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Listening to her body likely saves young mother’s life

By Linnea Allen

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    SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTBS) — Rachel Hatcher is a young mother, a third-grade teacher and in her 30’s who had a close call.

“So, I’m with kids all day,” she said. “And if you’ve been in a third-grade classroom, that’s a little … it’s fun and exciting, but it’s a lot.”

She also has young children herself and helps with a youth basketball program.

“It was hectic,” she said.

So, when she started having chest pain, she thought it was probably anxiety. She paid a visit to her primary care doctor, who got an appointment for her that day with a cardiologist.

After several tests: “They’re giving me nitro. They’re giving me aspirin and they’re sitting me down,” Hatcher said. “And at that point, I was really scared.”

Doctors found some blockage in her heart. The plan was to send her home that day and for her to come back two days later for a heart catheterization and possibly stents.

She showed up, thinking it would be a simple procedure.

“They tell me that they couldn’t do the heart cath because of the place of my blockage and how much blockage, and that they were going to have to do open heart surgery,” Hatcher said.

Two days later, she had a double bypass.

“It was really scary because they told me that I had 99% blockage in one place,” she said. “And so, it was kind of like a ticking time bomb.”

Her Christus medical team told her she was lucky.

“Because I had listened to my body and that I had come to the doctor and gotten checked out,” Hatcher said.

A visit to her primary care doctor likely saved her life.

Dr. Cara Permenter, a primary care physician with Christus Shreveport-Bossier, says our body gives us signals.

“Chest pressure, chest pain, trouble breathing, you know, people get hot and sweaty, with any kind of activity that is a little bit, I would say, not as vigorous as their usual. But they find that they get fatigued more easily,” Permenter explained. “Those are all signs that something could be going on with the heart.”

Hatcher said she knew God was with her.

“I knew that he sent me to the doctor at the right time,” she said. “And I knew that I never felt like he wouldn’t get me through it. I knew he would get me through it for my kids.”

And she’s learned a lot.

“You have to take those extra steps to take care of your body – exercise and diet. And all of those things are what keeps you going and what keeps you healthy,” said Hatcher. “I’m just thankful that I went to the doctor that day, for sure.”

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