This is my mom with my girl (aren’t they both gorgeous?).

Elaine with Pippa

And this is six days later right before my mom had open heart surgery.

Heart Surgery - Her View From Home
My mom has heart disease.

She is also a relentless advocate for her health – and her heart – and it likely saved her life.

For months she hadn’t been feeling well. She’d been in and out of the doctor’s office. Had many appointments with specialists. Test after test. Overnight hospital stays for evaluation.

All tests were inconclusive. Nothing explained her symptoms.

She was beginning to feel like she was going crazy. Were her symptoms due to a problem in her head instead of her heart?

Unwilling to give up, her general practitioner ordered another test. It was invasive and after so many other tests, felt like another dead end. But she scheduled the appointment, 10 days before my brother’s wedding.

This test was different.

I don’t remember much about the call when she told me her diagnosis. The words that I heard were “tumor” “surgery” “immediately” “I said, not until after the wedding.”

Five days after my brother was married, my mom was wheeled back to surgery with my dad and my best friend waiting in the waiting room.

Thanks to a skilled surgeon and tenacious general practitioner, my mom is tumor free and her heart is in great shape. She has a pretty bad-ass scar too.

February is Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Take the time to learn the symptoms of a female heart attack. Make choices today to promote heart health.

Have you worn red this month to show your support for heart health? What heart healthy habits do you practice?

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Chaaron is a Nebraska native who lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, RP, her son, Dash and her daughter, Pippa. By day, she's a program manager with a public charity in DC and by night, she is happily occupied with living room dance parties and dodging errant duplo pieces. She's terrible at updating her blog, but you can find her little slice of the internet at