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Women with Heart: Susan Roberts

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TYLER (KYTX) - Eight ladies have been selected to be this year's Women with Heart honorees.

It's an annual program through the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital of Trinity Mother Frances. The goal is to raise awareness about heart disease.

"Can you catch it? Say, 'I'm not a catcher. Jackson's the catcher.' oh, you did! good for you!"

Making time for play and enjoying family is what's important to Susan Roberts these days.

"I cannot imagine not being here to watch them grow up. I mean, they mean everything." she says about her grandkids.

It took a scary day at work a couple years ago for her to realize she needed to make some changes so she could be around for them.

"I was at school doing car duty- or supposed to do car duty. And, I just started feeling weird, like really weird. I couldn't do it. I couldn't stand up. So, I just handed my walkie to one of the other teachers. And, she knew something was going on. So, I went inside and sat in the nurse's office."

School staff offered to call Roberts an ambulance, but she decided against it.

"Which is a mistake so many people make. 'Don't call an ambulance. I don't want to cause a stir.'"

She regrets doing what she did instead.

"Stupidly, I drove myself to the doctor's office. And, this is after I've already had one heart attack 10 years before, so I know better."
 
Surprisingly, Roberts said she went home after that visit.

"And, the second I got home, I knew something was going on. And, my principal called to see if I'd made it home ok. I'm like, 'yes I'm fine. I went to the doctor. Now I'm home.' You know, you just don't want to admit it. I get my dogs all set up outside because- and then I called 911, because I was like in a fetal position on the bed, yelling because it hurt so bad this time."

Trinity Mother Frances cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Neelan Doolabh remembers Roberts well.

"She came in with a little heart attack. She had all the risk factors- high blood pressure, high cholesterol."
 
She also has a family history of heart disease.

"Dr. Doolabh comes into my room and he says, 'you know, I'm going to have to perform open heart surgery and do some bypasses on you. We have found four blockages.' I'm like, 'ok, can we do it on Friday?'"
 
Roberts says she doesn't let her heart problems stress her out because she knows that will only make them worse.

"Surgery is all about having a good operation and then having a motivated patient that wants to get better afterwards." says Dr. Doolabh. "And, from what I understand, she's doing her part."
 
Today, Roberts is retired, eating more healthy, and most importantly, she finally quit smoking.

 


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