Woman survives artery blockage known as the 'widow maker' - Fox 2 News Headlines

Woman survives artery blockage known as the 'widow maker'

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

A woman in her forties got a painful wake up call when doctors told her she was facing what they call the "widow maker".

"I was on the verge of a major heart attack or dying," said Melissa Blount.

At 41 years old, she was unknowingly walking around with a killer blockage.

"We had a family reunion where I was playing soccer with the kids, and I was like literally doubled over, couldn't catch my breath," Blount said.

She was busy living life as a wife, mother and psychologist.  She easily dismissed the symptoms until the pain was too severe to ignore.

"It got to the point where if I had a really strong negative emotion or an argument, I would get this chest pain, or if I was moving around, walking up steps, I would get chest pain," she explained.

It was an angiogram that discovered a 95 percent blockage in a major artery, the artery that provides so much blood to the heart that when it's blocked, it's called the "widow maker".

"There was a noticeable difference after the procedure," said Blount.  "I felt brand new."

Now three years later with a stent in place, she is living life with heart disease, but as she moves forward, she looks back to understand what went wrong.  She blames stress from infertility, moving and job loss, and she wants others to learn from her pain.

"I encourage everyone -- friends, family, and especially cardiologists... your mental health is really the equivalent of taking care of yourself physically," Blount said.

Next week we'll bring you the story of Blount's recovery, how she fought the fear and anxiety, and the link between mental health and heart health.

February 1 is national Wear Red Day to kick off a month of raising awareness about America's number one killer.  You can wear red and join the fight.

Also on February 1, Beaumont and the American Heart Association are hosting the Go Red for Women Casting Call event for women to share their stories of survival.  Click here for more information.

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