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Checking in after 2 years
Its been 2 years since that nighmarish incident. Never in my wildest dream would i have imagined having a heart attack at 45. I am not over weight, I work out fairly regularly and am a vegetarian, non smoker etc (I suspect that stress was the reason). Anyways, i ended up in the ER and was told that I was having an heart attack and needed to be taken to the cath lab immediately. I got a stent and was discharged 2 days later.
As many of you shared your experiences on this forum, first several weeks were very confusing and scary. Always living in the fear of having the nightmarish incident repeat. After a month, my cardiologist, the sweetest doctor, made me go to the cardiac rehab, which gave me some confidence that I can start exerting my body again. Having experts around me when i am walking on the treadmill or cycling for the first time after the incident was re-assuring. They were constantly monitoring my heart rate, BP etc. My doc was big on getting me to work out regularly. I slowly started increasing my walking distance every week. After 4 months or so, she was very particular I do some kind of cardio workout 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This has been hard to keep up, but I try my best to either run or brisk walk.
I am on a whole lot of medications which causes constipation. This was a new problem to deal with which is not fun :( I have never experienced constipation before this. Other than that, I am very watchful on my diet. Hardly go out to restaurants to eat. Mostly simple home cooked food. All these were major life style changes for someone who used to eat out several times a week. My doctor makes me check my cholesterol levels twice a year. She increased my statins to keep the LDL below 70. She jokes to me that I can go out and have a hearty meal at the restaurant of my choice on my birthday every year! She wants me to be that watchful on my diet. I am thankful to her dedication towards her patients health.
Last weekend, I got the scary tightness/anxious feeling around the chest area again. I waited for about a day or so hoping it would go away but it didnt. I was pretty sure that something was wrong and I was getting too scared. I went to urgent care and the docs ordered an ekg and troponin blood test. Thank god, both came out normal. Doctor attributes that chest tightness to the smoke and terrible air quality we are experiencing in the state of CA. She said that over exposture to the smoke could make the lungs less elastic and could cause the tightness feeling. One of the giant lightning complex fires are very close to where I live and we were under evacuation alert.
This forum has been a source of strength for me, especially during the first few weeks. I wanted to share where I am in my journey and wanted to assure people who are just back from the hospital that things WILL get better. The anxiety level WILL decrease. You WILL get more confident over the coming weeks. You WILL forget the scary feelings over time. It will take a few months, but life WILL get back to near normal.
Good luck and thanks for all the support.
AHAASAKatie, September 15, 2020 8:53am EST
Thank you so much for coming back and sharing with us! I am glad that you got the symptoms checked out and very sorry about the fires. Where I live in Florida, we have fires in the spring & summer if the fall and winter were not rainy. However, I have never had to experience what the West Coast is having to manage now. Please know we are thinking of you during this time. Best Katie
vancet, September 15, 2020 7:38pm EST
Wow thank you for posting an update. My story is similar to yours and I got my STEMI at 43, non-smoker, not overweight, eat lots of veggies and fruit, no family history. I'm at 15 months post-HA and this forum and community have been super encouraging and survivors like yourself are an inspiration so please continue to post milestone updates. I hope you continue to do well and stay healthy.
It was super depressing in the beginning reading the stats about restenosis and the likelihood of getting another HA within the first two years but reading about survivors here put my mind into a much more positive mindset and made me look forward to getting healthier and fitter. I live in the Pacific NW and we have one of the worst AQ in the world currently so it's not safe to linger outside for too long. It's making regular exercise even more difficult since I like doing my cardio outside. We desperately need monsoon rain with minimal winds.
JeffB, September 19, 2020 12:11am EST
Congrats on your journey, dedication and enjoyment of life! You are so doing this right!