Giving Back with Lisa Schaffner

By Lisa Schaffner | May 10th, 2014

Karen Tatti is involved with the American Heart Association. Her personal journey started this way ...

It’s a day Karen Tatti will never forget. She was hurriedly rushing around her preschool classroom geting ready for the day when she felt a whoosh and then pressure.

“It was like something was stuck in my chest. I thought it was acid reflux,” Tatti explained. But when she began sweating and was hit with a wave of nausea, she knew it was something more. She may have picked up a stomach bug that was going around. The mother of a 24-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son left school and drove home to rest. Once there, however, it was clear to Tatti and her husband something was very wrong.

“I tried sitting up. I tried lying down, but the feeling wasn’t going away. I called my doctor, but there were no available appointments until the next day.” They told Tatti to visit the emergency room.

At the hospital, Tatti described feeling like she had an elephant sitting on her chest. The ER nurse quickly hooked her up to an EKG monitor and within 30 minutes of arriving, Tatti was having an angioplasty.

“I remember lying on the table and being thankful that God was with me. I had feelings of fear, but an overriding sense of peace and calm. I am 58 years old, and I’m having a heart attack. This is not supposed to happen.”

It was April 29, 2013, and Tatti’s medical tests showed she had 100 percent blockage in her right coronary artery and 70 percent blockage in her left artery. She was in the hospital four nights and went through months of cardiac rehabilitation.

Now, one year later, Tatti believes sharing her story is her life’s mission. “I thought I was healthy. I thought I was doing everything right. I want others to learn about heart disease through my journey.”

Tatti works out three times a week walking in her neighborhood and doing time on the elliptical. She’s also getting involved with the American Heart Association. Tatti participated for the first time in last fall’s Heart Walk. “I feel thankful for their organization and the wonderful job they do on educating the public about heart disease.”


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