Family promotes healthier hearts
FAIRMONT – The last thing Angie Scheff expected at Thanksgiving was to suffer a heart attack.
Scheff, 42, had been losing weight, working out, and was a month away from being certified as a personal trainer with a speciality of cardiac rehab.
“Oh, the irony,” she said. “I was doing all the right things. I was losing weight and exercising, getting healthier. I had worked out for three hours the day before. And Thanksgiving night, I had a full-fledged moderate to severe heart attack.”
Scheff’s family is familiar with heart health issues. Her father, Vern “Butch” Rowan, has had 22 heart angiograms, with 13 stints and 15 interventions.
“We joke that they should put velcro on him so it’s easier,” Scheff said.
Rowan agrees, knowing he is lucky.
Both laugh and trade jokes, but know their conditions are genetic and need to be monitored.
Scheff, proprietor of The Cutting Edge salon in Fairmont, was concentrating on a healthier lifestyle when she had her heart attack.
“I had already monitored my diet as strict as it could be,” Scheff said. “My cholesterol was not even 100 points out of range.”
Because Scheff’s heart attack was more severe than any of her father’s episodes, she has had a tougher time dealing with it.
“In the past, when my dad had something, within 48 hours he was back at work,” Scheff said. “For me, 48 hours later, I was still in a hospital bed. My business took a hit … It’s done a number on me all-around. Part of the problem is I’m frustrated that I can’t do all of what I want to. I can work three to five hours a day, but I’m used to eight to 12 hours. I probably won’t ever be up to that again. Outside of feeling tired more, I don’t feel sick.”
Along with new medications, and remaining on a heart-healthy diet, Scheff is adding one more thing to her repertoire.
“For years, I’ve done things for the American Cancer Society, but this had really hit closer to home,” she says. “I’ve learned that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and more women die from heart disease than from any other cancers combined. Yet we don’t have a special ribbon, and it’s not as popular a cause. We have the red dress and February is heart health awareness month.”
Scheff has one new requirement of Cutting Edge salon employees.
“Every Friday is red Friday, and I will wear red, even if it’s not my color,” she said.
For the past 10 years, the American Heart Association has been raising awareness about heart disease with the “Go Red for Women” day on the first Friday in February. More information can be learned at heart.org