Oct 21
San Diego Iris
San Diego Iris , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Adjusting to Life After the Heart Attack

I'm an active 59 year old professional who eats healthy and runs regularly, so my heart attack on 10-3-16 was a complete shock.  Good news was that I was in Seattle visiting my sister, so her efforts to get me to the ER ASAP saved my life.  Extremely grateful for this, as I was able to survive the incident without any permanent heart damage.  It was also a wake up call to 'get my numbers' and pay more attention to factors outside my control.  I have an adversion to Big Pharma, so faithfully taking my Lipitol is a challenge, as I prefer a natural approach to health.  I am currently on a strict Paleo diet, with a good after-care plan with a Naturopathic doctor and cardiologist.

Although I am 'type A,' I have balanced it out with meditation, social and 'me' time.  My problem is in adjusting to the loss of energy.  Without my daily run, I feel exhausted and lethargic. I'm only able to work 3 hours a day without feeling fatigued. The physical symptoms are triggering anxiety and depression--two conditions I was successfully able to 'cure' before the heart attack. 
6 Comments
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie,
    Thank you for sharing this with us. You have been through quite an ordeal and it will take a while to find your new normal. We have several runners on the site who can share their experiences with you and provide encouragement. I look forward to hearing more of your patient journey. Best Katie
  • San Diego Iris
    San Diego Iris,
    Thank you, Katie. How do I access the 'runners' group? It's been frustrating trying to navigate this site, as most people are posting about issues that are so different from mine.
  • Luis
    Luis,
    you will be fine. don't be afraid is normal. I went through a cardiac arrest and stroke. thanks God I am 56 years old and feeling perfectly fine . of course take your medication and follow doctors recommendations. wasn't easy just pray as much as you can and your healing will be taking care. wish you a healthy life.
  • YukonDenis0n
    YukonDenis0n,
    Thanks for your posting about your lack of energy! Since my August surprise and two stents with two catherizations, I have less energy too! I think my new blood pressure meds keep me too low! I worry about cardiomyopathy! My muscle tone all over has been losing the past couple of years with accidents and surgeries. Cardiac rehab classes at the hospital clinic are improving my health. The exercises I learn in class I can bring home for daily strengthening and stamina. Time to tighten my gut ("core")! I hope you feel stronger faster!
  • elecia
    elecia,
    San Diego Iris, You are doing good. You have no permanent damage, that is awesome and allows for you to build up your heart muscle. This is very recent event so allow yourself some time for recovery. I have a fully recovered heart and finally starting to get a fully recovered mind. I've found the biggest obstacle to recovery is the mental and emotional aspect. I understand that anxiety and depression go hand in hand with heart attacks. Honestly the event changes the person you were. I felt like I went through a grieving process, like with a death. Let me encourage you in that you will recover and be active again. Be careful that your mind and emotions don't cause you to get sicker. It happened with me, the stress I put myself under caused me to worry my heart was messed up when it was stress/worry induced. The recovery of my heart was quick and complete but my mind drug me down. This too shall pass. Get into cardiac rehab, check with your doctor. Remember your concerns and fears are normal but will get better. You are not alone and reaching out to support groups will be a huge help. Be encouraged, this is doable and you will get through this !! :)
  • JayT
    JayT,
    Iris - I'm 4.5 years post heart attack, and what you describe happens a lot. I'm not saying that to minimize what you're feeling, but to let you know you're not alone. And it can (and almost certainly will) get better! A heart attack is a traumatic experience. I did NOT run prior to my heart attack, yet I'm pretty proud that I finished a full marathon (and have completed several half-marathons) since the heart attack. The running will come back, as will the energy. It's **fantastic** that you have no permanent damage, but that doesn't mean it won't take time to recover. I agree with what Yukon said above, cardiac rehab is a great thing. Support groups can also be a HUGE help, so keep visiting, and keep asking questions!
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