Get Inspired: Have A Heart

Interview by Kimberly Rodrigues

At 47 years old Pamela Serure was exhausted all the time, had a consistent pain in her neck and chest, and was constantly on the move for work. After several failed diagnoses (from menopause to bronchitis and walking pneumonia) and her first CTA scan, she discovered she had heart disease with a 98 percent blockage in her main artery. Doctors performed a triple-bypass surgery and she’s been helping her heart ever since with natural remedies, exercise, and relaxation. But the real saving grace for Pamela is the satisfaction she gets from raising awareness of heart disease in women and motivating them to get tested.
 
How did you manage after the surgery ?
I’ve always had to run the parallel road of recovery and heart disease with alternative products that really work better in my body. But that’s not for everybody. After the triple bypass, I had the depression that follows and took SAMe, they gave me beta-blockers and they made me feel sluggish. I found my body can’t take statins, because within a week my muscles were crumbling and my stomach was aching. The pain was significant, I mean they broke a rib or two to crack open my chest for the bypass, but nothing really helped the pain. They gave me pills [for the pain], but two months later I got a magnet mattress pad over my mattress. Within the first night of using it, I could finally sleep. I took my dog to the beach and practiced breathing exercises at the shoreline. I got in touch with a yoga teacher who knew how to work with cardiac patients, and I starting giving myself gentle massages to get my body to recognize itself again. Using essential oils like lavender on my pillow and citrus on my clothes and under my nose during the day were very important for my mood.
 
How do you manage your heart disease now?
It has been 11 years, and at the 5-year mark I had to have another stent put in after a small heart attack on the treadmill in my doctor’s office. Today, I still get stressed running an organization in this economy. I have to take time outs: I take walks with my dog, I still watch Oprah, drink tea, swim when I can, drench in vitamin D—when I sit in the sun, I feel infinitely better. I ask myself when I get too over the top [with stress], is this worth it? I make natural cocktails of red rice yeast, Coenzyme Q10, fish oil, D ribose, and carnitine. Those keep my heart in really good shape. Many women that take statins find their levels of coenzyme Q10 get reduced, and this helps to replenish it for me. I know other people, too, who use other combinations for their specific body, but this is what works for me. I also have a deep spiritual life, wonderful family, friends, and support system. Working on behalf of other women, getting women that write me and say I saved their life because they got checked, that means the world to me.
 
How do you reach out to others?
I had to come into full ownership that I had heart disease in my mid 40s. I did have a family history, but the disease didn’t hit as early with them. The history, coupled with stress is the real knockout for women. I became a member of Women Heart (womenheart.org) and it was such a piece of saving grace, I felt like I had a new normal to be with other women that had heart disease, too. I wrote a book called Take It To Heart and started Events of the Heart (eventsoftheheart. org) where we collect real stories from real women and dramatize it. When we put these performances on, women really identify and we screen them at the performances. I’m going to tell stories of women as they really are, to change the perception of heart disease and women. I know it’s 80 percent preventable, whether you choose a natural road, a spiritual path, or the doctor’s path, you have to come back into balance with the heart—the heartbeat is essential to balance.
 
What is the most important piece of advice you would like to share with Natural Solutions’ readers?
I had to go in the extreme door of triple bypass, and came out the door with prevention. You would never want to live a day without all the things you feel in your heart. Every day find something to give back to your heart. Remember, 44 percent of women get heart disease compared to only 4 percent that get breast cancer. Go get tested and screened. Get to know your cholesterol, blood pressure, calcium levels, body mass index—when women know their numbers, they can’t dispute that.