my heart attack

its a semi-sunny monday
the light bouncing off the flat hudson
mish is sitting next to me
i am happy to be alive

last week i had a heart attack

here is what happened
on tuesday morning
while walking in a parking lot in nyack
i heard a loud commanding voice

“can u help me”

more of  a demand than request
a challenge – a plea
i turned and saw an enormous woman
struggling to get out of her car

she was stuck

“can u help me? she asked again
as i walked toward her
“oh u r rosie odonnell”
yes i am

the ghost of christmas future
me – if i did not wake
there r no accidents i thought
as i braced myself and lifted her

it was not easy
but together we did it
she was up and on her way
with gratitude

a few hours later my body hurt
 i had an ache in my chest
both my arms were sore
everything felt bruised

muscular – i thought
strained or pulled tissue
i went about my day
the pain persisted

i became nauseous
my skin was clammy
i was very very hot
i threw up

maybe this is a heart attack
i googled womens heart attack symptoms
i had many of them
but really? – i thought – naaaa

i took some bayer aspirin
thank god
saved by a tv commercial

i did not call 911
50% of women having heart attacks never call 911
200,000 women die of heart attacks
every year in the US

by some miracle i was not one of them
the next day i went to a cardiologist
the dr did an EKG and sent me to the hospital
where a stent was put in

my LAD was 99% blocked
they call this type of heart attack
i am lucky to be here

know the symptoms ladies
listen to the voice inside
the one we all so easily ignore
CALL 911

save urself


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599 Responses to 'my heart attack'

  1. Alison says:

    I am not waiting for that heart attack. My mom had a quintuple bypass in her early sixties. She was lucky she caught it in time. In April of this year, shortly before my 50th bday I decided to go plant strong in order to avoid this. I have been following Happy Herbivore/Engine 2 lifestyle. Forty pounds down – cholesterol from 199 to 143.
    Stick with it Rosie. It is worth it!!!

  2. Maureen O'Leary says:

    Rosie, I have to admit I didn’t watch any of your TV shows or follow your website or really know that much about you. However, your heart attack caught my attention, as a 43 year-old mother. I took the time to educate myself and if I did, I’m sure many others have done so as well. You most certainly have saved lives. Thank you and please take care.

  3. Penthesilea Greenleaf says:

    I’m glad that you are recuperating nicely from your recent heart attack. Three years ago, I read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. It was immediately after reading it that my teenaged daughter & I became vegan. I understand from reading one of your tweets, which was posted on Facebook, that you have embraced the vegan lifestyle. That is excellent news! Please do it for your health, but also for the animals and the planet!!

  4. Pat says:


    I am a big fan of yours and commend you for being so vocal on everything from being gay and out, to your depression and to also having shared with the world your recent heart attack.Unfortunately the media and medical profession attacks women who are overweight and blame weight on everything due to prejudism, but the truth is that skinny people have heart attacks too and high cholesterol, etc. I am a health care professional and we see thin people with the same number of diseases! I,…

    • Rosie O'Donnell says:

      i agree – and so many heavy women feel shame so they do not go to the dr – i hope to help change this

  5. Patty Smyth says:

    Just read you follow Dr. Colin Campbell, so do I!!! Down 30lbs. Keep it up, it works. Good luck in your recovery and journey to health.

  6. Kevin carmon says:

    Hi ROSIE
    I hope you are ok.and doing well i am 50 on 11 sep 12
    lots of love from a fan.. from ENGLAND.

  7. Teresa M says:

    Thank God you are ok….
    I’m going through alot right now, have blockages in my carotids, no insurance, I have a few too many pennies (its really not that much) to get help…the stress is awful

  8. Deb says:


    We always think this can’t be happening to me when in fact, it can happen to me or anyone for that matter. I remember you mentioning on your previous radio show you felt you weren’t going to live to a ripe age, an intuition if you will.
    Rosie, miss you, hope you continue to make a difference in each of our lives.

    deb/Prescott, az

    • Rosie O'Donnell says:

      i am hoping to for sure

      • Mike Santullo says:

        Rosie… This is VERY VERY IMPORTANT, and can mean the difference for life or death. I have a suggestion regarding taking the Bayer Aspirin you referred to in your original comments.
        Please contact me through e-mail…I have something you absolutely need to know if God forbid this ever happens to you again. It is regarding the taking of an Aspirin at that critical moment. My e-mail is:

  9. Cyndi Brown says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ROSIE….for bringing heart disease awareness to so many of your fans, especially women! Heart disease ain’t sexy, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it is the Number One Killer of women over all cancers combined! I began having symptoms nine years ago, but because I wasn’t “textbook,” I was ignored by cardiologists for years and blown off as having panic/anxiety attacks. During this nine year battle, I have had heart surgery for a congenital heart issue in…

  10. lebaron says:

    I had a similar experience to you when I was 50. My left arm hurt. I had a lot of fatigue in the days leading up to the ambulance arriving at my house. I called 911 when I woke up sweating. I had a Non-ST myocardial infarction and one stent at the LAD….It is a dangerous situation and women are poorly informed about the symptoms….If you go to the ER with shortness of breath or chest pain, at least in San Francisco, you are seem immediately.

  11. Susan Philbeck says:

    Rosie, I was so happy to hear you survived your heart attack and that you were kind enough to share your experience and symptoms. We all need to listen to our “inner voice” when something tells us things aren’t right and get to the doctor or hospital ASAP. I’m sure you saved a lot of lives and I wish you many more years of good health.

  12. Robert S says:

    Rosie, you probably wouldnt like me because I am a conserVative( geez Why do I feel bad about saying this?) but I have to say you did the right thing when you were having your MI symptoms. Even though I don’t agree with your views, I am very happy you shared your life experience with your heart attack. Your celebrity status should be used for a good cause of educating others & not swaying others towards your political views. I am happy that you are ok & healthy! GOD protect you & bless you…

  13. bernie says:

    dear rosie – shocking news. very happy and relieved to know u got the medical intervention u needed. u didn’t deserve this. u inspire me. u r smart hilarious generous golden. i’d been taking measures to look after my health more recently and u’ve inspired me further. just hearing ur story has made me instantly want to drop my bad habits. done, finito. not to say that the bad habits of any of us is the full story. genetics most certainly plays a role. i have heart disease all…

  14. Rebekah says:

    I have tears in my eyes thinking about how we almost lost you, our dear ROSIE. Oh, I am so glad you listened to your body and took that aspirin (hooray for life-saving commercials!!) and went to the doctor!! Thanking God that you are still here with us — we want you around for a long, long time. Big hugs to you …

  15. jinny jones says:

    As a nurse who tries to make sure the word about calling 911 gets out there, I just wanted to say that I was really distressed by the fact that you took an aspirin and waited to call you doctor in the morning. Whatever you looked up online that said to take aspirin should have also said to call 911 – another disappointment – as this is such important information. I was relieved to read in the USA Today that you are now pushing the call 911 information, especially for women – but it is for all!

  16. Kathleen Arzt says:

    Dear Rosie im so sorry to hear about your heart attack. I hope very thing is going to be ok. Love you,and take care.

  17. Nancy Free says:

    I’m with you sister!
    Nov 29, 2009 – 38 yo mom of 2 (young ones). Quietly resting. Sudden pain in chest, arms and jaw. 3 crushed aspirin and a 911 call & I was trucked off to the Ottawa Heart Institute where I received 6 stents – one of my arteries was 99% blocked (OM1 Posterior Circumflex) but I had a dissection which added 5 more stents. I had no “markers” (bad health or family history).

    I’ve been told it could be Fibromuscular dysplasia (tends to affect young women). Listen to your…

  18. Julie says:

    I just read an article on the front page of Yahoo about women and heart attack symptoms. I am now more educated about something I never knew about before. The article was there because you have been so candid about what you went through. I am so sorry this happened to you, but now all of a sudden, because of you, there is a lot of information out there. I am sure I am not the only one who is now more educated about women’s heart attacks. Through your ordeal, you will now be saving lives…

  19. Nancy says:

    You are so loved by so many, we all breathe a sigh of relief for you!
    I’ll make it brief, from one Irish woman to another:
    The mind-body connection is every bit as important as diet and exercise! As a
    physician from a family of physicians with a strong heart dz history, I’ve
    seen so much haopen….
    Irish women take so much on their shoulders….. I hope you’ll consider
    Meditation or other stress reduction ….. We all love you and want you to
    have a long, healthy…

  20. Dawn says:

    Geeshh my post comment button disappeared so my story is gone. Anyway Rosie, glad you are ok. Never wait….listen to your body and always push the doctors to listen to you. we know our bodies better than anyone. I was diagnosed in 2010 with Hypertensive Cardiomyopathy with a left side ejection fraction of 35%. I lost my job and my insurance,but I have a nice clinic working with me to control my meds but seeing a cardiologist is hard with no insurance so I just take my meds and hope for the best

    • Sharon Schneider says:

      Dear Rosie…Survivor…Sisterhood of the second chances.Your journey can only help us. Sorry, but your position can bring an awareness of both the mental and physical struggles of surviving. And I as well as this lady have no insurance and if you can afford it, pre-existing illness. So I as well as the other lady just get up each day and take our medicine and take that hope out the door and smile and lend a hand to help someone in need that has been put before you on that day.Thank-you Rosie…

      • Sharon Schneider says:

        Sorry I’m Back. Just a little info about my survival. First heart attack..39 yrs old right artery had been blocked 100% for ten to fifteen years at that point.Backside 95% and left side 95% blocked 4 vessel bypass. Turn the page to 2008 second hear attack.Two bypasses gone Not enough damage to fix. So far so good.Apparently my work is not done yet on this earth.Live on ” The Sisterhood of the Second Chances”

      • thank u – be well

    • thank u dawn
      very much

  21. Neil says:

    I had a very similar situation earlier this year–95% proximal LAD block. Had stent. Things went well. Changed Diet—really important (“Eat Food, not so much, mainly plants”). Not my words but useful. A good start is listening to Bill Clinton’s diet message. Besides meds, Diet and moderate exercise, crucial

    Good Luck,

  22. SarahS says:

    I believe everything happens for a reason. Why you had to go through this? Only God knows, but I know you will use this experience to do good. You already are! Praying for your health.

  23. Nina T says:

    Dear Rosie,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us “the world”. I am glad you remembered the Bayer commercial and took an aspirin. I too am worried about heart disease, because it is often called a silent killer. Which is why I am getting a full cardiac workup. I have a high stress job and I am overweight. Thank you again for your courage to tell your story, Nina

  24. Keke says:

    Funny thing is we would never really pay attention to the things we have already known, informed or warned before we really experience it.

    Thanks for sharing ur experience, Rosie. I hope you’re feeling better now

  25. Olga Christou says:

    So glad you are on the road to recovery. You are a wonderful person and loved by so many. I hope to meet you one day. Happy trails!!

  26. should have either paid her the additional $0.25 or else shot your mother for not getting up off her knees, going to the toilet, caughing, spitting, and flushing! Instead, the dam female, (bitch), dog in heat swallowed!

  27. tobias says:

    Rosie seems to have a problem of distinguishing a miracle from a catastrophe! Rosie, it was no miracle, just the exact opposite!

  28. Margie Granitz says:

    I grew to know and love you on the radio. I am so sorry you had to undergo this health scare and any pain associated with it, but so happy you are well! You are a gift to the world and though have never gone on your site until now am appalled at the nastiness of people. You are special and smart and loyal and sweet and help more people than you know – just by being you! Ignore the haters your lovers are her for you and so happy that you are okay!!!

  29. Lyn Behnke says:

    Dear Rosie,

    Anissa and I were water walking tonight on beautiful Lake Huron. The lake was pretty rough with 4 foot swells. We were chatting about what we were doing 3 years ago. I was recovering from a couple of heart attacks and going to cardiac rehab. Nissa was trying to find her way through the recovery time. There isn’t a lot of support for gay couples. Womenheart is supportive, though and we have enjoyed our association with them. My little red dress pin is the only dress I…

      • Lyn Behnke says:

        Thanks, Rosie and I hope you feel the good energy we are sending to you every day. Time to receive. Thank you for being there with your story – so important and certainly sets you up for criticism as it does for all of us. But, you are doing the best you can do at this time. Did the water walk again tonight – not as rough but good work out. Blessings on your day and your family.

  30. Katia says:

    I hope you are ok!! Are you? We need you….

  31. alifranco says:

    Hey Rosie,

    Glad to hear you are doing well. I am a bit stunned by your description of the woman though, i was surprised by your “enormous” comment. You have always been accepted by your fans, you have never been a small person to begin with. I was surprised because you were doing a good deed, but then turned around and slapped it down from i was injured while doing a good deed to … . Just thinking if that woman has come across your take of events she must be feeling even worse that…

    • well – i was trying to describe her – and saying how i saw myself in her – i felt so deeply for her – stuck in a car – depending on the kindness of strangers – i feel she was an angel sent to me – she was very large – and that was the reason i did not think it was a heart attack – i thought it was muscle strain – thats why i used enormous …

  32. NRA for LIFE says:

    Too bad you didnt die you fat tub of shit. Hypocrite bitch. Anti gun but surround yourself with armed guards. Typical lezbo sow. It would be no loss to society to lose your fat greasy ass.

    • Aileen says:

      you are so sad, there are no words. your toxicity will destroy you.

      • Heywood Jablome says:

        Well sad to see this whale BITCH survived. Agree with NRA for life this SOW is a hypocrite. Next time Rosie,while you lay on your fat ass back clutching your chest,Ill leave a steamer on your face you waste of flesh whiny lapper. Worthless. And Still with us. For shame for shame.

    • Sks says:

      So sad and pathetic.

      • Heywood Jablome says:

        not sad at all! I refuse to kiss this fat bitches ass and adore her like she is something. She is a liberal and a damned hypocrite. If you are so anti gun Rosie,then loose the ARMED GUARDS you have 24/7 you cant have it both ways. All Rosie is is an attention whore and fat useless tub of whale crap. But all you shep gather round and listen to what the blob has to babble that you lap up as Gospel truth. Fools All of ya….

  33. Beverly says:

    Looks like you are going to become the new spokes person for women’s heart attack awarness!! Take time to rest and please take it easy! THere are 1,000’s of fans out here wishing nothing but the best for you!!

  34. Vicki says:

    Thank God you took that aspirin. Glad to still see that you are alive and doing well. Get a bit healthier now. Watch your cholesterol. No more eggs and less red meat <3. Take care of yourself

  35. sue basehore says:

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. Take care of yourself, your children need you.

  36. Jean Zappia says:

    This is the first message I’ve sent to you since “O”. We miss you, but it would have been awful for it to be permanent. You are so smart about life. Cherish your mircle and stay well.

  37. shell-belle says:

    SO sorry to hear of your heart attack and blockage. I too suggest Dr. McDougall for help with your heart and your health.
    My husband got 2 stents in his coronaries in 2010. His were 80% blocked. We have both been starch/plant based
    since then and he is off all Rx drugs. He lost 40 pounds without ever being hungry and his cardio doc says he is doing great.
    Dr Mc Dougall tells you for free what to eat and his is a wonderful SIMPLE program that is good for you, for the planent and the animals…

  38. Paul says:

    Dear Rosie

    The past two moths for me have been not the best. My Mom passed away at 85 on June 8th…..the same day as my partner did (he died 8 yrs ago). Then I had a stroke in July. So the past few months have been a bit to much

    I hope your doing OK…I send you big HUGS


      • Hi Rosie! First, thank g-d you’re ok!
        I don’t know any other way to reach you, so here it goes. My 11 year old son and his band saw the movie Bully and were so moved and inspired, they wrote a song and made a video (with their own money)! Lee Hirsch (the director) LOVED it, and now the kids are taking trying to take their message of support for Bully and The Bully Project, on the road through middle schools nationwide!! It’s $$ to do this, They’ve raised $6,000 so far! Could use some…

  39. lora pirwitz says:

    Rosie, I’m so glad you are ok! Like you, my biggest symptom was nausea, and I too waited till the next day! What saved me was that my Dr knew my Family History and when the 1st test showed nothing he sent me to the main hospital for further test. It was a heart attack! Next thing I know I am in an ambulance and going to a bigger hospital and having 2 stents put in my heart. Please know your family history! It could save your life like it saved mine! I had my heart attack at 47.

  40. Kathleen Lawrence says:

    Thank the Goddess you are still here!
    Did you do the red/blue painting shown on Aug 15, it struck me as a perfect image of a Heart Attack!!
    I had almost the same symptoms as you, but I’m home bound disabled & it is really a challenge for me to go to ER, so, I took a baby bayer’s & meditated.

    3 days later day my Medicare low income plan HMO, did send a tech to take blood, to see if I had a heart attack, but could not send a tech to do an ekg!! Apparently, the blood test was OK, but…

  41. Jeff Sadoff says:


    I am so happy to hear you are doing well after the heart attack.
    Keep talking – people will listen and be even more pro-active in their health.

    Thinking of you and your family.

    Jeff S

  42. ROSIE says:

    Hi Rosie,

    Glad you are doing good I have been feeling the same way and my blood pressure has been high also I have lupus. I do not have medical insurance and Yesturday was a bad say for me. what kind of test did they do to you that determined it was a clogged artery. and do you know of any clinics in calif. that do ekg for free or at low cost. thank you

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