Jan 27
barb5000 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Broken Heart

Story image

I am a 55 year old special education teacher.  Almost two years ago I was teaching my students and felt a heaviness in my chest and a pain down my arm.  I felt I couldn't catch my breath.  I told myself I was just making myself anxious and that's why the symptoms were getting worse.  I was embarrassed to tell my principal I thought I was having a heart attack.  Finally I did.  A co worker drove me to the hospital.  They did not find the enzymes that should be present if you have a heart attack.  So they sent me for an ecco and stress test.  The ecco showed that my heart was too weak for a stess test.  They did a heart cath and everything was clear.  After 5 days in the hospital they decided I had takotsubo cardiomyopathy(broken heart syndrome).  I was in good health prior but had many emotional events take place so this was the most logical explanation.

However, my last ecco a couple of months ago showed an ejection fraction of 35% even though I have been taking Metoprolol and blood pressure and cholesterol meds.  My mother died of conjestive heart failure at 72 years old as did her mother in her 50's.  So now they think the stress caused the takotsubo but the takotsubo caused the congestive heart failure that I may have gotten later in life to arrive sooner.  So now I am taking Entresto and will start cardiac rehab next week.  I am hoping my ejection fraction improves.

I am very anxious about dying.  I have three kids in their 20's and want to live to see grandchildren.  I came across this website and thought it might be a good way to ease my anxiety by learning more and reaching out and hopefully helping others.

Good luck on your road to recovery and healthy, happy living!

  • BL1970

    Dear broken Heart,

    From a 61 year old who has survived three open heart surgeries, the first on in 1968(!!), I can honestly say that you are not alone!  I have an aortic stenosis.

         I was 11 years old when I had my first open heart, I mean where the surgeons cut through my sternum with a second-hand Sears Sawz-all, and well, cardiac technology and devices were just not avaiable back then. The myriad procedures done today, were only what surgeons and heart specialists dreamed of happening back then.

           We have come light years regarding heart surgeries and heart-related issues.

           Any way, I went for a second surgery in 1972 for a prosthetic valve replacement, but apparently it was a bad model year for that valve, because it failed. So, like a Ford Pinto, I was recalled in 1976. (I got a complimentary oil change).

           So I got sawed open again, at age 21, and got a Bjork-Shiley valve that has been ticking for a record 40 years! I am scheduled for an echo soon, I'd like to see how the old gal is doing. But if I do need a replacement, I won't hesitate a second.

     I know it will be a far, far improvement from 1968 when I was in the hospita 6 weeks, "died" twice, and caught penumonia (sp).

    So, my friend, I want to say that anxiety is definately a part of any heart-related issue. In fact there is an actual website I found that states that survivors of ANY heart related issues can experience anxiety, depression and PTSD. Why? Because be it heart surgery, heart failure, etc. these are life-changing events. It is, Post Traumatic.

    What is lacking to help these situations is the need for patients, parents and children to receive counselling, either from a psychiatrist or knowledgable professinal (sp), before, during and after  treatment.

    I have become an advocate for patients to ask doctors that counselling be part of any heart-related issue. 

    I only received such treatment after 40 years of suffering, even the fear of death. Such counselling literally saved my life.

    You are not alone!

    In peace,

    Ken Levine   BL1970

  • Maryj60

    Hi my name is Mary, I too have had two takotsubo heart attacks. The most recent one put me in critical care for a week. My ef is currently 20%. I just dont know what to expect. What feels right anymore. I have shortness of breathe but second guess everything that is going on. They have changed my meds 3x and currently have me on 40mg of lasix and spironolactone. I haven't been able to go back to work. How are things with you?

  • AHAASAKatie

    Thank you so much for sharing this story with us! Best Katie 

  • BL1970

    Dear Mary J.

    I can relate to feelings of not knowing what to do. I imagine you may feel anxious and not sure if you can trust your body?

    As a 61 year old survior of three open heart surgeries for an aortic stenosis, I can share with you the idea that for 40 years, I had no idea what my body or valve or heart were doing. Panic disorder, PTSD and depression followed me everywhere.

     Finally, just three months ago I was placed in a facility that worked with people 20-60, suffering from emotional trauma. I was there for two months which included intense, sometimes emotional painful

    therapy. For me I learned to trust my prosthetic heart valve and my body.

    I have become a strong advocate for  people with heart related issues to try and make sure they receive emotional support, be it therapy, or psychiatric professinals.(sp) 

    MJ, heart issues of any kind, in my humble opinion, are traumatic. They are life-changing events, HOWEVER, I feel strongly that these events can turn out to be ones that make us stronger, a bit more settled, and a bit more positive.

    In Peace,

    Ken Levine




  • Maryj60


     Thanks for the support. So much to think about, worry about and second guess. I try to put it all in God's hands. Hope you are doing well 

dark overlay when lightbox active
dark overlay when lightbox active
dark overlay when lightbox active
dark overlay when lightbox active