Monday, March 11, 2013
7 News Features: Too Young to Die
Some students might feel like they're having an anxiety attack while studying for exams. But one young woman experienced something far more dangerous. 7's Lynn Martinez brings us the story of a girl who was Too Young to Die.
Amy Khamissian: "She's my life. She was my dream, my dream."
An only child who grew up a bit of a tomboy.
Alexandra Khamissian: "I liked climbing trees and riding my bike."
And loved active family vacations. She grew into a beautiful young woman and was studying international business.
Alexandra Khamissian: "It was 4 a.m. and I was up in my room studying."
But life as this family knew it came to a screeching halt that night when Alexandra started feeling strange.
Alexandra Khamissian: "All of a sudden I started feeling nauseous, just got kinda like a cold sweat."
She kept studying thinking it was just stress, but it got worse.
Alexandra Khamissian: "My hands were like numb, like if they were asleep, but it was almost like a tingling."
And then came a crushing pain.
Alexandra Khamissian: "Just like a pain as if someone was pushing down on my chest. It wouldn't go away. I was short of breath, I remember thinking I can't breathe I can't do anything."
She somehow found the strength to call for her mom who was in the next room.
Alexandra Khamissian: "Even her color was not a usual color."
At first, Alexandra's mom tried to calm her down, told her it was going to be fine.
Alexandra Khamissian: "It's not fine, it's not going away, you need to call the rescue. She's like, 'Are you serious?' I'm like 'Yes.'"
Her mom called 911.
Amy Khamissian: "I need somebody to come over to my house as quickly as possible."
She was rushed to the ER at Memorial Regional Hospital.
Dr. Luis Tami: "She was 21 when she had discomfort at night, and she came with chest pain."
At first Dr. Tami thought it was probably anxiety and stress, but an EKG revealed she was having a heart attack.
Dr. Luis Tami: "It was the real thing, it was not an anxiety attack."
Doctors were stunned.
Dr. Luis Tami: "Younger than 30 is rare to have heart attacks."
Especially since Alexandra didn't have any of the risk factors.
Dr. Donny Perez: "Patients are overweight, they're smoking, they have diabetes, hypertension."
And she was only 21 years old.
Amy Khamissian: "Unbelievable, you just can't believe that it actually happened."
Calling for the ambulance probably saved her life that night.
Dr. Donny Perez: "Coz it's all about time. The sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner we can start treatment."
Doctors believe the heart attack was brought on by an aneurysm or a weak artery that caused a blockage in her heart.
After a short stay in the hospital, she was given the all clear.
Slowly over the last two years she has started doing the things she loves. She even got the OK from her doctor to put her heart to the test.
Alexandra Khamissian: "I went to Busch Gardens and rode like four roller coasters and I was perfectly fine. I was nervous and everyone else was nervous for me."
And since she knows what it means to almost die, she wants to make sure she lives every day.
Alexandra Khamissian: "I feel more thankful and I feel grateful that I was able to survive that."
Alexandra and her doctors say her story is a good reminder, don't ignore your body if you think something is wrong.