Mary Hanel's Journey to Heart Recovery
My name is Mary Hanel and I live in Dingmans Ferry, PA, with my husband, Richard. I suffered my first heart attack on Thanksgiving Day in 1984. My medical team didn’t believe I was suffering a heart attack because I was only 46. At that time, it was thought that women my age didn’t have heart attacks.
As it turned out, I was having a severe heart attack. I was in bad shape. Both my left and right main arteries were 98% blocked, which required coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The surgery was very painful with a long recovery. I ultimately recovered and did well, but over the years I still had occasional problems.
In 2017, every time my husband and I went out walking or vacationing, I often had to stop due to shortness of breath. I always felt like a wet blanket. When I began experiencing pressure on my chest and pain in my arm, I scheduled an appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Yaron Bareket, at Hackensack Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ. I thought I had passed the stress test with flying colors until I received a call from Dr. Bareket asking me to return the following day. He confirmed I had multiple blockages but told me I was too high-risk for another surgery.
Dr. Bareket referred me to Dr. Adam Raskin who explained that I had a severe blockage and recommended a coronary rotablation. It sounded like a plumbing job to me. Because this was a high-risk procedure, Dr. Raskin explained he would use the Impella® heart pump to temporarily support my heart. He called it a Protected PCI with Impella. I said, “This could change my life, let’s do it!” I went in the next morning feeling nervous. But once I was in the catheterization lab, I realized there was no pain involved in the procedure. It’s not like bypass when you come out feeling like your body was run over by a truck. Following the procedure, I felt great and I was able to return home to my husband the next day.
Since my procedure, I have had the best years of my life. I can now walk 3 ½ miles around the lake near my home. I go to an exercise class three times a week and now my husband tries to keep up with me! My doctor calls me Wonder Woman, but it was my doctor and the Impella that made me Wonder Woman.