'I felt like I'd been kicked in the chest' 

A quick diagnosis and emergency treatment saved Lynn Connor's life.

"I'd just got back from holiday in Cyprus and was feeling on top of the world. I had given all the grandchildren their presents, when I suddenly felt like I was being kicked in the chest by a horse. I realised I had to get to a doctor quickly.

"My GP knew immediately that I was having a heart attack and he called an ambulance. I was lucky that I was given lifesaving, clot-busting drugs by the paramedics on the way to the hospital. That night, I was given an angioplasty, where a sort of balloon is put into your coronary artery to open it up. Five stents (stainless steel mesh) were then inserted to hold the artery open.

"Nobody knows what caused the attack, but my dad died of one when he was 66. Some say it was because I smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years. It could have been stress as my granddaughter had been diagnosed with cancer the same year. I believe that it was probably a combination of things.

"After the operation, walking just 10 yards would totally wipe me out. Even eating was exhausting. But after a while, I went on a cardiac rehabilitation programme. It started off very gently. First, I did warm-up exercises, then I progressed to step-ups and the cycling machine, until finally I could go on the treadmill. I couldn't have done any of this without the help of my cardiac nurse, Lou, who was brilliant and very reassuring.

"I've always eaten a pretty healthy diet, but now I exercise more than I used to. I love swimming and try to go every day. I've also given up smoking.

"I feel incredibly happy that I'm alive. Everyone else I've known who had a heart attack has died, but now I know that there can be life after a heart attack."

Page last reviewed: 10/11/2016

Next review due: 10/11/2019