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Rosie O'Donnell says her life has changed since her heart attack

'I’ve been given a second chance'

Rosie O'Donnell says after she found out she had had a heart attack, she started crying.

'I almost died - and that's not an over-exaggeration. That's a fact,' she tells People magazine.

O'Donnell shared on her blog on 20 August that she suffered a heart attack the week before shortly after she encountered 'an enormous woman' in a New York parking lot who had gotten stuck as she struggled to get out of her car.

When she got home few hours later, her body hurt, she had an ache in her chest and both arms felt sore. She became nauseous, her skin was clammy, she felt very hot and threw up.

'My son, Blake, said, 'Mommy you look very white.' I told him, 'I don't feel so good, honey,' she says.'

She googled women's heart attack symptoms and realized she had many of them. She took some Bayer Aspirin but did not call 911. The next day, O'Donnell went to see a cardiologist who did an EKG. She was then sent to a hospital where a stent was put in.

Since then, O'Donnell has lost 12 pounds by throwing out all junk food and eating healthy.

'For the first time, it wasn't hard for me,' she says. 'It took a heart attack for me to learn to take care of myself.'

Next up for O'Donnell is her annual Rosie's Theater Kids Gala on 15 October in New York City.

'I've been given a second chance,' she says 'I want to be there for my theater kids too. I'm getting an extra lap now. Make it worth something, kid.'

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