Pine heart patient knows value of taking action early
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Melinda Kutzer and her late father shared a heart-felt connection — blockage in the anterior descending artery.
It's often called “the widow maker” because many people will not survive a heart attack in this region of the blood-pumping organ.
Knowing her father, Donald Meadow's, struggles with heart disease for 20-plus years — including two open-heart surgeries, an 82-day hospital stay and his death at the age of 68, eight years ago — Kutzer, 51, of Pine, took a proactive approach in caring for her heart.
She's been taking blood-pressure medication since she was in her 20s, eating right, exercising and getting regular checkups.
Kutzer invites all women to think about their hearts. That is the reason she will be wearing red Feb. 7. It's the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women National Wear Red Day. For the past 10 years, the Heart Association has set aside this day to get the message across that heart disease is not only an older woman's concern.
“My message would be for every woman to wear red and to realize that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women,” Kutzer says. “I would urge them to be proactive and to pay attention to the signals their body is sending them. Women in their 30s and 40s don't think heart disease can happen to them. I was 48, and it happened to me.”
It changed in one day. Hours after a standard stress test and no symptoms, she received a life-altering call.
“They told me, ‘Melinda, a significant portion of your heart isn't getting enough blood,' ” Kutzer says.
A stent had to be placed in the left anterior descending artery in her heart because of an almost 70-percent blockage.
“Getting that stent did save my life,” she says. “Had I not been proactive … who knows what might have happened? Heart disease kills one in three women, and I am determined that it won't kill me. I take my medication every day and will continue to take it forever. I am happy to share my story. If it helps just one woman, then it will have been worth it. Women are always so busy that they often don't take time for themselves.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.She can be reached at 412-320-7889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.