Holzer Cardiovascular Institute Patient Shares Her Story

karen edgar“I’m very thankful to tell my story, and I hope sharing it will only help others,” stated Karen Edgar.

As Edgar was decorating the Christmas tree over Thanksgiving weekend this past holiday season, she suddenly didn’t feel well. She and her granddaughter were trimming the tree when she suddenly became faint and was very tired. After resting, the feeling went away. But throughout the weekend, she just didn’t feel right. When she checked her heart rate the following day, it was very low. Thankfully, her family talked her into going to the hospital, where she was admitted.

Edgar spent the evening in the Critical Care Unit, where her heart rate was closely monitored. The following morning, she met with the cardiac team, where she was told she would need a pacemaker to regulate her heartbeat.
“At 49, you don’t expect to be told you need a pacemaker. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. But the staff was so good to me. I felt completely comfortable having Holzer Cardiovascular Institute as my heart team.”

In December 2013, Edgar underwent surgery to have a permanent pacemaker placed. “My family was very nervous; they just wanted everything back to normal. These types of hospital experiences are so hard on our family, leaving them feeling helpless. The staff was good to keep them informed of my health and what was happening, providing comfort whenever possible,” she stated.

Recovery for Edgar has gone very well, and she has returned to work, where she is a Holzer Cardiovascular Institute nurse. “I’ve been at Holzer for 24 years. I enjoy being at work. I love being a nurse. And I know first-hand that we have the best heart team available for our communities.”

Edgar has three children, Will, age 14, and two grown children, Josh Helms and Monica Helms. In addition, she has a granddaughter, Baylee. “I love life and I want to live it to the fullest. I am thankful for every day that I get to be a Mom and Granny. I have lots of family events (weddings, graduations, etc.) to look forward to, and I want to make sure I am there for each and every one of them.”

Edgar shared with us that there is no history of heart disease in her family, and any blood pressure issues in her family were a later onset (past 60 years of age), proving this episode as a shock to her and her loved ones. “It was very scary. As a healthcare worker, I knew what the numbers meant. I understood the monitors. But I trust Holzer Cardiovascular Institute. And I thank Holzer, I wouldn’t be here without them.”

In sharing her story, Edgar expressed that women need to be aware of their body and notice the subtle changes that might typically be dismissed. “Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms. Get checked out. Be attentive to your body. Even the smallest change can indicate something is wrong. It’s better to keep your physician informed of your health at all stages of life.”

For more information on Holzer Cardiovascular Institute, or any of the services Holzer offers, visit www.holzer.org or call 1-855-4-HOLZER.