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When she woke up in the middle of the night with crushing chest pain, Elana Trainoff thought she was just experiencing bad heartburn. She had been feeling off for the previous two days, but put it down to symptoms of indigestion.
Initially too embarrassed to go to the hospital, she finally had her partner at the time take her to their local emergency department. At age 40, Elana was shocked to learn that she was in the middle of a full-blown heart attack.
“On the way to the hospital, I had joked about it: ‘Can you imagine if I’m having a heart attack? How crazy would that be?’” she says. Even though heart disease runs in her family, she always thought that it was something she’d worry about later in life – not while in her prime, with an active lifestyle and busy career as a film and television producer.
Two months after her heart attack, Elana enrolled in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Women’s College Hospital, the first heart health program in North America specifically designed for women. Having tried another rehabilitation program at a different hospital, she was looking for a non-judgmental environment where she felt supported and cared for. She found all of that at Women’s College Hospital and more.
“Walking into Women’s College, I immediately felt a strong sense of accessibility and support, and all of my care came without judgment,” she says. “It was so reassuring in a difficult time.”
Self-conscious about being one of the younger patients in the program, Elana says it would have been easy to feel alone and isolated in her journey back to good health. Instead, the Cardiac Rehab team made her feel like part of their family.
“I was treated with kindness from everyone,” she says. “They welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. Going there is like getting a warm hug!”
Elana recently graduated from the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program after spending six months undergoing a personalized treatment program that included exercise, meal plans and lifestyle changes. Today, she is doing well and focusing on reducing stress, eating better and living healthier. She’s also passionate about getting a message out to other young women like herself: this could happen to you too.
“Women need to really listen to their bodies and not feel afraid or ashamed to take the time to look after our health,” she says. “If something doesn’t feel right, really listen to your gut and do something about it.”