Dear Editor,

In 2005, I had an aortic aneurysm and two open heart surgeries to replace both my aortic and mitral valves.  I was on life support for five days and had a mini stroke.  Thanks to medical advancements, clinical research and expert medical care, I survived.  While my medical recovery was monitored by professional staff, nothing could prepare me for the emotional and physical recovery I would endure once I left the hospital. 

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association has resources for survivors like myself to connect with other survivors and caregivers going through a similar journey.  The Support Network offers a free online community where I can ask questions, give and receive advice and know that I am not alone.

Like many heart disease and stroke patients, I felt overwhelmed, isolated and at times, depressed.  Research shows that the stress of dealing with an illness can impact health.  A study from the Journal of the American Heart Association found a general lack of social support is associated with poor health and quality of life and depression in young men and women a year after having a heart attack.

The Support Network is a free, monitored online community where patients, survivors and caregivers can ask questions, share concerns or fears, provide helpful tips and find encouragement and inspiration.  To learn more about the Support Network, visit www.SupportNetwork.Heart.org.

Respectfully,

Karin Jordan

Spokesperson, American Heart Association and American Stroke Association

Asbury Park, NJ