(WJBK) - Soon after receiving a clean bill of health from her doctor, Sterling Heights resident April Rouke, 36, began feeling chest and shoulder pains. Assuming she was fine, she ignored the pain and waited for it to go away.
"All of a sudden it hit me like a wall," Rouke said. "I couldn't breath without being in pain."
Rouke and her family headed up north for Labor Day the following weekend. Annoyed with the lingering pain, she drove herself to an urgent care.
Doctors discovered the main artery that feeds the heart, often referred to as the "widow maker," was completely blocked by a blood clot. She was immediately transported to Beaumont Hospital on Royal Oak by helicopter, where she went into cardiac arrest.
Once she was stabilized, Rouke learned that she suffers from spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD, a rare disease that causes tears in the arteries and blockages or clots.
Now in cardiac rehab and taking medication, Rouke is healing well, as doctors monitor her condition. She hopes to eventually return to work as a teacher in Grosse Point. In the meantime, she's enjoying a fresh perspective.
"There are a lot of things in life you have to forget about-they don't matter," she said. "Your family-that's what matters."
There is a Go Red For Women Fashion Show tonight at 7 p.m. at Somerset in the north grand court. Fox 2's Monica Gayle, Amy Andrews and Deena Centofanti will be there helping the American Heart Association raise awareness about heart disease.
To learn more about SCAD and other heart defects and diseases, visit www.heart.org.