Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 15, 2013

A celebration of survival on Valentine’s Day

BELLEFONTE — Often holding hands and wearing red clothing for Valentine’s Day, dozens of local survivors of heart disease gathered to celebrate with a meal Thursday at Bellefonte Country Club during Kings Daughter’s Medical Center’s first Heart-To-Heart luncheon.

 “The event is designed to help attendees share hope, support and their stories of survival on Valentine’s Day, the day of the year most associated with hearts, smack-dab in the middle of heart month,” said KDMC spokesperson Beth Caruthers.

In addition to sharing lunch and trading stories about their own discovery and survival of heart attacks and other heart-related illness, the survivors and their guests heard from KDMC Nurse Angie Vallance, who shared her own close encounter with heart disease.

“I really had no symptoms other than dizziness. It was like someone grabbed my chair and just spun me around in circles,” Vallance, of Russell, said while luncheon guests found their seats. Vallance said her co-workers soon determined her blood pressure was elevated, but had to convince her to pursue further testing which ultimately pinpointed the problem, allowing a proper diagnosis and multiple bypass surgery.

Today, vallance smiles as she reports she hasn’t missed any work since her initial recovery, and feels wonderful. If she hadn’t listened to her fellow nurses, especially nurse Brooke Roberts who kept after her to have an EKG test, Vallance said, “I probably wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Vallance was introduced by her physician, cardiothoracic surgeon Robert Fried, M.D., who pointed out Vallance’s story illustrates the “atypical” and even subtle symptoms women often experience before a heart attack.

In one corner of the country club dining hall, heart-attack survivor John Balmer, 81, and wife, Rose, enjoyed catching up with old friends who’ve experienced similar health challenges. Balmer explained he and his wife were runners for 30 years, even participating in marathons, before he suffered a heart attack while deer hunting. Balmer recalled the day when he and several others were out in the woods, and his own pride after shooting an eight-point buck before his heart let him know he was in trouble.

“I slid it across the snow and I got about halfway to where the road was and I couldn’t breathe. I mean ... I could breathe, but it wasn’t doing me any good,” with the priorities of a dedicated hunter, Balmer said he called someone else to drag the deer home before considering his own circumstances.

 “I sat down and sort of fell off a rock and I barely remember being put in a truck,” he said, later adding his health care team did a fantastic job getting him back up and out in the woods.

“Now, we walk six miles, three days a week,” he said with a grin. “A heart attack doesn’t necessarily stop you.”

More than 50 local survivors from heart disease, which is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S., attended the Heart-To-Heart luncheon.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ashland couple indicted on grave violation charges

     A man and a woman from Ashland have been indicted for allegedly stealing brass flower vases from graves at Rose Hill Burial Park.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Shore clerk gives updates on city building bids, sewer project

    City officials may not have to wait much longer to move from their temporary offices on Main Street into a shiny, new building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fate of stray animals in Carter County questioned

    Stray animals in Carter County may be disappearing because no one seems to know exactly where they are going.

    April 22, 2014

  • Recovery center finds home

    The mayor of Grayson said he isn’t concerned about the money a new recovery center will funnel into the city, although he is deeply appreciative of what the proposed facility may be able to offer “people who really need help” recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

    April 22, 2014

  • Olive Hill man charged with shooting wife during dispute

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.
    Robert Tackett, 47, of Olive Hill, was lodged in the Carter County Detention Center on Monday, charged with attempted murder-domestic violence, Kentucky State Police at Ashland said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Two of three Greenup commission seats on ballot

    Two of three commission seats are up for grabs in Greenup County this fall, and both will involve primary contests to determine the ballot lineup in the November election.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423attmurder_tackett.jpg Olive Hill man charged with attempted murder

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rotary updated on Alliance

    Ed Neely, president of the Ashland Rotary Club and chairman of the Ashland Alliance, addressed Rotarians in both capacities during the Monday meeting to give an update on the organization’s recent progress.

    April 21, 2014

  • Prater has been satisfying fans’ hunger for 40 years

    Debbie Prater has satisfied thousands of athletes’, parents’ and fans’ snacking desires for nearly 360 months.
    That’s just about 40 years of serving nachos, popcorn, chili dogs, water and soda from Lewis County’s football, basketball and baseball concession stands, and Prater is retiring after this year’s last pitch.

    April 21, 2014