Forsberg still eager to educate after heart attack

Mya Studyvin

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Derby High School teacher Michelle Forsberg has been teaching at Derby for two years, and a total of 20 years overall.

Forsberg, who teaches Pre-AP English 9 and English 9 class, shows up every day with a smile on her face, eager to educate her students.

After suffering a heart attack on Nov. 14, Forsberg took the rest of the semester off, per doctor’s request, in order to focus on her recovery.

“It probably affected my husband the most because he’s the one that found me and did CPR for eight minutes before the ambulance came,” Forsberg said. “He had just renewed his certification for CPR a couple weeks (earlier) for the prison, so they said if he hadn’t or if he didn’t know that I was there, I probably wouldn’t have made it. So it really has affected him and my mom and, of course, my kids.”

She was hospitalized for six days and bedridden for a month. The type of heart attack she had — a widowmaker — occurs when you have a heart attack in your large left artery, the largest and most important artery in your heart. Only around 6 percent of people survive it. If you don’t get care right away, most people pass away.

“When I first went home I had to wear a thing called a life vest — it’s kind of like a really uncomfortable corset — and it has a defibrillator attached to it so if you have any weird heart rhythms, it zaps you,” Forsberg said. “I had to wear that for almost a month.”

Now, back at school and in the swing of things, Forsberg is still taking measures to monitor her health. She leaves school early every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to go to cardiac rehab and ensure she continues to recover smoothly.

“I’m very appreciative to be alive… I’m very grateful, and I think it’s made my kids a little more appreciative,” Forsberg said.

She added with a laugh, “They do things for me now. My son will bring my clothes up from the laundry.”

Forsberg’s long journey of recovery is all about waiting it out. When asked how she keeps hopeful, she had an immediate answer.

“Family… just hoping to see another day with my family,” she said.