• Cardiology Patient Stories

    Naomi Atrubin, American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Hero winner award

Naomi Atrubin playing volleyballNaomi Atrubin of Rochester, Minnesota, is a two-time heart attack survivor. Not only is she a survivor, but she is also an active volunteer in the community, giving back to others through educating people she meets about heart disease.

One of Naomi’s volunteer interests is participating in Mayo Clinic’s One Voice patient/family advisory council for the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases. One Voice is dedicated to building on Mayo’s traditional value of the “needs of the patient come first.” This unique group of patients, family members and health care staff collaborate to develop improved processes and optimal outcomes for future patients.

Now, Naomi’s efforts at educating others will be recognized by the American Heart Association with the Heart and Stroke Hero Award at the annual gala in Minneapolis on October 16.

Read about Naomi’s heart health journey here:I had my first heart attack on Christmas Eve 1992. Although I have been around cardiology and cardiologists most of my life, I was in denial at the time. I was a 62-year-old woman, and this couldn't be happening to me. My second heart attack was in October 1997. Again, I found it very inconvenient and was fighting recognizing the symptoms.

Naomi with Senator AL FrankenIn both episodes I had the classic symptoms of a heart attack (chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and great weakness) and the family history too.

My family has a dreadful cardiac history which I guess is true of many cardiac families:n• My father, a cardiologist, died of a heart attack at age 51. He had “heart trouble” for seven years.  My only brother, also a cardiologist, had a heart attack and suddenly died at the age of 50.  My nephew (my brother's son) had heart surgery at age 38. My sister had a heart attack at age 60 which she survived.

I have participated in cardiac rehab twice, and I'm mostly virtuous, following “healthy living” rules. I stay active, watch my diet and exercise often. I even got to play in a volleyball tournament at my high school all-school class reunion in Winnipeg. It was the 100th anniversary of the school.

I have been very active in the Rochester Coronary Club and in One Voice, and I am very active in “Women Heart” the advocacy group in Washington, DC. In 2005 I graduated from the “Women Heart” four day intensive training program, run conjointly by “Women Heart” and the Mayo Clinic, and I served a three year term on Mayo’s Institutional Review Board. I also was director of the “Heart Fund” race back in the late 1970s. I feel that by “giving back” through these activities, that I am thanking the Mayo Clinic for helping me survive my two heart attacks.  I joined the Coronary Club seven years before my firstnheart attack because I was feeling so bad about my brother's heart attack and sudden death at age 50. I needed to do something. Kathy Zarling, who started the Coronary Club, was very supportive.

There is still so much to be done to educate the public aboutnheart disease, and I want to be one of the educators. It can be done by giving talks but also in nontraditional ways, with friends at coffee shops and in other informal situations.

This story was submitted by Naomi Atrubin, a patient at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Deanna Constans, a communication specialist in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, also contributed.

To learn more about One Voice, please contact Carrie Sanvick, RN, Mayo Clinic One Voice Co-Chair (507-255-7074)


Related Departments

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo Buzz