Women with Heart: Judy Calvert

Women heart.

JACKSONVILLE (KYTX) - This month, we've been introducing you to the honorees in this year's Women with Heart program. It's hosted by the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital of Trinity Mother Frances. The goal is to raise awareness about heart disease. The third honoree is Judy Calvert.

At 64 years old, she says she's always lived an active, healthy lifestyle But, high cholesterol runs in the family.

"The first we knew about it, my father was 56, had a major heart attack. And, he had bypass surgery when it was a new surgery. At that point, they checked all of us kids. And, every one of us are blessed with that same situation."

But it wasn't until her brother had a scare, that she realized she couldn't control her health on her own anymore.

"My brother had, six years ago, a slight heart attack and ended up with bypass surgery. And, he's older than I am. So, I'm thinking in the back of my mind, well ok I know I'm getting to that point."

At her next rotary meeting, Calvert says the chief nursing officer of the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital of Trinity Mother Frances gave a presentation.

"And, I thought God was definitely speaking to me because here it is. He opened the door."
Calvert got in touch with invasive cardiologist Dr. Peter Pitonak not long after that meeting.

"She was really worried because of the family history- not only hyperlipidemia, but she had members of the family that had significant heart disease because of that." he says.

Dr. Pitonak performed several tests, including a heart catheterization, to check her blood flow.
The news wasn't good.

"At that point, I knew. I knew there were some issues." says Calvert. "I knew there were some blockages, but I really didn't expect it to be as severe as it was."

The next day, Calvert underwent a triple bypass surgery.

"I had no symptoms. So, you know, that's a message that really needs to get out there for women, or anyone, for that matter. I have no heart damage. All they had to do was basically re-plumb it. So, you know, I'm good to go."

"I think her cholesterol is about half what it used to be." says Dr. Pitonak. "So, overall I really think she's doing very well."

Calvert says she knows she saved her own life by being proactive about her hearth health.

"I think the phrase given to me at the hospital was, 'your first symptoms probably would have been your last,' based on the blockages that I had."

Calvert's surgery was in October. Today, she says she's feeling great.



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