“I felt like no one believed me,” explained Lisa Novak, a 44 year old realtor and mother of three.

Novak had been experiencing chest pain, even suffering sudden cardiac arrest one ordinary day, but was unsuccessful in finding a satisfactory solution after appointments with her primary-care doctor. 

Their reasoning? “‘Of course you’re tired, you have three kids and work full time’” remembers Novak. 

She felt as if she was being treated as a hypochondriac, up until she was able to request and obtain a CT scan. The CT scan confirmed Novak’s symptoms, showing a blockage in the artery that supplied her heart’s left ventricle and septum. A stent-metal scaffolding was quickly placed, though still wasn’t enough to fix all of the blockages. Her physician aimed to treat her artery with medicine since the “vessels were too small”. 

Months passed and Novak still felt the same chest pains, this time completely keeping her from family activities. Bike riding, hiking, travelling; All things Novak always looked forward to doing with her family, were now put on hold. The pain was one thing, but what really brought her down was feeling like she was “letting her kids down”, thinking “there were so many things [she] thought she could never do again”.

With Novak's need for a second opinion, she looked outside of her current health system, and found Dr. Jamie McCabe.

Conversations turned to appointments, appointments turned into tests, and soon enough Dr. McCabe was able to pinpoint his area of attack.

“It was only with a deeper dive that we came to understand that ‘no this isn’t too small of a vessel to fix, this is quite a big vessel’, and it feeds a large part of her heart and that’s reflected in how much better she has felt after it was fixed”, said Dr. McCabe. 

With a new stent implanted by Dr. McCabe to open up the vessel, Novak was now on the road to recovery. She notes even right after the procedure, chores like taking out the trash suddenly felt easy again. 

Today, she feels blessed for all of the events that have led up to her return to her active lifestyle, and blessed to be doing the things she loves with the ones she loves.

For more on Lisa Novaks journey and her work with Dr. McCabe, visit UW Newsroom for a complete article.