There's an old adage that a frog placed in boiling water, will only jump out. But a frog placed in cold water that is slowly heated, won't sense the danger and will be cooked.
Well, Gail Neal is no frog but she didn't notice the water of her life starting to heat up.
"I felt foolish going to the doctor saying I can't breathe, what's the matter? And there wasn't supposed to be anything wrong with me." Said Neal.
Working in the Avera St. Luke's cafeteria, Gail noticed her job and daily tasks had became much more difficult, but she accepted the pain and lack of energy.
"I just thought I was getting old and that's why I was tired and out of sorts and out of breath all the time. I found out my body was not as healthy as I thought it was." Said Neal.
After changes in diet didn't help boost her energy, Gail reluctantly went to her doctor. He recommended an angiogram to see if everything was ok with her heart.
"The nurses said if they find anything this will happen or that will happen but I'm just thinking no I'm just getting a free day off of work." Said Neal.
Gail figured this test, like the rest, would turn up nothing but still went under to be sure.
"The next I remember is them whispering in my ear, Gail, we had to put a stent in and there was 99% blockage." Said Neal.
Heart disease and diabetes run in Gail's family but she thought she'd done enough to stay ahead of genetics. Symptoms for heart disease are not always recognizable like the sharp chest pains and arm numbness, but doctors say if you're like Gail and notice any change in daily activities get it check out.
"for instance, if you can go up the stairs without stopping and three months down the road you realize you have to stop halfway up the stairs, catch your breath, and go up, don't minimize it and don't self diagnose it, go to your physician." Said Dr Lou Kumar, an Interventional Cardiologist.
In Gail's case, doctors say she's lucky she didn't have a heart attack. Now that she's got a new lease on life, Gail encourages others not to settle for a low energy life.
"Just because you might not think it's something just go get checked just in case, because you never know." Said Neal.
"It's always better to have something done electively and not emergently, so you can ignore the symptoms but the symptoms and the disease is not going to ignore you. It will get worse." Said Dr. Kumar.
After years of dragging through the work week, Gail now wakes up ready to take on the day.
"Like I can conquer the world? I'm getting right up there!" Said Neal.
So when the water starts to warm up around you, be like Gail. Don't be the frog.
An angiogram is an invasive procedure but Gail spent just one night in the hospital and was back to work a few days later. For more information on cardiac procedures at Avera St. Luke's call 877-AT-AVERA