My story began almost one year ago. On July 6th, 2018, I was invited to my sister’s house to celebrate the return of my nephew Matthew who had been living in Boston. I dropped my fiancé Lori off at my sisters and then went to pick up my daughter, Lily from the train station. 15 minutes after coming back from the station, while sitting at the dinner table I went into sudden cardiac arrest. We didn’t know at that time, but the bundle branch block had prevented electrical signals to my heart which triggered ventricle fibrillation, which in turn caused my heart to completely stop beating.
What then happened was a chain of events which saved my life. My daughter called 911 and my nephew and Lori administered CPR. A Norwalk policeman was the 1st, first responder that arrived and continued to do CPR, keeping me alive until the crew from the Norwalk fire department arrived with an AED and started my heart again. Shortly thereafter, 2 EMT’s from Norwalk Hospital arrived and began advanced cardiac life support measures.
I was taken to Norwalk Hospital and a decision was made to place me in therapeutic hypothermia, a process where my body temperature was lowered to halt destructive brain mechanisms and allow my brain to reset itself.
While in hypothermia, my family was counseled and warned that I may have suffered cognitive brain damage due to the lack of oxygen during the resuscitation process. Two days after my sudden cardiac arrest, the decision was made to warm me from the hypothermia and restore consciousness. As I awoke, my nurse explained what had happened. I was so grateful to be alive and ready to get on the road to recovery. The next step was to have an ICD device implanted in order to make my heart function better. I agreed to the procedure and as you can see, it was successful!
When I was in the ICU unit at Norwalk Hospital, it had an incredible view of Long Island Sound. It was beautiful. One morning I awoke, it was just before sunrise, and I watched the sun come up. It was breathtaking. I looked at my daughter Lily sleeping in the chair beside me and I made a promise to myself that I was going to do something different in my life. The company I was working for had recently been sold and was filled with turmoil. I had gotten this second chance, so I was going to do whatever I could to get involved with an organization related to my event so I could make a difference.
I began working with the AHA as a volunteer and had no idea I would be working here someday. Some things are just meant to be! I have been with the AHA for almost 7 months and am so honored to be here with you all tonight.
I am living proof that so much of my survival is thanks to the work of the AHA; whether its CPR, the use of the defibrillator, or therapeutic hypothermia. I would not be here without the support of people like you and your support of this incredible organization. And now having the opportunity to share my story with others like at the Anthem Hands Only CPR Mobile Tour, I know I was placed in the job for a reason.