by Jennifer Donelan, Crime Beat Reporter, WJLA TV, Washington, DC
In the weeks that followed my heart attack, I was surrounded by friends, family, co-workers, and a strong health care team, but I still felt inexplicably alone and afraid, until I connected with WomenHeart Champion volunteer and heart attack survivor Carrie thanks to WomenHeart’s SisterMatch program.
Ever since my heart attack, I have shared my story with thousands of women through speaking engagements and media opportunities. I have also had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with many women heart disease survivors. Women heart patients often tell me that they, too, experienced anxiety, social isolation, and depression after their heart attack or heart disease diagnosis.
I always tell these women to visit www.womenheart.org/SisterMatch to begin the process of being matched with a WomenHeart Champion who can provide them with emotional and psychosocial support. I tell them about my experience with SisterMatch — how my phone conversation with my SisterMatch Carrie allowed me to start healing emotionally and readjust to everyday life.
If you are a woman living with heart disease, I strongly encourage you to visit www.womenheart.org/SisterMatch and to complete the SisterMatch questionnaire to be matched with a WomenHeart Champion who best fits the responses you provide. Through this peer connection, you will learn, like I did with Carrie, to deal with new thoughts and new feelings that you did not have prior to your heart attack or heart disease diagnosis. Like me I am certain that you will start feeling a new sense of hope, well-being and healing.
In the weeks after my heart attack, I was convinced I would never be able to go back to a normal life. But my phone call with my SisterMatch Carrie changed all of that. Today I am back at work investigating and reporting crime at WJLA-TV, and enjoying every minute of life. I am forever grateful to WomenHeart’s SisterMatch program for connecting me with Carrie.
I hope that you will visit SisterMatch and complete the questionnaire, so that you too can start to live well and thrive despite living with heart disease!