Don’t Play Games with Your Heart: Joan Nelson Kash

Feb 8, 2021 | Heart Health, Wellness

Joan Nelson Kash doesn’t play games when it comes to her cardiac health. Since her heart blockages, she returns for a check up each year with her cardiologist and is vigilant about getting enough exercise.   Makeup by Amber Himes

Joan Nelson Kash, 69

In March 2014, Joan Nelson Kash was caring for her terminally ill husband, Ron, and working full-time. When she developed a stiff neck, she attributed it to the extreme amount of stress she was under. She says her neck felt like she had slept wrong. But when the stiffness worsened and she began to feel clammy, she called her daughter, Lindsay Reynolds, who is a nurse. Lindsay wanted to take her mom to the hospital, but Joan was hesitant. What changed her mind was when she felt a tingle down her left arm. “As soon as I got that, I knew it was more than a stiff neck,” Joan says.

Lindsay took her mom to Norton Brownsboro Hospital, where doctors planned to give Joan a stress test the next day. However, further tests indicated she needed a cardiac catheterization and a stent. “It was 95 percent blockage,” she says.

As a result, Joan doesn’t play games when it comes to her cardiac health. She returns for a check up each year with her cardiologist and is vigilant about getting enough exercise, although the pandemic has kept her away from fitness centers. She walks her dog two to three miles every day and carries Nitrostat with her at all times. (Nitrostat is a medication that widens the blood vessels, meaning the heart doesn’t have to work as hard.) “I can’t go without it because of the ‘heart event.’ If something would happen and I’m by myself, I can at least take the Nitrostat,” she says.

She retired from full-time work, which has helped eliminate a great deal of stress in her life. Sadly, Joan’s husband, Ron, passed away in June 2014 while she was doing cardiac rehabilitation. However, the heart can heal as Joan’s did, both physically and emotionally: she remarried in May 2019.

P.S. Read about more women who faced unexpected heart ailments head-on.

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