One out of every three women will die from heart disease, making it the number one killer of women. That's more than all cancers combined.
When Mary Hoffman scheduled her hair appointment, she never thought it would be that appointment that would also save her life.
"You think you're 10 feet tall and bulletproof I guess and I was never forewarned so I think a heart attack was the last thing that I would've thought of." Said Hoffman.
On her way to the salon, Mary's vision became blurred and she started weaving in and out of traffic. She made it to H.I.P. Salon safely, but when she tried to get out of her car she passed out. Luckily two good Samaritan's witnessed her fall.
"And they said lady you need help and I first said no just pick me up, I've got a hair appointment." Said Hoffman.
Mary was rushed to Avera St. Luke's where doctors informed her she had a massive heart attack, but she was lucky time was on her side.
"We refer to it as time being muscle or the survivability of the heart muscle. Generally the earlier someone can present the better off they are with us being able to deliver optimal medical care." Said Dr. Larry Sidaway, invasive cardiologist at Avera St. Luke's.
But Mary's luck went even further, a surgery had already been scheduled for someone else and the cath lab was ready for her the second she came through the doors. A process that on a good day takes 90 minutes she had done in six.
"The fact that they had me in surgery in six minutes, I was 100 percent blocked and then when my heart failed had they not taken care of the clot they wouldn't of been able to bring me back." Said Hoffman.
Even with her artery opened, Mary's heart stopped a total of four times. But doctors refused to let her slip away.
"Someone said you're quite a fighter but I really think the medical staff they were fighting more than I was!" Said Hoffman. "I think their job was harder, harder than mine."
Research shows that people seldom experience the classic symptoms of heart attack like shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness. This is the main reason why one out of five people who have heart failure won't even make it to the hospital. For women that rate is even lower.
"Women who have their first heart attack they're less likely to survive than a man in their first year." Said Dr. Sidaway.
Mary refused to become a part of that statistic, even with the odds seemingly stacked against her. She just happened to be in the right place, at the right time.
"The bottom line is you've got a think the good Lord that she's alive." Said Karley Hoffman, Mary's Husband. "There's too many miracles to just be a coincidence."
Mary says she didn't think it was a heart attack, she just felt something was wrong. She hopes her story is what helps save someone else's life.
"I feel like that there's a message, I feel like maybe if there's one woman that I can say don't be in denial don't wait till the last minute and that maybe they'll listen and get help I feel like there's a reason that I am here." Said Hoffman.
The Hoffman's are from Long Lake which is about an hour from Aberdeen, had Mary not made her hair appointment and been in town there's no way she would have survived her massive heart attack. For more information about heart disease just call 877-AT-AVERA.