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October 19, 2012

'I could call myself a survivor'

Georgetown woman becomes a 'Go Red' ambassador for Heart Association


“I didn’t know if I was coming back,” she said. “I said goodbye.”

Just over a year later, on Feb. 3 — her birthday — Doucette traveled to Natick to share her story at a casting call for Go Red for Women.

It had taken a year to sink in: the 6.5-hour surgery, the week in the intensive care unit, the cardiac rehab, the outpouring of support from the community, and the fact that she lost some heart function.

“At that time I did it as milestone for myself,” she said of the decision to attend the casting call. “I could call myself a survivor.”

She now takes six medications compared to none before, she tires more easily and has to be careful lifting to avoid a tear.

Life has changed not only for her, but for the entire family. If she stays longer than usual in bed in the morning, Mike Doucette checks in on her, fighting a lingering fear that it might happen again.

The first of Doucette’s ambassador duties comes on Tuesday, a Go Red fashion show at UMass Lowell. Her daughter, now 8, will join her on the runway.

Those who look closely will see her new motto on the tiny engraved print on her necklace: “Keep calm and carry on.”

Heart attack signs in women

Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Other than chest pain, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Source: The American Heart Association

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