Broadus Rancher Shares Her Experience to Bring Awareness for Women's Health in Rural Montana
What began as fatigue that finally couldn’t be ignored soon evolved into a health emergency for Bobbie Myers of Broadus. Her life-changing experience has turned Myers into an advocate for the health of rural Montana women and importance of health awareness and access.
“I am busy,” she shared. “I work full-time as a produce manager, and we have a ranch. I thought it was just all of those things building up, but I just didn’t feel like myself.”
After visiting her primary care provider, Kara Erickson at Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City, it was recommended that she see a heart specialist. Concerned that she might have to travel for specialty care, Myers was thankful that Dr. Carine Basmadjian, Cardiologist, sees patients in Miles City. After initial tests, Dr. Basmadjian recommended that she do a stress test at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings before Myers was planning to leave on vacation to Michigan. A stress or exercise test allows medical professionals to see how a heart works under physical activity and can reveal potential problems or issues.
“I was only on the treadmill for just a few minutes when it all went downhill fast,” said Myers about the stress test. “I was still under the assumption that I would rest and I would be able go on vacation, but they let me know immediately just how serious it was and that it wasn’t an option.”
Myers was scheduled for a procedure the following morning with the heart team at St. Vincent. They discovered that she had one artery blocked almost completely and another blocked around 80 percent. The doctors and heart team at St. Vincent used a catheter-device and placed two stents to keep her arteries open. She felt almost immediate relief.
As women, we know our bodies. If you don’t feel like something is alright, go and find out. Don’t put it off. It is better to be safe than sorry.
“I was so amazed. I slept so well the next night, better than I had slept in six or seven months,” she shared. “I never realized how little energy I had.”
In her recovery, Myers has continued to see providers at Holy Rosary for her follow up care.
Looking back, Myers is grateful that she had heart care near her community. She understands that for many women in rural communities it is not always easy to travel for specialty care and that it often gets put off because of priorities at home and work. She wonders what might have happened if she hadn’t been able to see Dr. Basmadjian in Miles City and would have waited longer to schedule her appointment.
“We really are out in the middle of nowhere,” she said. “If I would have waited and had a heart attack at my house it would have taken at least a half an hour for the ambulance to just get to me.”
Myers is back at work full-time and working on her ranch, but the experience has opened up a conversation that she has with other women in her community about her symptoms and paying attention to your health.
“As women, we know our bodies. If you don’t feel like something is alright go and find out,” she said. “Don’t put it off. It is better to be safe than sorry.”
To help women to continue to have proactive conversations about their health, Dr. Basmadjian joined with other medical providers from across Montana on Facebook Live for an interactive virtual women’s health event for women of all ages. The engaging discussion included an expert panel of providers discussing heart health, OB-GYN, midwifery, gynecologic oncology care, family medicine and overall wellness. Watch a recording of the discussion here.