Nicole's Heart Story



Photo of Nicole

to me because...
I saw firsthand the inequity in women’s heart health at all levels of care and prevention. This needs to change.

I’m a mother of two, a sister and daughter. I am 38 years old and I have coronary arterial disease with two prior non-STEMI MIs.

My heart journey began in 2014. I lost my sister at the age of 25 unexpectedly to heart disease.

Six months later - after getting health checkups, tests, and being told I was healthy - I went on to have my first heart attack.

I had sharp pain between my sternum and went to the hospital where I was told it was impossible for me to be having a heart attack because I just passed a stress test the month before.  I paced the floor for two days and then went to another emergency room where there was a female doctor working and then confirmed it was a NSTEMI and required a stent. 

The next year, on the anniversary of my sister’s death - and while I was pregnant with my second child - I suffered another heart attack.

This time, my symptoms were very different. I was tired, I was short of breath, and I felt really anxious. These symptoms could have been attributed to pregnancy as well. I decided to go to the hospital and get it checked out. The doctors felt there was something wrong but no hospital could accept me until it was proven.

Hours later, after many blood tests and anxious moments, it was then they realized I had a heart event and was now going into labour.

I was transported to another hospital where I was then life-flighted to a bigger hospital in Halifax to the critical care unit (CCU). After 6 days in the CCU I was sent to the IWK Health Centre so that I could deliver my son. I got to see him for two hours and then was taken back to the CCU where the next day I went to the cath lab and it was confirmed I had a heart event and I needed another stent. 

I saw firsthand the inequity in women’s heart health at all levels of care and prevention.

Since finishing cardiac rehab I strive today to live a healthy lifestyle while advocating for women's heart health, especially in rural areas. 


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