Jan 26
tsutsin
tsutsin , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

A Heart Attack? Me?

My heart was the last thing on my mind when I woke up on January 4, 2017. 

The night before, I had finally been able to attend my Pilates class for the first time since knee surgery in November.  The meniscus tear I'd suffered after falling off my bike in August had sidelined me from the activities I love, and returning to my twice-weekly Pilates class was to be the start of returning to my active lifestyle.  My teacher and classmates helped me celebrate my return with mini cupcakes and a class of Prosecco after our workout.  I had given myself the gift of running for my 50th birthday, and in the five years since had run dozens of 5Ks, a few 10Ks and six 13.1 mile half marathons.  One of the playlists on my phone is titled, "Three Hour Run".  I loved the idea that I could run for three hours without stopping, and I was determined to get back there.  I carry 15-20 extra pounds, and was hoping that starting to run again would help me shed the weight and start to feel more energetic.  I woke up January 4 full of hope, but that feeling was soon replaced by another one.  Fear.

I realized when I stood up that I had a strange feeling in my upper abdomen - one I'd never felt before.  It was a slight burning feeling, almost like heartburn but milder and in a larger area.  I told my husband that I felt weird, but I couldn't put my finger on where the feeling was coming from. I was worried something was seriously wrong with my stomach, but I took an antacid and went to work.  When I arrived at the site of my first meeting, I climbed two flights of stairs, and at the top, I felt suddenly extrememly nauseous.  I told my boss I had to go home because I didn't feel well (ironically leaving the meeting where the fire chief, who is trained in ALS, was sitting, in a building 1/4 mile from our fire station that has advanced life support transport).  As I began to drive home, I texted my husband to tell him I was coming home, then proceded to vomit while driving.  This actually made me feel better - I thought it must just be a stomach virus I'd been feeling.  When I arrived home a few minutes later, I realized I was no longer nauseous, but I still had that weird feeling in my upper abdomen.  My husband said he wanted to take me to the ER and I agreed.  However, first I went upstairs to change clothes (!) and he brought me up three baby aspirins to chew. 

When I arrived at the hospital, I didn't feel too bad, so I was kind of embarrassed to be there.  Of course they took everything very seriously and quickly took an EKG, got me on heparin and a nitro patch and drew blood.  I had to wait three hours for them to take a second troponin level then met with a cardiologist who said that the lab results indicated there was definitely something going on with my heart and that he wanted to keep me overnight and do a cath the following day.  After much discussion, I agreed, even through I was certain nothing was really wrong.  I'm active! My cholesterol is 190! My blood pressure and blood sugar are monitored regularly and they're perfect!  I'm "only" 55!

The result?  Three vessel CAD, two stents in the LAD (one for a 99% blockage)  and the start of my life as a cardiac patient. 

Tomorrow I start cardiac rehab and plan to attend three times a week for eight weeks.  I can't wait to get started on the path to getting my life back.  Treadmill, here I come!
7 Comments
  • dphilli42
    dphilli42,
    I'm sorry you're going through all of this, but it's great to see that you are so motivated! I'm sure you'll be feeling 100% in no time. HA's are funny things sometimes. I had one back in September of 2016.. one stent for a 70% blocked LAD. No family history, didn't smoke, decent shape, only mildly elevated cholesterol. Hang in there and battle this thing like you know you can. If you struggle with anxiety/depression just know that it's completely normal and it will subside in due time. Good luck!
  • Dottieann
    Dottieann,
    So happy to hear you are better now and they have got to the bottom of it all...I am happy to hear you didn't have to have a bypass..I also have three stents along with a double bypass and still not feeling so good 15 months later..problems with my stomach pain in the upper part of my back alot of gas heavy feeling under my breast..I still feel something is wrong but they say no...worried and stressed. God Bless you I will keep you in my prayers.
  • Rhesus
    Rhesus,
    Hi Tsutsin. I tell my friends that I'm living proof that it can happen to anyone. You may want to use that line too. I was benchpressing and feeling great when mine hit. Like you, I was in denial despite monster chest pain and an ambulance ride. My daughter had to talk me into allowing myself to be admitted. A helicopter ride and six bypasses later, I was a believer. That was 11 years back and haven't had a hiccup since. I'm planning a coast to coast ride on my Harley for my 70th birthday next summer. You have a long life to which you can look forward. I doubt I need to tell you to make the most of it. All the best.
  • Arnettmohr
    Arnettmohr,
    It helps me every time I read another story. I posted mine right after my Widow Maker. I am like your story - out of nowhere- healthy - WTF. Anyway - I am glad you're doing cardiac rehab. People ask me how "serious " my heart attack was- and that's a tough question, because I survived. Would it have been more serious if I died, or coded on the table? It's all serious- and you'll get acquainted with that. Your story took place over a longer period of time than me. So people might wonder because things were less emergency. Heart attacks are so random and unpredictable Embrace that you had a significant event and you survived. Treat every day like a gift - that's why it's called the "Present "
  • ricker
    ricker,
    It is really frustrating, they say exercise, eat right, your levels were great for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar...I guess it really go down to genetics. I had a heart attack at 58, one stent 100% blockage, many changes came after...when I hear these stores it does not make me feel any better about what I'm doing to try to prevent another attack..C Booth.
  • Dy
    Dy,
    I'm so sorry this happened to you. I just wanted to say you have a great attitude about what happened. I'm sure you will be fine with a positive attitude like you have.
  • shirleymom
    shirleymom,
    I too had symptoms before my massive heart attack, but my doctor just said that it was the stress of my job. In April, 2004, I had a massive heart attack on a Saturday morning. By the afternoon, I woke up with 3 stents and told I had numerous blockages in my heart. I changed doctors. Six weeks later I had bypass surgery for what I thought was 3 bypasses, but ended up being 6! Yes, six bypasses. Here I am 13 years later and I am doing great. Yes, there have been a few bumps along the way, but overall, I am fine. I am now 70 and plan to live a whole lot longer!! Your positive attitude will help you conquer anything life throws you.
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