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I’ve Got a Lot to Live For

POSTED BY: Desiree Gonzalez, Florida Hospital patient

So, it’s been quite a month for me and I’m only halfway through.  On the surface it seems I’ve been proactive in my health and perhaps that’s true overall. I’d like to chalk it up to being more responsible as I'm getting older, but that's not always the case. What becomes more recognizable for me is the immense amount of family, friends, and extensions of those relationships getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and unfortunately losing their lives to these illnesses.  

I went to my second of what I hope to be many mammograms recently. Not because I especially like it, I just like the idea of living a lot longer.  With my girls in check it was time to address a persistent pressure in my chest that started over two weeks ago. My extensive research online that no doubt qualifies me for a medical degree concluded it was stress related.  However, I must admit that in the back of my mind I was worried it might be Coronary Artery Disease, the other option. 

I went to my doctor last Thursday considering my dad was exactly my age when he started having chest pains. In fact, he was just shy of his forty-second birthday when he had coronary bypass surgery. It was because of his condition that my doctor highly recommended I go to the ER to get testing done immediately.  I was petrified, but I went.

I decided on Florida Hospital Orlando and on the way there I saw a billboard advertising their phone app to check the wait time in ER –fancy that.  It stated a four-minute wait time, however my care started from the moment I walked in.  I received an immediate EKG showing no signs of heart distress, but they wanted to be thorough because of my family history. I ended up having what is called a CCTA, a snazzy CAT scan with the donut looking machine and iodine forced through my veins.  Good times.

I’m delighted to say my ever-so-young heart was looking fabulous and those arteries were in perfect working order. The highlight, besides the good news, was seeing a color image of my heart. How cool is that?  I must also mention that even after having three children, never have I encountered so many doctors, nurses and technicians so focused on ensuring that I was well cared for and comfortable.  But I assure you, in the hospital is not where I want to be in the long run.

I still need to figure out why I get this tightness in my chest, but at least I know it’s not my heart. According to one in four women dies every year from heart disease and it’s the leading cause of death for not only women, but men as well. I’m glad to not be part of that statistic and will encourage everyone to make sure they aren’t either.


So for continued life preservation, this week saw my yearly gynecological visit - always a treat. Did you know that little duck looking device they use in a pap test is called a speculum?  To my surprise, they are now not only disposable, but made of plastic!  Where have I been? Gone are the days where you are instantly reminded just how cold stainless steel can be.  Did you know you can buy one on Amazon? But, I digress...get yourself checked out, you have a lot to live for.

By: Desiree Gonzalez

Read more on Desiree’s blog.