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vancet, August 10,  2019  11:55am EST

How soon did you go back to work after your HA?

Good morning all.   So I'm scheduled to go back to work in a few days (it's been 2 months since the HA).  I asked for an extension but my doc felt I did well enough to sprint in my threadmill test that it was denied.  I still can't lift anything significant yet. All the SOB issues are being attributed by the cardiologist who admnistered the test as anxiety related (she just said don't think about breathing when this happens which is like that pink elephant in the room scenario IMO) and my PCP concurs.  I feel there are 2 main things with an HA: the mental and physical.  My body is healing great but my mind isn't anywhere close.  I'm been trying to get back into a work mindset the past week in terms of scheduling my wake-up time etc but it has increased my SOB episodes.  Ideally, I'd like to have at least started the cardiac rehab program before rejoining the workforce but it's kind of a sad state of affairs here in BC (Canada) as there is a 3 month wait before being able to join one due to understaffing. 

If anyone has any tips regarding going back to work initially after their HA.  I've been told that work stress most likely contributed to the HA  so I think that's part of why my SOB episodes are triggering as I don't want another HA.  

Thanks for listening.

  • cdameron
    cdameron, August 10,  2019  1:51pm EST

    I went back to work 2 weeks after 3 stents with a HA. I was going to go back sooner but was told I needed to get a release from my doctor. It is unfortunate that I felt better right after my HA than I did two months in. For me the side effects of the medication coupled with the stress of the HA on my heart was cumulative. Two months after I went back to work I retired because I was 71, a full time teacher and could. I would have preferred to work a couple more years but in retrospect it was the thing to do. Work stress is a fact of life and while I think it effects health, I learned to cope with it so my HA was probably a question of CAD. I will tell you that if you have a job that you love you will find balance. Going to work will move your thought process a bit. Try it, you might be surprised... if it's not for you, you will find that out too.

  • EMON1
    EMON1, August 10,  2019  4:27pm EST

    I think the prevailing feeling is that if you're 'physically' able to work, you'll eventually continue to build your confidence if you 'get back on the bike' and that work will distract you from some of your SOB. [In reality, as a doctor told me, if they can't find a tangible reason for your symptoms they can't give you a diagnosis. Without that they can't 'treat it'. It doesn't mean it isn't 'real', it just means they hope it's 'in your head'. I had a doctor say take a valium when it happens to keep anxiety from escalating it (which it commonly will)] It's a vicious cycle, feeling short of breath makes you anxious, being anxious makes you short of breath. Again, as usual with HA's, what you're feeling is not abnormal, but with time it will 'probably' get less often. Two months after a HA is still not very long emotionally. Good luck! ('Try' to relax)

  • vancet
    vancet, August 10,  2019  8:55pm EST

    Just like cdameron, I felt really good 2 weeks after my HA which is really interesting.  I think, based on my journal entries, I actually had less SOB episodes than now.  I guess all this time off made me more apprehensive about returning to work.  I'll just warn everyone I might go for a walk when it triggers and not lift anything heavy for a while.  I'll try for a career change if the stress is too much over the coming months.  

  • DolphinWrite
    DolphinWrite, August 10,  2019  10:07pm EST

    EMON 1 said some good things.  It''s like everything else.  You go with what you know.  I've waited a year, deciding to rehab as much as I can, now working out 6 days a week.  My lower ef, now 35, was a concern, but there was no irregular heart rhythm.  Still, I didn't feel at my best, but now have unending energy.  I wanted to return to work much sooner, and I think work is good for us.  Not ready to retire.  But being in a stressful career, I chose what I chose, now applying everywhere.  If your doctor says go, and you'really ready, bUT nothing wrong with recuperating then going back.  😎

  • Wainy1
    Wainy1, August 11,  2019  2:03am EST

    I was off work between 2-3 months going back to work was very daunting but then I remembered it was daunting before I had the HA ;) so why expect change.  I was put onto a phased return and built up my hours gradually this worked really well for me and I had an understanding boss which helped.  Psychologically it done me the power of good and my confidence grew I wish you luck and good health in your come back.  

  • vancet
    vancet, August 11,  2019  3:07am EST

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement.  I'm just relaxing for now getting ready for major change in a few days. What's nice is my workplace is mandating a gradual return to work (half days the first week, then 6 hours then 8).  I'm dreading it but a man's got to provide for the family and eat.  I'll just have to relax as much as I am able and not internalize the stress like the past year.  

  • Cath4
    Cath4, August 11,  2019  2:54pm EST

    Do you think your sob is anxiety related? I had a heart attack on June 30th & I now have sob. I feel like it is medicine related. The medicine is also causing me dizziness, does anyone else have this problem? I have to return to work on Tuesday & I do not feel emotionally ready so I sympathize with you. I hope gradually going back helps, that’s great that your company has that. I have to go right back to doing 12 hour shifts, just hoping I am ready. Just wondering do you take the medication, Brilinta? 

  • vancet
    vancet, August 11,  2019  4:19pm EST

    Mine is both I think.  Metoprolol + Effient is a major contributor according to my cardiologist. The anxiety just compounds it.   I was taking Brilinta but my SOB was way worse so I got switched over (plus my insurance wouldn't fully cover Brilinta so that was another factor).  Dizziness is still affecting me especially when I standing up quickly or walking/running too long.  I was told it will stay until I get off the meds hopefully in another 10 months.  

    All the best to you, Cath.  We can commiserate together this week lol.  That's terrible you have to do a 12 hour shift immediately.  I wouldn't be able to do that.

  • EMON1
    EMON1, August 11,  2019  4:27pm EST

    Cath4 - I didn't have bouts of SOB until serveral months AFTER having my HA and I'm inclined to believe there is a medicine 'saturation point' that contributes to it. My cardiologist refused to cut back my meds because he 'likes my numbers' right now ...

    (It is a fairly well known side effect of Brilinta, but since he switched me to Plavix he 'claims' that shouldn't be the problem. I've since read, though not as common, it too can cause SOB)


  • Cath4
    Cath4, August 11,  2019  4:42pm EST

    Vancet, yes we can commiserate together, lol & all the best to you as well. Vancet & EMON1, I was on Brilinta & having sob, changed to plavix this Thursday that just pasted & I still have the sob. I am about 5 weeks post HA (6/30/19) & my cardiologist stopped Metoprolol sec to my dizziness & exhaustion. I was going to ask on here if anyone else had their beta blocker stopped after a month or so. I am also so emotional, I just cry, it’s horrible. Hopefully I can share my story on here & receive some suppprt & suggestions. 


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