Heart disease often hits women hardest

EVEN THOUGH HER father and grandfather both died of heart failure, Barbara Vance never imagined she’d one day end up in an operating room for open-heart surgery herself. But there she was in 2006, at age 66, having her chest cut wide open with a sternum saw at St. Paul’s Hospital for what she originally thought was going to be a valve replacement and a triple bypass. “When I woke up afterward, I found out I needed a quadruple bypass,” Vance says in an interview at her West Side home. “I didn’t like the idea of my heart being taken out and stopped for the surgery. That freaks you out….But I was really calm going into surgery. I have a lot of faith and believe that whatever will be, will be. Somehow there’s a peace that comes over you once you accept what’s happening to you. It comes last-minute, mind you: as you’re rolling onto the operating table. Read more here