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Living with the impact of a heart attack and a stroke

Mary Foote reflects on some of her health challenges.
Mary Foots has survived a heart attack and a stroke before the age of 50. Her dog Scout does not leave her side.

STOUGHTON - Mary Foote was raised on a farm west of Saskatoon, and although she had trouble hearing at an early age, which required hearing aids, she was a regular kid enjoying life.

Foote now lives in Stoughton with her husband Chris, and has three adult children, Jennifer, Dustin, and Katelynn, with whom she is close. Foote also has three grandchildren, Hayden, Kylee and Lane.

Life was great for Foote, and she was playing baseball in 1994 while still in her 20s. While at bat, she hit the ball and could barely make it to first base.

“I just could not get my bearings,” said Foote.

The following morning, she still felt terrible and had a sore shoulder, but chalked it up to the ball game.  

As Foote got into her friend’s car, she was sweating profusely, and this is when her friend took her to the hospital. Foote had suffered a heart attack.

She remained in the hospital and had five stints placed in her heart valves, and some time later was able to go home.

Over the years, things seemed to go well with her heart until 2015. Foote who was now in her 40s, became winded and was scheduled for an angiogram. While trying to do the procedure, the doctor had to quit as it did not work.

The following morning, Foote was scheduled for open heart surgery to have a triple bypass done. When she woke from surgery, she realized that she had stitches in her left leg as well. This is where they had taken the vein to repair her heart.

Once again, Foote was on the mend, until 2019.

She was at her husband’s Christmas party on Dec. 20, 2019.

She returned to her table with a plate of food and her husband asked if she was okay. Her reply was, “It’s just the hiccups,” but Chris saw more than that.

Foote’s face was sagging on the left side and after that she only remembers the ambulance being called.

She was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan as she was having a stroke.

Foote was taken by plane to Saskatoon where she stayed for several days. From there she went to the Regina General Hospital, and then she went to Wascana, where she remained well into the new year.

Foote said her family was amazing and her mother-in-law, Heather Foote, was fabulous. Heather has since passed away.

She said the care she received in the hospital was fantastic.

Her heart attack and stroke occurred before she reached the age of 50, and her symptoms were not clinical.

Today, Foote still has struggles. Her left arm has little to no movement, so grabbing a cup is impossible. She said the arm feels heavy and she often puts her hand in her pocket.

Her speech is good, but when she gets tired her face sags a little more.

“It is frustrating, as I know what I want to say, but I just cannot get it out, or it comes out of my mouth backwards,” she said.

With spring and summer on its way, she said, “I struggle more as I love to garden and can only do so much.”

Foote will receive some botox shots to help with the spastic issues in her arm and foot. She is a little worried about it, but at the same time is hoping it will help.

In the meantime, Foote takes things day by day. She does her daily exercises and hopes for one day to have more movement in her arm.

“Only time will tell,” she said.

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