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A letter to anyone with heart attack symptoms

Jeni was an active 68-year-old who always considered herself fairly fit and strong. Then she had a heart attack. Here she shares her story in a letter to encourage others to get their symptoms checked out.


My name is Jeni and I am 68-years-old. I have been doing three or four aerobic classes per week for about 30 years. While my children were young, I walked a lot and rode a bike. So I have always thought I was fairly fit and strong. Then I had a heart attack!

This is my story.

After a busy long-weekend driving from Gisborne to Auckland and back to visit friends, I went to aerobics on Tuesday and felt a ‘fluffy’ feeling in my chest – imagine a big ball of cotton wool in your chest.

I kept going and the feeling passed. The same feeling happened on Wednesday and Thursday.

The first sensation that could be called pain was on Thursday night, then again on Friday night, and maybe twice on Saturday. These pains only lasted a few minutes and were always when I was sitting still.

Sunday night was different, the pain was worse and lasted 25 minutes. It scared me.

I should have gone to the hospital – got someone to drive me or called an ambulance – but I waited until Monday and booked an appointment for 11.50am on Tuesday to see the doctor. I was in Gisborne Hospital by 1.30pm on Tuesday! I was shocked to learn I’d had a heart attack.

On Wednesday they flew me to Waikato Hospital and I had a stent implanted at 4pm that day. I was frequently told how lucky I had been.

I was still in shock and disbelief, worried about my cat and other trivialities. I had to stay two nights in Waikato Hospital and finally the reality sank in. I had had a heart attack!

I am home now and realise I had been very low in energy, grumpy, ‘woozy’ in my head and eyes, and very tired for a long while. All these symptoms are improving. I have a stent, a swag of pills and have been incredibly lucky.

So, if you feel any of the symptoms I had, please go straight the hospital. It may be nothing and cost you a few dollars. But it may save your life!

With the very best wishes for a successful outcome and a happy and healthy life,



Shared March 2018

Please note: the views and opinions of the storyteller and related comments may not necessarily reflect those of the Heart Foundation NZ.

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