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Central Texas mom credits CPR with saving her life

This edition of Your Best Life highlights National CPR and AED awareness week, a perfect time to bring attention to these important, life-saving techniques.

TEMPLE, Texas — At 26 years old, Jenna Miller's life changed forever. 

"I suffered from sudden cardiac arrest in the middle of the night," she said. "My husband heard me taking essentially my last breath. And so he called 911. And they walked him through administering CPR.”

For 20 minutes, Jenna Miller’s husband, Mark Miller, worked to keep her alive until paramedics arrived. Then she was shocked twice, spent a number of days in the hospital and now has an implantable defibrillator.

Temple Fire Department Public Information Officer Thomas Pechal said in Miller’s case, CPR did exactly what it was supposed to do. 

"It buys time, it gives people a better chance at survival until help arrives," Pechal said. 

Eight years later, the mother of three said her husband's courage and CPR gave her the chance to thrive. 

"Not only did it save my life, but it saved my brain function," she said. "And so, it, it gave me life, but it also gave me a quality of life so that I could continue to be a wife and a mom, and all the things I love to this day. So I'm very appreciative of that."

Although she's grateful for the life she has now, Miller also said she knows things could have gone differently, since her husband didn't know CPR when he dialed 911 that night. 

"Fortunately we had a great dispatcher, who was able to walk him through it," she said.

Now, they're both trained and are encouraging others to learn too. 

"So many people are afraid to do that, and I think that there's just no reason to be scared to administer CPR to someone that you need, because more than likely, it's going to be somebody that you love," she said. "And now it's so easy to administer CPR with hands only. There's really not as much training as before. So I think that's a great thing."

Pechall said CPR is simple to learn, and you can even use it on someone you don’t know through the hands-only approach.

Here’s how to use an automated external defibrillator, or AED, in case of an emergency.

There are many classes and training sessions available in the Central Texas area and online for people who want to learn CPR.