting...though I did have queasiness that made me not want to eat

What I DID have:Mended hearts

  • Gripping tightness in my throat from my chin to my collarbone, with an accompanying breathlessness
  • Searing pain on the entire left side of my face--though it developed only in the last two or three weeks before my diagnosis
  • Nagging fear (in spite of trying to talk myself out of it) that something was REALLY wrong

I had all the appropriate cardiac tests over the last several years, but until two years ago, I had not been given an angiogram--the gold standard, albeit invasive, test. Each time I mentioned the throat episodes to my doctor, she reviewed my history that included wearing a Holter monitor, two cardiac echo tests, a Thallium stress test, EKGs, normal cholesterol, normal triglycerides, and controlled blood sugar. She would reassess my medications, maybe adjusting the blood pressure medication. Surely, everyone reasoned, the tightness in my throat was some sort of esophageal spasm. So, I had an esophageal study. Then I was tested for asthma. It seemed that they were trying, but the message I got was that nothing serious was going on, and it must be some sort of stress or maybe it was all in my head. Angry that I was probably labeled hypochondriac, I would resolve to tough it out--whatever IT was.

I had started reassuring myself that my symptoms did NOT match the five minute rule so often touted as a reason to go to the emergency room: Pain in the chest that lasts for more than five minutes. I could make my symptoms go away in three or four minutes, simply by sitting down and forcing myself to take a few deep breaths. Because I had been told so often that I was probably having some sort of spasm, I had also started making myself a warm beverage--coffee or tea or even just warm water. On bad days, I often made ginger tea. By the time I finished my warm drink, everything would always be better; and I would go on with my day. Yet, the countdown was on and my heart was getting worse.

So here is the take-away, especially for women: Know your own body. If you are afraid something is wrong, don't bet your life on everything being alright. Don't talk yourself into the morgue. When you believe something is wrong, it probably is. Trust your own instincts, even when common sense seems to be telling you to just tough it out.

Keep going to the ER. One night, a doctor you never met before may save your life. And  when you first walk through those doors, tell them you think it may be your heart. Minutes count and sitting in the waiting room for three hours will only put you at greater risk. I know. I did it four times.

(More of my heart journey can be found in the links below). The artwork is the official logo of Mended Hearts, a survivor support group. I am now a trained volunteer who visits heart patients in the hospital (link is also below).


Cholesterol, triglycerides, out of normal range, kill

Not just another New Year's resolution

I graduated from Cardiac Rehab, sort of

Getting Healthy in the Rain

Life or death decision

Turns out, I was not too young or too anything-

$150,000 won't buy a decent box of tissues-

Maybe four weeks was not enough time

It's a winning election for me--not for the reasons you might think

To answer the door or not to answer the door

My own October surprise--now I'm a CABBAGE!

Alive and grateful for it! 

With Every Beat of My Heart

Mended Hearts

Posted by

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you are looking for a foreclosure in Cape Girardeau, Perry, N. Scott, or Bollinger counties, I am the region's most experienced REO agent. As the area's ONLY Fannie Mae direct listing agent, I list more foreclosure properties than any other agent in this MLS. I am among the few local agents approved to both list and sell HUD properties. Give me a call if you are looking for help with the purchase of a foreclosure property.


http://www.homepath.com/  for Fannie Mae properties

http://www.homesteps.com/  for Freddie Mac properties

http://www.hudhomestore.com/ for HUD properties (foreclosures that were FHA financed)


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Anna Hatridge 10/06/2014 02:46 PM
  2. Bob Crane 10/12/2014 02:13 AM
  3. Roy Kelley 10/21/2014 07:00 PM
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Rosalind Nicholas
RE/MAX Condos Plus Corporation, Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Toronto Condo Real Estate Agent, Toronto ON

Liz, Thank you for sharing your experience. I also found comment #47 from Bill interesting.

Oct 07, 2014 01:28 AM #49
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Glad you made the decision to go to the ER Liz, it's far too easy to dismiss things as "oh it'll go away".  Listening to and knowing our bodies is so important to our health - even the best doctors miss things.

Oct 07, 2014 01:46 AM #50
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Great advice for anyone, especially those of us who are getting older.  Pains and discomforts should not be written off, justified, or ignored.  As you say it can lead to worse things.  

Oct 07, 2014 02:48 AM #51
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

Hi Liz, thank goodness you are very in touch with your body!  It saved your life.

Oct 07, 2014 03:17 AM #52
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I lost my husband to a sudden, massive heart attack. I didn't notice any symptoms and he never complained of anything but heart burn. I know now that's a symptom, but we just bought Tums. I have wondered if he felt something was wrong but dismissed it.

Oct 07, 2014 03:57 AM #53
Scott Gleason
RE/MAX Select - Westfield, NJ
Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist

Glad it all worked out for you, Liz.  You post brings up some great points and reminds us all to pay attention to symptoms.

Oct 07, 2014 04:08 AM #54
Michele Smylie Clark
Cave Creek, AZ
,#480-390-4182, #azpropertymatchmaker@gmail.com

Great information, and thanks for sharing.  New symptoms we know not to dismiss.



Oct 07, 2014 04:17 AM #55
Corinne Guest
Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington Lifestyles

I am a firm believer that we know when something is wrong with our bodies. So glad you didn't let it go. Not even Doctors can see inside, so sensations are hugely important. 

Oct 07, 2014 04:42 AM #56
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

When their tests show negative, their go-to response is always, "it's all in your head." It's really easy to lose faith in the medical profession.

Oct 07, 2014 04:58 AM #57
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

You were very luck to follow that last hunch and get moving to the hospital. Not everything can be cured with a cup of tea or antacid

Oct 07, 2014 11:35 AM #58
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Liz Lockhart when your heart says something, it is for a reason! Thank God, you did listen - and are here to share the story and guide others through the volunteer work.

Oct 07, 2014 02:40 PM #59
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast

Liz you are a survivor and a strong woman.  My doctor always tells me to trust my instincts and if I think something is wrong it probably is.  We are our own best diagnosticians.  I appreciated your post and wish you well.

Oct 07, 2014 07:57 PM #60
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


I'm glad everything turned out well for you. Symptoms are symptoms, and not all of them are the same for each individual.


Oct 07, 2014 11:21 PM #61
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

My college friend, Noel Bairey, is now the nation's leading advocate for women's heart health.  Women do have heart disease, and is does present differently than men.  I'm so glad you found an expert who took your concerns seriously, in time to save your life.

Oct 08, 2014 12:42 AM #62
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Can I presume this is your 2nd birthday then?  Now, you get 2 per year.  Nice that your intuition,or something, kicked you to get to the ER in 2012.

Oct 08, 2014 08:11 AM #63
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Liz~ I've learned too, and the hard way, to listen to my body, to challenge doctors and not except the anwer that it's all in my head! Be strong! Fight for you!

Oct 10, 2014 08:46 AM #64
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Huntington, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

Thanks for sharing your story Liz and thanks to Bob Crane I got to come over and wish you the very best...

Oct 12, 2014 03:05 AM #65
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Liz, having been in the medical field for 10 years, the very simple advice of listening to your own body is THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE. Medical staff are sleuths, trying to figure out the mystery, but they aren't YOU. 

This was so well-written, that it should be incorporated into teaching doctors as well as laymen!

Oct 18, 2014 09:50 PM #66
Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Liz, I originally found this through a reblog. So glad you managed to self diagnose that you needed to seek medical advice and that you received life saving advice and treatment. It's another example for everyone to do likewise. I'm notoriously bad at dismissing pains or symptoms that could merit a doctor visit and not so gentle reminders such as these could be what the doctor ordered.

Nov 02, 2014 09:15 PM #67
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I read your blog .....walking with you your journey, feeling joy that you are all right, that you was blessed to meet a doctor who listened and  knew exactly what to do to help. Be well. Happy Holidays!


Nov 25, 2014 04:20 PM #68
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