Oct 7
dtauber , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Scared and feeling very alone.

I'm not sure where to begin. I had my first heart attack a week after my 40th birthday. It was a mild one that required only one stent. During the next few years I experienced on and off chest pain. My cardiologist was very proactive about getting me checked with physical stress tests, chemical stress tests and angiograms. On June 6, 2009 one of the angiograms showed blockage and  I had to have a double bypass. I was 52 years old. Went home and did everything you are supposed to do, cleaned out all the bad food, started a exercise routine, tried to reduce stress. But over the years, started slowly to fall back to where I was before the bypass. I put on some weight, stopped eating right, quit exercising and ramped up my stress level. For the last 6-9 months I had been having more "angina" than usual. I would just slap on a nitro patch and keep going. We had moved and I was now over two hours from my cardiologist and had not found a new one, lost my health insurance and could not afford Obamacare, so just went without coverage and paid the penality. I couldn't afford to go to the doctor to have the tests and I was embarrassed that I couldn't pay. I couldn't qualify for medicaid so I just prayed that the pain would go away and I would magically be healed. On August  30th I had a normal day at work, came home, called my son at college and settled in for the night. About 8:30pm my chest started to feel very constricted, pain started to radiate up my neck and into both jaws, and I started throwing up. I knew I needed help. My husband called 911. On the way to the nearest hospital, 34 miles away, yes we live in the country, I knew I was in trouble. One of the paramedics told the other one, "I'm going to run another strip for you to keep because you might not see this again in years." When we arrived at the heart hospital the cardiac team was waiting on us in the ambulance bay. Within 15 minutes of arrival I was in the cath lab. The minister met my son in the ER and stayed with him until I was settled in the ICU. I had a STEMI heart attack, and had a stent put in to unblock one of the arteries that was previously bypassed. I stayed in the hospital for 4 days and was told I needed to have a chemical stress test in a few weeks and possibly another stent. On September 23rd I had the stress test and the office said I'd get a call in a week or so with the results. I had barely gotten home when the cardiologist office called. They were going to admit me the next Tuesday for another stent due to "sigificant blockage".  Well, when they got me in the lab they realized I needed at least 3 more stents right then and another one in a few weeks. I am now waiting for them to schedule the next cath and stent. I have less than 40% heart function right now. I am praying that I will only need one more. But I'm so scared. I can't sleep well and every little chest ache or pain sends me in a panic. I am back to work full time but always worried that somethiing will happen to me and there won't be anyone here to help me. I realized how close I was to dying and I'm not ready. I have a son who's graduating college this coming summer, I want to see my boys marry and have children, I want to grow old. But I feel like I am a ticking time bomb ready to explode. My husband offers very little support. He didn't even come to the hospital when I had my bypass. He left my then 23 year old son at the hospital alone and told him to call when it was over. I don't want to let my boys know how scared and nervous I am. They have lived with my heart disease for almost 20 years. They don't need to have the added pressure of being my sounding board.Does anyone else feel this way or am I going crazy?
  • yarn007
    Trust me when I say must of us on this website feel or have felt the exact same way. Keep your head up. Listen to the doctors and know we are here to support you thru the days ahead.
  • thedollhouselady
    start a healthy diet again immediately. every day make a green smoothie with a banana, blueberries, green leafies, and a little milk or water. my kids bought me a "magic bullet" which is much easier to clean than a blender. cook some beans and rice and have a cup or two of them per day. you can put spinach tomatoes nuts etc. in the bean/rice mix. those delicious foods actually took away the pressure in my chest and i'm breathing easier. the trick is to not over eat. you can freeze beans and rice in serving size containers. drink water, eat grapes, Alaska salmon, coconut oil. don't eat anything that has an ingredient list. eat real food that came out of the ground. other than that the emptier you keep your stomach the better you'll breathe. at least that's how it is for me. if you can, find someone to talk to on the phone if not in person. my husband is the same as yours. don't take it personal. they can't give what they don't have. maybe he was an unloved child. don't waste time worrying about him. tell your boys you're not feeling good. they want to be included in your life, the good and the bad. they want to help you just don't know how. maybe they can go grocery shopping for you. give them credit and let them mature from this. find a hobby that you love. I had to quit gardening and now I make dollhouses and love it. I also write poetry that no one but me appreciates. if you don't have any energy try writing, drawing pictures, knitting, needlework, crying anything that relaxes you and that you can do sitting down and that you love doing. keep your blood moving without putting strain on your heart. try laying in bed and just moving your hands and feet etc. listen to your body. soon you will feel better. take baby steps but keep walking!
  • Chuck C
    Chuck C,
    Hello dauber, I was very touched by your blog of Oct. 7th. I am 65 and recovering from two sets of two stents put in, in the past three weeks and am also scared that any little ache or pain will result in another heart attack. I have a great support group in my wife and two daughters but also in my Church. I would like to suggest that you absolutely go back on a Healthy Diet !! I just bought a Nutri Bullet and am experimenting with different recipes daily. I will also offer what I believe is the most important thing for you to do is find a Church that you feel comfortable at and become a member. My wife almost died last year and the Dr's said there was no Hope and I should make arrangements for Hospice. My Church Prayed and a Miracle happened and she is now home. We take each day as special and are now closer than ever before and know what ever happens is in God's Hands. I will say a prayer for you that God gives you the Peace that you need to cope with each day.
  • mingo1
    I had my widow maker heart attack in 1993 and it was a bad one (none are good!!). The doctors could not perform anything that would unclog the blockage in my heart as the blockage was in a strange position. They decided to leave the blockage alone as the rest of the heart looked OK. I was shocked back to life at least 10 times and was in a coma for 4 days. However, I went home in a week and have not had any other blockages. Three months later, while in rehab, they noticed irregular heartbeats and within a week, I had a defibrillator implanted. In 1993, the defibrillator was about the size of a 300 page soft cover book and located in my lower abdomen. During these many years I have had many, many shocks including over a dozen in a day. Four ablations have helped that greatly and I have had no shocks for almost a year. However, I have a ton of premature ventricular contractions and each one of them scares me. Some days, it is constant. BUT, I have learned to live with them and realize that my old, beat up heart is trying as hard as the 28% left can do. I suggest trying to meditate for just a little while and think about a good place or time in your life. Breath slow and steady. I also sit down and of all things, have began to color very intricate pictures. My PVC's go away or I do not notice them as much. I too have had a very tough time with what my wife and sons have went through. I tend to feel worse for them than for any problems I may have. But, they have been with me through all this and 7 hip replacements and a huge back surgery. I can see the "not again" look in their faces but do believe that is more my problem then theirs. They offer such great support and love. I could not have made it without them. I try to be good in every way for myself and especially for them. The feeling of being scared goes away when I look at pictures of all of them. We have a ton of pictures all through the house and a glance at them will really reduce my scared feelings. I know that we are all scared at times. It is how we deal with being scared that really matters. Stay busy, feel the love of others, don't think that they are tired of your problems, sit and color, meditate....just be calm and of course, pray when you can. 23 years is a long time to live with an old, beat up heart....BUT, I am going strong and thank God for giving the world the doctors, nurses, medical science people and my family to give me the breath of life. It is easy to say Be Strong and is tough at times. But the bad times get better and the good times get longer. Stay well and live strong.
  • MaryMarriott
    God Bless first of all. I had a heart attack on August 31 and can say I don't believe I have ever been so scared. I am 72 and other than an AFib diagnosis about 3 years ago I have never had any problems with my heart. After a 3 1/2 hour surgery to get 2 stents and 2 balloon procedures I came home the same day. Have been through some terrible depression and unbelievable irritation and a bunch of crying I am starting to get better. I have found, while my husband is very helpful and supportive I have friends that think they are being helpful, but are really being a real pain in the ass. I am a Facebook person and on occasion I share something that tells me about how I feel for the day. Never fails that one person is telling me to knock it off and quit feeling sorry for myself. I count my blessings.
  • Lomapa
    I know a
  • Steelerbabe
    God Bless you and I mean that! I just had my event a short time ago. I do NOT understand your husband. I hope you get some help from this site. Someone please direct this lady to where she can get solid support.
  • ModeratorJeff
    ModeratorJeff ,
    OK so first off you are not crazy... and it's perfectly normal to feel deeply emotional right now. You need to take this thing one challenge at a time though and give yourself a break. Stop being a mountain of strength for everyone around you and realize that you will need to call on them to help you heal. Don't be afraid to open up to those around you... it's what you need. Beyond that try to focus on the positive things in your life. You are alive. You have a family. Can work. Etc... we can't control what our hearts and arteries are going to do beyond managing risk factors. And while we can do certain things over time to help ourselves, like you said, it's really easy to ignore the issue and slide back into old habits. I struggle with that too from time to time... we probably all do. I picked up meditation last year after my heart attack. I'm not good at it but it helps. Anyway, regarding sliding back into old habits and such. I was reading from one of my guided mediation books about a "Forgiveness Meditation." http://www.livingdying.org/forgiveness-meditation/ I'm not a very spiritual person but these tools help me to have conversations with myself that seem to help. They help me through anxiety, fear and depression. For some folks it's prayer... for me it's this and running right now. Anyway, I know you ar without health insurance but you might ask your Dr's and nurses if they know of any organization in your county that offers counselling or even grief counselling. Getting in front of someone and talking through your feelings has a great deal of healing power. It also helps us to learn how to open up to someone and ourselves at the same time. Thanks for sharing your story & good luck to you as you heal.
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