A "twinge" is how I described the sensation in my chest.
My doctor listened attentively.
And, I added, I only feel it if I'm exerting myself, like when I'm raking leaves. When I stop, it goes away.
Like most patients, I suppose, I was hoping for assurance my symptoms were normal - certainly not cause for alarm.
My doctor calmly recommended a visit with a cardiologist, who also listened and suggested a cardiac diagnostic exam commonly known as a stress test.
The test results were "abnormal" and a cardiac catheterization was scheduled.
The procedure revealed severely clogged arteries and triple-bypass heart surgery was performed then and there. That was November 2004.
I share this experience to encourage readers to learn more about heart disease and stroke during the 17th annual Jefferson City Heart Walk, which begins with registration at 8 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Park.
The event will feature a wide range of information booths at each of four villages sponsored by St. Mary's Health Center, Capital Region Medical Center, Jefferson City Medical Group-Cardiology and Central Missouri Cardiology.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States.
It doesn't have to be.
My local physicians have been attentive and professional. They listened and prescribed a course of action that not only saved my life, but prevented damage caused by a heart attack.
Information about the nation's No. 4 killer, stroke, also will be available at the Heart Walk.
Prior to my bypass surgery, I also suffered a stroke in March 2000. At the time, I had no knowledge about the signs of a stroke.
Although my reactions were all wrong - I failed to seek immediate treatment - I was fortunate. My stroke was relatively mild and I have regained mobility.
Among lessons from these two medical episodes, I learned that information not only is important, it just might prompt early medical detection and intervention that could save your life.
Saturday's Heart Walk provides a stellar opportunity to become informed.