The television soap actress had an emergency heart operation which led her to reflect on her health. Read more about her surprising health scare inside.
All My Children television star Susan Lucci, 72, survived heart surgery in fall 2018 and has recently spoken out about heart disease, her experience, and surviving the health scare.
“The first time [there was pain], I felt a tightness radiating around my rib cage,” Susan told People magazine. “I thought it’s nothing, it will go away. And it did. The second time, I thought maybe I’d fastened my bra too tightly. I still didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until I was in the hospital and my doctor said, ‘You’re not leaving. You could have a heart attack at any time,’ that I finally understood the risk,” she said. “As a woman you think about breast cancer, not a heart attack. We put ourselves on the back burner. But if your body is telling you something, you need to pay attention.”
Susan underwent an emergency surgery to address the blockage in her arteries and received stents to treat it. “She certainly could have died from this,” Dr. Holly Andersen, who was Susan’s doctor, said to People. “I’m lucky to be alive,” Susan said after experiencing her heart disease. Due to her father’s medical condition arteriosclerosis, Susan was at a higher risk for her artery blockage, People reported. Now, Susan has refocused on her diet to keep her heart healthy! She enjoys eating fish, but said, “I don’t think you can have a total deprivation. Then you’re cranky, and no one cares how trim you are.”
Susan acknowledged that she can use her platform and voice to speak up and encourage other people to take care of their health if they suspect something is wrong. “I’m not a nurse or anyone who can help in any real way,” Susan said. “But I can tell my story. Even if it’s one person I help – that’s someone’s life.” After her surgery, Susan has focused on being with her family and eating healthily with her husband, Helmut Huber, 81, in Long Island. Susan and Helmut have two children, Liza, 43, and Andreas, 38, together. The couple has five grandchildren.
“Sometimes these things don’t hit you when you’re going through it,” she said. “I cry at how close it was. I know how lucky I am, and I’m just so grateful.”