Wamego best friends support each other after their heart attacks

Health Check

WAMEGO, Kan. (KSNT) – Best friends Terri Hollenbeck and Janelle Wolf, both of Wamego, did not see their heart attacks coming.

“We are both 52. I never had an precursor. I never had high cholesterol, high blood pressure,” Hollenbeck said. “It was pretty out of the blue and very life-changing. It presented itself in my left shoulder blade. I had been going to a chiropractor, and I thought I had a rib out of place. It just became so intense.”

Hollenbeck had a heart attack in May of last year. About two months later, Wolf was in the same situation.

“Ironically, I had just gotten a call after my yearly exam and blood work, and everything checked out. (I had) slight blood pressure maybe, but my cholesterol and everything else checked out,” Wolf said. “An hour later, I had discomfort in the middle of my chest. I got dizzy and started sweating. I even passed out and fell down some steps.”

Both women were rushed into surgery.

“They talked about doing surgery that night, maybe the next day, they were consulting,” Hollenbeck said. “And then this team just showed up in my room and started prepping me. I was like, ‘did I miss something?’ Within minutes I was in surgery.”

“It was a lot of emotions going on in there. They got me to Topeka and same thing, at first everything was normal and they said they will put the stent in tomorrow. Then all heck broke loose and they started prepping me for surgery,” Wolf said.

After surgery, both women were prescribed cardiac rehab therapy in Wamego.

Wamego Cardiac Rehab

“They come here to exercise 2-3 times a week. We gradually ease them into an exercise program, and they are monitored,” Kathleen Vanstory, a Cardiac Rehab Nurse at Wamego Health Center, said. “We monitor their heart rate and heart rhythm.”

Hollenbeck said the thing she appreciated was when they put a heart monitor on her and watched the entire time she exercised.

“It is still a psychological event in your head. Just knowing I was safe here and getting the exercise I needed was beyond measures,” Wolf said.

Today the women depend on their friendship for support and understanding.

“I was asking her, do you still have heart palpitations and heart fluttering?” Wolf said. “It’s unnerving that we still have that, and we may have that the rest of our lives, but just having someone to bounce these things off of (is nice).”

Hollenbeck said her cardiologist told her she’s going to live a full great life and to not let this stop her from living.

Both women are doing well today, living life to the fullest and sharing their stories to help other women understand the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

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