Shrewsbury resident “goes red” for women
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Deidra Lincoln, of Shrewsbury, began 2012 in a hospital's intensive care unit, recovering from surgery after a heart attack. She's beginning 2013 by raising awareness as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association's 10th annual Go Red for Women campaign through February, which is National Heart Month.
“I had a tough time after the surgery, but I's much better a year later,” she said.
The day after Christmas 2011, two weeks after her annual physical, she went shopping with her husband and friends at Patriot Place, which she jokingly calls the “Man Mall.” That night, she woke up feeling ill.
“I felt dizzy, nauseous and I was sweating,” she relayed. “I felt like I had an elephant on my chest. This all happened very, very fast.”
After her husband took her to the hospital, it was determined she had a blockage and needed emergency surgery.
“I had a stent placed to remove the blockage,” she explained. “I had all kinds of complications. After that, my body didn's adjust well to the medications.”
She was aware of heart disease and its symptoms because of family history.
“My dad passed away of a heart attack at a very young age; he was only 38,” she said. “I have a daughter, who's very health-conscious, and she was diagnosed at 13 with hypertension at her annual physical.”
Over the past year, Lincoln has further researched heart disease and wants to share her firsthand experience to help other women.
“My symptoms were more flu-like; I didn's have a left-sided pain,” she said. “Now I's learning the symptoms I had are more typical in women.”
She has made some alterations in her daily life and appreciates the support from her family.
“Sometimes my whole family goes to the gym together,” she said. “I try to do something every single day, to get my heart and cardio pumping. And I don's eat any fried food or red meat. I definitely think my family is now much more aware of cooking healthy.”
It was her son who helped get her involved as a spokesperson of the Go Red for Women campaign.
“My son is a brain tumor survivor and has been a patient at Dana-Farber for 13 years now, and he's the one who nominated me,” she said.
Last February, shortly after her heart attack, Lincoln attended an open call for the Go Red for Women campaign held at Natick Mall. Women were interviewed and told their stories.
“The funniest thing was that the day they interviewed me, I had no voice because some of the medications literally took my voice away,” she said. “So I thought for sure I probably wasn's going to get a call back from them.”
Lincoln did get the call. This past September, she and her family attended the Heart of Our Mission reception at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boston, where this year's Go Red for Women spokespeople were announced.
“It was heartwarming and overwhelming all at the same time,” she said.
Lincoln works as an occupational therapist at the Shrewsbury Public Schools, where she will spread her message during Heart Month to students in preschool through elementary.
“We'se trying to get them to start being engaged in healthy habits at a young age, whether it's making healthy choices with snacks or trying to exercise more,” she said.
The main message she wants to convey is that heart disease can affect anyone at anytime.
“I's doing this for my family, for my community, and particularly for other women,” she said. “We can all end heart disease if we do this together.”
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