IN THE SOLA SALON STUDIOS SHOPPES ON MAINE LOCATION IS A REMARKABLE WOMAN NAMED ACASIA WEGNER. SHE IS KNOWN LOCALLY FOR HER ARTISTIC AND FRIENDLY NATURE AND FOR THRIVING AGAINST HEALTH ODDS.
STYLIST GETS A MAKEOVER
Wegner’s clients are what make the salon so special. Wegner exclaims, “We talk about our families and lives…I look forward to seeing every single one of them!” One such client is Gayle Kall, who nominated Wegner for the I Am a Beautiful Rochester Woman makeover. Kall emphasizes Wegner is “a role model in so many ways.”
Mandy Johnson, another stylist from Sola, styled Wegner’s hair for her photo shoot with Dawn Sanborn Photography. Wegner comments, “It was a really enjoyable experience. My hair is styled and colored more often than it probably should be,” she says with a laugh, “but being the one sitting in the chair was something I haven’t experienced in years. I loved it!”
HEART DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
On April 12, 2008, at just 20 years old, Wegner suffered a heart attack. She was playing cards with friends when she was overcome with sudden nausea. She left the gathering to sleep at a friend’s house, but the nausea only got worse.
Wegner recalls, “The whole time I was lying there trying to sleep, I kept thinking about this book my grandparents gave me when I was a kid, ‘The Hatchet,’ by Gary Paulson. In the book, the pilot of a plane has a heart attack. The author describes the symptoms, and I keep replaying those words in my head. The weirdest part is I really didn’t think I was having a heart attack. I thought maybe if I went home to my own bed, I’d feel better.” Wegner then went outside, scraped her windshield and started driving home. “When I got to the Second Street lights,” Wegner says, “I don’t know why, but I turned for St. Marys.” Figuring she would be sent back home, Wegner parked across the street and walked over.
After being administered morphine, Wegner tried to convince the emergency room physicians she was better. Wegner recalls, “It wasn’t until they told me about the stent procedure they needed to do they finally said, ‘You’re having a heart attack.’”
LIFE FOREVER CHANGED
“I was 20!” Wegner proclaims, “I refused to live like I was 80. I didn’t take my pills, I didn’t go to appointments, and soon I was admitted again for ventricular tachycardia. I was told I needed an implanted defibrillator. I didn’t want it. I sabotaged the surgery by drinking a bunch of juice and checking myself out. My grandma looked me in the eye and said, ‘I guess the next time I will see you will be at your funeral.’”
Days later, Wegner did have the surgery. The reason for the heart attack at a young age was unknown at that time—and remained unknown until last year when Wegner learned of prominent heart disease on the paternal side of her family, her father and two of his siblings passing before age 40. She insists her life didn’t change for the better until 2009 when she became pregnant. Her doctors told her the strength of her heart combined with her medications would make pregnancy too dangerous, but thankfully there were no complications.
Wegner believes if she was only allowed one child, she got the perfect one. “He’s an angel,” she states. “His name is Jace, which means the healer. He truly saved my life.” Since Jace’s birth, Wegner has made significant changes to better her life. She lost 117 pounds, mostly using the MyFitnessPal app, and married “the love of her life.” Inside and out, Acasia Wegner is truly a beautiful Rochester Woman.
Gina Dewink is a Rochester area writer (writing when her precocious preschooler and fearless toddler allow). Her exciting time travel thriller, “Time in My Pocket,” is available on ginadewink.com.