My Story: Becoming a Heart Health Advocate

By Saniya Ghanoui —

TC discusses why she became an advocate for heart health as she shares her own experience with congestive heart failure.


TC: Yes, I am a heart advocate, I am also a congestive heart patient and I have dilated and systolic congestive heart failure, and I just want to be here as a voice for the ladies they don’t know how to speak for themselves, because I was once one of those ladies that suffered in silence and didn’t know that we needed someone to speak on our behalf. 

OBOS Today: You know when, in your life, did you first start having issues with your heart? 

TC: Would you like for me to share my heart story? 

OBOS Today: I would. 

TC: Okay let’s do that. Six years ago, I thought I was having upper respiratory problems, so I went to an urgent care thinking, okay they’re going to give me some antibiotics and I’ll be on my way. Went to the urgent care, got there, the doctor did an X-Ray. Asked me what my symptoms was, and I told him the night before I was having problems, every time that I laid down, I was basically strangling. And I could not breathe, and so he said, “Okay well let’s do a couple of X-rays and see if we can figure out what’s going on,” he did do the X-rays. After doing the X-rays, he asked me did I drive myself to the urgent care? And I said, “No, I didn’t, I came with my,” it was my boyfriend, at the time who’s now my husband. I said, “Why are you asking?” He said, “Well, I’d like to bring him in, and share some things with him.” No problem. We brought him in. After bringing him in, he told him, “I think we need to send her to a hospital,” but I live in a suburb of Houston, the Pearland area, and he said, “But not one of the boutique hospitals here, you need to take her to a hospital in the medical center.”

So, at this point I’m kind of asking them what’s going on, I have upper respiratory infection, you know. And he said, “No that’s not what I’m seeing, but I really don’t want to get into what I’m see.” He gave me that information on a jump drive and told me to go to a medical center, pick any hospital that I like in the medical center. And he was very specific about in the medical center. So, I did just that. We went to the medical center, got there, gave them my jump drive, and said, “Hey I came from urgent care, they told me to give you guys this and you know what to do with it.” I did that gave that. Gave them jump drive, and they looked at me and asked me, “Did you walk in here on your own?” and I was like, “Yeah, I did,” “Can you breathe” “Yes, I can.” And five days later, I was diagnosed with familial congestive heart thing. And basically, what that is, it’s hereditary, my dad actually died from a massive heart attack at 45 and we probably, we believe, now that it was probably congestive heart failure untreated. 

OBOS Today: Wow. How old you are? I think I missed that when this was, when you had this experience. 

TC: I’m 60 now. Yeah, so it was six years ago. 

OBOS Today: Six years ago.