Audrey Weidman was a type-A personality; a self-described over-achiever always seeking for acknowledgment, reward, and attention. As the oldest child of three the pressure to carry out her father’s hopes for her were all-consuming.

Audrey’s father was a doctor with the expectation Audrey would be as well. When her father died of a sudden heart attack when Audrey was twenty years old, her first thought was, “At least I don’t have to go to medical school now.

Her father served in Germany as a medic during WWII. He immigrated to Canada and then the United States. Living in a small town as a doctor meant he alone took care of all medical issues from the smallest to the biggest. It was a stressful, never-off-work type of career. His goal was to have the nicest house and the prettiest wife.

Sounds to me as though Audrey is a lot like her father. She would also suffer a heart attack like her father did.

After getting a food science degree, working alone in a lab day after day, and then deciding to work in market research after achieving an MBA; Audrey began to invest in real estate. After a successful run, everything went south in 2008. With two children still home to support, Audrey lost everything she’d worked hard to have.

Worst of all she blamed herself.

I should have seen the fore coming disaster. I was weighed down with knowing I had to make up for our lost income. For the first time I was not successful. The negative talk began, and I was feeling really down on myself.”

Audrey Weidman

One Saturday Audrey was cutting down brush in her yard while listening to a podcast about successful people and began to feel angry about her inability to feel successful in the moment.

Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Suddenly Audrey became dizzy. Soon she was sitting in the kitchen, her husband prompting her to take a break. Then came the strange sensation in her chest – tightness and burning.

Audrey attributed all this to muscle soreness from exercise the day before. She already had an appointment with her doctor on Monday (two days from then), so she decided to wait to seek answers to her strange feeling.

On Monday morning she ran to the train and then walked several blocks to her doctor in Chicago. As was routine, the doctor hooked Audrey up to an EKG monitor.

Audrey was expecting good news since she’d been working hard at lowering her cholesterol and taking much better care of herself since her previous appointment.

Doctor, I’ve had this strange chest pain all weekend and it hasn’t gone away.”

Glancing over at the EKG monitor Audrey’s doctor exclaimed, “Oh my god Audrey, you’re having a heart attack right now!

The emergency room physicians acted quickly. Before long Audrey felt as though she was playing a part in a movie being zipped through the halls of the emergency room on a gurney watching the ceiling tiles flash by.

It was real trauma for me to be in the emergency room thinking about myself and how it seemed impossible to be having a heart attack. Friends told me I was the healthiest person they knew. I thought I was the healthiest person I knew as well.”

Audrey Weidman

Following all the tests, doctors reported no plaque in Audrey’s arteries, but with special imaging available to her at this teaching hospital, the problem revealed itself quickly.

Audrey was true to her over achiever personality.

I didn’t have an ordinary heart attack. I had a SCAD – Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection.”

Audrey Weidman
According to
MayoClinic.Org Spontaneous
coronary artery dissection is an emergency condition that occurs when a tear
forms in a blood vessel in the heart. SCAD can slow or block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack, heart rhythm problems (arrythmias)
or sudden death.
SCAD most
commonly affects women in their 40s and 50s, though it can occur at any age and
can occur in men. People who have SCAD often don't have risk factors
for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
SCAD can
cause sudden death if it isn't diagnosed and treated promptly. Seek emergency
attention if you have heart attack symptoms — even if you think you aren't at
risk of a heart attack.

Watch this video from the American Heart Association

Hindsight is 20/20 and Audrey sees now that stress was a key contributor to her heart attack.

Many women (like me) look healthy and fit. What’s going on in their mindset may be causing stress. Stress sets off biochemical reactions unfavorable to overall wellness. When you are constantly stressed and don’t vocalize it you are hurting your body.”

Audrey Weidman

Audrey realizes she was trying so hard to please others she failed to honor herself.

Focus on what brings you joy. You have more power than you think in terms of following your own path.

Audrey Weidman

For a while Audrey felt sorry for herself. She felt ashamed and embarrassed that she’d had a heart attack. The only treatment for SCAD is to let it heal. She went to cardio rehab.

While in cardio rehab Audrey was encouraged to meditate. She tried Transcendental Meditation and saw the results immediately. Using a Heart Math device today allows Audrey to monitor the effects of meditation using biofeedback.

My gateway out of stress was meditation.”

Audrey is now a Certified Stress Mastery Educator. She offers online courses you can take starting in March. It’s $99 and Audrey promises you’ll enjoy learning science-based content and instruction.

This is a free resource from Audrey. Take a look.

Risks of a heart attack

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