To know our Mom will help you appreciate how CAROL For Heart really began:
Carol Pawelski was an incredible woman, who just happened to die at the age of 60. She accomplished more in her 60 years than most of us will accomplish in twice that time. Carol's heart showed such compassion, caring and love for those around her, that it's ironic, that it was her heart that failed her in the end.
After meeting Carol for only 2 minutes, she had already made you a part of our family, and after 5 minutes, you knew you would never feel more comfortable anywhere else. She had a knack, a gift, of knowing what to say and do to make you feel comfortable, more secure.
She had an amazing, and sometimes warped, sense of humor. We have so many stories where we laughed so hard, we couldn't even breathe. Carol was tons of fun! She could always see the best in people, and in any situation. She would always give you a fair chance. Your problems became her concerns, and she wasn't right until she knew you felt better. She had an incredible strength that she never realized she had, and her faith was unbelievable.
She was not just the best Mom, she was our best friend. The first one we'd call when we needed help, or just an ear to listen, and definitely the one to help plan a party! No one lived life to the fullest like she did. She taught us the value of friendship, and the incredible love and bond between her and our Dad, Frank. After 40 years of marriage, they were closer than ever, and still held hands everywhere they went. We have never witnessed a love as strong as theirs. We are an incredibly strong and close family, thanks to her.
On Tuesday, January 29, 2002, Carol & Frank were in Virginia. They had just come home the week before from Disney World (one of Carol's favorite places) and she was fine. That morning she had cold sweats along w/ the nausea. She wasn't sure if she blacked out or not. They came home and went straight to the Doctor's office. An EKG in the office didn't show heart attack, but her nurse practitioner sent her to the emergency room, feeling something was wrong. After ruling out several diagnoses, blood clots and dehydration among them, they still weren't sure what her heart was doing, but they knew it wasn't right.
Wednesday morning, she was then transferred to another hospital for a heart catheterization. At this time, they believed there were no significant blockages, and her heart needed to rest. An intra-aortic balloon pump was inserted, which meant she had to remain supine w/ almost no movement. This pump did the hearts work for it, which hopefully after some rest it would do its job again. Over the next 2 days, the heart wasn't getting better. At this time, they still did not understand why her heart wasn't functioning and talks began about heart transplant.
Friday evening she was transferred to Temple University Hospital. Their hospital was better equipped, and she would have the best cardiac physicians and surgeons available to her. There she was scheduled to have the Bypass surgery on Sunday morning. Her chances of recovery were greater than those with a heart transplant. She died Tuesday evening, February 5, 2002, exactly 7 days after entering the Emergency Room. We later found out her heart was so badly damaged from at least 30 years of heart disease that her heart didn't have a chance. She had already been in heart failure when her symptoms began. Her disease was so severe that Carol's 3 daughters were all sent immediately to the Cardiologist for preventative treatment.
While Carol was in the hospital, after finding out the severity of her heart problem, she vowed that when she recovered, she would let all women know how to take care of their hearts, and how to know if they too are at risk. Her father had heart disease (he died in his 80's), but her Mom had breast cancer. She figured she was more likely to get breast cancer, not the heart disease. It's our job now to educate women on heart disease, and so began CAROL For Heart, preventing women's heart disease!