Meet Pegga de Albreit

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During Summer of 2014, I had a flu like symptoms that went on for a few weeks.

I went to see my family physician and she prescribed me with inhalers for asthma. Weeks went by and the symptoms continued to persist, so I went to a walk-in clinic. The doctor told me that I had fluids in my lungs and that I had bronchitis, so she prescribed me with antibiotics for 10 days. My heart rate and blood pressure were high, but they didn’t investigate further because I was menopausal, I was adjusting to my married life, I was stressed, and I was told to stop drinking too much caffeine.

Weeks and months went by, and I increasingly became more fatigue and coughing a lot. I couldn’t walk very far and I stopped walking my dog. I took naps during the day, I was very forgetful, I couldn’t do my house chores, I couldn’t sleep lying down. Everyday, I felt as if I was drowning and my chest felt heavy. I had to sleep sitting up or propped my head on the couch. I couldn’t eat because my belly was distended.

On the evening of November 29, 2014, I started to have a hard time breathing. I asked my husband to take me to the hospital. A day after my admission and several tests, bloodwork and medical imaging, doctors broke the terrible news I never wanted to hear that I have cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and pneumonia.

Since then, I have several other health issues and surgeries. I am unable to do activities I used to enjoy. My life has changed forever. I was diagnosed with heart failure at 40 years old. I never smoked, abused alcohol or did drugs. I always ate very healthy, tried to live a very active lifestyle, and am within my ideal body weight. I want to spread awareness to women my age to listen to their bodies and be vigilant on unusual symptoms especially irregular heart beats.