AMHERST - It happened without warning, said Barb Lowther about her heart attack.
It was a little over three years ago when it happened. Lowther said she had no idea she was even experiencing signs of a heart attack.
“My grandson and husband found me,” she said. “My husband performed CPR and my grandson called 911.”
The entire event was almost surreal, she admitted. She said she could remember some parts of it, as though she were having an out-of-body experience.
“My husband said he came down and put his fingers on my neck, I could feel his fingers on my neck,” she said. “But there was no pulse, there was nothing. I apparently flatlined in the ambulance.”
Lowther said that at the time, she didn’t know what was going on. However, there were signs she was at risk. She said heart disease ran in her family, she was a smoker and overweight.
Since her heart attack, Lowther has had to make some changes. She said her goal now is to keep herself healthy.
“I have to exercise regularly,” she said. “And (change) your eating habits. I haven’t smoked since.”
Cutting back on some of her favourite treats, such as splurging on chocolate, is still a bit of a struggle, she admits. But, she has had great support from her family.
“You have to pick your battles,” she said. “You know you’re going to go on vacation in a month’s time and you want to have a good time there and indulge a little bit, you have to watch everything you eat until then. But really, it’s about moderation.”
A lot of the lifestyle changes, Lowther said, involved strictly following the Canada Food Guide, something she said most of us learned about when we were younger but pushed to the backs of our minds.
“You have to bring it back,” she said.
As a mother and a caregiver, Lowther said it was hard for her to start putting herself first in order to be around to continue to take care of her family. She said she had to discipline herself from always baking goodies for her children and grandchildren, and, instead, give them her time.
“It still haunts me, probably always will,” she said. “But you have to stop and take care of yourself. You know you’re doing what you shouldn’t be doing: eating everything. It feels really good at the time but, look at your loved ones. Do you really want to be there tomorrow for them? I do.”