Jul 8
KWSurvivor
KWSurvivor , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Not Another Heart Attack!!

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Hi all,

This whole writing thing is new to me and I apologize ahead of time for how long this might get!! They say writing can be theraputic, so I'm going to give it a shot.

My first heart attack happened on January 29th, 2020.  I had actually been having signs that my heart wasn't right for about 18 months prior.  Yes...18 months!!  I went to an urgent care with chest pain in October 2018 to which they told me all my tests for heart issues were negative.  I went to many doctors over the next year, but no one could figure out what the problem was.  So very frustrating and embarrassing if I'm honest. I got to the point that I just tried to hide and ignore my pain thinking maybe it was just in my head.  It finally got to the point that walking very short distances would cause a great deal of chest pain and shortness of breath.  I finally went back to my clinic on 1/29/20 and they told me I was having a heart attack and sent me by ambulance to the hospital with my poor husband following behind us not knowing if I would survive.  I ended up having a blockage of 99% in my LAD.  They put in 4 stents and released me the next day.  Started rehab and thought everything was going well.  Then COVID-19 hit and my job as a Logistics Coordinator for an organization the faciliates **** Marrow transplants for patients all of the world literally blew up!  Was working round the clock to help get the transport of life saving products to patient in need. To say my stress level was high would be an understatement.  But I thought my heart could handle it with my new stents and everything.  I was wrong!  On April 10th, I experienced my second heart attack.  Another ambulance ride to the hospital and another angiogram revealed that my stents from January had failed and I was now looking at open heart bypass surgery.  This was quite shocking as a 52 year old.  How could this be happening again?!  And now during COVID?!   My hospital stay was a nightmare without my family/friends being allowed to visit and all the FEAR.  Fear of being alone, fear of contracting COVID and fear of not surviving open heart surgery.  The nurses and doctors did the best they could, but stayed out of patient's rooms as much as possible.  And since I had blood thinner medication on board they wanted to wait 4 days before doing my surgery!  4 longest days of my entire life. So on April, 16th, 2020 I had quadruaple by-pass surgery. The surgery went well, but recovery was rough.  So much pain, fear and loneliness that I truly wanted to give up. My husband and daughter at home were doing the best they could to help encourage me and give me the strength virtually to get well enough to be able to come home. They were my rocks during this time.  Made it home on April 21st and the real recovery started.  The pain was imense, but it's the emotional part that was the worst (and still is).  I find myself so fearful and angry all the time. Snapping at my poor husband and crying for no real reasons.  I am now 12 weeks post surgery and really hoping that things settle down soon?!!  I am currently looking for a counselor for myself and my husband.  Any other suggestions?

Kristine

3 Comments
  • DrDeb
    DrDeb,

    Dear Kristine,

    First, thank you for sharing your story - I am moved at how brave you are and what you went through! I want you to know that you are not alone. Research reflects that open heart surgery can result in many deep emotions that can include clinical depression. Fear and loneliness are responses to the medical trauma you went through. A clinical psychologist who specializes in medical post trauma can really help with your emotional healing - and your cardio treatment team will help with your physical recovery. You are strong and you're a survivor! I wish you the very best.

    Warmly,

    Deb 

  • Mb120918
    Mb120918,

    Hi Kristine,

    So sorry for what you have been through.  BUT, you survived!  After my HA in Dec. 2018,   I suffered PTSD (as per my cardiologist).  It didn't show itself until my husband had a quad bypass at my 6 month mark.  Things got very intense for me and I got very fearful and angry.  I started to throw things and would get into a rage.  It was scary for me and for him. I started phone therapy for my tinnitus (ear ringing noises 24/7, insanity).  Those talks helped me to calm down.  The therapist is a social worker that is now working by phone because of covid.  It is covered by insurance with a small copay. It may help you to talk to someone who is not in your family.  You have been through a lot.  Please try to relax and meditate or try to calm yourself by deep breathing.  Also, keep writing to us.  Getting it out there and sharing also helps.  We have all been through similar things and can help you.  Cardiac rehabilitation did wonders for me and my confidence level.  Look into that too.  

    Hope you find some peace and feel better soon.  Looking forward to hearing of your progress. Hope this helped a little bit.  Remember that your husband is probably terrified too.  You are very strong,. Look what you have survived!

    Mary

  • Djwel
    Djwel,

    Thank you for sharing your story.  We all have experienced some or all of the same things you speak of.  I guess for me, the anger was the worst.  I've never felt so angy in my entire life.  My family said that I was not the same person .. emotionally, I sure wasn't.  It gets better; I can tell you that now.  I'm 9 months out.  When I was in the middle of it all, I thought I would never be okay again.  I would say to you, seek whatever help you need - there is no shame in that.  Reach out to those who are supportive, and stay away from those that are negative (for now).  

    I will be praying for your healing, both physical & emotional.  

    I wish you the best & hope to hear good news from you very soon

    djwel

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