KINGSPORT, Tenn. - A Kingsport woman had signs of a heart attack for a week but didn't know the pain was actually being caused by her heart -- as we learned Wednesday, not everyone experiences the same symptoms.
Nancy Holland has been the organist for Cassidy United Methodist Church for several decades. She also enjoys taking regular walks with her husband, until one day everything seemed a little more difficult. "Usually I can walk two times around without having any problems, but this day I just absolutely kept giving out. I ran out of breath and just couldn't walk anymore," says Holland.
Holland tells us that was just the start of a week of off-and-on pain. She went to the doctor to have tests done, but everything came back normal.
When Holland left the hospital, the pain got increasingly worse. "I was so grateful that I was where I was. They told me if I had not been in the ER, I probably would not have survived it," she said.
Holland went to the emergency room just in time; as soon as she got an IV, she had a heart attack. She tells us they rushed her to the heart catheterization lab to have surgery. "They did put two stents in. I had 100 percent blockage in one artery and 70 percent in the other two," adds Holland.
Dr. Pabitra Saha is a cardiologist for the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute. He tells us stents are a long-term fix for any blockage in your heart. "The stent helps to keep the blocked blood vessel opened," he explained.
Dr. Saha says Holland's symptoms for the blockage were unusual, because the pain normally doesn't go away. "The chest pain [usually] starts all of a sudden, and it gets worse. It persists without any relief," he said.
Holland tells us it's been almost six months since her heart attack, and it's been a long journey. But because of cardiovascular physical therapy she's doing a lot better now. "[I use the] treadmill, bike, and steppers. They have me on a monitor so they know if I'm overdoing it or not," she said.
Holland says she is grateful for the doctors who helped her get back to doing her everyday routines, like playing the organ at church.
Holland has a warning for all women -- she says if you have any symptoms or you feel like something is wrong, go to the doctor right away. She says don't wait, because it could be too late.