Gail Alexander-Wright’s story would make you believe there’s no limit to what she could do. As an active drilling reservist in the U.S. Navy, owner of a custom cake business, hands-on mom to a teenage daughter while her husband was stationed in Iraq, and an avid exerciser, you can’t help but wonder: How did she do it all?
But the truth is, like many women, Gail had to learn the hard way that doing it all was taking a toll on her body. One night, she began to experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack: sweating, nausea, chest pains and numbness in her arm.
At the ER, Gail learned the root of the problem: a blockage in an artery. She was also informed that her high-stress lifestyle—coupled with an extensive family history of heart disease—meant changes needed to be made to ensure her long-term survival.
“I didn’t know that my father and all of his siblings had had heart attacks relatively early in life,” she says. “I also learned that my diet was not as healthy as I thought it was. My blood sugar showed that I was pre-diabetic.”
All these discoveries proved too much to handle at once, and Gail suffered from depression while in the hospital.
“I was so frustrated that this had happened to me, and even more upset to find out that I was doing so many things wrong,” she says.