By Alyssa Goldman, EnStarz | Oct 05, 2012 05:08 PM EDT
Rosie O'Donnell suffered a heart attack on the afternoon of Aug. 14 that nearly ended her life. But when she returned home, she vowed to change her ways; she threw out all of her junk food and began eating healthfully.
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O'Donnell, who weighs more than 200 lbs., lost 12 lbs. by making these small changes, and refuses to let her "second chance" at life go to waste.
"For the first time, it wasn't hard for me," she told People magazine. "It took a heart attack for me to learn to take care of myself."
The main reason she made these lifestyle alterations is so she can be around for her four children.
"I almost died - and that's not an over-exaggeration. That's a fact."
O'Donell's mother died when she was a child, and she did not want her kids to suffer the same fate.
According to RadarOnline, O'Donell told People magazine, "My two youngest are nine and 12 and I was 10 when my mother died and I hardly remember her. I remember thinking: 'This is too soon to be done.'"
O'Donnell, 50, realized she was suffering from a heart attack thanks to a quick Internet search of her painful symptoms. She also took a Bayer aspirin since she'd seen it recommended in various advertisements.
"Thank god/saved by a tv commercial/literally," she wrote on her blog.
She, however, did not call 911. It was not until the following day that she saw a cardiologist and had an EKG done.
After doctors discovered her coronary artery was 99 percent blocked, the former talk show host said, she had a stent inserted.
"I started crying," she told People magazine.
O'Donnell's wife, Michelle Rounds, was diagnosed with the disease Desmoid Tumors, rare growths that can destroy tissues and bones. Rounds, her then fiancee, had surgery in June.
O'Donnell dealt with the bad news by emotionally eating.
"I abused sugar the way a drug addict would. Those foods almost killed me."
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