Image Gal Samantha von Sperling once again takes on a 5k — in honor of her heart.
This year IΓÇÖve been asked to be a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. It will be my second Wall St 5k, and IΓÇÖm so honored to have been asked to share my story to help raise awareness and funds to wipe out heart disease.
Diseases of heart and stroke rank as the no. killer of Hispanic Americans, and Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics according to the American Heart Association. This is my personal story…
in 2012, after an 8-week hiatus from running due to injury, I could not wait to get going again. Ten minutes into my run, I began to feel like my heart was beating in my throat accompanied by a pulsing sensation in my left arm, similar to muscle fatigue after lifting something too heavy.
When I slowed down to a brisk walk, it went away. The sensation came and went. I assumed I was just really out of shape and kept going feeling like I had no energy or wind.
Two days later, the same thing happened on my way to the dentist. When I got there, I told my dentist about everything that had been happening to me. He wanted me to see my doctor right away. My dentist, Dr. Michael Goldberg of Manhattan Dental Health, saved my life.
It was August and my general practitioner was on vacation, so I went to my local clinic. They ran tests and said I seemed to be fine, wrote it off as an anxiety attack, and gave me a prescription for Clonopin.
I expressed my concerns: my hereditary high cholesterol, the heart attacks of both of my parents, the strange sensations I was having. But my pulse, pressure and EKG were fine.
ΓÇ£YouΓÇÖre young, youΓÇÖre fit, and youΓÇÖre female. You should be fine,” they said. Just to be certain, I made an appointment with the cardiologist the next day.
At the cardiologist, he ran the same tests and still all seemed fine. He wanted me to come back the following Monday for a heart monitor (I could have been dead by then). Something just didnΓÇÖt feel right, so I insisted. I had my sneakers on and I was ready to go. I wanted that echo stress test immediately, and I won.
After just 12 minutes on the treadmill I reproduced the symptoms. ΓÇ£Ok, I do see something I donΓÇÖt like,” the doctor said. “Tomorrow you will have an Angiogram.ΓÇ¥
I went to NYU Long Horn for the Angiogram on August 17, my birthday. They ran all the standard tests again and the all came back normal.
The interventionist, Dr. Coppola said, “Well all the results look normal to me and I am not totally convinced by the results of you eco stress test. I think we are going to do this test, send you home with some Plavex by this afternoon and you should be fine. We will give you a local anesthesia and you can watch your heart on the monitor.
I replied, ΓÇ£Doctor, today is my birthday, please tell your bartender to juice me up. I want a general anesthesia. I donΓÇÖt want to know a thing, and I certainly donΓÇÖt want to watch my heart on the monitor because IΓÇÖll faint on your table.ΓÇ¥
He smiled and told me not to worry.
Tune in Monday for part II as Samantha recounts the shocking news of her heart’s condition…
Please visit Samantha’s page on the American Heart Association website to learn more and make a donation.