Ten days after having my third child, a healthy baby boy, I was fighting for my life.
I felt dizzy, fatigued, but ignored the symptoms for days, thinking it was just indigestion.
I knew the symptoms, but I refused to believe it was something as serious as a heart attack. Finally, after a particularly bad night when I couldn't sleep and thought I was suffering from extreme heartburn, my husband called 9-1-1.
The paramedics diagnosed me with elevated blood pressure, and I declined their offer to drive me to the hospital for follow-up. I quickly regretted that decision.
Almost immediately after the paramedics left, I began to realize something was really wrong. The pain grew and spread to my back and my jaw, and I couldn't move my fingers. I was very scared.
My husband rushed me to the ER, where I received a stunning diagnosis: I'd suffered a massive heart attack. My first reaction was to call my daughters.
When I heard the words "heart attack," I immediately feared I might die. I didn't want to scare my girls, but I also wasn't sure if I would see them again. I wanted them to know how much I loved them.
Luckily, my worst fears weren't confirmed that day. The blood flow to my heart muscle was successfully treated, despite a 100 percent blockage in one artery.
The cardiac rehab process began, and I quickly realized that my recovery wasn't just physical. When I needed to talk about it, I turned to the Go Red For Women website for information and support.
I then realized that there were many others -- mujeres like me, who had been affected by heart disease. I felt relieved.
Reading others' stories really helped me open up and share and not be ashamed about what happened to me.
It also made me think about my daughter's reluctance to discuss her own heart condition. Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at age 3, the now 13-year-old had spent months in the hospital and was close to needing a heart transplant before she finally got her condition under control through medication.
I hope that by sharing my story I can show my daughters and other women that it's OK to speak up. I know that together we can offer support to others and make them feel less alone. We need to be vocal and persistent when it comes to our health, and most importantly, we need to know our bodies and recognize when something is not right and take immediate action.
Heart disease does not discriminate: It is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined, but is often undiagnosed. Cardiovascular diseases cause one in three women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women. Only one in three Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.
As a survivor, I raise my voice about our silent killer, and I Go Red For Women.
Go Red by speaking RED and sharing information about heart disease prevalence, symptoms and prevention with your amigas y familia. Keep the mujeres in your life informed about how they can make heart healthy lifestyle choices and reduce their risk for heart disease.
Become part of the Go Red For Women movement by wearing RED during February -- American Heart Month. Show the world you are part of a movement that's aimed at raising awareness about women's No. 1 killer. Learn more about the movement by visiting GoRedForWomen.orgorGoRedCorazon.orgto learn more.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the American Heart Association in recognition of National Wear Red Day (Feb. 7, 2014), the aim of which is to raise awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. To read all the stories in the series, click here. And to follow the conversation on Twitter -- and share a picture of yourself wearing red -- find the hashtag #RedSelfie.