NORTON, Va. - Monday is the 5th of the month and that means it's time to Live Red for women's heart health. It's a partnership with Wellmont Health System to bring awareness of heart disease.
Dixie Dishman came in for a check-up about three months ago. She thought it would be a regular visit, until she told the doctor she was having occasional chest pains. "I couldn't do light housework anymore. I thought it was chronic bronchitis. I had no idea it was my heart," she said.
Dishman was told several years ago she has a heart murmur, but she had it checked regularly and never thought anything else could be wrong with her heart. "I wasn't having any chest pain. A little bit, but not enough to be concerned about it," she told us.
After several tests, she was told she has a critically large heart aneurysm and would have to have surgery, and quickly. "I had to have it or die. I didn't want to leave my grandkids, my great-grandkids. They're so precious," she said.
Wellmont CVA Heart Institute Cardiologist Orson Go tells us they caught Dishman's condition just in time. "Ms. Dishman has had this for probably quite some time. This has been growing in size gradually over the years," he explained.
Dr. Go tells us with an aneurysm, the aorta artery becomes large like a balloon, and can eventually burst. "The walls of the artery can become thin. That's what happens with an aneurysm, when the walls become thin," he said.
If the artery ruptures, all the blood can go out into your chest. Dr. Go tells us Dishman was lucky she caught it in time; she had surgery in March, and is now able to spend more time with her great-grandchildren.
That's something Dishman tells us she's thankful for.
We learned Dishman is working to get back to doing her everyday activities. She encourages everyone to take any health concerns you have seriously and to see a doctor.