AURORA, Colo. — Thirty-four-year-old Michelle Monette is not taking life for granted after she suffered a heart attack just months after having a baby.
“I was definitely very close to not making it,” Monette said.
It all started on Feb. 7. Monette says she felt pain in her chest and numbness in her hands. The symptoms would return every couple of days, so she went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with spontaneous coronary artery dissection.
“I had never heard of it before,” Monette said.
Monette underwent an angioplasty to restore blood flow through her arteries. She assumed she had dodged a bullet, but she hadn’t. Two days later, she suffered a massive heart attack in the kitchen of her home.
“I guess I had this look of death in my eye and I fell over and my husband started CPR,” Monette said.
Robert Monette, Michelle’s father, has suffered three heart attacks, so he always knew his children might be more prone to heart problems. However, he did not think it would happen to his daughter, especially while she was in her 30s.
“I fell to my knees. I thought she was gone,” he said. “What person who’s 34 years old would think a chest pain is anything other than a pulled muscle? No one at that age thinks it’s a heart attack.”
First responders, surgeons and Michelle’s husband saved her live. It’s a close call that shook the family to its core.
“Terrifying. There’s no other way to put it. It was gut wrenching,” Robert said.
Michelle says she now feels fine, but the worries haven’t ended of her family. Michelle’s husband was in between jobs when the heart attack happened and there was a gap in the family’s insurance, so now the family of nine is struggling to pay medical bills.
If you can pitch in to help, a GoFundMe account has been created to help the family.
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to Michelle’s father as Richard instead of Robert.