Stevie Mooney is a woman who truly “lives fierce”, being a mother, wife, coach, teacher and more! She has an active lifestyle but her life took a major change when she suffered a heart attack. Here is her story, which will amaze and inspire you!
Hi! My name is Stevie Mooney and I would like to take the opportunity to tell my story. I am a proud police wife. My husband of 15 years, Nick, is a Lieutenant at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Dept. We met in 2002 and were married in 2006. Together we have a daughter and a son. Our daughter, Jessi, is 11 and is very active in softball, basketball, cheer, and gymnastics. Our son, Jake, is 5 and is active in football, baseball and wrestling. I am a Math Special Education teacher at Oak Hill Middle School and the softball coach for Midland Trail Middle School. We live a very active and busy life.
On January 2, 2021, my husband and I went to dinner with a group of friends and their spouses. On our way home that night, I started having tightening in my chest and some pains. They would come and stay for a bit of time, but then would go away. I had been having blood pressure issues, so I was assuming my blood pressure was just up.
Nick took me home because I wasn’t feeling well. When we got home, the pain returned. My blood pressure was a little elevated, but not too high. I sat with my feet propped up taking deep breaths until the pain subsided. I then went to bed, thinking I would just feel better in the morning.
Around 7 am on January 3rd, I woke up with a stabbing, crushing pain in my chest. I was having difficulty breathing, breaking out into cold sweats, and started violently puking. Nick and I were convinced it was something I had for dinner, but the symptoms became more intense and were not going away. By this point I knew I had to go to the emergency room and see a doctor. Nick drove me to the hospital and contacted my parents. We were in the peak of COVID hospitalizations here in West Virginia. They would not allow anyone to come in to the hospital with me until I had a negative COVID test. The events that were unfolding were scary enough alone, but now I had to do all of this on my own while my husband, parents, and sister waited in the parking lot.
People came into the room quickly. I had a blood draw first thing. I had a nitro patch placed on my chest and an IV hooked up. In about 45 minutes, the first blood work came back showing my troponin levels were elevated. I had no idea what this meant, I just knew they were trying to find me a bed in a different hospital because they could not treat me there. Then came another blood draw. This time my troponin levels had tripled. The doctor came into my room and started explaining everything to me. At that point, I learned I was having a heart attack at the age of 40! I also learned there was not a bed available anywhere in the state and they were doing what they could to get me to hospital with a cardiologist. They also finally allowed Nick to come into the room at this point.
Finally, the doctor came in and said that they had found me a room at WVU Medicine United Hospital Center (UHC) in Bridgeport and they had an ambulance on the way to transfer me. My parents and my sister waited outside of the ER doors just to tell me they loved me, because they still had not been able to see me. My pain started to increase at this point. They gave me a morphine drip to try to help me with the trip to Bridgeport. I had laid in the emergency room actively having a heart attack for over 5 hours at this point, simply because there were no beds available.
Once I arrived at UHC, they were quick on the move. They contacted the cardiologist and he came to see me. The pain would not go away, no matter what they tried- Nitro patch, morphine, nitro pills, nitro drip. The pain was still there! The cardiologist made the decision that it was time to make the move. We headed to the cath lab.
Once I was in there, everything seemed to happen so fast. It was truly like a scene in the movies. People were moving quickly. They were all prepping me for the procedure and I still really didn’t know what to anticipate. I was nervous and I was scared!
The cardiologist started the procedure and it seemed like in about 10 minutes he was done! He asked me who he could contact to give them an update. I told him my parents and my husband were in the parking lot waiting to hear how it went. He brought them in to see me and it was the best feeling ever! To see my daddy with tears in his eyes, at that point, I finally realized how tragic this could have all turned out. The doctor told my husband that my widow maker was 100% blocked. He was able to stent it. The nurses in the building kept telling me how lucky I was to still be here. TWELVE PERCENT! Twelve percent was the survival rate for the heart attack that I had.
Now comes the life change…
My heart was only functioning at 30%. I had to go home with a life vest on. That thing was aggravating! I did not want to wear it forever. I was told that my heart function had to get back up above 40% before I could take it off. I needed to rehab my heart. I then found that all of the cardiac rehab places near me were closed due to them becoming a COVID infusion center. So Nick and I set out on a mission. WE were going to rehab my heart!
My friends were so supportive! We would do Face Time workouts together. I quit smoking, which was a bad habit to have anyways. We also had to change our diets. My friends purchased me cookbooks, helped me look up recipes, and even came over and cooked me meals. My parents and my sister came over to help with the cooking, planning, cleaning, and the kids! My support system was fantastic! By February 16th, I was off the life vest two months earlier than they expected me to be!
We were never inactive people. We are very active in our community. Not only did our own kids participate in all of the sports that I listed above, we also coach these sports and sit on the boards of directors for these programs as well. We did not live a sedentary lifestyle. But we did eat on convenience and fast food and processed foods too often.
Nick and I decided to go a mission to help other people make better decisions. We started posting our food on Facebook to show people that anyone can afford to eat healthy and it still tastes good as well. There were so many people that have called or stopped me to tell me, that thanks to me sharing my story, they have decided to make a lifestyle change as well and they have made doctor’s appointments to help them along on a healthier lifestyle!
I am willing to do what I can possibly do to be here as long as I can with my family. My babies are too little to grow up without a mom. I have flipped my lifestyle around one hundred percent! Not only will this benefit me and my health, but this will also benefit my children and their health as well!
You can view Stevie’s story through the Open Your Heart video she starred in for the 2021 Innovation of the Heart event. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTt3CfVTMC8
Kevin is the Communications Director for West Virginia and Western Virginia. When not in the office, Kevin is an active performer with the State 35 Comedy Troupe and is the founding member of the Ghostbusters – WV Division fundraising team. He has been with the organization since 2005.