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Arkansas woman urging others after shocking diagnosis: 'Take care of the one body you have'

Although February 28 is the end of American Heart Month, an Arkansas woman tells her story in hopes others will keep their heart health in mind year-round.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — February 28 marks the end of American Heart Month, but an Arkansas woman wants people to keep their heart health in mind year-round, and she's doing that by sharing her story.

The lifelong Arkansas educator had no idea she struggled with heart issues until she found herself in the emergency room.

Now Rosie Coleman has a new outlook on life which is why she wants to share her message with everyone.

"Life is just a little bit different for me now. I enjoy it more and I embrace it a lot more. You don't know how important something is until you almost lose it," she said.

It was around the holidays back in November of 2020 when Coleman thought she was taking her last breath.

"On a scale from one to ten, with ten being scared out of my mind— eleven," she said.

What started as a hip injury and then pneumonia eventually led to a visit to the UAMS emergency room where Coleman received news she never thought she'd get.

"The doctor came in and said, 'Has anybody ever told you [that] you had congestive heart failure?' I said, 'You're in the wrong room.'"

Just like that, Coleman was admitted to the hospital with a high-risk quadruple-bypass surgery scheduled. 

She was sent home before what Coleman thought was going to be her last Thanksgiving.

"I was so weak at that time and I'd lost so much weight, and I didn't feel well and I didn't eat that much," she said.

Coleman came back to the hospital in mid-December 2020 for her surgery, which had some complications.

Her heart suddenly stopped pumping enough blood to her body and the Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Jay Bhama, had to act quickly.

"I was in very serious condition. I don't think Dr. Bhama expected me to live after surgery," Coleman said.

But a device, called the Impella 5.5 heart pump, helped Coleman survive surgery and begin her recovery.

"I know that it was the device that kept me alive while he worked on my heart and along with God, that saved my life," she said.

Now over a year later, Coleman has never felt better and with a new outlook on life, she has one message to share.

"Take care of the one body that you have because you have no idea whether you're going to get an opportunity to take care of yourself again," she said.

Coleman has been pretty busy since she's made a full recovery. 

She traveled to Boston and met the team that created the heart pump that saved her life. 

Coleman's now using her second chance to better the lives of others. 

She wrote and published a book about children in poverty called, “Give Me A Chance” and is currently working on her second.

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