Jan 26
LeRoy Main Jr.
LeRoy Main Jr. , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

My Heart Attack

             My Heart Attack 
I was 49, now 50 year old male. On May 16,2016 at 6:30 am I had my heart attack.  I was making the bed. Wife getting ready for work and oh my god, I can't catch my breath. Stand there trying to breathe. Look at my wife and say I think something is wrong.  She asks are you ok . No I need to go to bathroom, I can't stop this pain in my chest.  Are you having a Heart Attack ?  I think I might be. With out to many details everything that happens during a heart attack started.  When my arm went numb I said we need to go right now. At this point my mind started working.  We live 18min from hospital,  no way I'm waiting for an ambulance to get here I'll be dead.  For what ever reason I thought no way they are cutting my shirt off , so I put a button up on. My wife asks what are you doing .. Changing my shirt. On the drive all I remember is, get me there, get me there. When we rounded the corner to hospital about 1/4 mile I lost conciseness . Came to when vehicle stopped at emergency door. I remember entering hospital . I remember Dr telling yes you are having a heart attack. We need to get you to Cath Lab or you will die.  In and out of awareness. Loaded into ambulance transported to larger hospital. I remember entering surgery room seeing Dr. , feeling a pinch in upper right arm. He said yes you should and I was out. !!! When I woke up I wanted my wife. Dr told us " you are a lucky man.   I had a  blockage in my LAD, EF of less than 30 % your heart has been damaged, This is serious. You had a bad Heart Attack. 
One week in hospital and the dreaded Man Bra ( Zoll Life Vest ). I wore that thing until Aug. 24 when I had my Defibulator implanted. Worst thing I have ever dealt with, but the comfort it gave my brain is how I accepted and dealt with it. Somewhere between May and August I started experiencing some emotions that I was not accustomed to . Called all my Drs. And asked what is going on ? There answer is flood of Hormones to the Brain during the Heart Attack. This is why I am joining AHA. I want some answers that apparently a lot of people are asking. 
      A little more about me .in 2006 I could not get out of bed. 2009 fusion L3-S1 got very depressed, couldn't work. Blew up.  Maximum weight somewhere between 375-400 (  3-5 years ago ) cholesterol 500? Nuke test ,  I'm  invincible  look at me.  Started to take things a little more seriously in Nov 2015 . Fusion C6-C7. Worked on Diet. Minimal exercise. The month of May rolls around. WAKE UP CALL ! 
    The Day of Heart Attack my weight was 340 lbs.  Cholesterol 258, HDL 38 Triglycerides 339. Around Sept I complete cardiac Therapy,  I attend Water Aerobics every night, try to make it 2 times a week during the day. I also lift weights Tue. And Thur. My diet now consists of chicken as my meat 96% of the time. I eat a tremendous amount of vegetables and fruit. My weight is currently 265.4 and dropping. I have a goal of 230 lbs. or lower if possible.  My cholesterol is 109, HDL 31, LDL52, triglycerides 128. 
                   I have been dealing/educating myself  with all the physical aspects of a heart attack.  Made all the necessary life changes for diet and exercise.  It's the mental health side of the heart attack I need help/support with this part of my of my overall health. There is more than just  " a flood of hormones to the brain . 
             sincerely LeRoy 
  • terranovalaw
    LeRoy glad you are on the mend. I was 51, fit with no history or other risk factors....I live closer to a hospital with a cath lab and they stented my 100% LAD blockage before any appreciable damage to my heart muscle. No impact on EF. You are doing the right things. Watch what and how much you eat. For me, I lost my appetite for a lot of the fatty, sugary, fried foods that I enjoyed in moderation before the heart attack. No desire for any of it. RE: emotion, I experience some anxiety from time to time. I do become more emotional at family milestone events like graduations etc. because I think that I very well might have been dead and missed it. Counseling may certainly help you deal with the mental side. Great job on diet, exercise, weight loss and cholesterol. Keep it up. Know that there are lots of us out here and there is a lot of good living to be had.
  • Dottieann
    Wow you are a very brave man so sorry you had to go through that...it must of been terrible...so sorry...I am going through some things myself so hard for me to give you the right words...but do feel you have that reading your story...God Bless you and will keep you in my prayers..your doing real good with diet wish I could say the same..stay positive special one.
  • curtiswood18atyahoo.com
    I, too, have had more emotional issues than physical issues with my heart attack. My research has found very little focus on this aspect of the experience. Cardiac rehab in the form of exercise seems to be about the only thing doctors suggest or prescribe. I have had extensive 12 Step program involvement over the years but there does not seem to be anything even close to a program for this part of recovery. My have sought therapy but have not found much to connect with there like having the shared experience of a group. My cardiac rehab folks said they felt there "should" more focus in this area but they are a new facility still just trying to build their business like any other business needs early on. I post here some and read all the situations each person shares here and have found some help that way. Maybe there is something else out there but I haven't been able to locate it in a city with lots of resources for most things.
  • JJR
    I totally understand what you're going thru. Firstly, I too had to wear that horrible Zola vest. Those are the most uncomfortable horrible things to wear. I don't know who invented it but they must never have tried wearing g it! I'm petite and it rubbed my skin raw, crushed my ribs and being a woman there was no thought given that it was not only crushing my ribs under my breast and was impossible to even wear a bra. The battery was to heavy and charging etc.It got dirty and smelly and the company really should take it off the market and create something It is sadistic!! I am a healthy 5' 100 pound woman 57 and was in a restaurant no symptoms and collapsed and literally died in the restaurant. Rushed to hospital stunted ( 100% clogged at widow maker.. amazing they could stent me. Then a medical induced coma... hospital stay 2 weeks.. cardio rehab. And teadmittex immediately .the doctor prescribed 16 drigs and made my blood pressure drop to 80/60.. I have been in and out of hospital for a year because of low blood pressure. Nobody picked up the fact that 16 pills were all loading my blood pressure.. almost killed me again and again. I, too, suffered and still do (attack Jan. 2015) horrible depression ! Nobody tells you about it or addresses it. There is no support group here and I went to 2 of the best heart hospitals. There is no support groups for women ( which is slightly different then men but there is no group for anyone.. I even called the AHA and they were surprised to tell me there is no group for heart attack depression and told me to start a group!! The depression is sever and nobody understands how it really impacts u.. This site is the only support I have. Tell ur cardiologist how horrible Zola vest is( contact company and I'm finally trying to find a shrink that understands but so far nobody geyts it.. It's a rough road but you are really doing a lot of good things to help ur body and look around for a group if not do what I'm doing and use this forum. Hang in there and cry when u have to.. we are all here for u.. What's left of my heart goes out to you:)
  • AndreaC
    First of all, LeRoy - kudos to you for taking your physical and emotional health in your own hands and making the necessary changes! Not all heart attack survivors do that (my mother included, unfortunately). The cardiologist in my area suggested a support group. At first it was a group focused on terminal illness, then serious illness, then survivors of disease, then eventually broke off into specific groups such as heart conditions/heart attack survivors and families. Perhaps there is something in your area or maybe you could even start one with the folks from your cardiac rehab class? Just a thought. Best of luck to you and I sincerely commend you for taking the steps necessary to be healthy, even with all you have been through!
  • PlanetWalker
    Good for you, LeRoy, for losing weight and exercising. I had a massive heart attack 12 years ago then in 2016 I had a stroke and another massive heart attack. I'm lucky to survive all three with no serious damage. The stroke and recent heart attack put me in severe depression. It's two-fold. It's caused by the heart attack so it is physically caused, and it is mentlal-emotional - again, caused by the trauma to your body. It's physical, intellectual and emotional. I was assigned social worker visits and provided a psychotherapist. I've been seeing him for several months. These two professionals suggested I have PTSD from the memory and fear of the very difficult follow up to the first heart attack. I'm taking an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety med. All these things help. First, I sleep well. Second, I'm able to talk through all my worries, fears, doubts and related problems. In your case, with such a big weight loss, you are having a major change in yourself. It's all for the good but it is still a significant change and affects so many things in your life. That will ease in time as you get more used to your own body. The deep-seated fears caused me to have melt downs. I was exhausting my friends talking about it and exhausting me when I didn't talk about it. Therapy has given me a routine to work through and relieve those feelings. I'm getting my end of life documents in order. I've balked at that and worried about it. I'm getting some of the papers done and already feel better. It's not a big avalanche over my head waiting to crush me. Maybe you can start working all that physical exercise into something fun now that you've come this far. Dancing, Canoeing, etc. Something you enjoy and gets you out into a social setting. Get a new haircut. Get some new clothes. All the best.
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