Back In Step

This is a story from the local paper on how I am continuing to recover from a heart attack, two cardiac arrests, angioplasty, and coronary bypass surgery.

Date added to ADN: Friday, May 31 2013
Originally Published: Wednesday, May 29 2013
By Marcia Pobzenick

TIVERTON, R.I. — The hardest thing about Susan Young's recovery from cardiac arrest and the double bypass surgery that followed was overcoming her fear to push herself as she had in the past.

She said she couldn't wait to get back to the dance studio after spending five months recovering from a heart attack and surgery. But she admits she was very afraid at first.

"Just to be back in that studio with students was like I had stepped into heaven," Young said. "After my heart attack, I kept saying, 'I'm going back to the dance floor.'"

She did just that on Easter Sunday, and just a few weeks ago started teaching two nights a week. Her specialty is Latin dance.

"It's Salsa Sunday!" Young says, giggling as she puts on the music and walks in her high-heeled shoes across the dance floor at the Creative Dance Center on Crandall Road to watch Vernon and Elizabeth Mace practice what they've learned so far. Impressed, she teaches them another step that will keep them busy practicing for a good part of the class.

"They started Salsa lessons with me in September or October, and then in November I had a heart attack," Young said as she watched the couple from a few feet away, stepping in to correct missteps.

Young was at a friend's birthday party in a restaurant in Taunton, Mass., the day after Thanksgiving when she started feeling nauseous and went to the ladies room. She only remembers her friend talking to emergency medical technicians. There are fuzzy memories about what happened during the next 17 days, when she underwent surgery in Boston, came out of recovery and began rehabilitation at Newport Hospital.

Her life changed. "It's very much fear-driven," Young said of her decision never to smoke another cigarette and to eat as healthy as she can.

"I was a very long-term smoker and I loved red meat," she said. "When I talk about steak, I mean half the cow. But I was physically fit and on the move, so I was a little shocked at 'how could this happen to me?'"

In March, she returned to the same restaurant where she had suffered a heart attack. She was meeting friends for dinner and dancing.

"I was afraid. I pulled into the parking lot and I did feel the apprehension," Young said. "It's good to face your fears."

The staff "remembered my big event," she said. She danced a bit with friends that night, but it was "nerve wracking," she said.

"I want people to realize, especially women, that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and we should be aware. Because of our nature, we might not pay attention until it happens to us. In one minute, your whole life can change."

As the Maces finish their lesson, more students walk into the dance studio.

It's Becky Farrell's first salsa lesson. Her partner, David Koohy of Newport, said he used to figure skate in his younger days and looks forward to the lessons.

"It's on my bucket list," Farrell said of learning to Salsa.

The Maces leave with a new step to practice during the week.

"We're glad she's back," Elizabeth Mace said of their teacher. "We waited for her."

About the Author:

Tiverton Correspondent

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

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Dancing The Dream Productions
Tiverton, RI 02878

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